|08.19.10 at 12:05 am ET|
For weeks, Rudy Fernandez was the center of Celtics offseason rumors after expressing his unhappiness playing for the Trail Blazers. And while those talks had quieted recently, there was still chatter as to whether or not the Celtics would acquire the Spanish guard.
All of those rumors can be put to rest. On Wednesday, the Oregonian reported, ‘Fernandez has informed agent Andy Miller that he is prepared to be suspended by the Blazers and forfeit the final two years of his contract in order to return to Europe and play in his homeland of Spain in 2012.’
According to the report, the Trail Blazers turned down offers from the Celtics, Bulls, and Knicks. Trail Blazers general manager Rich Cho told the Oregonian, “I’m not going to be pressured into making a deal. I’m not going to make a trade just to make a trade. It has to be the right deal for the team.”
Yahoo! Sports also reported the Celtics were one of approximately 15 teams that expressed interest in Fernandez.
Fernandez is still under contract with the Trail Blazers for the upcoming season. The team has an option for the 2011-12 season.
|08.17.10 at 12:11 am ET|
When Paul Pierce isn’t battling on the court, he enjoys watching battles in the ring. Elie Seckbach from AOL FanHouse recently caught up with the boxing fan, who says Manny Pacquiao is the “best pound-for-pound boxer in the world” and shares who he considers to be “the greatest athlete to ever live.” (Watch to the end to get former Celtic/Laker Rick Fox’s take on Shaq in green.)
|08.14.10 at 10:43 am ET|
Hold off on the nickname search for Dr. O’Neal.
In an interview with the New York Times, new Celtic Shaquille O’Neal said that he is working on his doctorate at Barry University and once that degree is obtained he no longer wants to be called “Shaq” and that he is no longer in the business of crafting nicknames for himself.
“I’m done with the nicknames,” O’Neal said. “Actually, when I obtain my doctorate, I will not allow people to call me Shaq anymore, either.”
Also of note in the interview:
- – The last time he “panicked” was as a 9-year-old when he tried lighting the tail of a teddy bear on fire. “My thing was to just light the tail and then blow it out and laugh. Ha, ha. But as soon as I lit the tail, the whole thing caught on fire. It almost caught the house on fire. I got the whooping of my life,” O’Neal explained in the interview.
- – His goal is to pass Wilt Chamberlain in scoring and win at least one more championship.
- – He hasn’t spoken with LeBron James since James signed with the Heat.
- – The topic for his dissertation will be ‘How Leaders Utilize Humor or Aggression in Leadership Styles.’
|08.13.10 at 1:38 pm ET|
SPRINGFIELD — Dennis Johnson will be officially inducted as a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night, along with such hoops luminaries as Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen and the 1992 Olympic “Dream Team.” Several members of that 1992 team are in Springfield for the Hall of Fame weekend and met with the media Friday morning. When the name “Dennis Johnson” was raised, all were quick to heap praise on the five-time All-Star.
“No question it’s long overdue,” said Larry Bird, who has famously referred to Johnson as the best teammate he ever played with. “DJ not only performed well for the Celtics but he had a great career before. I’m very happy for him and his family. We always supported one another and he was just a great teammate to play with. Dennis controlled everything we did on the court, you have to understand that to understand our teams. It was an honor to play with him.”
Bird, who teamed with Johnson to win two NBA championships, four Eastern Conference crowns and five Atlantic Division titles, was asked about the chemistry he and DJ had on the court.
“Dennis knew where I wanted the ball, how I wanted the ball and he delivered it,” said Bird. “If I was coming off screens, he always knew where I wanted it, he always led it to my left hand so I could move to my right hand very quickly. Everything he did out there made it easier for me.”
Johnson won a title in his first season with the Celtics, scoring at least 20 points in each of the last four games of the 1984 NBA Finals. His defense was also key in the seven-game classic, as he slowed down Magic Johnson over those last four games. The Lakers’ legend smiled and shook his head when asked about the impact Dennis Johnson had on that series.
“I would have had six [titles] if it wasn’t for Dennis!,” Magic Johnson said Friday. “But no, Dennis is the greatest defensive player I’ve ever played against, and has ever played in the league. Smartest player I ever met. He was five steps ahead. Caused so many problems for me and everyone else that had to go head-to-head with him. Awesome. Big, strong, probably one of the bet players that’s ever plyed the game. I knew Dennis very well because we played against each other every summer at UCLA. We would hang out, and talk basketball all the time. It’s a bittersweet time for me, knowing him so well.
I used to be so mad at Dennis because he used to make me think so much when I played against him. He anticipated my moves before I even knew I was going to do it. Unreal. He was just a master at understanding how to play you, and make you not do what you wanted. And he did it all with that smile, the nice Dennis Johnson. I hated that. He took away what I did best. Great for his family and all of us that knew him so well.”
Charles Barkley echoed some of Magic Johnson’s thoughts, calling DJ “one of the best defensive players of all time.” He also felt this recognition was a long time coming.
“This is way, way overdue, I’ve been saying that for years” said Barkley, who played with the 76ers during the last six seasons of Johnson’s career in Boston. “Clearly everyone is going to talk about the defensive prowess, but the main thing is all the clutch shots he made. So, so tough. It’s crazy that it took so long for this to happen. Go back to Seattle, go back to Boston, a consistent winner. He should have been in the Hall of Fame a long time ago. Just so many clutch shots.”
