Archive for February, 2011

Irish Coffee: Ultimate Celtics rumor roundup

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Ever since Marquis Daniels suffered a bruised spinal cord on Feb. 6, it’s been no secret the Celtics want to make a trade, and Lord knows they’re active. Just look at the names they’ve reportedly inquired about.

The Celtics don’t have to make a deal. They’ll be NBA title contenders no matter what. If they do add someone, they’ll have to part ways with Marquis Daniels, Nate Robinson, Von Wafer, Semih Erden, Avery Bradley or Luke Harangody. In a lot of cases, that someone wouldn’t be an upgrade over any of those guys.

So, let’s sort all the rumors into three categories: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

THE GOOD: UPGRADES

Suns forward Grant Hill

  • Contract: Signed through this season ($3.32 million)
  • Statistics: 30.4 minutes, 13.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.5 blocks, 49.5 FG%, 35.8 3-PT FG%, 84.0 FT%
  • Rumor: Among the places the Celtics have looked is Phoenix. Three sourdes confirmed the clubs spoke about three Suns wings.
  • Chances: ‘€œThat looks like it’€™s gone,’€ said one Herald source, ‘€œbut you never know.’€
  • What it would take: Daniels and either Bradley, Erden or Harangody

Rockets forward Shane Battier

  • Contract: Signed through this season ($7.35 million)
  • Statistics: 30.8 minutes, 8.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.2 blocks, 45.4 FG%, 64.9 3-PT FG%, 64.9 FT%
  • Rumor: The Rockets would be tempted to make the deal if the Celtics would include center Semih Erden, though we’ll probably never know since Boston apparently wants to keep and develop him.
  • Chances: Houston-Boston deal involving Shane Battier not happening, says source close to situation
  • What it would take: Robinson, Bradley and Erden or Harangody; or Daniels and Robinson

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Irish Coffee: Top 5 reasons not to fear Knicks

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

As details of the trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks from the Nuggets in a deal that involved 15 current and future NBA players leaked to the media, the man who led Syracuse University to the 2003 NCAA title as an 18-year-old appeared on TV in a pre-recorded interview with Conan O’Brien and stated that he’d indeed like to stay in Denver.

Whether Anthony’s answer was sincere makes little difference. The real question is this: Should the Knicks still want the NBA’s third-best small forward in a Nuggets uniform? Considering he likely would’ve joined New York this summer for less dollars anyway — and the Knicks wouldn’t have had to part with three of their best five players — the answer to that question in the long-term is Absolutely.

Here are the details of the Carmelo Anthony trade from the Knicks perspective …

Either way, the deal is done. So, that leaves another question: Should the Celtics, Heat or Bulls fear the Knicks at any point in the next four years? Here are the top five reasons they shouldn’t …

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Kevin Garnett: My boys ‘forgot to beat’ James Jones

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Celtics forward Kevin Garnett posted a couple blogs on the Anta website prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Warriors.

He touched on everything from the 3-Point Shootout to Doc Rivers‘ pre-All-Star Game speech to the team’s focus going forward. Here are the highlights …

On the dunk contest: “The dunk contest  was unreal. Those young fellas did some different things. Serge [Ibaka] with the dunk and grabbed the monkey with his teeth, [JaVale] McGee with the old “[Larry] Nance” rock the cradle, Blake [Griffin] with the 360 pump with power and [Demar] DeRozan with the reverse 360 flush. Cool stuff.”

On the 3-point contest: “My boys were worried about themselves and forgot to beat [James] Jones in the 3-point contest. Both Ray [Allen] and P2 [Paul Pierce] made it to the finals. Sitting with [Dwyane] Wade, [Rajon] Rondo, [Shaquille O'Neal]. Things were cool. I got my Anta swag on and feel like I was looking good.”

On All-Star Game appearances: “No. 14 for me, which says to me, gotta keep working. Not many men can say they laced them up for 14 All-Stars. Hard work, little luck and having the drive. I’m happy to be a part of this day and to be with my homies. P2, Ray and young fella (Rondo). The Coaches are here, [strength and conditioning coach Bryan] Doo, Lynchie [director of team security Phil Lynch] and [vice president of media services Jeff] Twiss. Feel like we doing something.”

On All-Star Game adversaries: “Not often do I see the other players in a situation like this, so giving them a dap or catching up. Cool stuff.”

