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Chris Mannix on M&M: ‘More likely than not, the core of this [Celtics] team stays together’

02.20.13 at 1:48 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated NBA writer Chris Mannix joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday, one day before the NBA trade deadline, to discuss rumors surrounding the Celtics. Mannix said the Celtics would be wise to do the deal reportedly discussed with the Clippers, but he’s not expecting it to happen.

“Boston was making a lot of those calls about [Kevin] Garnett to the Clippers,” Mannix said. “And the interest in the Clippers, I can tell you, it’s divided out there among the organization. The coaching staff, they want Kevin Garnett, because they want to win now. ‘€¦ Whereas the front office, I can tell you this, they’re not all that inclined to give up Eric Bledsoe, who is a potential 10-year starter in this league, and DeAndre Jordan, a sure-fire starter right now, for Kevin Garnett, who could potentially only be giving you a couple more months. Who knows what Kevin Garnett’s future is going to hold? To me, he’s always been on a series of one-year contracts.

“I think at the end of the day, when you throw in the no-trade clause that Kevin has, and you consider the fact that I have not heard a heck of a lot of significant interest surrounding Paul Pierce, I think more likely than not, the core of this team stays together.”

A report Tuesday night had the Clippers pulling out of trade talks. Mannix said he expects Celtics boss Danny Ainge would follow through if the deal is resuscitated.

“I think if the deal is there, he makes it,” Mannix said. “If he can get Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan for Kevin Garnett, you jump at it. I’ve heard some criticisms of this deal from the Boston side; I don’t get it. Has anyone not been watching Eric Bledsoe? As really the fourth guard on this Clippers team — third, I guess, when [Chauncey] Billups is injured — but really, he’s done a lot of things.”

Added Mannix: “You’re dealing with potential right now, because he hasn’t gotten the consistent minutes at the point guard spot because Chris Paul has been there for a couple of years now. But Eric Bledsoe is a guy that could potentially take over as a starting point guard for a team right away, and be an effective guy, be a guy that can score 15 points per game and give you seven, eight assists. Look at the way he’s played this year: He’s up to about 10 points per game. But more importantly, his field goal percentage is in the mid-40s right now, his 3-point percentage is in the low 30s. This is a guy that’s been improving every single year. So I think he’s a guy you would want to get.

“Same thing with DeAndre Jordan, who admittedly is a little bit overpaid, because Golden State threw that massive contract at him last year. But he’s someone that can be a starting center on your team for the next decade.

“And when you make a deal like that, all of a sudden there can be a domino effect. Now you can think about dealing Rajon Rondo next year, when he becomes healthy, because you have Eric Bledsoe already at the starter’s spot. You can trade Rondo for some starting quality pieces or some draft picks, and all of a sudden an old, aging team could suddenly be a fast, rebuilding team on the fly. I think that’s the way it would turn out.”

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Read More: Danny Ainge, DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard, Eric Bledsoe

Trade rumor: Celtics take Rajon Rondo off market

02.20.13 at 12:32 pm ET
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Despite ESPN.com senior writer Chris Broussard‘s insistence that Celtics president Danny Ainge has made injured point guard Rajon Rondo available on the trade market, Rondo’s agent Bill Duffy told USA Today’s Sam Amick that Ainge “assured him” on Wednesday that the four-time All-Star will not be dealt.

Meanwhile, CBSSports.com columnist Ken Berger reports Rondo would only be dealt for Dwight Howard, Chris Paul “or a massive haul of assets” similar to what the Nuggets received for Carmelo Anthony. As you might remember, Melo, Chauncey Billups and three low-level NBA talents returned Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, a first-round draft pick, two second-round picks and $3 million in cash from the Knicks in 2011.

Those scenarios are a pipe dream for Ainge, considering Rondo’s season-ending ACL surgery that leaves him rehabbing for training camp next season.

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Read More: 2013 NBA Trade Deadline, Boston Celtics, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard

Trade rumor: Celtics dangle Fab Melo ‘to fortify’ current roster

02.20.13 at 12:07 pm ET
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Celtics president Danny Ainge has placed rookie center Fab Melo on the trade market in hopes of adding depth to his backcourt and bolstering the current roster, according to Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski.

Considering Melo has scored all of two points in eight minutes for the Celtics this season, making more headlines when he collapsed inside a folding chair and suffered a concussion upon walking into a doorframe, his addition to the long list of available Celtics comes as no surprise.

After all, Rajon Rondo (for Dwight Howard), Paul Pierce (for Josh Smith), Kevin Garnett (for Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan), Jeff Green and Brandon Bass (for Smith) have all been involved in various trade scenarios.

