Archive for October, 2011

Irish Coffee: At what point do NBA players cave?

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

NBA commissioner David Stern is set to cancel two more weeks of the season. Or he isn’t. Or games through Christmas are in jeopardy. Or an 82-game season is still possible. Or you can torch the entire 2011-12 calendar, including the final years of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen‘s Celtics contracts.

Anything is possible.

If indeed the first 13 games of the Celtics season are canceled, here’s how much money each of the six C’s currently under contract might lose if their first two bi-weekly paychecks are never issued:

Kevin Garnett: $1,630,769.23
Paul Pierce: $1,179,487.23
Ray Allen: $769,230.77
Rajon Rondo: $769,230.77
Jermaine O’Neal: $478,923.08
Avery Bradley: $117,267.69
TOTAL: $4,944,908.77

Garnett has reportedly made more than $300 million in salary and endorsements, so $1.6 million is chump change (0.5 percent of total earnings) — especially when you consider he has $35 million in deferred salary from his last two contract extensions due to him over the first seven years of his retirement, according to NBA.com.

Bradley made $1.4 million in salary as a rookie this past season, so $117K is a crapload of money (8.4 percent of total earnings). Especially when you consider he could be fired after one game in a Hapoel Jerusalem uniform.

Since the Celtics are still selling merchandise, it’s difficult to tell how much revenue they would lose should those 13 games over 28 days go up in smoke. In the 2009-10 NBA season, the C’s earned $68 million in gate receipts over 53 home games (41 regular season, 12 playoff). With six home games scheduled through Nov. 28, that’s $7.7 million in ticket revenue based on the 2009-10 numbers. And that doesn’t include revenue generated from concessions or media rights. Still, they could be saving nearly as much in player expenses.

At what point do the vast majority of NBA players — who are making closer to Bradley-level money than Garnett-level money — panic about losing these paychecks? No matter how hard Garnett, Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant urge them to hold their ground, at some point they’re bound to cave. And that’s what Stern is counting on.

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Irish Coffee: Six Celtics actually play basketball

Monday, October 24th, 2011

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

Celtics restricted free agent Jeff Green played with the big boys, and won.

A fixture in exhibition games hosted by NBA stars during the lockout, Green helped former Thunder teammate Kevin Durant as well as LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, LaMarcus Aldridge, Jamal Crawford and former Boston College standout Reggie Jackson win the U.S. Fleet Tracking Basketball Invitational in Oklahoma City on Sunday night.

Green totaled 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists in 48 minutes of a 176-171 overtime victory against the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Michael Beasley, Damien Wilkins, James Harden and Jonny Flynn. Beasley (51), Anthony (43), Durant (42) and James (40) all eclipsed 40 points.

‘€œYou put guys like that on the court, you are going to do whatever it takes,’€ Green told reporters after the game. ‘€œIt was fun at the beginning, then it got serious at the end. It’€™s great to play these type of games, but we do want to get the season started.’€

Green was one of six current or recent Celtics who actually played competitive basketball over the weekend. Here’s a rundown of the other five … (more…)

Irish Coffee: Top 5 plays by Celtics during NBA lockout

Friday, October 21st, 2011

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

The latest news from collective bargaining negotiations between NBA owners and players isn’t good. Media members can’t decide whether Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck is among owners who actually want a season or ones sustaining the lockout. Either way, the biggest losers in all of this are NBA fans. This list of top of Top 5 plays by Celtics during the NBA lockout goes out to us losers (wait, what?):

5. Glen “Big Baby” Davis seemingly losing to a fourth-grader at the IMG Basketball Academy

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Irish Coffee: Ray Allen’s microcosm of life

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

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

Celtics guard Ray Allen and coach Doc Rivers are in Orlando, Fla. for the PGA Tour’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic pro-am on Thursday and Friday. ESPN.com golf writer Michael Collins interviewed Allen prior to a round with 2008 Masters champion Trevor Immelman. Here are 10 things we learned from the exchange:

  • Allen couldn’t have looked less interested to start the interview.
  • Though a scratch golfer, he’s not thinking about a professional golf career.
  • Tee shots in front of a gallery scare him more than an NBA Finals tip-off.
  • His lowest round ever: A 67 at Newton’s Charles River Country Club.
  • He sees golf as a microcosm of life.
  • He doesn’t have a favorite part of his game.
  • Sand shots are the worst part of his game.
  • Ball-striking is the best part of his game.
  • He’d like to see more trash talking in golf.
  • He’d like to see a fight between John Daly and Woody Austin.

“The next shot is the best shot — the most important shot.” Sounds like he takes the same approach to golf as he does in basketball. Speaking of which, three people who donated $4,500 to The Home For Little Wanderers earned the chance to play (read: “lose”) a game of H.O.R.S.E. with Allen in his driveway before his wife Shannon Allen prepares them a home-cooked meal. Good times.

Allen is the lone member of the Celtics’ Big Four not rumored among NBA players expected to participate in a two-week exhibition tour in Puerto Rico, London, Macau and Australia, according to ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard. Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo are expected to participate — and Kevin Garnett is reportedly mulling an offer to play — during the canceled first two weeks of the NBA season.

I don’t know about you, but I kind of respect the fact that Allen isn’t bothering with any of these exhibition games or sticking his nose in labor negotiations. He’s ready to play whenever the lockout lifts. Otherwise, he’ll be playing golf. “I can work out for basketball, but there are so many hours left in the day.” So Shuttlesworth.