On All-Star Game intensity: “The game prep wasn’t the same, but as Doc said, “Any time there is a score, then someone has to win and someone has to lose. Let’s make it them.”

On All-Star Game minutes: “Didn’t want to play that much so I could rest a little, but got up and down. We played with our four and [Chris] Bosh first. It’s funny when you run a play and it doesn’t go all the way through because of the fifth person. Played with Amare [Stoudemire] and some of the other cats. We didn’t get the win, but what you gonna do. NOW WE FOCUS on BANNER No. 18.”

What the Carmelo Anthony trade means for the Celtics

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

The Knicks finally got Carmelo Anthony and all it took was trading two of their top three wing players, their point guard, a young 7-footer, draft picks and $6 million of cash. All that for a player who is not a top-10 talent and who in seven years in the NBA has made it out of the first round of the playoffs once.

In the process, the Knicks got significantly older at the point by swapping Ray Felton for Chauncey Billups and dumped two shooters — Wilson Chandler and Danilo Ganillari — for two forwards who can’t shoot — Corey Brewer and Renaldo Balkman. They also sold a good chunk of their future by surrendering a No. 1 draft pick in 2014 and two second-rounders obtained from Golden State.

As it played out, it became apparent that Anthony wanted no part of a trade to anywhere except New York, so the Knicks also pulled off the rare trick of upping the price in a trade while bidding against themselves.

There’s also no telling how the future of the NBA will look once a new collective bargaining agreement is in place. Once Anthony signs his long-rumored extension, he and Amar’e Stoudemire will lock up a huge portion of whatever salary cap is in place, which could mean that the likes of Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Dwight Howard would be beyond their financial grasp in 2012 when Billups comes off the books.

But hey, they got their man.

It’s not as if Anthony is a bad player. He and Stoudemire form a potent scoring combination at forward, assuming they can work out how to play together. It’s just a question of how much his services are really worth. Smart teams understand value and this deal is not smart. The Knicks were played like desperate teenagers on the last day of a binge in Tijuana, and if it’s true that Isiah Thomas is really pulling the strings, then they got what they deserved.

The Knicks spent the last two years undoing the wreckage that Thomas wrought and they were finally were able to put an actual basketball team on the floor. It wasn’t a team that was going to win a championship this year or next, but it was one with assets and flexibility and now most of that is gone.

In the short-term, the new-look Knicks may have upped the star power, but they aren’t going to be beat the Celtics, Heat or Bulls. There are too many holes, especially up front where Ronny Turiaf is the only defensive-minded big man left standing. Their defense, not exactly a strength to begin with, won’t get any better with Billups and Anthony guarding the perimeter.

The NBA future holds nothing but uncertainty, and the Celtics future is cloudier than most. Beyond Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce, the Celtics have none of their top 12 players under contract beyond next season. Presumably Kendrick Perkins will be part of the equation and possibly Glen Davis as well.

As the dust settles from the Melo drama, ask yourself this: Would you rather have the Celtics’ present? Absolutely. Then ask yourself if you would rather have a roster with Rondo, Perkins and a well-run front office calling the shots or Stoudemire, Anthony and dysfunctional chaos?

The Knicks got their man. Whether they can do anything else will ultimately tell if the whole thing was worth it.

Irish Coffee: Celtics’ NBA All-Star Weekend in quotes

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Celtics Ray Allen and Paul Pierce may have lost to overlooked Heat forward James Jones in the final round of the 3-Point Contest, and more heralded Miami forward Lebron James (29 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) might have singlehandedly played Allen, Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo (28 points, 12 rebounds, 14 assists) even at the NBA All-Star Game, but all was not lost.

After sorting through all 29,562, 317 interviews from the All-Star festivities, I present the weekend in quotes …

Kevin Garnett (via USA Today): “I’m far from dirty. Dirty is like hate. Don’t use that word. I’m competitive, and I play hard, but don’t call me dirty. Just like if you dislike me, dislike me. ‘Hate’ is a very strong word, just like ‘dirty’ is a very strong word.”

Garnett (via CBS Sports): “All-Star weekend is a chance for all players to sit down and relax. Get to know one another. I don’€™t like the word ‘fraternizing’ and I don’€™t like the word ‘fronting’. It’€™s the one time that we get to socialize and be friendly, I don’€™t think it’€™s fronting, I think everybody is sort of in a relaxed state.”