Lenny Wilkens was an assistant coach on the Dream Team, and also the head coach for the 1979 NBA championship-winning Sonics squad. Wilkens on Friday praised the toughness of Johnson, who was MVP of that Finals series.
“We would put him on the other teams toughest player every time,” Wilkens recalled. “He wanted the challenge. We had to move him to Phoenix but I’ll tell you this: When Red Auerbach called and asked me about Dennis I told him to do whatever he had to do to get him. I knew it would be a perfect fit.”
Scottie Pippen, himself one of the NBA’s most decorated defensive players, counted DJ as a huge influence in his game.
“He was a great guy, well respected all over the league,” said Pippen, an eight-time First-Team all defender (DJ was a six-time choice). “Just a great guy. I watched him as a young kid. I molded a lot of my game after him, as a defender, a playmaker. I’m so honored to be able to join him in the Hall of Fame.”
|08.13.10 at 11:33 am ET|
Wednesday, October 6 – Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m. at Verizon Wireless Arena
Sunday, October 10 – Toronto, 6:00 p.m. at TD Garden
Tuesday, October 12 – Philadelphia, 7:00 p.m. at Wachovia Center
Wednesday, October 13 – New York, 7:30 p.m. at Madison Square Garden
Friday, October 15 – Toronto, 7:00 p.m. at Air Canada Centre
Saturday, October 16 – New York, 7:30 p.m. at XL Center
Wednesday, October 20 – New Jersey, 7:30 p.m. at TD Garden
|08.11.10 at 1:31 am ET|
On Tuesday night, the Celtics announced that they had waived Wallace after ‘coming to a mutual agreement following which Wallace plans to retire.’
Wallace, 35, only may have played one year of his contract in Boston, but that was more than enough time for the big man with the big personality to make an impact.
Here is a look back at five (and yes, there are many more than that) of Sheed’s memorable moments with the Celtics:
Welcome to Boston
After a courtship that included a trip to his Michigan home, the Celtics signed Wallace in July of 2009. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen attended his introductory press conference, where Wallace discussed his excitement of being a Celtic, his role off the bench, and his appreciation of his new teammates’ support.
‘I just want to thank all the guys sitting up here on stage,’ he said. ‘Because they didn’t have to come up here today and show their team compassion about having me here in the city of Boston and playing with them.’
The good ‘¦
Between injuries and inconsistencies, Wallace’s performance during the regular season was shaky. But there were points when he showed glimpses of his former self. Take November 3, 2009, against the 76ers. Wallace scored 20 points in 24 minutes, including six 3-pointers, in front of his hometown crowd.
‘¦ the bad ‘¦
With the playoffs nearing, the outcome of an April game against the Bulls had an impact on postseason seeding. But a second half mishap by Wallace didn’t help the Celtics’ chances of stealing the third spot. The play drew a reaction from the crowd, but not the one the C’s were looking for that night.
‘¦ and the outspoken
Wallace took his outspoken personality with him when he came to Boston. He came close to maxing out on technical fouls and was handed down fines on several occasions. One of his most memorable quotes (which earned him a $30,000 fine for publicly criticizing officials) came following a game against Hedo Turkoglu and the Raptors.
‘They gotta know that he’s a damn flopper,’ he said of Turkoglu. ‘That’s all Turkododo do. Flopping shouldn’t get you nowhere. He acts like I shot him.’
The following month, Wallace was ejected for arguing with officials when he felt referee Bill Kennedy was standing too close to the Celtics huddle.
“I’ll still play my game,’ Wallace said after the ejection. ‘I’ll still be me. I ain’t changing my game for nobody. I ain’t changing nothing for nobody.”
The final call
Wallace’s 15-year career came to an end with seconds left in Game 7 of the NBA finals. Wallace, who started in place of an injured Kendrick Perkins while battling backs spasms himself, fouled out of his final NBA game.
According to reports, he attempted to speak to officials following the Celtics’ loss but was not allowed in the officials’ locker room.
That night, Doc Rivers said he expected Wallace to retire.
‘You know, I don’t know if Rasheed will ever play again,’ Rivers said following Game 7. ‘You know, he’s one of them. I think he took that out on the floor with him. I think he is thinking about retiring, and I thought you could see that in his play. He was dying out there. When he got the cramps and the strains, he was just trying to figure out a way of staying on the floor.’
Wallace scored 11 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in what looks to be his final game.
He averaged 9.0 points and 4.1 rebounds during the regular season for the Celtics. The four-time All-Star has a career average of 14.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 46.8 percent field goal shooting. He was selected by the Washington Bullets with the fourth pick in the 1995 NBA Draft.
|08.10.10 at 8:37 pm ET|
After one frustrating season the Celtics and Rasheed Wallace have agreed to part ways. The team announced Tuesday night that they waived him after coming to a mutual agreement and that Wallace will retire.
“We would like to thank Rasheed for everything that he did for this team and organization last season,” said Danny Ainge in a statement released by the team. “We would like to wish Rasheed and his family the best as they move on into the next phase of their lives. He will always be a member of the Celtics family.”
Wallace signed a three-year deal last offseason for the full mid-level exception, but his play in the regular season was inconsistent at best. Wallace rebounded with a strong postseason but he was battling several injuries including a bad back in the finals against the Lakers.
The Celtics had tried to trade his contract this summer but couldn’t find a deal to their liking. The waiver process is a procedural formality. It’s highly unlikely anyone will put in a claim. Once he clears waivers, he will become a free agent.
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