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Marbury laughs off retirement talks

09.10.09 at 9:27 am ET
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A day after stirring up talks of retirement with an ambiguous message on Twitter, Stephon Marbury laughed off the notion of calling it quits.

On Wednesday he responded to the rumors with the following Tweet:

“Retire. LOL. They need for you to think I’m going to do that because they know I’m focused and ready to play this year count me in for 5 yrs”

The speculation was sparked after Marbury posted, “Basketball is just a game. I will say it again. 14 years 250 million. Hold that. I’€™m good.. Thank you jesus for the blessing. Thanks NBA” on Tuesday night.

If Marbury is still committed to playing basketball, the question is, who will commit to him?

Read More: Boston Celtics, Stephon Marbury,

Iverson signs with Grizz

09.09.09 at 3:52 pm ET
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Allen Iverson is all a-twitter about signing with Memphis. This one isn’t really related Celtics-related (although I’m a little surprised the Celtics didn’t kick the tires on AI), but it’s an interesting development. And by interesting, I mean doomed to failure.

It’s been proven on two different occasions that not only has Iverson regressed as a player, but that teams are better off without him. Both Philly and Denver improved without Iverson on the roster and the fact that he was replaced by two steady point guards wasn’t lost on the rest of the NBA.

Still, if you’re like me, you think the NBA is a better place with Iverson in it, but why did it have to be Memphis? The feeling is that Memphis owner Michael Heisley thinks that Iverson can help fill the building with his star power. The problem with that line of thinking is that it’s been proven to be demonstrably false. Fans may come to see a visiting star player (and even that bump is rather negligible), but home fans have proven time and again that what they want to see is a winner, and it’s hard to see Iverson making a difference in the win column.

If the Grizzlies believe that their core group of players is Mike Conley, Rudy Gay, OJ Mayo and Marc Gasol (a debatable point, but still) then adding Iverson not only doesn’t help them get better but it may also detract from their young players’ development. The same can be said of wayward power forward Zach Randolph who was acquired from the Clippers in the offseason.

At one time Iverson was the complete package in terms of being a star player and a cultural phenomenon, but those days are mostly over. It would have been nice to see if he could have convened a third act in which AI became a kind of elder statesman on a good team, but that wouldn’t have been really Iverson would it?

Read More: Allen Iverson, Memphis, NBA,

NBA to consider replacement refs?

09.09.09 at 9:52 am ET
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ESPN’s Mark Stein reported last night that talks between then NBA and the referees have broken down regarding a new contract and that the league is considering using replacement (which is a nicer way of saying ‘scab’) refs. The current agreement expired Sept. 1.

There is ample precedence for such a move. The NBA went this route in 1995… and it was an unmitigated disaster. (Interestingly Bill Kennedy, Doc Rivers‘ bete noir last season, came into the league in 1995.) The league also did so in 1983 and 1977.

Not surprisingly the issues at the bargaining table come down to money. The NBA wants givebacks from the refs and the refs don’t want to give. Of course this may all be posturing.

As everyone who follows the NBA knows, the officials operate under almost as much scrutiny as star players and coaches. From Tim Donaghy’s incarceration on gambling charges to Joey Crawford’s meltdown via Tim Duncan to Rivers and Kennedy and many more, the officials have not been one of David Stern’s favorite topics over the last few years. So, perhaps the league is trying to rattle their cage with the threat, and it’s not like the refs have a deep reservoir of good will to draw from in their time of need.

But this is dangerous territory for the NBA, because while the league may be all too willing to throw out the idea that anybody can come in off the street and work an NBA game, history has shown that it’s just not true. Check out this Steve Kelley column in the Seattle Times circa 1995 which features this quote from Rivers, then with the Spurs:

“This is what’s going to happen,” Rivers said. “The calls are going to get so bad, guys are going to get upset. There’s going to be a bad fight. Or somebody’s going to get mad and undercut somebody else.

“They’re going to be injured, career-wise, and then the league’s going to get sued. That’s what’s going to happen if this continues.

Read More: refs,

Is Marbury Hinting at Retirement?

09.08.09 at 11:23 pm ET
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From eating Vaseline to performing ballet to crying uncontrollably on camera, Stephon Marbury has kept the NBA world scratching their heads this summer with his unpredictable antics on the video streaming sites Justin.tv and USTREAM. These outbursts seemed damaging to the free agent’s already-tarnished reputation and put his future in the NBA in doubt.

Now one of Marbury’s latest Tweets shifts the question from, “Where will he play basketball next season?” to, “Is Marbury retiring?”

“Basketball is just a game. I will say it again. 14 years 250 million. Hold that. I’m good.. Thank you jesus for the blessing. Thanks NBA, he Tweeted on Tuesday.

Earlier this summer there were rumors Marbury may be heading to the Washington Wizards to play for former head coach Flip Saunders. He also talked about the idea of playing ball overseas, saying that he would average 50 points a game if he made the move. No offers, however, have been publicly reported since Marbury turned down a one-year deal to return to the Celtics in July.

In a buyer’s market — one in which marquee guard Allen Iverson has yet to sign a new contract — it is hard to imagine that an organization would bypass dozens of talented free agents to take on a player whose recent actions have deemed him a liability.

