|07.14.10 at 4:59 pm ET|
WALTHAM — In meeting with the media on Wednesday, new Celtics center Jermaine O’Neal spoke about his former team, the Miami Heat, saying that he was aware that the plan was to reel in star free agents LeBron James and Chris Bosh while also retaining Dwyane Wade. The Heat also wanted O’Neal back to team with the trio, but he instead took a two-year deal with the Celtics.
“I knew what the were trying to do, and I could have re-signed back with those guys, but it comes down to fit,” O’Neal said. “It comes down to personalities and style of play, and Boston has all that for me. It was the most important choice that I’ve made in my career.
“It was the first time I actually had the opportunity to even be a free agent in about 14 years, so it was very difficult, but I just felt like over the next two years I needed to be somewhere where the focus is strictly about winning now, not worrying about chemistry, not worrying about anything, just about coming in and helping the team win and doing my part of being involved in something good.”
As for having to worry about matching up against the Heat, O’Neal doesn’t seem overly concerned regarding who the top team in the Eastern Conference is.
“I don’t really look at it as an individual matchup,” O’Neal said. “Obviously they have a great tandem down there, but I feel like this team has the best team. ‘¦ I had a great time down in Miami, I had an opportunity to re-sign back with them, but I just thought that this is where I’m meant to be.”
O’Neal said that he liked the Celtics’ powerhouse over the potential one Miami would eventually form based on the way Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo have proven their ability to work together.
“Those guys, they have a ring already, but they want another one,” O’Neal said. “I don’t have a ring and I want one, so I felt like their hunger and their focus is at a different level. There were some other good teams out there that i really looked at that i thought could compete for the championship, but threes guys just came off an NBA finals appearance and obviously they’ve won one, so they know what it takes to get there.”
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge applauded the Heat for the job they’ve done, saying that though they still might make some more moves, the big pieces they’ve put in place already are substantial.
“It’s pretty impressive,” Ainge said. “They’ve put a terrific team together, but it doesn’t even matter what they do. Obviously [additional moves] could make a little bit of a difference, but the three guys that they’ve put together down there with Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem, that’s a pretty solid team.”
Asked about the chemistry element that O’Neal previously referred to and how it might apply to the Heat, Ainge said: “Wining does amazing things to team chemistry.”
|07.14.10 at 2:34 pm ET|
LAS VEGAS — Out here in the steamy desert, it’s been difficult to keep track of all the coming and goings. One day, New Orleans general manager Jeff Bower is sitting in the stands watching the action at summer league. The next day various Hornets assistants were scrambling for an impromptu meeting in the same section to discuss what they’re going to do now that they don’t have a general manager anymore.
The free agent market typically has a defined rhythm to it. The top players go first, along with a handful of role players who actually set the market — Drew Gooden, Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw, etc. Then come the secondary players along with the sign-and-trades and restricted free agents.
This can take as long as a month, but in the wake of ‘The Decision’ things have happened at a breakneck pace. When LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer and Amar’e Stoudemire signed with new teams, they didn’t just take their talents with them. They also left parting gifts in the form of trade exemptions, which shifted cap space from one franchise to another.
So while the Heat, Bulls, Knicks and Nets have used their cap space to varying degrees, the Raptors, Suns and Jazz have also remade their teams.
(Somewhat hilariously, the Timberwolves picked up up a sizable trade exception after they gave away Al Jefferson to Utah. The only problem is, they can’t use it unless they are over the cap. They used some of that cap space on Luke Ridnour and now seem intent on giving away Ramon Sessions, who they signed last year. There appears to be no method to the madness that is [David] Kaaaaahn.)
While all this has gone down, the Celtics have basically been forced to sit and watch with nothing but the veteran minimum left to offer.
Danny Ainge did almost all of his work before July 8 when he agreed to contracts with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen and used the full mid-level exception on Jermaine O’Neal. The consensus out in Vegas is that the Celtics did well with those deals, particularly with O’Neal who will probably have to start at center for most of the season while Kendrick Perkins rehabs from his knee surgery.
