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Brad Stevens on M&M: ‘If anybody’s going to be impatient, it’s going to be me’ 07.05.13 at 1:48 pm ET
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Brad Stevens

Brad Stevens

New Celtics coach Brad Stevens joined Mut & Merloni guest hosts John Ryder and Steve DeOssie on Friday afternoon, shortly after he was introduced at a press conference in Waltham.

Stevens joins the Celtics after 13 years at Butler, the last six as head coach of the Indiana school. He received a six-year contract from the Celtics and said he’s eager to put his stamp on the program.

“If anybody’s going to be impatient, it’s going to be me,” Stevens said. “I love to compete. I love to prepare. And I can’t wait for the first practice. I’m a big believer in the day-by-day process, I’m really excited about it.

“The only way I would have considered leaving Butler was for the greatest situation. And it’s all about people. When I got a chance to sit down with the people in the room, it reminded me of the people that I was leaving. It’s been emotional, because it’s hard to leave a place that you’ve been for 13 years. But it’s also very exciting.”

Stevens said he wants “outside-the-box thinkers” on his coaching staff as he makes the transition to the pro game.

“The things I’ve written down for a great staff are humble, hard-working and searching for answers,” he said. “I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I love being around people searching for them. It’s kind of motivating for me.”

Stevens’ Butler teams were noted for their intelligence and toughness, and he said that’s the same type of team he wants in Boston.

“I hope we play hard and play together,” he said. “And then I hope as time goes on, as we learn the people on our team and we learn whatever system we choose to put in that we are a very detail-oriented, tough-minded group. That’s what I’ve always enjoyed about coaching, is when you get people to all play not only to their strengths and enhance themselves individually but collectively go after it and achieve something, you can see that sense of purpose together.”

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Ian Thomsen on D&C: Celtics ‘need to trade’ Rajon Rondo following ‘fascinating’ hiring of Brad Stevens 07.04.13 at 1:09 pm ET
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Ian Thomsen

Ian Thomsen

Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thomsen joined the Dennis & Callahan show, with guest hosts Butch Stearns and Adam Pellerin, on Thursday morning to discuss the Celtics’ hiring of Butler’s Brad Stevens to be their next coach.

Stevens, 36, reportedly was given a six-year, $22 million deal to oversee the rebuilding of the C’s.

“This was a real shocker, but it’s inspired,” Thomsen said. “They have a plan. It’s unlike any other team’s plan. I think they have a chance to make it work, so, good for them.”

Thomsen’s biggest concern is Stevens’ adjustment to an NBA that values its players far more than its coaches.

“I think the risk is you don’t know if he’s going to be any good,” Thomsen said. “It’s just a different world, a totally different world. It used to be that college coaches could make the jump to the NBA, because, as we all know, NBA players weren’t making that much money, they didn’t have that much power. When Red Auerbach was coaching, there was no free agency. He had the final say over contracts. Everything was different.

“Now the players in the NBA have more control than the coaches, except for a few situations. So, for a college coach to come in — look, these college programs are all about the coach. It’s all about the coach. And the coach every day goes out there and makes sure everybody on the team knows that it’s all about him. It’s all about Coach K [Mike Krzyzewski], it’s all about the other coaches, it was all about Jim Calhoun at UConn.

“They come to the NBA and all of a sudden they don’t have that power over the players. The players have the power over them. It’s an entirely different situation. That’s why these college coaches that in the past have been hired to coach bad teams, they’ve been fired after a couple of years, it’s been disastrous and they’ve given the whole thing a bad name.

“Why I think this can be different is because they are giving him six years. Danny [Ainge] has replaced who is arguably the best coach that isn’t about to retire in the NBA, Doc Rivers, he’s chosen to replace Doc with this guy, who has no track record. So, they’re trying to build on what Doc developed by rekindling the whole Celtics tradition, and trying to build on that by hiring this guy.

“In most circumstances you would say it’s a big mistake. I would. I’ve been saying all along that it’s impossible for a college coach to make the jump and win in the NBA. But this is a different circumstance than all the others. They’re giving him a six-year commitment, so they’re saying, ‘We’re not going to be judging you after two years, and we’re going to be rebuilding the team anyway, but we’re going to be standing by you.’ None of that has happened for any of the college coaches coming in. So, this is different. He’s trying to build a program. he’s trying to develop the old traditions and keep them relevant in this modern age. I think it’s fascinating and it’s inspiring.”

Added Thomsen: “They’re trying to indoctrinate this guy in the Celtic way. To me, the Celtic way means something. It’s an ideal. It’s hard to believe that it can work in this day and age, but they’re trying to make it work, and good for them.”

