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Chris Mannix on D&H: C’s deal for Rip Hamilton unlikely anytime soon

01.26.11 at 11:55 am ET
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Sports Illustrated NBA writer Chris Mannix joined the Dale & Holley show Wednesday morning to talk about the Celtics and the NBA.

There’s a rumor going around that the Celtics are interested in Pistons shooting guard Richard Hamilton, but Mannix downplayed it.

“That’s just a rumor,” he said. “The only way they acquire him is by buyout. Right now, the ownership situation in Detroit is in such flux that that buyout, it ain’t coming anytime soon. And I’d be really surprised if it came before March 1st.”

Mannix acknowledged that “Hamilton would be a great asset in Boston” and “something has to happen” because Hamilton and coach John Kuester are at odds. However, Mannix said, “I just don’t see him getting bought out right now. He’s owed $25 million over the next two years. If he’s not willing to take a significant pay cut from that — and I’m talking in the $16 [million], 17 million range — he’s just not going anywhere. Now as long as the ownership situation is so up in the air out here.”

On Tuesday night, Kendrick Perkins made his first appearance since suffering an ACL injury in Game 6 of the NBA finals. Mannix said he was amazed at how quickly Perkins returned.

“To see him come back this early from what can only be described as a devastating knee injury, is unbelievable,” Mannix said. “Certainly, he’s got a long way to go. From watching that game, he has no lift on his legs right now. That’s going to take time to come back, to re-develop that explosiveness that he once had right around the rim. But it’s an amazing story, getting him back this quickly.”

Added Mannix: “I expect over the next two months for him to kind of be a work in progress. But that fact that he’s back now, that bodes well for Boston. Because it seems like if you give him a couple of months to get his legs back under him, come late March, early April, he should be back to close to the form he once was.”

Perkins gives the Celtics a center rotation that’s unrivaled in the NBA. “The size Boston has is their access to the finals,” Mannix said. “There isn’t a team in the Eastern Conference — and I really don’t think a team in the league — that can match up with Boston’s depth at that position. Perkins doesn’t need to play 25-30 minutes going forward. If you keep him in the 15-17-minute range, work him in practice, get his conditioning back, I think you’re going to be completely satisfied with that. Because suddenly you have a rotation come playoff time where you have essentially three centers, with [Semih] Erden, Perkins and Shaq, that can give you 20-25 quality minutes. Whoever the ‘hot hand’ is, you can play him for extended minutes.

“And the other contenders there, they just simply can’t match up with them. I think Orlando is worse off because of that trade they made. I really do. Yeah, they have a little bit more firepower. But when you get past Dwight Howard, there’s just nothing there. I know they played well against Boston the last two times. But come playoff time, I’m not afraid of Orlando, if I’m Boston, at all.”

As for the Heat, “Come playoff time, you can bully the Miami Heat around. Games slow down in the playoffs,” Mannix said. “That’s not an assumption, that’s what it’s been historically. And I don’t think Miami’s going to have as much success running. And I think in the half court, they’re extremely beatable. So, I really like Boston’s chances now with their front line back intact.”

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