|07.09.10 at 10:41 am ET|
ORLANDO —Indiana Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird and head coach Jim O’Brien were each asked by WEEI.com to weigh in on the Celtics signing of free agent Jermaine O’Neal. The 31-year-old forward/center played for the Pacers from 2000-08. Bird was hired as president by the Pacers in 2003 and O’Brien coached O’Neal is in his final season in Indiana.
When Bird was told by WEEI.com on Thursday that O’Neal had reached an agreement with the Celtics he expressed some surprise, but quickly added that the 31-year-old is “younger than you think. He can rebound block shots and get down the floor. He can help a team win.”
But Bird told WEEI.com that he hadn’t seen O’Neal play in “a couple of years.”
O’Brien, who coached the Celtics from 2000-04, was even more to the point. He told WEEI.com that he “has nothing to say about that or him” when asked about O’Neal.
Bird and O’Neal had a messy divorce in 2008, with the Celtics legend telling the Indianapolis Star in September of that year, “Just because you make the most money doesn’t mean you’re the leader,’ Bird said two months after dealing O’Neal to the Raptors. ‘A lot of guys didn’t want to step on toes. Not only here, but other places I’ve been at. They’d say, the guy makes the most money, that means he’s the leader. That’s not the case. The leader comes from the guy doing the right thing, the guy that’s going to be there every day at practice, the guy that plays through pain without complaining. They do the necessary things to prepare themselves.
‘I think the situation you have here, you had one guy making a lot of money and everybody just took it as he’s going to be leading us, and in some instances that was true. But I think more now that since it has opened you’ll see a number of guys stepping up.’
O’Neal told ESPN.com in 2007, “Larry Bird is a hard man to deal with. He tries to make unfair trades.”
|07.09.10 at 9:36 am ET|
Twenty-three-year-old Lakers fan Steve Quintanilla was sentenced to nine months in jail Thursday after being accused of inciting a riot at the Lakers victory parade through the streets of Los Angeles last month. Prosecutors told the AP that Quintanilla, who plead no contest, started the riot when he began burning a Celtics jersey along the parade route. As a result of his actions, he will be forced to stay 90 days in jail on top of an additional six months for probation violations. In total, 45 people were arrested at the parade, and 10 have been charged with any kind of wrongdoing.
|07.09.10 at 9:13 am ET|
Shaquille O’Neal appears to have moved on from the prospect of joining the Celtics‘ front court next season, according to a report by AOL FanHouse NBA writer Chris Tomasson. O’Neal is said to still be interested in playing in Boston, but the Celtics seemed to have lost interest in a deal due to potential chemistry issues. This news comes on the heels of reports that the C’s have already agreed with veteran forward Jermaine O’Neal (no relation) on a two-year deal.
|07.09.10 at 7:12 am ET|
According to multiple reports, the Heat were able to rid themselves of Michael Beasley when they agreed to send the 2008 No. 2 overall pick to the Timberwolves for a second-round pick and an exchange of first-round selections.
By virtually giving away Beasley, the Heat clear up more cap space so that they can complete the signings of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James, as well as lure some other players to fill out the roster. Wizards sharpshooter Mike Miller reportedly is high on Miami’s list, and a report from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Friday morning indicate Miller is poised to sign a five-year, $30 million deal with the Heat.
The Clippers signed two free agents: forward Ryan Gomes and guard Randy Foye. Celtics fans remember Gomes, the Providence College product who was traded to the Timberwolves as part of the Kevin Garnett deal in 2007. Foye played last season in Washington after playing his first three years in Minnesota.
|07.09.10 at 6:45 am ET|
Gilbert told The Associated Press in a phone interview that James “quit” on the team during the Cavs’ second-round playoff series against the Celtics.
“He quit. Not just in Game 5, but in Games 2, 4 and 6. Watch the tape. The Boston series was unlike anything in the history of sports for a superstar.”
Gilbert also offered his opinion on why James decided to go to Miami and made a bold prediction.
“LeBron James needs to go to another team with two superstars already so he can win a championship,” Gilbert said. “We will win a championship before [the Heat] do.”
Added Gilbert: “It’s not about him leaving. It’s the disrespect. It’s time for people to hold these athletes accountable for their actions. Is this the way you raise your children? I’ve been holding this all in for a long time.”
In Miami, Dwyane Wade said he was stunned by Gilbert’s comments.
