|Chris Mannix on M&M: ‘More likely than not, the core of this [Celtics] team stays together’||02.20.13 at 1:48 pm ET|
Sports Illustrated NBA writer Chris Mannix joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday, one day before the NBA trade deadline, to discuss rumors surrounding the Celtics. Mannix said the Celtics would be wise to do the deal reportedly discussed with the Clippers, but he’s not expecting it to happen.
“Boston was making a lot of those calls about [Kevin] Garnett to the Clippers,” Mannix said. “And the interest in the Clippers, I can tell you, it’s divided out there among the organization. The coaching staff, they want Kevin Garnett, because they want to win now. ‘¦ Whereas the front office, I can tell you this, they’re not all that inclined to give up Eric Bledsoe, who is a potential 10-year starter in this league, and DeAndre Jordan, a sure-fire starter right now, for Kevin Garnett, who could potentially only be giving you a couple more months. Who knows what Kevin Garnett’s future is going to hold? To me, he’s always been on a series of one-year contracts.
“I think at the end of the day, when you throw in the no-trade clause that Kevin has, and you consider the fact that I have not heard a heck of a lot of significant interest surrounding Paul Pierce, I think more likely than not, the core of this team stays together.”
A report Tuesday night had the Clippers pulling out of trade talks. Mannix said he expects Celtics boss Danny Ainge would follow through if the deal is resuscitated.
“I think if the deal is there, he makes it,” Mannix said. “If he can get Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan for Kevin Garnett, you jump at it. I’ve heard some criticisms of this deal from the Boston side; I don’t get it. Has anyone not been watching Eric Bledsoe? As really the fourth guard on this Clippers team — third, I guess, when [Chauncey] Billups is injured — but really, he’s done a lot of things.”
Added Mannix: “You’re dealing with potential right now, because he hasn’t gotten the consistent minutes at the point guard spot because Chris Paul has been there for a couple of years now. But Eric Bledsoe is a guy that could potentially take over as a starting point guard for a team right away, and be an effective guy, be a guy that can score 15 points per game and give you seven, eight assists. Look at the way he’s played this year: He’s up to about 10 points per game. But more importantly, his field goal percentage is in the mid-40s right now, his 3-point percentage is in the low 30s. This is a guy that’s been improving every single year. So I think he’s a guy you would want to get.
“Same thing with DeAndre Jordan, who admittedly is a little bit overpaid, because Golden State threw that massive contract at him last year. But he’s someone that can be a starting center on your team for the next decade.
“And when you make a deal like that, all of a sudden there can be a domino effect. Now you can think about dealing Rajon Rondo next year, when he becomes healthy, because you have Eric Bledsoe already at the starter’s spot. You can trade Rondo for some starting quality pieces or some draft picks, and all of a sudden an old, aging team could suddenly be a fast, rebuilding team on the fly. I think that’s the way it would turn out.”
|Celtics offer condolences after death of Lakers owner Jerry Buss||02.18.13 at 4:26 pm ET|
Longtime Lakers owner Jerry Buss died Monday at the age of 80 following an 18-month battle with cancer. The immediate cause of death was listed as kidney failure.
“The NBA has lost a visionary owner whose influence on our league is incalculable and will be felt for decades to come,” NBA commissioner David Stern said. “More importantly, we have lost a dear and valued friend.”
Buss bought the team in 1979 and owned it during its most successful tenure. The Lakers won 10 titles and competed in 16 finals during the 34 years of his ownership. Two of his children, Jim Buss and Jeanie Buss, have been handling most of the team’s day-to-day responsibilities as his health failed.
Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck released a statement, saying: “I had the pleasure of working with Jerry closely for the last 10 years on league matters. He was a wonderful business colleague, brilliant competitor and became a good friend. Although our teams competed in two finals during that time, the friendship never wavered. He will be greatly missed and the entire Celtics organization offers condolences to the Buss family and Lakers organization.”
|Doc Rivers on D&C: ‘We need players’||02.15.13 at 10:24 am ET|
“Danny [Ainge] and I, we thought about it and we all have been thinking about it since all the injuries,” Rivers said. “With the last one with Barbosa, now we can’t look at one position anymore. That’s what we were looking at — looking at size first, then a guard. Now we’re looking at players. We need players. We need to pick up a couple of players as soon as we can get them. That’s what basically we’re doing.
