|06.15.09 at 1:35 pm ET|
On if it was painful to see the Lakers win the title: ‘It was. Having had the trophy it’s always disappointing to see someone else win it. We’re going to try and knock them off their perch next year.’
On Red Auerbach vs. Phil Jackson: ‘I stand with Red. He assembled and coached his teams. He would even arrange trips to Europe and Russia. Sometimes he’d even drive the bus. His fingerprints are on every single one of those banners.’
On the Celtics’ chances of repeating had they stayed healthy: ‘I think that’s for losers to think that way. I don’t think that’s an out.’
On Kevin Garnett‘s rehab/recovery: ‘We are extremely excited. He’s been in the facility everyday, and most of the team’s been there as well.’
Comparing Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce: ‘There are different ways to look at that.
You have to give [Kobe] his due. I like our team and will focus on helping Danny [Ainge] improve it for next year.’
Addressing recently swirling trade rumors: ‘What not many people realize is how many calls are made and received throughout the league. We had a starting five that went a record 27-2. We can also offer someone a full max contract to someone next summer.’
On his views of the NBA’s salary cap: ‘I didn’t really care about it as a fan. I wanted to put together an ownership group that would be able to put the best team on the floor and win. I’ll go find the money, and we’ll go in for another banner. The league has things in place to keep a lot of that from happening but we have a good revenue sharing system between the players and the owners in place. There’s a lot of sharing in between.’
On the important free agency summer of 2010: ‘There is a scenario under which we could do that.’
On the economy’s impact on the Celtics: ‘We start with the fans and thank them for their support. I think we have something like 110 sellouts in a row, and the stuck with us despite injuries. We’re lucky to have them. They help attract free agents who want to play in front of these fans. We don’t want to be smug about how well we’re doing; we just want to thank our fans. We’re fortunate to also have been able to keep season ticket prices the same for this year.’
On NBA officiating: ‘I think they’re trying really hard. I can’t say it’s getting better. Each call and non-call gets looked at by the league and gets graded. Just by studying those figures, there’s no lack of effort, but it’s not getting better. Why don’t you worry about winning and the officiating last?’
On how the NBA does business: ‘If there are issues, the league office will resolve it.’
On how much stock the C’s put into a player’s character before signing: ‘It’s a big deal. It’s good to see the players we drafted out of high school like Kendrick Perkins go to a charity dinner and then later in the evening ask us if it’s okay to leave. We told him it was perfectly fine. He left this dinner to work out at 10:30 at night. We tell out players that they’re going to participate on and off the court. If not, they’re gone.’
On guard Stephon Marbury: ‘He did his part character-wise. He lived up to his word that he wanted to be a good teammate. It didn’t entirely work out as we and he had hoped.’
On the impending NBA Draft: “It won’t be a snooze with Danny at the helm. He’s made draft-day trades every year. He’s always working on deals that day, so we’ll see what happens.’
On Danny Ainge: ‘We’re all on the same page. He’s a busy guy, a great GM. He was a great hire. We wanted Danny and we got him.’
On the coach Doc Rivers‘ anticipation for next season: ‘I received a text from Doc saying, ‘Let’s get back to the finals.’
|06.11.09 at 11:14 pm ET|
PTI: You were in the same situation last year that the Lakers are now. Up 2-1 and you won Game 4 and won the series, so how important is this game to the Lakers?
Rivers: Well it’s important to the Lakers. I think it’s more important to the Magic, obviously. You know the Lakers are looking at this, they would clearly like to win the next two games, but they’re thinking if they win one, they go back home with six and seven to win one, so for them that’s the way they’re thinking. Obviously for Orlando, they just have to try to hold serve at home. I’ve always thought, and I still believe, it’s a disadvantage they have three games in a row at home because when teams are evenly matched, it’s tough to win three games in a row anywhere. And so I do think it’s tougher on Orlando in that way.
PTI: Alright Doc, when all is said and done who do you think is going to win this series and the NBA Championship?
Rivers: You know, I hope neither one wins. I would just like to table it for next year. (Smiles) But now that I know that that can’t happen, I think being in the East, you’re always cheering for the East Coast teams. You don’t want the West to win anything. Having said that, I think the Lakers are the favorite. I just think they’re just so talented and they’ve been there before, so you’ve got to make them the favorite in this series.
PTI: Now let me ask you the hypothetical question that maybe you just alluded to with the beginning of that answer. If Kevin Garnett had not gotten injured, did you like your chances to repeat this year?
Rivers: Yeah I did, but he was and that’s part of the game and so I accept that. There’s times when you watch and you wish you could have had the opportunity to compete with a healthy basketball team. But guys, as you know in sports, injuries are absolutely part of the season and it happens and unfortunately it happens for us. And so to me the two best teams right now are Orlando and the Lakers and they deserve to be there. Next year we hope that’s a different story.
PTI: Doc, Kevin Garnett just had successful surgery and I know you’re hoping he’s going to be back for at least 75 or more games next year. But how did you feel about this guarantee that he was going to be able to lead the Celtics to another title. Is that a check you guys can cash?
Rivers: I love it. (Laughs) I love it. I hope he’s right. I hope it’s not a Patrick Ewing guarantee ‘ I lived through those. No, I love it. I love when players are confident. I think Kevin believes that, he wants that to happen, and so do we. And to me it’s good. I like when players start guaranteeing things. I like it more when they back it up and I’m hoping Kevin can do that.
PTI: I’m just thinking about two summers ago when you guys had the blockbuster move that kept talk radio and our show going for weeks. Are you and Danny (Ainge) plotting anything like that this summer? Do you see your personnel needing to be shuffled in that way?
