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Irish Coffee: 10 Things I Heard About Celtics

This is the worst. An aging Big Three stands in the way of LeBron James [1] and a second straight NBA title — only it’s the Spurs, not the Celtics [2]. Instead, Boston basketball fans are inundated with all sorts of ridiculous rumors. I think Kevin Garnett [3]‘s uncle’s cousin’s brother’s sister-in-law just claimed KG’s coming back. That’s why, on another slow C’s news day in June, we’re revealing the latest edition of 10 Things I Heard About Celtics.

10. Heated rivalry: Speaking of LeBron, he went One on Two with Ahmad Rashad and Ahmad Rashad’s earring before taking on San Antonio. Asked if he considered Kobe Bryant [4] his greatest rival, James waxed unpoetically about Bill Russell [5] and Wilt Chamberlain [6], ultimately landing on Paul Pierce [7] as the closest thing to a rival (h/t @MrTrpleDouble10 [8]). Somewhere, a pajama clad Kevin Durant [9] stoically cleans gutters [10].

“I would say that I don’t really have an individual rivalry. I think the closest would be Paul Pierce,” said the four-time NBA MVP. “I would say Boston is a rival of mine, because I’ve met them so many times in the postseason. I’ve been able to advance against them, they’ve sent me home fishing a few times, so I would say Boston and Paul Pierce would kind of be that guy if I had to name just one guy.”

9. Trading faces of franchises: “Healthy” and “Pierce” haven’t been mentioned in the same sentence too often over the last couple years, except when Boston Herald beat writer Steve Bulpett recently wrote [11], “there is reportedly healthy interest in Pierce out on the market.” Now, we don’t know who considers what healthy, but I’m guessing the offers are more of the Kris Humphries ilk [12] than the Eric Gordon variety [13].

8. Hyppa Act: Good stuff from Celtics Town here [14], where they caught up with Chris Hyppa, a Washington-based trainer who has been working with Celtics guard Avery Bradley [15] this spring. I suggest you read the whole interview, but here are two telling quotes from Hyppa.

Hyperbole? Sure. But Bradley’s “I want to be an All-Star” mentality means more than anything.

7. Ron-dos and Ron-don’ts: Should we talk about the fact Rajon Rondo [17] is sitting on Joan Rivers‘ lap? No? You sure? Ah, screw it. Apparently, she wasn’t a fan of his infamous zebra jacket [18].

“It’€™s a little too old, it’€™s mostly black and not accomplishing anything,” said Rivers. “I’€™m surprised it doesn’€™t play for the Lakers.” Ouch.

I mean, Rajon Rondo is sitting on Joan Rivers’ lap, right?

6. The Rivers Wild: I’m fairly confident Joan Rivers isn’t related to Doc Rivers [19], but as long as we’re on the subject: Are people really still debating [20] whether he’s coming back as Celtics coach? Didn’t Danny Ainge publicly announce Doc’s return [21]?

I’d say the coach’s presence at the C’s pre-draft workouts is a fairly strong indication he’s coming back. That and the $21 million left on his contract. Pretty sure he’d be on a golf course somewhere in Orlando right now if he was hanging up his whistle.

5. Getting drafty: It’s hard keeping track of all the guys that have worked out for the Celtics, but we know of at least 20. The C’s are making no secret about the fact they’re targeting point guards and bigs. Here’s the list (less-than-flattering NBA comparisons in parentheses, if available, courtesy of NBAdraft.net).

BIGS: Pittsburgh’s Steven Adams (Byron Mullens), Creighton’s Gregory Echenique, Colorado State’s Colton Iverson (Jason Jennings), Miami’s Reggie Johnson, Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe (Leon Powe [22]), Duke’s Mason Plumlee (Yi Jianlian) and Kansas’ Jeff Withey (Travis Knight).

PGs: Marquette’s Vander Blue, Belmont’s Ian Clark, Virginia Tech’s Erick Green (Bo Kimble), Baylor’s Pierre Jackson, Texas’ Myck Kabongo (Erick Barkley), Miami’s Shane Larkin (D.J. Augustin), Missouri’s Phil Pressey, Germany’s Dennis Schroeder (Darren Collison) and Louisville’s Peyton Siva (A.J. Price).

OTHER DUDES: Illinois State’s Tyler Brown, VCU’s Troy Daniels, Providence’s Ricky Ledo (Qyntel Woods) and Northeastern’s Jonathan Lee (Magic Johnson [23]. Just kidding. He’s more of a Bill Russell/Michael Jordan [24] hybrid).

Mock drafts are like snowflakes. No two are alike. I like Jeff Goodman, who had the Celtics taking French center Rudy Gobert at No. 16 in one of his final mocks for CBSSports.com. He’s since accepted a role at ESPN, and he’s joining the Green Street podcast this week. Stay tuned. As Rob Bradford says, all the cool kids will be listening. Also, Green Street will be rolling out draft profiles of potential C’s over the next couple weeks. Check back.

4. JET grounded: Two days ago, Jason Terry [25] tweeted a picture of himself in some strange harness atop a treadmill with the hashtag “#rehab.” Then, we learned the 35-year-old had knee surgery [26]. Good times. Almost as much good times as Terrence Williams‘ offseason, which now includes an arrest [27] and an injection for the tendinitis in his knee. Not the best news for a guy trying to make the roster.

3. Red alert: This interview [28] is amazing. Read it. Somehow, all of this would have made perfect sense if “Exorcist” director William Friedkin owned a third of the Celtics. Favorite quote: “They worked, psychologically, on developing a hatred of the other team. Red encouraged it. It was trumped up. They would get themselves worked up to a hatred of Magic or whichever player they were up against.”

2. Blueprints: I’ve always enjoyed the idea that various NFL teams provided the blueprint to beat the Patriots. Considering the Pats [29] continue to win roughly 80 percent of their games, that blueprint work certainly isn’t something an architect like Tom Selleck‘s character in “3 Men and a Baby” would be proud of.

Same goes for the Heat. They beat the Pacers in seven games and will likely fare the same or better against the Spurs, but both opponents illustrate the dichotomy Ainge faces during this offseason.

On the one hand, you have the Pacers — a defensive-minded team that built its core around smart draft picks (Paul George, Lance Stephenson and Kawhi Leonard, who they traded for George Hill), traded an aging star at the right time (Jermaine O’Neal [30] for Roy Hibbert [31]) and didn’t break the bank on quality free agents (David West).

On the other, you have the Spurs — a well-coached team that held onto its two aging stars (Tim Duncan [32], Manu Ginobili [33]) and a top-five point guard (Tony Parker [34]), surrounded them with picks (Tiago Splitter), trade pieces (Leonard) and scrap heap guys (Danny Green) while biding their time for an injury to Russell Westbrook [35].

The Celtics could go either way, and that’s what makes this summer so fascinating.

1. Kevin [36]!: Have you ever noticed that Kevin Garnett and the Home Alone character Kevin McCallister both love [37] screaming [38]? Must be a Kevin thing. I think Macaulay Culkin is the latest to weigh in on what he’s hearing about which way KG is leaning, because he knows as much as the rest of us. Can we agree nobody but Kevin Garnett knows what Kevin Garnett is thinking, except Rondo, and he’s only told Joan Rivers. And she already forgot.