|02.03.16 at 10:14 am ET|
After Paul Pierce led the Celtics to the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals, and before he led them to the 2008 title, he wanted out of Boston, and he nearly got his wish.
Speaking to Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast, Pierce explained how he helped nix a deal to the Blazers and pushed for a trade to the Mavericks that would’ve altered Celtics history.
“It was just discouraging,” Pierce told Mannix, courtesy NESN.com. “It was just like I want people to know who Paul Pierce is, what type of player he is, but the only way to do that is to be on the big stage, be in the playoffs with a shot at the championship. It was discouraging playing so well and not reaching the team success that I wanted to reach. Because at the end of the day, that’s how you’re going to be measured on how your team does more than what you do as an individual. When I didn’t see that, the results of that, it created doubts where maybe I could go somewhere else and find that.”
Trader Danny Ainge, who long lusted after point guard Chris Paul, worked on the framework of a deal that would swap the two young stars. But Pierce wanted none of it.
“It was just like, (the Blazers) weren’t going to the playoffs, they had a young team, too, players always getting in trouble, and I was just like, I’m not going to Portland,” Pierce said on the podcast. “I think I made the announcement. I think I did an article in the paper saying I wasn’t going to Portland if I got traded there. I might as well stay in Boston if I go to Portland. I know that was the one trade I knew about that was on the table that they were really close to pulling.”
Pierce had another destination in mind: Dallas, where he would join his fellow member of the draft class of 1998, Dirk Nowitzki. The Mavs boasted a committed owner in Mark Cuban, and a young roster that would eventually win a title in 2011. Maybe it would’ve happened sooner with Pierce.
“If you can get me to Dallas, that’s where I wanted to go at the time,’ Pierce said. “I thought Dallas was a player like me away from winning. They were 50-game winners. Dirk was pretty much by himself. I even ran into Dirk and Mark Cuban that summer. It was like, ‘Mark, you’ve got to find a way to get me over there. I want to get over there. I think I could help you all get over the hump.'”
It never happened, and for that, the Celtics should be grateful.
|02.03.16 at 8:59 am ET|
The rumor mill continues to churn out interesting stories regarding the Celtics and their pursuit of a marquee player. The latest has the C’s talking to the Rockets about veteran center Dwight Howard.
Writes Frank Isola of the New York Daily News: Meanwhile, the Celtics have engaged the Houston Rockets in talks about a possible deal for Dwight Howard, the Daily News has learned. Howard can opt out of his contract this summer, and considering his back and knee issues, it doesn’t make much sense for Boston GM Danny Ainge to use the assets on a player with declining skills and a battered body.
The oft-injured Howard, who was suspended by the league for Tuesday’s game after making contact with an official in Saturday’s loss to the Wizards, is averaging 14.4 points and 11.8 rebounds per game this season.
The 30-year-old, who previously played for the Magic and Lakers, is making $22 million. He has a player option for next season.
Howard is an eight-time All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year.
|02.02.16 at 10:16 pm ET|
Shooting is overrated.
On a night when the Celtics couldn’t make a 3-pointer to save their lives — missing their first 13 — it didn’t matter in a 97-89 victory over the Knicks on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
With the win, the Celtics (28-22) pulled a half-game ahead of the Heat and are tied with the Hawks for the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.
In a sloppy and physical first half, the Celtics kept the game close, despite only shooting 38 percent from the field and missing all 13 of their 3-point attempts.
With their outside shots not falling, the Celtics pulled ahead in the third quarter by moving the ball and attacking the basket. After only managing six assists in the first half, the Celtics assisted on nine of their 11 third quarter field goals.
In the fourth, the Celtics bench, led by Turner, Zeller, and Kelly Olynyk, dominated the Knicks, abusing their terrible pick-and-roll defense. The trio combined for 25 of the team’s 27 points in the final frame.
They needed it, too, because they were abysmal from long range, making only 3 of 19 3-pointers (15.8 percent). They helped their cause by limiting the Knicks to 30 percent shooting from distance (6-for-20).
The C’s return home to play the Pistons to complete the back-to-back on Wednesday night.
|02.02.16 at 12:21 pm ET|
If so, that player could be Danilo Gallinari.
According to a report from over the weekend on Sportando, a website that tracks worldwide basketball, the Celtics have interest in the Nuggets’ sharpshooter, who’s in the midst of his best season.
The 6-foot-10 Italian, the No. 6 overall pick by the Knicks in the 2008 draft, has rebounded from 2014 knee surgery to post the best numbers of his career. He’s averaging 19.3 points and 5.6 rebounds a game, both career highs, and he ranks among the NBA’s top 10 in free throws made (291, 5th) and attempted (333, 9th).
That the Celtics would have interest shouldn’t be a surprise, since the Herald’s Steve Bulpett reported over the summer that Gallinari was a potential target of Celtics president Danny Ainge and that the sides had discussed a deal.
Gallinari, 27, is signed through the 2017-18 season on a two-year, $34 million extension.
|02.01.16 at 3:24 pm ET|
Lee, who has not played in the last 12 games, is a free agent after the season. The 6-foot-9 power forward has lost his spot in the rotation with the Celtics deciding to shift to a smaller lineup featuring the versatile Jae Crowder at the 4.
Both Ainge and head coach Brad Stevens have praised Lee’s willingness to make the best of what everyone recognizes is a less-than-ideal situation. The 32-year-old former All-Star is a skilled scorer in the post, but not necessarily a fit in Stevens’ offense, which is built more around ball movement and 3-point shooting.
“All the success he has had in the NBA ‘¦ he has dealt with it right,” Ainge told CSNNE.com. “He knows an opportunity is going to come to him at some points. He’s staying ready.”
Ainge declined to disclose what he told Lee’s camp, and there are no indications the forward has requested a trade in advance of the Feb. 18 trade deadline.
Lee is averaging 7.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. He’s only two years removed from going for 18.2 and 9.3 in Golden State.
|01.31.16 at 8:55 pm ET|
The Celtics saw their five-game winning streak snapped in a 119-114 loss to the Magic on Sunday in Orlando.
The hosts prevailed on the strength of a 72-point second half, overcoming a 14-point deficit in the third quarter to lead by as many as 11 in the fourth.
The Celtics cut the deficit to 3 with 14 seconds left to play on a four-point play by Marcus Smart, but the comeback fell short.
Evan Fournier (24) and rookie Mario Herzonja (17) led the Magic, combining for 41 points off the bench. Four other Magic scored in double figures.
For a complete box score, click here.
|01.31.16 at 9:12 am ET|
“Atlanta, I’ve been told, is ready to turn the page, to give the team to Dennis Schroeder, their young point guard, who is ready to step up and be a starter,” Mannix said. “Teague is available because Teague has some value. He has another year left on his contract, about $8 million per year, and teams across the league are looking to get him.”
Mannix continued, “I’ve heard that Boston’s inquired about several players with Atlanta, Teague and Al Horford. Teague might seem like a weird fit with this team because they already have point guards, but he is an asset, He’s someone the Celtics could be interested in.
“Horford, a little more difficult. It would be a gamble going after Al Horford because Al Horford is in the last year of his deal and he’s going to command a salary north of $20 million next year. But as we know and as I just said, (president of basketball operations) Danny Ainge is a gambling GM. He could make a move like that, too.”
Atlanta is currently tied for the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference at 27-21, with the 29 year old Horford averaging 15.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Teague, 27, 14.5 points and 5.5 assists per contest.
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