|07.10.09 at 8:56 am ET|
A source close to the situation has told WEEI.com Grant Hill is leaning toward re-signing with the Phoenix Suns. The 36-year-old forward has been a free agent prospect for the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks, among other teams, this summer. The Celtics have been eyeing Hill as a potential back up for Paul Pierce, a major hole in last season’s bench.
According to the source, Hill’s concern with coming to Boston is the decreased role, not the money. He has spent most of his 14-year career as a starter and averaged nearly 30 minutes with the Suns last season. (He has never averaged less than 29 minutes per game.) The Celtics do not have anywhere close to that to offer with the starting lineup playing the majority of minutes and the recent signing of Rasheed Wallace.
Although they have expressed their interest to Hill, the Celtics know they are not the only team in the picture. “I don’t even allow myself to go there, optimistic or pessimistic,” Danny Ainge said on Thursday at Wallace’s introductory press conference. “He knows our desire for him. We know his interest in us.”
Hill averaged 12.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists last season while shooting 52.3% from the field. He has also averaged 16.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 4.6 assists in 22 playoff games.
Update: Yahoo! Sports has reported Hill has decided to re-sign with the Suns.
|07.09.09 at 10:16 pm ET|
WALTHAM – From the ’18’ on the backboard shot clock above the dais to the ’20:10′ on the clock with the number ’30’ on scoreboard, the Celtics practice facility was decked out on Thursday for the arrival of Rasheed Wallace.
It was arguably the most significant press conference held at Healthpoint, as the Big Three introductory presser of July 2007 was at the Garden.
Eight people were on the dais at that presser as opposed to the to six on Thursday.
Once all the parties sat down, they shared their thoughts on the newest member of the Celtics after he agreed to a three-year deal.
Here’s some of the highlights, in audio form.
|07.09.09 at 9:45 pm ET|
WALTHAM — The Grant Hill update? There is no Grant Hill update. When asked if he was ‘optimistic’ about signing him, Ainge said, ‘I don’t even allow myself to go there. Optimistic or pessimistic. He knows our desire for him. We know his interest in us.’
Garnett proclaimed himself ‘feeling great’ but wouldn’t put a timeline on his return to the court.
‘Rehab’s going really well at this point,’ he said. ‘I’m continuing to heal and get stronger. To be honest, I’ve been in a pretty decent place mentally.’
When pressed on a date, Garnett simply said, ‘I’m on schedule to be on schedule.’
|07.09.09 at 9:35 pm ET|
By Greg Cameron
The newest Celtic has a lengthy history with each of the Celtics‘ Big Three, but the bond is visibly strongest between Wallace and Garnett. The former believes that their journey as friends began on a warm June night in Toronto, some 14 years ago.
“I would have to say it goes all the way back to draft night,” Wallace said. “Going up against him while he was in Minnesota and I was in Portland, it was a battle. It was really the mutual respect.”
That night, Wallace was selected fourth overall that night by the Washington Bullets. Garnett was taken with the next selection by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
It was visible on the dais, that all involved in the acquisition of Wallace believe the partnership between player and team will pay off with big dividends. Like Wallace, Garnett could do little to hide his excitement Thursday at the Celtics’ training facility in Waltham.
“I’m overly excited,” Garnett said. “This isn’t just a key addition to our team, but a major one. We’re like teenagers up here. It feels like AAU basketball all over again.”
“It’s a whole new world, a whole new day,” Wallace said of the new chapter. “I can’t wait to get to training camp and get things going.”
A visible as the excitement was on the faces of both men, both players show a great deal of passion and intensity out on floor. But who is the most fiery of the two of them?
“I would have to say I am,” Wallace said with a wry smile. “He [Garnett] can control his emotions. I don’t think you can match the intensity that either one of us brings to the floor.”
Garnett has a much more succinct explanation of the demeanor both players have on the court.
“That’s called passion,” Garnett emphatically stated.
Garnett’s road to Thursday’s press conference was far more direct than that Wallace — he has played in just two NBA cities, whereas Wallace has cris-crossed the American landscape four times before landing this week in the Hub.
Now, close to a decade and a half later, the former rivals, current teammates, and long-time friends see themselves at the same junction, some 14 years after waiting together in an NBA Draft green room in Ontario. The journey for both men is far from over, and both men hope their joining of forces will lead them to a second title.
|07.09.09 at 8:58 pm ET|
Pierce couldn’t help but think back two summers ago when coming off a 24-win season, the Celtics went out and acquired Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, leading to a 66-win, NBA Championship campaign 11 months later.
Pierce was up on the dais with Allen and Garnett and had similar thoughts dancing through his head.
“It started two years with Ray and Kevin and I just think with getting Rasheed, it just gives you an extra boost of energy,” Pierce said. “Even the last few weeks, it’s hard for me to stay out of the gym. I’ve been coming in, working out, picking up the ball here and there. Just making sure that I’m ready for the upcoming season because I’m excited with the moves that we made.” Read the rest of this entry »
|07.09.09 at 5:43 pm ET|
Thanks to Jared Shafran, here are some highlights from the Rasheed Wallace press conference from this afternoon:
Rasheed Wallace: I just want to thank all the guys sitting up here on stage, 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.
