|07.04.13 at 1:09 pm ET|
Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thomsen joined the Dennis & Callahan show, with guest hosts Butch Stearns and Adam Pellerin, on Thursday morning to discuss the Celtics‘ hiring of Butler’s Brad Stevens to be their next coach.
Stevens, 36, reportedly was given a six-year, $22 million deal to oversee the rebuilding of the C’s.
“This was a real shocker, but it’s inspired,” Thomsen said. “They have a plan. It’s unlike any other team’s plan. I think they have a chance to make it work, so, good for them.”
Thomsen’s biggest concern is Stevens’ adjustment to an NBA that values its players far more than its coaches.
“I think the risk is you don’t know if he’s going to be any good,” Thomsen said. “It’s just a different world, a totally different world. It used to be that college coaches could make the jump to the NBA, because, as we all know, NBA players weren’t making that much money, they didn’t have that much power. When Red Auerbach was coaching, there was no free agency. He had the final say over contracts. Everything was different.
“Now the players in the NBA have more control than the coaches, except for a few situations. So, for a college coach to come in — look, these college programs are all about the coach. It’s all about the coach. And the coach every day goes out there and makes sure everybody on the team knows that it’s all about him. It’s all about Coach K [Mike Krzyzewski], it’s all about the other coaches, it was all about Jim Calhoun at UConn.
“They come to the NBA and all of a sudden they don’t have that power over the players. The players have the power over them. It’s an entirely different situation. That’s why these college coaches that in the past have been hired to coach bad teams, they’ve been fired after a couple of years, it’s been disastrous and they’ve given the whole thing a bad name.
“Why I think this can be different is because they are giving him six years. Danny [Ainge] has replaced who is arguably the best coach that isn’t about to retire in the NBA, Doc Rivers, he’s chosen to replace Doc with this guy, who has no track record. So, they’re trying to build on what Doc developed by rekindling the whole Celtics tradition, and trying to build on that by hiring this guy.
“In most circumstances you would say it’s a big mistake. I would. I’ve been saying all along that it’s impossible for a college coach to make the jump and win in the NBA. But this is a different circumstance than all the others. They’re giving him a six-year commitment, so they’re saying, ‘We’re not going to be judging you after two years, and we’re going to be rebuilding the team anyway, but we’re going to be standing by you.’ None of that has happened for any of the college coaches coming in. So, this is different. He’s trying to build a program. he’s trying to develop the old traditions and keep them relevant in this modern age. I think it’s fascinating and it’s inspiring.”
Added Thomsen: “They’re trying to indoctrinate this guy in the Celtic way. To me, the Celtic way means something. It’s an ideal. It’s hard to believe that it can work in this day and age, but they’re trying to make it work, and good for them.”
Thomsen is convinced that the Stevens hiring spells the end of Rajon Rondo’s tenure in Boston.
“It just makes sense all the way around,” Thomsen said. “If they keep Rondo, then they will not bottom out, for starters. If you want to look at it cynically, they won’t lose enough games. They’ll win just enough games to not be terrible, but they’ll never have a chance to be good. They won’t have the means to go out and get the great players that you need in the NBA.
“But then the other part of it is, I just don’t see how he can be coached by a guy that’s never been in the NBA. Doc Rivers is known in the NBA for being the coach that can confront players, can work with them, can laugh with them, can yell at them, can do all these different things. It took everything Doc had to make it work with Rondo It took all of his experience, all of his wisdom, just to keep Rondo as a constructive member of the team. And Danny and Wyc [Grousbeck], they know that. They know that. So, I just don’t see how they would make this big investment with a young coach who’s never been to an NBA practice, and then put him with one of the smartest players in the league, a great player — Rondo has a lot going for him, but Rondo’s not going to put up with somebody who doesn’t know what he’s doing.”
|07.03.13 at 5:57 pm ET|
Stevens will be introduced at a press conference Friday at 11 a.m.
The following is the press release sent out by the team:
The Boston Celtics announced today that they have come to an agreement with Brad Stevens to be the 17th head coach of the team. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not announced.
Stevens, age 36, has served for the past six years as the head coach of Butler University men’s basketball team, never winning fewer than 22 games and leading the Bulldogs to two national championship games against Duke and Connecticut. His career win percentage is .772, including a 33-5 season in 2009-10. He was also the youngest coach to reach the Final Four since Bob Knight in 1973.
A native of Zionsville, Ind., Stevens was a three-time academic All-America nominee while earning four varsity letters at DePauw University, before graduating with a degree in economics. He later joined the Butler University program as the coordinator of basketball operations under then-coach Thad Matta, before being named head coach in 2007.