But the Memphis Grizzlies threw them a curveball when they signed Tony Allen to a three-year deal. The issue wasn’t the money. It was the years. Having lived with T.A. for this long, they felt that three years was just too long to commit to a player with his inconsistencies and injury history.
The minimum offer from the Celtics has more cache then say, the minimum offer from the Pacers, because they can also offer a chance to play for a championship with a universally respected coach like Doc Rivers. But, money is money and there is still some of it out there to grab before the market settles back down.
So, where do they go from here? The operative word from people here in Vegas is time, as in it will take some before the market comes back to them. Read the rest of this entry »
|07.14.10 at 11:50 am ET|
According to a report from ESPN’s John Hollinger, forward Shelden Williams has agreed to sign with the Nuggets. Williams was a reserve for the Celtics in 2009-10 who showed flashes in the early part of the season but was not a contributor by the time the playoffs rolled around. The report indicates that the Nuggets also have re-signed veteran guard Anthony Carter.
|07.14.10 at 9:23 am ET|
You can erase another name off the Celtics‘ list of free agent targets this offseason after Anthony Morrow agreed to a sign-and-trade deal that would send him from the Warriors to the Nets for New Jersey’s second-round pick in 2011. Earlier this month, reports had emerged that the C’s were looking at adding Morrow as a sharpshooter off the bench. He led the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage as a rookie in 2008-09 at 46.7 percent.
Morrow, who signed as an undrafted free agent out of Georgia Tech in 2008, averaged 13.0 points per game for Golden State last season, up from his 10.1 the season before. Instead of Morrow, the Celtics may have to get their shooting off the bench from old friend Nate Robinson as they reportedly are closing in on a deal to bring him back to Boston.
|07.13.10 at 11:30 pm ET|
According to Alex Kennedy of hoopsworld.com, the Celtics were one of four teams present at free agent forward Adam Morrison‘s workout Tuesday in Las Vegas. The Bulls, Clippers and Cavaliers were also present for the workout.
Morrison, the third overall pick of the 2006 NBA draft, has been a major disappointment in his three professional seasons. He played with the Lakers last season, averaging 2.4 points and 1.0 rebounds in 31 games.
|07.13.10 at 6:41 am ET|
“I have decided to continue with Kobe, continue with our teammates and the fans of Los Angeles,” Fisher said in a statement on his website. “While this may not be the most lucrative contract I’ve been offered this offseason, it is the most valuable. I am confident I will continue to lead this team on and off the court. Let the hunt for six begin.”
Fisher has started every regular-season game for the Lakers the last three seasons after returning for a second stint in Southern California. After his first eight seasons in LA, he played two seasons with the Warriors and one with the Jazz. He’s won five titles, including the 2010 crown that came at the expense of the Celtics.
“At the end of the day, there’s one person I could not turn away from,” Fisher said. “Kobe Bryant asked me to stay but supported whatever decision I made. He and I have played together for 11 seasons, came into the league together as kids, and has been loyal to me even when others had doubts.”
|07.12.10 at 11:20 am ET|
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo will be added to the Team USA tryout roster for the 2010 World Championships. Rondo had asked to be left off the roster because of a family commitment, but he appears to have changed his summer plans. He will join 21 other players who will be fighting for a roster spot when they attend the team’s July 20-24 training camp in Las Vegas.
“We got confirmation [Saturday night] that Rondo will come,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told AOL FanHouse. “We’re very pleased to have Rondo with us. He’s very enthusiastic [about representing Team USA]. We feel very comfortable with where we’re at.”
The only player to be guaranteed a spot thus far is Thunder forward Kevin Durant. Rondo will have some stiff competition at the point guard position as he goes up against Chauncey Billups, Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry as well as the two most recent Rookies of the Year in Tyreke Evans and Derrick Rose.
The entire roster from the gold medal team at the 2008 Olympics, including Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard, will not be participating this time around for a variety of reasons, ranging from injuries to a hectic summer schedule.
The roster needs to be trimmed to 12 by Aug. 26 for the start of the event in Turkey.
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