Irish Coffee: Paul Pierce to the NBA rescue!
|10.04.11 at 12:20 pm ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …
Only two players attended Monday’s NBA collective bargaining session with commissioner David Stern and the NBA brass. One was National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher. The other? Paul Pierce.
Pierce isn’t a member of the union’s executive committee, although CBS Sports columnist Ken Berger suggested the Celtics captain and player representative has expressed interest in becoming the Joe Biden to Fisher’s Barack Obama. Regardless, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver cited Pierce as someone who actually brought tangible ideas to the table during labor discussions in New York City over the weekend.
Not only is Pierce expected to join Fisher again on Tuesday, but Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett have reportedly been invited to join a small group of players in what might be the final negotiating window before the NBA starts canceling regular-season games. Imagine that. Lakers and Celtics on the same side of the ball.
Pierce’s presence is only magnified by the fact that his agent, Jeff Schwartz, is among a handful who encourage union decertification and drafted a letter urging the players not to accept a revenue share less than 52 percent — six points higher than Stern’s current offer and two points above what some believe could seal a deal.
Are those final two percentage points — a total of $80 or so million — worth destroying the momentum that two Celtics-Lakers finals and a Heat firestorm created over the last few seasons? It’s hard to imagine Pierce & Co. allowing these negotiations to devolve into decertification, as that could cost the league the 2011-12 NBA season. These are the issues that Pierce, Fisher, Garnett, Bryant and their colleagues face.
My how far Pierce has come since he got ejected from Game 6 of a first-round series loss to the Pacers in the 2005 NBA Playoffs, swung his Celtics jersey over his head at the Conseco Fieldhouse crowd and showed up to the post-game press conference with his head wrapped in a faux bandage.
If the 2008 NBA Finals MVP was Pierce’s defining moment on the court, this could be his moment of Truth off it. He could cement his legacy as not only a Hall of Famer but a power player in the NBA’s future for years to come.
For more on Tuesday’s pivotal NBA labor negotiations, WEEI.com’s Paul Flannery sets the stage perfectly.
COOPER AINGE FOLLOWS FATHER’S FOOTSTEPS
Like his father Danny Ainge and his brother Austin Ainge before him, Wellesley High (Mass.) senior point guard Cooper Ainge reportedly pledged to play basketball for Brigham Young University as a walk-on next year.
“I really like the coaching staff at BYU,” Cooper told The Recruit Scoop. “I like the atmosphere at BYU. My dad played there and my brother, Austin, also played there. It’s a place they both really enjoyed playing.”
The eldest Ainge — who as you know serves as Celtics president of basketball operations — owned the Cougars’ all-time scoring record (2,467 career points) before being surpassed by Jimmer Fredette last season. Austin Ainge scored 668 points in his four-year BYU career from 2003-07. The 6-foot Cooper Ainge and sophomore brother Crew Ainge are expected to lead Wellesley in the Bay State Conference this winter.
Celtics head coach Doc Rivers has also sent two sons to Division I basketball programs — Jeremiah Rivers to Indiana University via Georgetown and Austin Rivers this coming season to Duke University. His youngest son Spencer Rivers is a sophomore at Winter Park High in Orlando, Fla. I’m taking the Rivers family in that battle.
Speaking of following in Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers‘ footsteps, let’s take a moment to watch those two in a Reebok Pumps commercial from the early 1990s (h/t Kicks on Cards) …
Rivers was in Boston on Monday to promote the Celtics’ 25-year partnership with New England Baptist Hospital. He shared his thoughts with The Globe on the split between his good friend Terry Francona and the Red Sox:
- “Obviously losing him for me and this whole city, it’s like losing a brother in sports in a lot of ways. You have such a great relationship. It’s just one of those guys who’s in the same situation that you can share with.’’
- “We’ve definitely been communicating. I don’t want to say [how he feels], let’s put it like that, he’s going to be all right. Terry wants to win. Just like I would. I would beat myself up, so would Bill [Belichick], so would all of us. That’s what we do. That’s why we’re in this.’’
Belichick echoed Rivers’ sentiments during his weekly appearance on WEEI’s Big Show.
ANOTHER ALL-STAR APPEARANCE FOR RAJON RONDO?
He may be an All-Star in the NBA the last two seasons, but the lockout has forced Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo to resort to exhibition all-star appearances with former University of Kentucky basketball players.
Currently in Lexington working out on the Wildcats campus with the likes of Kevin Durant, Rondo is expected to join Brandon Knight, Eric Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins on the Big Blue All-Stars against NAIA teams from Oct. 8-13.
“Rajon Rondo is also very interested in playing in at least two games on the tour as well,” Big Blue director Jeff Sheppard told the local NBC affiliate, “and I am working hard to get Rondo on board with us for a few games.”
Likewise, C’s restricted free agent Jeff Green will join Cousins, John Wall, Michael Beasley and Kemba Walker in an exhibition game at Harrisburg High (Pa.) on Thursday. How’s that for random?
MARQUIS DANIELS’ CAMEO IN STEPHEN JACKSON’S RAP VIDEO
Let’s just say Stephen Jackson is taking a different approach than Pierce to the NBA lockout. He decided to rap about it while counting money and swearing every other word in a video (h/t Eight Points Nine Seconds). I only mention this because former Celtics swingman Marquis Daniels makes a cameo appearance at the 2:24 mark. Not exactly the best way to endear yourself to NBA fans at this point. Watch at your own risk …
(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)