Garnett (via NBA.com): “Look here, I don’€™t play for the Phoenix Suns. I could care less what Spike [Lee] or whoever else has to say about me. As long as Doc Rivers and my organization is happy with what I’€™m doing, I could care less. …

“If I’€™m playing against you, I’€™m not trying to be your friend. I’€™m out here to win. I’€™m just competitive. I go about this a certain way. Always have, always will. I don’€™t make any excuses about that or apologize for anything I’€™ve done. I carry myself in a well-fashioned manner. I respect the game first-off, respect the players that are in it. And I’€™m definitely not trying to hurt anybody — I don’€™t want to be hurt. I’€™m just out there playing hard and playing competitive. If that comes off as something else, then that’€™s your problem.”

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Irish Coffee: Too many minutes for Celtics to win it?

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

In my mind, seven teams could potentially win the 2011 NBA championship: the Celtics, Spurs, Lakers, Heat, Bulls, Mavericks and Thunder. Four of those teams — the C’s, Spurs, Lakers and Mavericks — have veteran-laden rotations, so which coaches are doing the best job this season of managing the minutes logged on their top players’ aging bodies before the All-Star break?

Let’s look at those four teams’ top six players, their ages and their minutes logged …

Boston Celtics
Average Age: 30.1 years
Average Games Played: 43.5
Average Minutes Per Game: 33.5 (8,746 total)
Percent of Team’s Total Minutes: 67.1

Rajon Rondo (24 years, 361 days): 1,622 minutes; 37.7 minutes per game
Ray Allen (35 years, 213 days): 1,948 min; 36.1 mpg
Paul Pierce (33 years, 128 days): 1,881 min; 34.8 mpg
Kevin Garnett (34 years, 275 days): 1,409 min; 31.3 mpg
Glen Davis (25 years, 48 days): 1,585 min; 29.4 mpg
Kendrick Perkins (26 years, 100 days): 301 min; 27.4 mpg

***

San Antonio Spurs
Average Age: 29.4
Average Games Played: 55.0
Average MPG: 29.0 (9,562 total)
Percent of Team’s Total Minutes: 70.8

Tony Parker (28 years, 277 days): 1,826 min; 32.6 mpg
Richard Jefferson (30 years, 242 days): 1,752 min; 31.3 mpg
Manu Ginobili (33 years, 205 days): 1,738 min; 31.0 mpg
Tim Duncan (34 years, 299 days): 1,609 min; 28.7 mpg
George Hill (24 years, 290 days): 1,393 min; 27.9 mpg
DeJuan Blair (21 years, 302 days): 1,244 min; 22.2 mpg

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NBA Power Rankings, 2/17

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

1. San Antonio (46-9): According to the New York Post, citing a waitress at Tao on 58th Street in New York City, Tony Parker “celebrated Valentine’s Day, a win over the Nets — and his divorce — by canoodling with a brunette.” When this is the biggest news about the Spurs for the week, it’s pretty clear they’re still the NBA’s No. 1 (regular-season) team and (somehow) still underrated.

2. Dallas (39-16): The Mavericks are 37-9 with Dirk Nowitzki in the lineup — and 18-7 against teams above .500. That’s pretty good. Not surprisingly, owner Mark Cuban told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram his team has all the pieces in place for a title run. While they’re certainly playing better than the Lakers — and even the Celtics — right now, I’m still not buying them as contenders.

3. Boston (40-14): With Glen Davis as the sole healthy member of their projected second unit — and even he suffered a bruised noggin — the Celtics finished 2-2 against the Mavericks, Magic, Lakers and Heat in the span of nine days. The win over the Heat was truly significant; no matter who earns the East’s No. 1 seed the C’s cemented themselves as the clear favorites in the conference.

4. Miami (41-15): Sure, the Heat are 38-10 (.792 winning percentage) with Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all in the lineup. Still, even with all three of those guys on the floor, they’re only 11-8 (.579) against teams above the .500 mark. Oh, and they’re 0-4 against the two other teams vying for Eastern Conference supremacy. I’d say that’s a concern.

5. Chicago (37-16): Under Tom Thibodeau‘s tutelage, the Bulls have gone from 11th place in points allowed per 100 possessions last season to second place this year — without defensive stalwart Joakim Noah at center since Dec. 15. The booby prize for finishing second in the East is not only a Game 7 on the road in the conference finals but also a semifinals matchup with Chicago.

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