|Would locked out Celtics consider signing overseas?||07.08.11 at 5:16 pm ET|
Almost 50 years after The Beatles led The British Invasion of rock bands into the popular culture in the United States, none of the self-proclaimed Heatles have committed to participate in what increasingly appears to be an invasion of NBA players into basketball leagues overseas.
But that’s not to say none of the NBA’s superstars aren’t (triple negative!) considering overseas options while the league’s owners have locked out the players with the absence of a collective bargaining agreement. A different wrinkle in this Eurasian Invasion pops up almost every day.
Nets point guard Deron Williams is leading the charge of superstars attempting to create leverage for the players, as he reportedly agreed in principal to a one-year, $5 million deal with Turkey-based (get it?) Besiktas should the NBA’s lockout last through the summer. Upstart Canadian National Basketball League has already extended invites to the likes of Dirk Nowitzi and LeBron James. Imports like Zaza Pachulia, Andrei Kirilenko, Marco Belinelli, Patrick Mills and Carlos Delfino are all considering returning overseas. Free agent veterans like Sonny Weems and undrafted free agents like David Lighty have already agreed to deals that will keep them in Europe even if there is a 2011-12 NBA season. And Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant has discussed the possibility of leading a group of players represented by his agent, Rob Pelinka, on an exhibition tour of China.
It’s hard to believe that Nenad Krstic started this trend, snubbing the Celtics and other free-agent center pursuers to sign with CSKA Moscow for two years and $9.8 million. With new rumors emerging every day, are the Celtics in danger of losing any other members of the 2010-11 roster overseas?
Let’s examine the potential for Celtics to explore options abroad …
|Austin Rivers dunks twice on Rasheed Wallace||07.08.11 at 3:23 pm ET|
Duke University’s No. 1 basketball recruit and son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers, Austin Rivers put on a show in his debut at the SJG Greater NC Pro-Am (a.k.a. “The Rucker of the South”), dunking not once but twice on former Celtic Rasheed Wallace — thanks to some vintage Sheed defense (or lack thereof).
|Shaq video chronicles gruesome cast removal||07.08.11 at 1:56 pm ET|
For anyone who might think Shaquille O’Neal exaggerated the right Achilles tendon injury that kept him from all but 12 minutes of the 2010-11 NBA Playoffs, take a look at the foot-long surgical incision on his leg in the embedded video — pieced together from a series of videos he posted on Tout.
Apparently, Shaq underwent surgery on the Achilles in the month and change since he informed the Celtics that he would retire from the NBA after 19 seasons. He now sports a supportive boot, complete with a chrome lining.
During his retirement press conference, Shaq announced his final nickname — The Big AARP — laying his Superman, The Big Shamrock and countless other monikers to rest. Of course, he only lasted a little over a month before declaring yet another nickname as a result of the surgical staples you can see being removed from his calf and ankle: The Big Staple Center.
Both Shaq and girlfriend Nicole “Hoopz” Alexander hinted at more to come. First, Shaq said he’ll be hiding his removed cast somewhere and will provide clues to its location soon. And then Hoopz tweeted that she and Shaq will be driving to the West Coast and back in an RV. Kinda like “On the Road” but with Jack KerouShaq.
|Mickael Pietrus: ‘Celtics are interested in me’||07.07.11 at 10:10 am ET|
Four months after the Celtics could have used his services — and possibly avoided trading Kendrick Perkins for Jeff Green — Suns swingman Mickael Pietrus is claiming the C’s are interested in him, according to French newspaper L’Ãquipe (via HoopsHype).
Phoenix didn’t use me, but that’s their problem. I’m going to continue working. The only thing I care about is winning a title. … A lot of teams are interested in me, like the Lakers or the Celtics. This came from the best player in the world: Kobe Bryant. He told me two months ago that he would like to see me with the Lakers.