So has Marbury decided he’s finished with the NBA after 13 seasons in the league? In spite of his Tweet and amid all the uncertainty he has stirred up this summer, one thing is certain — it is impossible to truly predict Marbury’s next move.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Stephon Marbury, Washington Wizards,

Red Claws name assistant coaches

09.07.09 at 9:20 pm ET
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On Monday the Maine Red Claws named Randy Livingston and Mike Procopio assistant coaches for the upcoming inaugural season. Procopio, 34, has deep ties to the Boston Celtics organization. He spent four years as a scout for the Cs before working as an assistant at Boston Amateur Basketball Club under Leo Papile, the Celtics Assistant Executive Director of Basketball Operations. He developed a reputation as one of the top development coaches nationwide as Director of Basketball Operations for Attack Athletics in Chicago and has trained players including Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, and Dwyane Wade.

‘€œAlong with having four years of NBA front office experience, Mike Procopio regularly works out some of the best players in the NBA,’€ Red Claws head coach Austin Ainge said in a team statement. ‘€œHis experience and ability to develop players should make our team a desirable place for every player looking to make a jump to the next level.  As soon as I got this job, Mike was one of the first calls I made because of his experience teaching the game.’€

Livingston, a 12-year NBA veteran, led the Idaho Stampede to the 2008 NBDL Championship. He retired from playing after his title-winning season to become the Stampede’s associate head coach. Livingston, 34, helped coach the team to a second place finish in the West Division (31-19) in his first season on the sidelines.

‘€œI feel extremely fortunate to have a coach of Randy Livingston’€™s caliber to help me,” Ainge said.  ‘€œRandy knows the game, knows our league, and has experience at every level of basketball.  I trust Randy’€™s instincts and basketball IQ implicitly and will rely heavily on his opinion.’€

Read More: Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Maine Red Claws, Paul Pierce

More Than Money Brought Daniels to the Green

09.04.09 at 5:37 pm ET
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Most professional athletes today tend to live up to Rod Tidwell from the 1996 film Jerry Maguire’€™s credo of ‘€œShow me the Money.’€

Such is not the case with newly-signed Celtic Marquis Daniels. Daniels had several offers to sign for more elsewhere, but decided to leave money on the table to sign with the Celtics by inking a one-year deal, reportedly for Boston’s $1.99 million biannual exception.

“I had other situations where I could’ve went and made more money,” Daniels said. “But I wanted to be a part of a great franchise and a winning franchise.”

That new franchise that Daniels joins now boasts a new and improved bench that includes former starters Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis as well as former Duke University All-American Shelden Williams. Daniels had a career year last season with the Pacers, averaging a career-high 13.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.

According to Celtics GM Danny Ainge, Daniels has been a player the Celtics brass has coveted since the Auburn-product entered the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks during the 2003-2004 campaign. Ainge also suggested that, even before he was hired in Boston, now-Celtics coach Doc Rivers has followed the 28-year-old.

‘€œI went and watched him play in his first Summer League game,’€ Ainge said. ‘€œI asked myself, ‘€˜how did we miss that guy?’€™’€

The acquisition bringing Daniels to the Celtics was drawn out over seven long weeks until the signing was finalized and deemed official on Friday.  Even the press conference to announce the deal was delayed for an hour and a half as the final t’€™s were crossed and i’€™s dotted.

After Pacer teammate Mike Dunleavy Jr., went down with an injury, Daniels was able to crack the Indiana starting five at the beginning of the 2008-09 campaign. Daniels started in 31 of the team’€™s first 34 games last season.

‘€œWith Mike being down it gave me the opportunity to come in as a starter and play a lot more,’€ Daniels said. ‘€œAnd being the second guy to Danny [Granger] it worked out pretty good and I was able to show guys that I could help out off the bench or start.’€

Daniels is looking to help the Celtics reach the heights that they did by winning the NBA Championship just a pair of seasons ago. That team was built on camaraderie and depth, two things that Daniels hopes to contribute in Boston this season by starting to work out with his new teammates before training camp begins.

‘€œI think everybody knows that it’€™s going to be key for everybody to come in and build some chemistry,’€ Daniels said.

Daniels has experience in a variety of positions and roles on the court during his six-year NBA career. According to Ainge, Daniels has experience playing the point all the way to playing power forward in some small-ball packages.

Daniels has averaged 9.4 points and 3.2 rebounds and 23.5 minutes per game during his career. Daniels went undrafted out of Auburn University in 2003, but signed with the Dallas Mavericks after a stunning stint while playing on their summer league squad that summer.

Read More: biannual exception, Danny Ainge, Marquis Daniels, Pacers

Allen hits the links

09.04.09 at 3:04 pm ET
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Ray Allen turned 34 this summer and there are no signs of slowing down. On Thursday the Celtics guard — and avid golfer — participated in the Deutsche Bank Championship pro-am in Norton, MA. He told the Boston Herald hitting the links has helped him stay in playing shape.

‘€œThe beautiful thing about golf is there are so many hours in the day in the summertime,’€ he said. ‘€œYou can get up early in the morning and work out and then play golf late in the day. It helps me keep that competitive edge and stay in shape.

‘€œIt’€™s been great,’€ Allen said of the offseason. ‘€œI’€™m in one of the best shapes I’€™ve been in at this point in the summer, just from having the time to let my body heal and work out and get certain parts stronger. I’€™ve enjoyed this summer.’€

In addition to golfing, Allen also follows a training regimen at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT with former UConn Husky/QU men’s assistant basketball coach Scott Burrell.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Ray Allen,
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