Ray Allen, Celtics talk NBA lockout during workouts
|09.15.11 at 11:48 am ET|
This NBA offseason of lockout talk has been anything but ordinary, but leave it to Ray Allen to maintain business as usual. Per usual at the end of each summer, the NBA 3-point king is practicing at his alma mater.
As you can see from the embedded video, the Celtics shooting guard knocked down shots on the regular in a shooting drill with the UConn men’s basketball team. And when he finally misses, he’s none too happy.
“I want to show them how to get into the rhythm,” Allen told The Hartford Courant. “the template of being a shooting guard.”
Allen and former Huskies teammate, longtime friend and Celtics commentator Donny Marshall arrived in Storrs, Conn., on Tuesday and are expected to work out with Jim Calhoun‘s team for the next few weeks. UConn alums Rudy Gay and Kemba Walker have also stopped by to practice at Guyer Gym this summer.
While this summer has been status quo for Allen, his fall plans seem destined to be disrupted, as NBA labor negotiations seemingly disintegrated during the latest collective bargaining session on Tuesday.
“I’m optimistic,” Allen told Connecticut’s Journal Inquirer. “Both sides want to play basketball. Both sides want the same thing, for the game to grow, and to make it better for our fans. I purposely in my mind am expecting camp on the date I would normally expect it. That way, once I get to end of September, my body will at least be in a good place and I don’t have to worry about rushing it if it comes at the last minute.”
Allen’s Tuesday workout reportedly lasted for several hours, after which he spoke to the current UConn squad for more than half an hour and signed autographs for onlooking fans. Then, the 1995-96 Big East Player of the Year spoke to reporters about his impressions of the current Huskies:
- On star recruit Andre Drummond: “Andre obviously out there today was a man-child. He reminds me of Shawn Kemp a lot. He’s got the size, he’s got long arms, athlethic ability. He still seems raw.”
- On NCAA championship hangover: “Most people will talk about the talent that we lost, but it’s more about the leadership — keeping the guys together, making sure they hold everybody accountable. One thing I kept reiterating to them today is about how you deliver the message. After what they did last year, the guys who are left over, they all have the recipe.”
Like Allen, Celtics teammates Avery Bradley and Jermaine O’Neal are staying in shape, playing with a group of 70 NBA players as part of the Impact Basketball Competitive Training Series in Las Vegas this September. According to reports, Bradley and O’Neal have averaged double-digit points over the first three days of action.
While this is the first summer between NBA seasons for Bradley, O’Neal was around during the last NBA lockout in 1998-99 — just as Allen was — so the Celtics center also has perspective on the current labor discussions.
“If it’s about small-market teams not profiting, if the owners are really using that as a bargaining tool, if you’re really concerned about it, then why aren’t you profit-sharing like the other leagues are doing?” O’Neal told ESPN.com. ”So do we accept a deal that totally butchers our game? Because what they don’t understand, if you take out mid-tier deals and say, ‘Fend for bare minimum at the bottom,’ they’ll be individualizing our game so severely.”
O’Neal added that the players union’s intention “is to work out something with the owners” rather than take the decertification route that led NFL players into a legal batter with the league’s owners. There may be some added motivation behind that sentiment, as O’Neal has intimated that this NBA season could be his last.
“Hopefully we get an opportunity to play at the ultimate level, and that’s in the NBA Finals and winning the championship,” O’Neal told Inside Hoops. “This is probably my last year. I’ve been blessed to play 15 long years and had a lot of great things happen. I have two little ones that are getting older now — a 12-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy that I really want to spend more time with. And obviously you want to do what’s best for your family and what’s best for your livelihood as far as the physical nature. You don’t want to play too long.
“I had my second surgery last year on my knee. Sometimes you just have to know when to call it. Hopefully I have a full, successful year this year. And hopefully our team is able to win it. I know Danny [Ainge] is going to do whatever he needs to do to make the team better. … I did everything else but win a championship.”
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