“Brad and I share a lot of the same values,” said Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “Though he is young, I see Brad as a great leader who leads with impeccable character and a strong work ethic. His teams always play hard and execute on both ends of the court. Brad is a coach who has already enjoyed lots of success, and I look forward to working with him towards Banner 18.”
|07.02.13 at 8:05 am ET|
Strap in, because this may take a while. The previous rebuilding phase lasted 22 years, and Kris Humphries is involved this time around. A locker room shared by the former Mr. Kardashian and Rajon Rondo might just ignite enough toxicity to blow these Celtics up from the inside out. That’s one option, I guess.
At least C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge acquired a handful of building blocks, adding an additional first-round draft pick in four of the next five seasons and clearing cap space in 2014. Whatever else he accomplishes over the next couple months, it will all be done with an eye toward next summer.
As a result, don’t expect a Josh Smith to join the Celtics during the NBA’s free-agency period that began on Monday. Ainge admitted as much when introducing “not star” rookie 7-footers Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson.
Sure, the Celtics could chase a sign-and-trade deal for Smith, ink Rondo’s high school roommate to double-digit millions and let a handful of wildly entertaining sixth-seeded seasons commence, but that wouldn’t get them much closer to the only thing that matters around here: An 18th banner. As Ainge said, “This is the Boston Celtics.”
Of course, Ainge also said, “We are not tanking. That’s ridiculous.” So, what exactly is he doing?
|07.02.13 at 6:22 am ET|
According to an ESPN report, free agent center Greg Oden, who is looking to make a return to the league after sitting out since 2009 with knee problems, is likely to choose from a list of five teams that includes the Celtics. The Spurs, Heat, Cavaliers and Grizzlies are the other top candidates, with the Cavaliers and Spurs the favorites, the report indicates.
Oden, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft out of Ohio State, has not played since Dec. 5, 2009. He had his third microfracture knee surgery in February 2012.
Oden has averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 82 career games with the Trail Blazers.
|07.01.13 at 9:56 pm ET|
While Danny Ainge told reporters in Mattapan that “free agency right now is not a priority for us,” the Celtics president of basketball operations inquired about free agent Lakers center Dwight Howard.
Ainge reportedly put a call in to gauge Howard’s interest in a sign-and-trade involving the C’s bitter rivals, but Howard’s representatives said, “No,” according to The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn.
During a press conference introducing 7-foot rookies Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson, Ainge announced he is more interested in “cleaning up” the roster than lobbying a list of free agents that includes Howard, Josh Smith, Tyreke Evans and Monta Ellis.
Still, Ainge reiterated his stance on Rajon Rondo: The three-time All-Star point guard is a centerpiece worth building around, and the Celtics aren’t actively seeking a trade for him. That’s not to say they won’t pick up the phone when other teams inquire about Rondo, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, Courtney Lee, Jared Sullinger and everybody else, including Olynyk — just as Howard’s agents answered Ainge’s call.
“Maybe the assumption is that we’ll give away any of our players,” Ainge told reporters from the Boston Center for Youth & Families Mildred Avenue Community Center. “There has been calls for all those guys, and maybe the assumption is we’re just changing everybody, but we’re not. We’re starting to get younger.”
Considering the departure of coach Doc Rivers and the pending trade of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets on July 12, the Celtics appear to be sinking deeper and deeper toward the 2014 NBA draft lottery, but Ainge assured Washburn, “We are not tanking. That’s ridiculous. This is the Boston Celtics.”
|06.30.13 at 4:55 pm ET|
Less than 24 hours before the NBA’s free agency period begins, the Celtics waived wing Terrence Williams on Sunday, just two days after the Chinese Basketball Association import’s 26th birthday.
Williams averaged 4.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 13.3 minutes over 24 games since his signing in mid-February. After consecutive 10-day contracts, the C’s signed him for the remainder of the season with a non-guaranteed minimum contract for 2013-14.
The Celtics saved $200,000 that would have become guaranteed had Williams been on the roster at midnight. His arrest last month on gun charges that are still under investigation probably didn’t help matters.
After stints on the Nets, Rockets and Kings from 2009-12, Williams played for the Guangdong Southern Tigers in China this past winter before joining the injury-riddled Celtics for the stretch run.
In five playoff appearances, Williams made little impact, playing mostly as a 6-foot-6 backup point guard to Rajon Rondo.
Once the trade of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry becomes official on July 12, Rondo and expected starting 2-guard Avery Bradley are the only current players on the roster capable of playing the point. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has plenty of priorities this summer, and backup point guard has to be one of them.
|06.30.13 at 7:34 am ET|
According to Sportando.net, the Celtics and Grizzlies are the two teams most interested in signing Italian forward Gigi Datome, with the general manager of the player’s Virtus Roma team stating that the Celts are the “front-runners to sign him.”
The 25-year-old Datome is coming off the best season of his career, having been named Serie A Regular Season MVP after averaging 16.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
(Here is Datome’s Twitter account, although you better have Google translator at the ready.)