“I think I’m happy that I have the owner that I have here in Miami,” Wade told the AP late Thursday night. “I’m happy Micky Arison is my owner. I couldn’t believe it. I’m speechless. It’s very unfortunate and I think it makes LeBron that much better about his decision.”
Added Wade: “We knew ‘Bron would take some backlash. I told him he’s a strong man for it.”
Gilbert also took out his anger toward James by posting a letter on the Cavaliers website, calling LeBron’s actions “cowardly.”
“As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.” Gilbert wrote. “You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.” Read the rest of this entry »
|07.08.10 at 10:02 pm ET|
After an interminable half-hour of television that followed two years worth of hysteria and hype, LeBron James announced that was leaving Cleveland and signing with the Miami Heat, joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in a new superteam.
In the end, we may never know the whole story on all the background machinations. Maybe there was a master plan all along. Maybe it was just a bunch of young men playing mogul.
Regardless of all the drama, both real and contrived, James joins Wade and Bosh as the single biggest free agent haul in the history of the sport. James will also have to live with the fallout for the rest of his career after he abandoned his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.
Now that it is official, we can finally ask the basketball question: How good are the Heat? Good enough to instantly become one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference along with the Celtics and Magic, even with just five players and three second-round draft picks on the roster at the moment.
One of those players, Michael Beasley, is expected to be traded in a salary-cap dump, which leaves Mario Chalmers as the only other player with NBA experience on the roster. Pat Riley has his work cut out for him in shaping the roster.
They are over the cap now, which means they will have to entice a center and most of a bench with minimum contracts. What’s also unknown is how these three superstars will play together. [Note: An earlier version of this post noted the Heat’s interest in Mike Miller with the mid-level exception. They don’t have the MLE after these moves.]
This isn’t quite like the Celtics moves in the summer of 2007 when Danny Ainge added Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to Paul Pierce. Those were all veteran players hungry to win a championship and the better-than-expected young core of Kendrick Perkins and Rajon Rondo certainly helped them attain that goal.
Wade, Bosh and James are at different stages in their careers and there is no one remotely as good as Perkins, to say nothing of Rondo on the Heat roster.
Ainge has brought the Celtics back together for one more run after a playoff run that saw them beat Wade and James’ teams, and it has been reported that Tony Allen will be as returning as well. Allen will have his work cut out from him when they play the Heat.
If nothing else, this move, and others in free agency, make the East much stronger. The Knicks added Amar’e Stoudemire and appear ready to try and play to win again, while the Bulls finally added a low-post scorer in Carlos Boozer.
The Celtics road to repeat as Eastern Conference champions just got more difficult, but not impossible.
|07.08.10 at 8:29 pm ET|
ORLANDO –Some highlights of Danny Ainge’s 10-minute sit down with the media on Thursday. Ainge was literally sitting down, as he occupied the last chair on the Celtics bench throughout the team’s summer league loss to the Pacers and spoke to the media at halftime of the contest.
Contract status of Jermaine O’Neal
“I’m going to do all that once it’s done. I’m not going to comment on anybody until it’s done. I can’t tell you ‘¦ I’m supposed to wait until the contracts are done. The moratorium today is the first day we can talk, but not until the contracts are done.”
Is there mutual interest?
“We intend to sign him. And I’ll talk about it when we do.”
“I can talk about it when it’s done, which is probably tomorrow.”
Assuming these deals will be done, are you happy with the offseason to this point?
“I think the priorities to start the offseason were obviously Paul and Ray and then to strengthen our center position in lieu of Perk’s injury. Those were our priorities right there. So hopefully by tomorrow we’ll have those three things taken care of and then we can continue to work on it.”
Status of Kendrick Perkins
“Perk is scheduled to have surgery on Monday (pushed back). I guess the philosophy is to get more range of motion and the swelling and strengthening. Just rehabbing before the surgery.”
Is it just the ACL for Perkins?
“I know there were injuries to the MCL and the PCL, but I don’t know to what extent they need to be surgically repaired. Those might heal on their own, as sprains or strains. But I do know that the ACL needs to be repaired.”
Any Rasheed Wallace updates?
“We like Nate and Tony and I’m sure that they are still looking at the market too. The market is pretty crazy right now so we’ll be patient and look at other options as well in case they go in another direction. But we do have interest in both of them. Always have.”
Can this team compete in what will surely be a much different Eastern Conference?
“Absolutely, yeah. We’re the Eastern Conference champions and we think we’re going to be better.”
After the first call to David Lee, was there any more contact during the free agency process?
“Yeah, yeah. We couldn’t compete [financially].”
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