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Rajon Rondo talks about leaving team USA

09.19.10 at 9:50 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo hasn’t had a lot to say about why he left the United States team just before the FIBA World Championships in Turkey, but that hasn’t stopped others from speculating about the decision. (For my take, click here).

Rondo spoke to ESPN’s Ric Bucher over the weekend in San Francisco where he was hosting a 1-on-1 tournament on Alcatraz for Red Bull, which he endorses. Bucher also talked to Rondo’s agent Bill Duffy, was said he was the one who pushed Rondo to go out for the team, something the All-Star guard has resisted in the past.

Other reasons cited in the piece include: fatigue, both mental and physical, and family issues. (His uncle died during the preliminary games.) It will be interesting to see how much weight Rondo’s decision has on the 2012 Olympic team, or if he has any desire to play when it comes around.

Read More: Rajon Rondo,

Poll: Avery Bradley top rookie defender

09.19.10 at 11:18 am ET
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If there’s one thing the Celtics think rookie guard Avery Bradley can do right away, it’s defend. That’s also the opinion of his fellow first-year players who overwhelmingly voted Bradley the top defensive player in the rookie class, according to a survey posted on NBA.com.

It’s not surprising that Bradley won the player vote, but what is interesting is that he dominated the results.

Which rookie is the best defender?

1. Avery Bradley, Boston — 41.7 percent
2. Hassan Whiteside, Sacramento — 8.3 percent
3. Lazar Hayward, Minnesota — 5.6 percent
Ekpe Udoh, Golden State — 5.6 percent

Bradley also received votes in categories ranging from best shooter and playmaker to most overlooked and likely to have the best career.

One other interesting tidbit from the poll: Kobe Bryant was the runaway winner for favorite player among the rookies.

Read More: Avery Bradley, Kobe Bryant,

Shaq on feuds: ‘It’s marketing’

09.19.10 at 10:31 am ET
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It can be hard to keep track of all of Shaquille O’Neal‘s battles. One day he’s killing Mo Williams, and the next he’s saying it’s all for show. That’s Shaq  in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel. “I know what I’m doing when it comes to selling out games,” he told the paper sounding like Don King trying to get a good house.

Shaq went on to say that he has a good relationship with Dwight Howard off the floor, but it’s different when they’re on the court. “He’s a great young player,” Shaq said. “But on the court it’s not about making friends, it’s about doing what you’re supposed to do to win that game to win a championship.”

Read More: Dwight Howard, Mo Williams, Shaquille O'Neal,

Report: Smith ‘blessed’ by Celtics training camp invite

09.18.10 at 5:09 pm ET
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Jamar Smith considers himself ‘€œblessed beyond belief’€ to be invited to the Celtics training camp, he told the Evansville Courier & Press. Smith, a shooting guard, shared his excitement about getting the call to come to Boston:

“I’ve been working out like crazy,” said the former University of Southern Indiana star and Division II Player of the Year.

By “crazy,” he means several hours per day on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign, sometimes with members of the Illini basketball team and coach Bruce Weber, who originally signed Smith.

Now Smith has a chance to fulfill a dream. But sometimes that chance seems to be a dream.

“When my agent told me (about the Celtics’ invitation), I was, ‘Are you serious?’ ” said Smith. “Now I’m in the gym two or three times a day. My dad called me and asked, ‘Are you working hard?’ When I said I was, he said, ‘Well, you have to work harder.’ “

Smith averaged 21.6 points per game last season at USI.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Jamar Smith,

Scalabrine draws Bulls interest

09.18.10 at 12:16 pm ET
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Unsigned free agent Brian Scalabrine hasn’t had a lot of play this summer. The Celtics have turned their attention elsewhere and this past week they brought in a number of forwards for workouts.

Scalabrine has made numerous charitable appearances for the Celtics this summer and maintained that he still wants to play, but there don’t appear to be many offers for his services, either here or elsewhere.

NBA.com’s Sam Smith cracks the door open for Scal a little when he mentioned in a chat that the Bulls have had interest in bringing him aboard. Smith writes in answer to a question about Scalabrine and Michael Finley:

I think Finley is too old at this point, but Scalabrine is a guy the Bulls have talked with a lot this summer and especially with [Tom] Thibodeau I can see him as possible depending on what goes on regarding [Rudy] Fernandez. You need a good team guy willing to root a lot and Scalabrine would be that.

New coaches often bring former players with them to help implement their system and Scalabrine wouldn’t be a bad resource for Tom Thibodeau. The Bulls also have roster spots available.

Still, the Bulls have also been linked to rumors for the likes of Carmelo Anthony and Rudy Fernandez, which would make Scal, at best, a fallback option.

Read More: Brian Scalabrine,

C’s will open camp in Rhode Island

09.17.10 at 1:11 pm ET
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Earlier this summer Paul Pierce suggested that the Celtics should go away for training camp so the team can bond, much like they did before the 2007-08 season that ended in a championship. That’s not going to happen.

The Celtics will spend a week at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island before returning to their regular home in Waltham for the rest of camp.

Here’s their exhibition schedule:

Oct. 6: Celtics vs. Philadelphia; Manchester, N.H. 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 7: Celtics at New Jersey, 7

Oct. 10: Toronto at Celtics, 6

Oct. 12: Celtics at Philadelphia, 7

Oct. 13: Celtics at New York, 7:30

Oct. 15: Celtics at Toronto, 7

Oct. 16: New York vs. Celtics, Hartford, 7:30

Oct. 20: New Jersey at Celtics, 7:30

Read More: Training camp,

Big Baby returns to LSU

09.17.10 at 11:44 am ET
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Glen Davis returned to Baton Rouge to check out the new practice facility at his alma mater and took some time to chat with LSU Sports. Obviously one of the questions was about new Celtic, and former Tiger, Shaquille O’Neal.

“It’s crazy. I can remember days when I was just a little boy watching him play here at LSU. Shaq was everywhere in the city. To be in the NBA and play against him and now having him on the same team it’s unbelievable. I’m so glad he’s on our team and he can help us get back to that championship.”

Davis is a legend at LSU. He won SEC Rookie of the Year honors, SEC Player of the Year as a sophomore and led the Tigers to the Final Four.

Read More: Glen Davis, Shaquille O'Neal,
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