Archive for September, 2009

NBA to consider replacement refs?

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

ESPN’s Mark Stein reported last night that talks between then NBA and the referees have broken down regarding a new contract and that the league is considering using replacement (which is a nicer way of saying ‘scab’) refs. The current agreement expired Sept. 1.

There is ample precedence for such a move. The NBA went this route in 1995… and it was an unmitigated disaster. (Interestingly Bill Kennedy, Doc Rivers’ bete noir last season, came into the league in 1995.) The league also did so in 1983 and 1977.

Not surprisingly the issues at the bargaining table come down to money. The NBA wants givebacks from the refs and the refs don’t want to give. Of course this may all be posturing.

As everyone who follows the NBA knows, the officials operate under almost as much scrutiny as star players and coaches. From Tim Donaghy’s incarceration on gambling charges to Joey Crawford’s meltdown via Tim Duncan to Rivers and Kennedy and many more, the officials have not been one of David Stern’s favorite topics over the last few years. So, perhaps the league is trying to rattle their cage with the threat, and it’s not like the refs have a deep reservoir of good will to draw from in their time of need.

But this is dangerous territory for the NBA, because while the league may be all too willing to throw out the idea that anybody can come in off the street and work an NBA game, history has shown that it’s just not true. Check out this Steve Kelley column in the Seattle Times circa 1995 which features this quote from Rivers, then with the Spurs:

“This is what’s going to happen,” Rivers said. “The calls are going to get so bad, guys are going to get upset. There’s going to be a bad fight. Or somebody’s going to get mad and undercut somebody else.

“They’re going to be injured, career-wise, and then the league’s going to get sued. That’s what’s going to happen if this continues.

Is Marbury Hinting at Retirement?

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

From eating Vaseline to performing ballet to crying uncontrollably on camera, Stephon Marbury has kept the NBA world scratching their heads this summer with his unpredictable antics on the video streaming sites Justin.tv and USTREAM. These outbursts seemed damaging to the free agent’s already-tarnished reputation and put his future in the NBA in doubt.

Now one of Marbury’s latest Tweets shifts the question from, “Where will he play basketball next season?” to, “Is Marbury retiring?”

“Basketball is just a game. I will say it again. 14 years 250 million. Hold that. I’m good.. Thank you jesus for the blessing. Thanks NBA, he Tweeted on Tuesday.

Earlier this summer there were rumors Marbury may be heading to the Washington Wizards to play for former head coach Flip Saunders. He also talked about the idea of playing ball overseas, saying that he would average 50 points a game if he made the move. No offers, however, have been publicly reported since Marbury turned down a one-year deal to return to the Celtics in July.

In a buyer’s market — one in which marquee guard Allen Iverson has yet to sign a new contract — it is hard to imagine that an organization would bypass dozens of talented free agents to take on a player whose recent actions have deemed him a liability.

So has Marbury decided he’s finished with the NBA after 13 seasons in the league? In spite of his Tweet and amid all the uncertainty he has stirred up this summer, one thing is certain — it is impossible to truly predict Marbury’s next move.

Red Claws name assistant coaches

Monday, September 7th, 2009

On Monday the Maine Red Claws named Randy Livingston and Mike Procopio assistant coaches for the upcoming inaugural season. Procopio, 34, has deep ties to the Boston Celtics organization. He spent four years as a scout for the Cs before working as an assistant at Boston Amateur Basketball Club under Leo Papile, the Celtics Assistant Executive Director of Basketball Operations. He developed a reputation as one of the top development coaches nationwide as Director of Basketball Operations for Attack Athletics in Chicago and has trained players including Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, and Dwyane Wade.

“Along with having four years of NBA front office experience, Mike Procopio regularly works out some of the best players in the NBA,” Red Claws head coach Austin Ainge said in a team statement. “His experience and ability to develop players should make our team a desirable place for every player looking to make a jump to the next level.  As soon as I got this job, Mike was one of the first calls I made because of his experience teaching the game.”

Livingston, a 12-year NBA veteran, led the Idaho Stampede to the 2008 NBDL Championship. He retired from playing after his title-winning season to become the Stampede’s associate head coach. Livingston, 34, helped coach the team to a second place finish in the West Division (31-19) in his first season on the sidelines.

“I feel extremely fortunate to have a coach of Randy Livingston’s caliber to help me,” Ainge said.  “Randy knows the game, knows our league, and has experience at every level of basketball.  I trust Randy’s instincts and basketball IQ implicitly and will rely heavily on his opinion.”

More Than Money Brought Daniels to the Green

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Most professional athletes today tend to live up to Rod Tidwell from the 1996 film Jerry Maguire’s credo of “Show me the Money.”

Such is not the case with newly-signed Celtic Marquis Daniels. Daniels had several offers to sign for more elsewhere, but decided to leave money on the table to sign with the Celtics by inking a one-year deal, reportedly for Boston’s $1.99 million biannual exception.