“But we don’t want to do anything so quick that somebody else comes available and then we don’t have room because we’re at the cap threshold. We have to be very careful in what we do.”
Asked what kind of player would help most right away, Rivers said: “I would say a ball-handling guard. It’s no longer a point guard, it’s just a guard. If I had my perfect guard for this group right now, it would be a guard that can play multiple positions and that can shoot, that has some toughness.
“And then you need a big. You’re not going to find a center, so a 4. Obviously a 5 would be great, but a 4 that can stretch the floor. Or a 4 that can rebound, just a great rebounding 4 that has skills.
“That’s the list. There’s so many places to look. The China league ends in a week. So now some of the American players that are playing over there will begin coming back over to our league. The D-League. And then obviously through a trade. We don’t have a lot of assets to trade, so we have to be very careful there.”
Added Rivers: “We’re just looking for the best available player now. Obviously it would be great to have a shooter, one more shooter for us. Then we need a big that can rebound and defend.”
|Adrian Wojnarowski on M&M: Celtics ‘going to look at everything’ regarding trade possibilities||01.28.13 at 12:03 pm ET|
Wojnarowski said the C’s prospects for the postseason haven’t changed that much. “This is still probably a first-round loser in the Eastern Conference playoffs,” he said.
However, the C’s could decide to make some changes to the roster. Rumors around the web have the Celtics interested in Magic sharpshooter J.J. Redick and Raptors guard Kyle Lowry. Wojnarowski said neither of those players would make much sense for the C’s, because Boston would have to give up too much — likely including first-round draft picks.
“They’re not giving away picks right now — maybe if Rondo was still around, possibly,” Wojnarowski said. “Danny [Ainge] said it to me yesterday, and it’s true: Picks are hard to come by. People don’t want to trade them anymore. ‘¦ I just don’t see Boston giving away picks right now — to do what? Maybe somebody could make them better, but you’re mortgaging your future a little bit if you start giving away picks for a player who might able to help you win a couple of regular-season games and at best maybe a playoff game, if even that. I’d be surprised if Boston started to do that and gave away pieces of their future for a stopgap for the rest of the year.”
“I think it’s possible and I think there is a chance,” Wojnarowski said. “And I talked to Ainge about this yesterday, I talked to Doc [Rivers] about it. It gets back to the fact of, you can’t just do it for the sake of doing it. People say let’s blow it up, get rid of KG, get rid of Pierce and ‘start over.’ But you’ve got to remember that you have owners who still see the place is full every night. And maybe they can get in the playoffs, and the [revenue from] playoff games. Versus dumping these guys for what might be very modest returns.
“It’s one thing when you have a Carmelo Anthony and a Dwight Howard and you do the deals Orlando and Denver did, where you got good young players, you got draft picks. ‘¦ KG and Pierce are aging All-Stars in the mid- to upper 30s. People in this league anymore aren’t giving you young players and picks for those guys. So, like Danny said, tell me what the offer’s going to be. We can’t just say, hey, we’re going to ‘blow this up’ and start over. What will the offer be? Tell me what we’ll have the opportunity to do and then we’ll look at it. But you can’t just go into it and say, ‘Well, this is definitely what we’re going to do,’ because there may not be a deal out there that’s worth doing for those guys.
“But there’s no question they’re going to look at everything; they’ve been looking at everything. Danny’s not afraid to have a discussion about all his players. He’s always done it, to see what they’re value is. But I don’t think there’s any big deal out there where Boston’s going to get a great young player or one or two good first-round picks for either of those guys.”
“I’ve heard about that deal for days, I’ve asked about it, and I haven’t found anybody who’s given yet any credence to it. ‘¦ For the Celtics, giving up Pierce to get Gasol? Obviously they have a problem in the middle, there’s no question he could help them go back to being a grinding low-post team. But it’s a lot of money for Boston to take on going forward by bringing in Gasol — two years, [$]40 million. I guess we’d have to see if ownership would be willing to take on that much money and if they think that would put them over the top. To me, that deal makes them a little different; I don’t know if it makes them significantly better.”
|Flip Saunders on D&C: Celtics unlikely to make major trade after Rajon Rondo injury||01.28.13 at 8:52 am ET|
Saunders, a former NBA coach who served as an adviser to the Celtics for part of last season, said Doc Rivers faces a “challenging” situation.
