Archive for July, 2011

Rajon Rondo and his Celtics teammates let the Kendrick Perkins trade get into their heads

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Time often puts things into proper perspective.

In the weeks following the Kendrick Perkins trade in late February, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge dismissed the notion that any professional athlete would let the trade of a friend off the court affect his play between the lines.

Five months later, Rajon Rondo admitted to Yahoo! Sports that The Trade influenced the team “more than it should have” — and that was a mistake. Here’s what the C’s point guard said Tuesday of the deal that sent Perkins along with Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic:

“It wasn’t like the man passed away or something. I think we put too much emphasis on it. It’s a business. He got traded. He’s very happy where he’s at. We still talk and I’m always going to have his back. It shouldn’t have affected us the way it affected us.”

Of course, if you remember the fifth episode of NBA Entertainment’s “The Association: Boston Celtics,” which aired soon after the Feb. 24 trade, Rondo sang a different tune at the time:

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Could the third time be the charm for Larry Brown and the Celtics?

Monday, July 25th, 2011
With Lawrence Frank on his way to Detroit, could Larry Brown take his place next to Doc Rivers?

With Lawrence Frank on his way to Detroit, could Larry Brown take his place next to Doc Rivers?

Larry Brown is 70 years old. He’s the only coach in history to win an NCAA title and NBA title as a head coach. He’s the only coach in history to take eight teams to the NBA playoffs. He’s been in the Hall of Fame for nine years. There is literally nothing left to prove.

But Larry Brown still wants to coach. And it’s easy for you and me to wonder what it is exactly that makes a 70-year-old man with tens of millions of dollars and an already cemented place in history want to get on a plane and fly to Milwaukee on a Tuesday in February, but we see it all the time. It never ends — Don Nelson is 71 years old, lives about three yards from the ocean in Hawaii and is hoping to get back into the mix as the coach of the Timberwolves, who have won a total of 32 games in the last two seasons.

Since being resigned to resignation (pretty sure he wasn’t going to be offered an extension by MJ) last December after a mediocre two-plus years in Charlotte, which followed his bizarre one-year disaster with the Knicks, Brown hasn’t been seen a serious candidate for any NBA head-coaching gigs and has even been dismissed when trying to land a job in college (Brown was interested in UNLV, Missouri, Oklahoma and Penn State openings but was never viewed as a legitimate candidate for any of those jobs).

So now — with thanks to a report from the very great Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports — it appears that Brown would very much be happy to give up leading man status and take on a juicy character part as lead assistant coach and de facto defensive coordinator under Doc Rivers.

Assuming that Lawrence Frank is indeed going to get the Pistons job — which strikes me as a sure way to end up as a color analyst on NBA TV in 2013 — the Celtics are going to need to fill the Tom Thibodeau/Frank role. And why not Brown, universally recognized as one of the top defensive minds of his (or any, really) generation? And, hey, didn’t Larry Brown coach one Glenn Rivers with the Clippers in 1992? It almost makes too much sense not to happen, right?

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NBA releases Basketball Related Income audit

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

The NBA and NBPA released its audit of basketball related income (BRI) for the 2010-11 season late on Friday afternoon and among the findings revealed by the league:

  • BRI increased by 4.8 percent from $3.643 billion in 2009-10 to $3.817 billion in 2010-11.
  • Total player compensation also increased by 4.8 percent from $2.076 billion in 2009-10 to $2.176 billion in 2010-11.  This marks the sixth consecutive season that player compensation increased under the expired CBA.
  • Total player compensation equaled 57 percent of BRI.
  • The average player salary for the 2010-11 season was $5.15 million. Over the six-year term of the expired CBA, the average player salary increased by a total of 16 percent.

A couple of things to keep in mind from the league’s release.

Under the expired CBA, player salaries are directly tied into the BRI with 57 percent set as the cut-off figure. In other words, the system worked as it was intended as the players received 57 percent of the BRI. Their salaries are tied to basketball revenues and so when the latter increases, so does the former.

The key word in the last part is total: as in the cumulative total over a six-year period is 16 percent, not a 16 percent rise from one year to the next.

This is spin on the part of the NBA, which has claimed that teams are losing money even as revenue has increased, owing mostly to rising player salaries. They will also undoubtedly counter that other expenses are rising that don’t affect the BRI and thus the player’s salaries. The union has proposed cutting that 57 percent number, but the owners want a total overhaul of the system.

Delonte West debuts ‘Lockout’ mixtape

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Free agent combo guard Delonte West released two songs — “It’s Bout 2 Go Down” featuring KayeM and “Mr. Magnificent” featuring Rudy — from his upcoming mixtape, appropriately dubbed “Lockout.” Of course, you’ll probably remember Delonte’s rap about Kentucky Fried Chicken, which has more than 655,000 views on YouTube.