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Read More: 2013 NBA Trade Deadline, Boston Celtics, Fab Melo, NBA

False start: Celtics stumble in Denver to open second half

02.19.13 at 11:27 pm ET
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In their first game following the All-Star break, the Celtics couldn’t keep pace with the Nuggets in a 97-90 loss in Denver on Tuesday night.

Playing a Nuggets team that, at 23-3, is one of the most dominant at home in the NBA, the Celtics’ balanced offensive attack proved insufficient. After arriving at halftime with a 50-49 lead, the Celtics were outscored 29-20 in a game-changing third quarter, with the eight-point deficit entering the final period proving too much to overcome.

In defeat, the Celtics featured five scorers in double figures, led by Jeff Green‘s 20 points off the bench on 8-of-12 shooting. Avery Bradley chipped in with a season-high 17.

However, Paul Pierce struggled both from the floor (shooting 2-for-14 en route to 10 points) and with foul trouble, fouling out in the final seconds. The Nuggets attempted more than twice as many free throws as the Celtics (34 to 16).

The Nuggets were led by forward Danilo Gallinari, who had 26 points, and guard Ty Lawson, who had 24 points along with six rebounds and six assists.

Boston falls to 8-16 on the road with four games remaining on the current Western Conference swing. The Celtics are 28-25 on the season.

For a complete recap, click here.

Read More: Jeff Green, Paul Pierce,

Report: Clippers put Kevin Garnett trade talks with Celtics on hold

02.19.13 at 10:46 pm ET
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According to Yahoo! Sports, the Clippers have halted talks with the Celtics regarding a deal that would send Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles and DeAndre Jordan and Eric Bledsoe to Boston.

The report states that the Celtics are “eager to continue the conversation on the deal,” but it is unclear if the Clippers will move forward with any trade unless star point guard Chris Paul pushes Los Angeles to complete such a transaction.

The Celtics also reportedly won’t consider any other combination of players for Garnett, focusing solely on Jordan and Bledsoe.

Sources told Yahoo! Sports that if the Celtics do trade Garnett, they would also move Paul Pierce, with the report suggesting the Celts captain might be included in a deal for Atlanta’s Josh Smith.

For more Celtics news, go to the team page at weei.com/celtics.

Read More: Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe, Josh Smith

Kevin Garnett’s yoga swag is off the charts

02.19.13 at 4:53 pm ET
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Have you been wondering why Kevin Garnett hasn’t body slammed Zaza Pachulia or barked like a dog at Jose Calderon yet this season? Perhaps the NBA’s nobodies have the Celtics center’s yoga instructor to thank.

“I’d have all this energy, and I couldn’t control it,” he said. “Being in games, I’d get dumb fouls because I was just out of control, so I had a friend suggest yoga to me, and I tried it out. Not only did it help me stay flexible and durable, but it helped me center myself and understand the energy and know how to use it properly.”

Indeed, Garnett’s six seasons in Boston are among the least foul-happy of his career. To what yoga pose does KG credit that transformation in ZICO coconut water’s recent round of behind-the-scenes clips (h/t @CelticsTown)?

“I’m a down dog man, although my instructor likes to make sure that I’m up on all the new poses, including the one where I stand on my head,” he said. “It’s supposed to balance me out. So far, we’re still working on that.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, NBA,

Irish Coffee: Bill Russell, basketball’s grandfather

02.19.13 at 12:31 pm ET
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I was 12 years old when my grandfather died, and I never really got to ask him about playing for Passaic (N.J.) High’s “Wonder Team,” owners of the longest win streak (159 games) in prep basketball history and entrants into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, or about playing for Rutgers, where he apparently also took part in a handful of exhibition games under an assumed name for $25 a night. This was the 1920s, before the NBA.

So, when Bill Simmons interviewed Bill Russell, basketball’s grandfather, on NBA TV Monday, it made me feel profoundly nostalgic, jealous and robbed of so many great tales of my own basketball ancestry. But mainly I just felt lucky that we all still have this great link to Celtics past. Heck, to American history. And we should cherish that.

Russell shared captivating story after captivating story. His admiration of his father Charles, who raised his playwright brother Charlie L. and him while working for decades in an Oakland foundry. His belief he would never have played in the NBA if he hadn’t been traded from the “overwhelmingly racist” city of St. Louis in 1956 to Boston for future Hall of Famers Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan. His quiet first meeting with a young Kansas freshman named Wilt Chamberlain. His pavement of the road to professional players’ unions and big contracts, like the $100,001 one he signed in 1965 — one more dollar than Chamberlain’s deal. His support of Muhammad Ali during the heavyweight champ’s conscientious objection to the Vietnam War. And so on and so on.

He was fascinating. Here are 11 great quotes from the interview, one for every title he won for the Celtics.

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Read More: Bill Russell, Bill Simmons, Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett
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