It’s unclear whether the curiosity coming from Boston is new or just an aftereffect from the rumors that circled around Pietrus and fellow Suns swingmen Grant Hill and Jared Dudley before this past NBA trade deadline.
|Report: Von Wafer wouldn’t rule out Celtics return||07.06.11 at 1:29 pm ET|
In order to break his streak of starting with a new team each time he enters an NBA training camp, Von Wafer is reportedly opening to returning to the Celtics if and when the 2011-12 season begins, according to a report by ESPN.com’s Chris Forsberg. Here’s what Wafer’s agent, Terrance Doyle, told Forsberg:
“Von would love to be back. He’s never gotten that opportunity to go back with a team.”
But do the Celtics want Wafer back? Especially considering they gave Wafer’s No. 12 to their first-round pick (Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson) and drafted a shooting guard with their No. 55 pick (Purdue’s E’Twaun Moore) in addition to signing another undrafted guard (Pittsburgh’s Gilbert Brown). Not to mention the number of quality shooting guards expected to be available via free agency — including Delonte West.
In just 9.5 minutes per over 58 games — no thanks in part to a calf injury — Wafer averaged 3.2 points on 42.1 percent shooting from the field (26.9 from 3-point range). Unless you count his preseason brawl with West, Wafer didn’t exactly provide the firepower off the bench the Celtics had hoped from a guy who scored 9.7 points on 44.7 percent shooting (39.0 from 3) during his 2008-09 campaign in a Rockets uniform.
While Wafer’s defensive deficiency improved under the tutelage of Doc Rivers & Co., he only reached double-digit scoring just six times during the season. Two of those performances came in the final two games of the regular season, when the starters rested, and two more came in 15-point blowouts. Chances are the Celtics could find somebody to provide better punch on both ends of the floor — even at the bottom of the salary barrel.
|Is Wyc Grousbeck willing to lose entire NBA season?||07.01.11 at 9:30 am ET|
The NBA officially entered a lockout at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, and while positive signs are emerging from the NFL camp, more and more questions are developing about whether NBA owners and players can negotiate a collective bargaining agreement before the league starts losing games.
In fact, some owners are willing to lose the entire 2011-12 NBA season in order to get what they want, and Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck is among them, according to Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski:
Back in the labor talks of 2005, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck would say over and over in the negotiating sessions: The lockout is an investment.
Grousbeck smartened up, kept that thought to himself, but rest assured the mindset hasn’t changed. He’s one of the owners believed to be willing to lose the next season, along with Phoenix’s Robert Sarver.
While the Celtics are thought to be one of the few teams that could actually benefit from a shortened season — considering the aging legs of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Jermaine O’Neal — only Grousbeck would benefit from a lost season, as $31.2 million worth of Garnett and Allen would come off the books. That is, unless you think Dwight Howard is wearing green if and when the 2012-13 season comes around.
|Celtics free-agent options at shooting guard||06.30.11 at 12:15 pm ET|
We’re 12 hours and counting from the NBA lockout, but that doesn’t mean we can’t examine who will be available to the Celtics through free agency for the (fingers crossed) 2011-12 season once commissioner David Stern and players association executive director Billy Hunter hash out their differences. Since we have already analyzed the centers, we’ll move on to the C’s next-greatest need: Shooting Guards.
Just as the Celtics seemingly solidified the center position prior to the 2010-11 season, the same could be said for two-guards. They featured a Hall of Fame starter (Ray Allen) along with a tough combo guard (Delonte West), a lengthy swingman (Marquis Daniels) and a shoot-first scorer (Von Wafer). The latter three are unrestricted free agents this offseason, and there’s a chance any of the trio could return.
As we’ve noted before, the Celtics have six players under contract in 2011-12 for a combined $64.3 million (Kevin Garnett, $21.2; Paul Pierce, $15.33; Ray Allen, $10; Rajon Rondo, $10; Jermaine O’Neal, $6.23; Avery Bradley, $1.53), and Jeff Green is due at least another $5.91 million this offseason.
However, unlike the center situation, there will be a ton of quality available shooting guards. As a result, Celtics president Danny Ainge can more easily upgrade the team as a whole by dedicating what little money he’ll have available to a two-guard once the collective bargaining agreement is in place.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the options that should be available to the Celtics at shooting guard, separating the current free-agent players into four categories ‘¦
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