“I had other situations where I could’ve went and made more money,” Daniels said. “But I wanted to be a part of a great franchise and a winning franchise.”

That new franchise that Daniels joins now boasts a new and improved bench that includes former starters Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis as well as former Duke University All-American Shelden Williams. Daniels had a career year last season with the Pacers, averaging a career-high 13.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.

According to Celtics GM Danny Ainge, Daniels has been a player the Celtics brass has coveted since the Auburn-product entered the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks during the 2003-2004 campaign. Ainge also suggested that, even before he was hired in Boston, now-Celtics coach Doc Rivers has followed the 28-year-old.

“I went and watched him play in his first Summer League game,” Ainge said. “I asked myself, ‘how did we miss that guy?’”

The acquisition bringing Daniels to the Celtics was drawn out over seven long weeks until the signing was finalized and deemed official on Friday.  Even the press conference to announce the deal was delayed for an hour and a half as the final t’s were crossed and i’s dotted.

After Pacer teammate Mike Dunleavy Jr., went down with an injury, Daniels was able to crack the Indiana starting five at the beginning of the 2008-09 campaign. Daniels started in 31 of the team’s first 34 games last season.

“With Mike being down it gave me the opportunity to come in as a starter and play a lot more,” Daniels said. “And being the second guy to Danny [Granger] it worked out pretty good and I was able to show guys that I could help out off the bench or start.”

Daniels is looking to help the Celtics reach the heights that they did by winning the NBA Championship just a pair of seasons ago. That team was built on camaraderie and depth, two things that Daniels hopes to contribute in Boston this season by starting to work out with his new teammates before training camp begins.

“I think everybody knows that it’s going to be key for everybody to come in and build some chemistry,” Daniels said.

Daniels has experience in a variety of positions and roles on the court during his six-year NBA career. According to Ainge, Daniels has experience playing the point all the way to playing power forward in some small-ball packages.

Daniels has averaged 9.4 points and 3.2 rebounds and 23.5 minutes per game during his career. Daniels went undrafted out of Auburn University in 2003, but signed with the Dallas Mavericks after a stunning stint while playing on their summer league squad that summer.

Allen hits the links

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Ray Allen turned 34 this summer and there are no signs of slowing down. On Thursday the Celtics guard — and avid golfer — participated in the Deutsche Bank Championship pro-am in Norton, MA. He told the Boston Herald hitting the links has helped him stay in playing shape.

“The beautiful thing about golf is there are so many hours in the day in the summertime,” he said. “You can get up early in the morning and work out and then play golf late in the day. It helps me keep that competitive edge and stay in shape.

“It’s been great,” Allen said of the offseason. “I’m in one of the best shapes I’ve been in at this point in the summer, just from having the time to let my body heal and work out and get certain parts stronger. I’ve enjoyed this summer.”

In addition to golfing, Allen also follows a training regimen at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT with former UConn Husky/QU men’s assistant basketball coach Scott Burrell.

Celtics announce Daniels signing

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

On Tuesday the Boston Celtics announced they have signed free agent guard Marquis Daniels. Per team policy terms were not discussed, however several reports have indicated Daniels will earn $1.99 million with the bi-annual exception. Click here to learn more about Daniels … in his own words.

Official team statement:

BOSTON, MA  – The Boston Celtics announced today that the club has signed free agent guard Marquis Daniels to a contract.  Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We feel that Marquis’ ability to play multiple positions will add great versatility and athleticism to our team,” said Danny Ainge, Celtics President of Basketball Operations.

Daniels spent last season with the Indiana Pacers and averaged a career-high 13.6 points and a career-high 4.6 rebounds per game.  The former Auburn Tiger scored 20-or-more points 12 times during the 2008-09 season. Daniels would also post career-highs in points (733), rebounds (248), field goals made (311) and attempted (689).  The 6’6, 200lbs guard posted all of these career-highs while appearing in just 54 games (43 starts). During his rookie campaign with Dallas in 2003-04, Daniels was named to the All-Rookie Second Team.  Despite playing limited time until March, Daniels impressed over the final 24 games of the season averaging 14.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.50 steals in 30.7 minutes per game.  Daniels ranked eighth among rookies in scoring (8.5 ppg) and led all rookies in field goal percentage (.494).  Daniels has made three trips to the postseason and has posted career averages of 6.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 36 career games.  Daniels’ best postseason came during his rookie campaign when he averaged 15.8 points in five games.

Video: Getting to know Marquis Daniels

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

After months of speculation, the Boston Celtics will sign Marquis Daniels, according to the Boston Herald. Daniels is expected to give Paul Pierce a legitimate back up on the wing, something that has been missing since the departure of James Posey. He is also has the skills to add depth to the Celtics backcourt. But who is Daniels off the court? He explains in this video.