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Irish Coffee: The case for Avery Bradley breaking out

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

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

While his Celtics teammates await the end of the NBA lockout for structured basketball to resume, backup point guard Avery Bradley could make his Israeli basketball debut as soon as Sunday.

That experience — combined with his participation in the Impact Basketball Competitive Training Series — will leave Bradley with perhaps more competitive basketball under his belt during the lockout than any other NBA player should the lengthy collective bargaining mediation sessions ever result in an actual season.

But will it help him contribute to the Celtics if and when NBA basketball resumes? Bradley certainly thinks so. Here’s what he told Eurobasket in a recent interview:

  • On the offseason: “I’m in great shape. I played in the pro-am games and in the Impact League in Las Vegas, so basically I work out all the time and I always make sure I’m ready to play.”
  • On playing abroad: “Honestly, what I want most it to keep playing basketball, and Jerusalem sounded like the best possibility.”
  • On the lockout: “The players and owners are doing whatever they can to end the situation we’re in. No one wants the lockout, everybody wants the same thing — for it to be over. Until then, I’m with Jerusalem and my focus is on helping out the team in any way possible.”

And for what it’s worth, I think Bradley is poised for a breakout season of sorts (hard to truly break out when playing behind Rajon Rondo, but still …). Let’s not forget he hasn’t even hit his 21st birthday (Nov. 26).

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Irish Coffee: Kevin Garnett bleeps everything up

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

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

Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski piggybacked the ESPN reports over the weekend that Celtics forward Kevin Garnett‘s involvement in collective bargaining negotiations may have disrupted a potential 50/50 split of basketball-related income between NBA owners and players. The C’s-related portion of Woj’s piece:

This fight has grown nastier, more personal, in the past weeks. Privately, management insists that everything changed when the Celtics’ Kevin Garnett walked into the negotiating room on Oct. 4. The owners knew it wouldn’t go well when Garnett started glowering across the table, sources said, like the league lawyers, owners and officials were opponents at the center jump. He was defiant, determined and downright ornery. He was KG. Everyone knew Hunter had to cede to the wishes of the stars, and the stars demanded that the players stop making concessions to the owners.

As one league official said, “We were making progress, until Garnett [expletive] everything up.”

Colleague Paul Flannery and I had a brief e-mail exchange on the subject, and I couldn’t agree with him more: Are we really going to believe that by fixing the owners with a KG stare that they packed up and went home?

Owners and players will sit down with federal mediator George Cohen on Tuesday. In an appearance on CNN, NBA commissioner David Stern indicated that the meeting could be one of the most significant days of the lockout. Here are some highlights of that interview (via The New York Times):

  • The good: “We would push as hard as possible to be up and running in 30 days.”
  • The bad: “We keep negotiating and we keep losing games in the calendar.”
  • The ugly: “If there’s a breakthrough, it’s going to come on Tuesday. And if not, I think that the season is really going to potentially escape from us, because we aren’t making any progress.”

Calling a potential 50/50 split “a very thin deal for the NBA,” Stern also stressed three needs of the owners: 1) “an opportunity to be profitable,” 2) “a more robust revenue sharing plan” and 3) “a system that allows small market and large market teams to tell their fans: ‘We can compete if we’re well managed.'”

In related news, a group led by billionaire Joshua Harris bought the 76ers for a mere $280 million.

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10 Things I Heard About Celtics VIII

Monday, October 17th, 2011

On another slow Celtics news day, there’€™s still plenty to learn about Boston’€™s green men. Here are 10 more C’€™s links of interest we discovered over the past few days (‘€œ10 Things I Heard About Celtics’€ IIIIIIIVVVI and VII).

10. Current and former Celtics players Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green and Marquis Daniels all participated in Midnight Madness festivities at their respective Alma maters over the weekend.

Allen and Daniels judged dunk contests at UConn and Auburn, respectively. Likewise, Kentucky and Georgetown recognized Rondo and Green for their contributions to the Wildcats and Hoyas.

“Rondo, by the way, is outstanding,” UK head coach John Calipari recently said. “I mean this guy, he is working ‘€¦ and I told him, and I told Nazr Mohammed the same thing: When they are done if they want to come back and join this staff and finish up their degrees, they are welcome. They are great young people who want other people around them to get better and they are not afraid to share their knowledge and their experiences.”

Even C’s coach Doc Rivers showed up to watch his son Austin Rivers at Duke’s first official practice. Doc hasn’t abandoned his own Alma mater, as he is a member of the search committee for Marquette’s new AD.

Rivers’ respite from the golf course won’t last long, as he will join a slew of PGA Tour stars and former Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon in the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic pro-am. Welcome to the NBA lockout, ladies and gentlemen.

9. After totaling almost as many fouls (5) as points (7) in his losing debut for Italian team Benetton Treviso, Celtics second-round draft pick E’Twaun Moore bounced back in Game 2, totaling 11 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals in 23 minutes during an 85-84 victory. He started both games.

To put his performance in perspective, Moore’s averages through two games (9.0 PTs, 4.0 PFs, 4.0 REB, 1.0 AST and 1.0 STL in 27.5 MIN) compare less than favorably to BT teammate Brian Scalabrine (12.0 PTs, 3.5 REB, 3.0 AST, 2.5 PFs and 0.5 STL in 31.5 MIN). So, tame your Moore excitement.

Meanwhile, C’s backup point guard Avery Bradley is scheduled to make his Hapoel Jerusalem debut on Monday.

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