Q: Why did you come to Boston?
RW: Because I felt that it was a good fit. I think one of the main things that the guys up here do is play defense. They’ve been one and two over the last few years in the defensive categories, so that’s saying a lot about their defense, that’s saying a lot about them, and their whole team scheme and the bottom line is just to win. That pretty much swayed me to come over here and they are a pretty good group of guys. Every time I’ve played against them, I’ve always been on the floor talking to them or joshin’ with them but now I think it will be extra good that we’re all teammates.
Q: What does it mean to have these guys here?
RW: It was definitely great. As soon as I came around the corner into the conference room and to see these three guys there, that I wasn’t expecting. That showed a lot. That showed me that they really want me to be apart of this team. They opened their arms for me and my family to be apart of their Boston Celtic family.
Kevin Garnett: I’m really excited about the year. This is not only a key addition but a major addition to our team. Almost feels like AAU basketball all over again. We’re make the best of this.
Paul Pierce: Obviously we had depth issues last year because of injuries, but just bringing a guy like Rasheed in with experience. I think it fits in just like a piece in a puzzle. Everybody knows what we’re about and that’s winning a championship.
Ray Allen: When the season ended for us we talked about things that we needed to do for the summertime. Rasheed was at the top of the list for all of us. When the opportunity came for us to be in Detroit that day, we knew everything that we needed to do to get there. He was the one guy that was going to get us over the hump moving into the future. We wanted him and his family to know how serious we were about winning and we’re glad to have him.
Q: How tough was it transitioning from Detroit to Boston?
RW: I think this worked out for both of us. They wanted someone of my caliber and vice versa. They saw the frustration on my face some times last year. Now it’s a whole new day and I cant wait until training camp to get it going.
Q: How do you see your role in Boston?
RW: I would say my role is to back up these guys. If Doc wants me to start, then I’ll start. If Doc wants me to come off the bench, then that’s fine I’ll come off the bench. As long as I’m contributing to the team for the W. My thing is bottom line is to win games. I think with the mindset of these guys here, we’ll win a lot of ball games.
Q: Can you describe the relationship between you and Kevin?
RW: I would have to say it probably started on draft night. He was in Minnesota and I was in Portland. It was a battle. I don’t think too many people knew what type of battle it was. It was really the mutual respect. I would say he’s a better rebounder but I’m a better jump shot shooter. Everything else is the same as far as the heart and adrenaline going into the game and wanting to win, everything else is the same except for those two.
Q: What was your thought process about where you might go, and when did the Celtics come into your thought process?
RW: The first couple of days I had a couple of scenarios, I was thinking San Antonio, Dallas, Boston, Cleveland, and Orlando. Those were my top teams that I was thinking about. I didn’t make no decisions for awhile. I just sat back, took advantage of the time, did things with my family and just took it day by day. When this all came up, then that’s when the guys came out there. I talked it over with my wife, talked it over with my kids, and made my decision.
Q: Who’s more intense? You or KG?
RW: I would have to say I am, because he can control his emotions. Of course, everyone knows my history as far as technical fouls. I don’t think you can match the intensity that either of us brings to the floor.
Q: What made it that you didn’t want to go anywhere else?
RW: Just the overall view of the team. Looking at the bench, looking at these guys and the things that they’ve accomplished here in the last few years. Not taking anything away from San Antonio, I would have to say a few of the changes that they made didn’t sit with me too well. I had to go to the best place where I felt as though it was a good fit for myself.
Q: Could you talk about the feeling of winning a championship and how important it is for you to get it back?
RW: It’s a wonderful feeling being king of the hill. No matter if teams or other guys like you or not, they’ve got to respect you because you’re the champ. I was upset when these guys won it but when they beat up on us when I was in Detroit, that’s part of it. It’s a whole new day right now, and we’re just excited.
Q: What did the guys tell you about being in this city?
RW: They definitely said it’s a sports town — not just basketball, but a sports town. They said that bottom line, the fans got your back. When I was playing against these guys, I heard all the remarks so now, hopefully those frowns will turn into some cheers now that we’re all on the same team.
Q: Do you make a conscious effort to control your technical fouls?
RW: For the most part, I don’t think my past teammates see it as a problem. Yes, I go off sometimes, I will admit that, but overall, I would say that I’m a pretty good teammate.
|07.09.09 at 1:14 pm ET|
Tune in to WEEI on Thursday at 4pm for a live broadcast of Rasheed Wallace’s introductory press conference with the Celtics during The Big Show. Hear what Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, and Sheed himself have to say about the newest member of the Celtics. Check back to WEEI.com for reaction and analysis. Comcast SportsNet will also broadcast the press conference.
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