Rivers: No I don’t, but we’ve got a huge trade we’re going to announce. I’m just joking. There’s no trade coming. (Laughs) No, no we’re good. I like who we are. I think we do have to add some length to our basketball team as well, especially with Leon Powe maybe not coming back for at least til midseason or later. We’ve got to add one more big to our team. Other than that, I love our basketball team, I love our guys, and I think we’ll be in great shape next year.
|06.09.09 at 11:31 pm ET|
Boston Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau withdrew his name from the Sacramento Kings head coaching search, Cs head coach Doc Rivers told the Boston Globe. Thibodeau had been in the running for the position with Paul Westphal and Kurt Rambis, but was not considered to be a front runner. According to the Globe, Thibodeau is expected to work with the Celtics again next season.
Update: The Sacramento Bee has reported the Kings will hire former Boston Celtic Paul Westphal as their new head coach.
|06.09.09 at 11:58 am ET|
The Memphis Commercial Appeal has reported the Boston Celtics have expressed interest in acquiring the second pick in the 2009 NBA Draft from the Memphis Grizzlies. No word on what, if anything, had been offered in exchange. The Houston Rockets and New York Knicks have also approached the Grizzlies regarding the pick, according to the report.
Spanish guard Ricky Rubio is the projected second pick behind Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin. Once the Grizzlies drew their pick in the Draft Lottery, buzz began surrounding Rubio’s disinterest in playing in Memphis. However Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace met with Rubio’s agent, Dan Fegan, and had a ‘cordial meeting,’ according to the Commercial Appeal.
Rubio is not the guaranteed second pick, though. To start, the Grizzlies already have a young point guard in Mike Conley Jr. and have not committed to drafting Rubio. Secondly, Rubio still has to pay a multi-million dollar buyout from DVK Joventut before he plays anywhere in the NBA. And there are still other attractive prospects out there. According to several mock drafts, center Hasheem Thabeet (UConn), guard James Harden (Arizona State), and forward Jordan Hill (Arizona) round out the top five projected picks.
|06.09.09 at 9:42 am ET|
Following the release of his new book, Red and Me: My Coach, My Lifelong Friend, Bill Russell sat down with USA Today to discuss his relationship with Red Auerbach. Click here for the complete interview. Excerpts include:
Q: Would Red have been able to adapt to today’s NBA player?
A: I tell you something: He would not have had to adapt. He always took the players as they came to him. He didn’t make any (preconceived) judgment. All he was interested in was, ‘Can this player help me win games?’
When I started playing, he said he didn’t know what I was doing because he had never seen anything like that. I went against everything. I started defense to offense. Everybody else was (the opposite), including him. He saw things I did and, after he understood them, made it part of his system. We were learning from each other.
When I was a rookie, I had a beard (against league policy regarding facial hair). He never once said anything about it. Not one single time. He never put artificial pressure on our backs.
Q: Why did the Celtics always stand during timeouts?
A: That started before I joined the team. Red had a thing ‘ the Celtics never sat during timeouts because we were always in shape. We didn’t need to rest ‘ it was a (psychological tactic used against opposing teams).
But my first game, I went and sat down. Red said, to me, ‘Why aren’t you in the huddle?’ I said, ‘I don’t need to be in that huddle. I play center. Everybody else is playing center (tonight). I don’t need to be in the huddle to know to stay the hell out of the way.’ His reaction was, ‘OK, nobody else is playing center.’
When we got home from that trip, he put in a play specifically for me. If he didn’t think the play was called enough, he would call it from the bench.
Q: What is your best memory of your coach and friend?
A: The last time we talked (just before he died) and Red warned me, ‘Don’t fall.’ So concise, so meaningful. I’ll always remember that ‘ until the moment I fall.
|06.05.09 at 2:14 pm ET|
Earlier this week, radio station KTAR in Arizona floated the rumor of trade discussions between the Boston Celtics in Phoenix Suns that would send Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo out west in exchange for Amar’e Stoudemire, Leandro Barbosa, and the 14th pick.
The Arizona Republic has reported the Suns have not had conversations with the Celtics:
“There’s a lot of stuff flying around out there that has no basis,” Suns General Manager Steve Kerr said. “There’s just a ton of speculation but there really is nothing substantial going on.
“With most of these deals being speculated about, I haven’t even had a conversation with the opposing team. I read this stuff and laugh.”
The notion of trading forty percent of the Celtics starting lineup is startling at first. But there are reasons why Allen and Rondo could be heard in rumors this offseason. Allen turns 34 this summer and is entering the last year of his contract in which he is set to earn nearly $20 million. His expiring deal ‘ plus proven track record ‘ could make him an attractive option.
Rondo, on the other hand, is just starting to play up to his potential. At 23 he is the type of player a team can build around. The Celtics, however, have to decide how much they want to pay Rondo. He will become a free agent in 2010 so they can either sign him to an extension or take a risk on the going rate next summer.
Either way the Celtics will be financially limited when they try to add depth to their bench this summer and making trades is one way to work around that. It’s only the beginning of June and there is no doubt more rumors like this are sure to follow.
|06.04.09 at 10:33 pm ET|
During halftime of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, ABC aired an interview between Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant in which Johnson revealed Larry Bird considers Bryant his favorite player. Turns out Bryant has a one-sided love-hate relationship with Bird.
Johnson: Larry Bird told me that Kobe Bryant is his favorite player. How do you respond to that?
Bryant: You know what? That makes me feel, that makes me feel great. You know, I hated Larry growing up. I did, I hated his guts. But I loved him as a player and his work ethic and his intensity, his tenacity and I wanted to be that way. And the funny thing is, I’ve never actually met Larry Bird.
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