The release of the two music videos comes just a day after West’s agent Jarinn Akana told ESPN.com that — while he will consider overseas offers — the Celtics remain his No. 1 destination this offseason. West averaged 5.6 points on 45.8 percent shooting along with 2.7 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 18.9 minutes over 24 games during his injury-plagued season.

Report: Lawrence Frank is Pistons’ top choice

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Lawrence Frank spent one season on the Celtics sideline assisting Doc Rivers. (AP)

In his one season on Doc Rivers‘ staff with the Celtics, Lawrence Frank picked up the mantle from Tom Thibodeau as the team’s top assistant and lead defensive coach and returned the team to the top of the defensive rankings. The Celtics led the NBA in points allowed, were second in field goal percentage defense and finished in a virtual tie with Thibodeau’s new team — Chicago — for points allowed per 100 possessions.

Frank spent much of the offseason interviewing for head coaching jobs in Houston, Golden State and Toronto, and now it looks like he has found a new home. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Frank has emerged as the Pistons’ top choice and is expected to receive an offer in the next 24-36 hours.

Wojnarowski also reports that Frank is expected to bring along Roy Rogers, who came over from New Jersey with Frank and served as the team’s big man coach last season. Frank compiled a record of 225-241 as head coach of the Nets that ended after a disastrous 0-16 start to the 2009-10 season. But Frank’s reputation as a dedicated, hard-working coach followed him to Boston and he was able to forge strong relationships with the team’s veterans.

The Pistons were a disaster last season under coach John Kuester, especially defensively where they ranked last in field goal percentage defense and 28th in points allowed per 100 possessions. Only Cleveland and Toronto were worse. There were also reports of an attempted player revolt against Kuester, making Detroit one of the most dysfunctional teams in the league.

Frank will have his work cut out for him as the once-proud franchise is digging out from a series of bad contracts and mediocre results. But team president Joe Dumars pulled off a coup when he drafted Greg Monroe in 2010, and a young nucleus of Monroe, Austin Daye, Jonas Jerebko and rookie Brandon Knight is reason enough for optimism.

Rivers and Danny Ainge will now be in the market for an assistant coach to round out the staff, and they will also be looking for supporting personnel to replace Rogers and Darren Erman, who left to take an assistant coaching job with Golden State. Erman was with the team for the last four seasons.

What we know about Celtics’ financial situation

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

In case you haven’t heard, NBA owners have locked out their players, and the outlook appears grim, as Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck is among a group willing to lose the entire 2011-12 season over the labor dispute.

Grousbeck and the rest of the ownership group purchased the Celtics in late 2002 for a then-record $360 million, taking on $180 million in debt. Forbes.com valued the franchise at $452 million after their near-title 2009-10 season, a 65.0 percent increase in value since the 2001-02 season.

Before we put how much the Celtics have made — and stand to make — from their new TV deal into perspective, let’s take a year-by-year look at how the Celtics have done financially since the current owners took helm …

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Larry Bird to join Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson on ‘NBA 2K12′ covers

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Courtesy 2K Sports

The last time Larry Bird and Michael Jordan were featured on the cover of the same video game in 1988 for “Jordan vs. Bird: One on One,” the game came out for such systems as the Commodore 64, Sega Genesis and of course the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Oh and the gameplay looked like this.

Now, the pair along with Laker great Magic Johnson will be featured on the cover of the game “NBA 2K12″ this upcoming season and will also be able to be used as players within the game. The three players will each have their own cover all to themselves and the covers will be dispersed equally across the country (while only the Jordan cover will be available in non-US markets). Jordan famously graced the cover of “NBA 2K11,” and the popularity of that game (5 million units sold, 20 awards) led 2K Sports to give this season’s version a similar approach with two extra stars thrown in for a little extra spice.

“Bringing Michael Jordan to the virtual hardwood last year was a huge success for NBA 2K11; however, we didn’t want to stop there,” said Jason Argent, vice president of marketing for 2K Sports, in a statement. “We’re bringing ‘His Airness’ back to the NBA 2K franchise as part of a multi-year extended partnership, along with two other legendary icons – Larry Bird and Magic Johnson – for a special cover athlete collection representing the NBA’s greatest heroes.” (Read the entire statement on Facebook here.)

The game is already available for preoder and will be ready for wide release on Oct. 4, for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, Wii, PSP and Windows PC. The game will be sold and played even if a lockout threatens the entire NBA season in 2011-12. No word on if it will work on NES, however.