“Doc, he’s an extremely positive individual,” Saunders said. ” I’m sure that there’s disappointment. But he looks at this as an opportunity and a challenge. Him and his staff, of course, they’ll change how they play a little bit, because you can’t play the same when you’re missing a guy like Rondo that generates 40 percent of their offense, basically, from what he does either scoring-wise or setting people up.
“They’ll change a little bit, but Doc’s not going to let this be any excuse either to himself, to his team, the organization or the players that they can’t go out and compete and win.”
Saunders said he expects some basic changes, including Rivers becoming more controlling of the offense and the team’s two veteran stars playing a bigger role.
“They’ll change a little bit,” Saunders said. “They’ll probably become more defensive-oriented, even more so now. I really believe that Doc will probably have to do more play-calling, where when he had Rondo, he was kind of an extension of him on the floor — he let Rondo pretty much run the show, call the plays. I think now he’s probably going to be a little bit more calling plays from the sidelines.
“And I think you’ll see more of the offense facilitated through Paul Pierce. You saw yesterday Paul getting a triple-double. And probably putting the ball into [Kevin Garnett] in the post more and letting people play off of him in the post.”
There has been speculation that president of basketball operations Danny Ainge will attempt to make a major trade to start the rebuilding process. Saunders isn’t so sure.
“I don’t think so, no. I think they’re going to hold tight. They’re going to give this one more go of it,” Saunders said. “I think the idea that they feel is that we can see where this takes us, let’s give these guys an opportunity to play together and still know that in the offseason if they had to do something they could probably still do something in the offseason if the season didn’t go as they liked.”
Saunders, who coached Garnett in Minnesota, said he doesn’t think the veteran would accept a trade.
“I really believe right now that he’s very much set. He loves Boston. I don’t think he wants to leave Boston,” Saunders said. “KG is a creature of habit. He doesn’t like change. He always was bothered when players were either traded or released. That’s just kind of his innate nature. I believe that he believes he’s a Boston Celtic. I believe that when they sat down and they talked [about a new contract in the offseason] they talked about him finishing his career in Boston. Otherwise he probably would have just rode into the sunset.”
|Carmelo Anthony appeals fine related to Kevin Garnett confrontation||01.24.13 at 10:28 am ET|
Carmelo Anthony says he’s moved on from the Kevin Garnett confrontation, but apparently his agent has not. According to the New York Post, the Players Association — after talking with Anthony’s agent, Leon Rose — filed an appeal to recoup the $176,000 Anthony lost as part of his one-game suspension.
The appeal is based on the fact that the Jan. 7 incident consisted only of verbal sparring.
“In light of the circumstances that it was not a physical confrontation, the suspension seemed excessive,” Players Association attorney Ron Klempner told the paper.
As per the collective bargaining agreement rules for one-game suspensions, Anthony was fined 1/110th of his $19.5 million salary.
Anthony and the Knicks are in Boston for a Thursday night game against the Celtics, their first meeting since the confrontation.
|With Knicks heading to Boston, Carmelo Anthony says feud with Kevin Garnett ‘not even on my mind’||01.23.13 at 9:36 am ET|
The slumping Celtics will look to end their four-game skid when they host the Atlantic Division-leading Knicks on Thursday night. That means a reunion between Kevin Garnett and Carmelo Anthony, who was suspended one game earlier this month for confronting Garnett after their Jan. 7 game.
During that game — a 102-96 Celtics win — Garnett trash-talked Anthony so much that the Knicks forward became infuriated (while shooting 6-for-26). Reportedly, Garnett made a comment about Anthony’s wife that set him off.
The players eventually communicated and apparently made peace, and Anthony said Tuesday that he’s focused only on getting revenge for the loss.
“I don’t care what message I sent to him [about not backing down],” Anthony told the New York media. “I just want to win. Do whatever it takes to win. Thursday’s definitely a big game for myself and us as a team to get us on the right track.”
Added Anthony: “We want to win. Do we owe them? Yes, they came here and beat us. We want to go there and return the favor on their court. We can’t get that game back.”
Anthony insisted he’s moved on from the incident.
“Oh, yeah. Honestly, it’s not even on my mind right now,” he said. “It hasn’t been on my mind since that day.”
Anthony, who is shooting just 39 percent in his last five games, expects the Boston crowd to be fired up for the matchup, as the Knicks try to put more distance between them and the fading Celtics.
“It will be fun,” he said. “It will be a hostile environment. I’m expecting that. It’ll be a fun game. Knowing what’s at stake, us playing Boston.”
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