Thomsen is convinced that the Stevens hiring spells the end of Rajon Rondo’s tenure in Boston.

“It just makes sense all the way around,” Thomsen said. “If they keep Rondo, then they will not bottom out, for starters. If you want to look at it cynically, they won’t lose enough games. They’ll win just enough games to not be terrible, but they’ll never have a chance to be good. They won’t have the means to go out and get the great players that you need in the NBA.

“But then the other part of it is, I just don’t see how he can be coached by a guy that’s never been in the NBA. Doc Rivers is known in the NBA for being the coach that can confront players, can work with them, can laugh with them, can yell at them, can do all these different things. It took everything Doc had to make it work with Rondo It took all of his experience, all of his wisdom, just to keep Rondo as a constructive member of the team. And Danny and Wyc [Grousbeck], they know that. They know that. So, I just don’t see how they would make this big investment with a young coach who’s never been to an NBA practice, and then put him with one of the smartest players in the league, a great player — Rondo has a lot going for him, but Rondo’s not going to put up with somebody who doesn’t know what he’s doing.”

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Report: Celtics in running for Greg Oden 07.02.13 at 6:22 am ET
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Greg Oden

Greg Oden

According to an ESPN report, free agent center Greg Oden, who is looking to make a return to the league after sitting out since 2009 with knee problems, is likely to choose from a list of five teams that includes the Celtics. The Spurs, Heat, Cavaliers and Grizzlies are the other top candidates, with the Cavaliers and Spurs the favorites, the report indicates.

Oden, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft out of Ohio State, has not played since Dec. 5, 2009. He had his third microfracture knee surgery in February 2012.

Oden has averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 82 career games with the Trail Blazers.

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Doc Rivers: ‘I was just getting tired’ of Bill Simmons’ criticism 06.28.13 at 1:45 pm ET
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Doc Rivers, making an appearance Friday on The Dan Patrick Show, explained why he took a shot at ESPN’s Bill Simmons during the network’s draft coverage Thursday night.

Rivers objected to Simmons repeatedly saying he quit on the rebuilding Celtics, and said: ““I would like to call him an idiot, but I’m too classy for that. That’s just his opinion. That didn’t happen. He really needs to know the whole truth, which he doesn’t.”

A day later, Rivers wasn’t backing down.

“Bill’s a fan,” Rivers told Patrick. “Is he qualified to do the NBA? Well, we can debate that all day. But Bill’s a fan. And I get that. Not a friend of mine or a fan of mine, and he never has been. I rarely respond. You know that. I don’t do it very often. But I’d just kind of had enough of that. I thought it kind of ruined the broadcast last night, ’cause he kept bringing it up. It was almost like he had an agenda. I was just getting tired of it.”

While acknowledging he fared well by moving to the Clippers, Rivers said the Celtics had a strategy and they stuck to it.

“I think last night happened exactly the way Danny the Celtics wanted it to,” he said. “They wanted to unload contracts for draft picks, and I happened to be one of those contracts.”

Added Rivers: “Clearly, yeah, I had a selfish motive. I had a chance to not rebuild and go to a team that is in a different phase of their franchise so everybody benefited. And I clearly, at least I hope, I benefited from it. But this is done together. This is not me walking into the Celtics and saying I quit or anything like that.”

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Doc Rivers gets defensive against accusation that he quit on Celtics 06.28.13 at 7:11 am ET
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Doc Rivers was part of the dismantling of the Celtics, but he insists his departure for the Clippers was not an indication of him quitting on a rebuilding team, despite the fact that team president Danny Ainge and owner Wyc Grousbeck have said that it was Rivers’ idea to consider a change after nine seasons on the Boston bench.

Asked at Thursday’s NBA draft for a response to ESPN’s Bill Simmons saying he quit on the C’s, Rivers dismissed the comment.

“I would like to call him an idiot, but I’m too classy for that,” Rivers told ESPN’s Shelley Smith. “That’s just his opinion. That didn’t happen. He really needs to know the whole truth, which he doesn’t.”

Responded Simmons, who was part of ESPN’s team at the draft: “The truth keeps changing. I mean, he’s given different quotes about this — he didn’t know, he did know, he kind of knew, he wanted the trade to happen, he was coming back, he needed a year off. When he sticks to his story, I’ll believe the truth.”

Added Simmons: “Just own it. Just admit what you did. The writing was on the wall, the Celtics wanted to rebuild, you didn’t want to be a part of it, you wanted to go to the Clippers, and it happened. Just own what you did.”

Rivers’ son Jeremiah, who played last season with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA D-League, took to Twitter to defend his father, tweeting multiple messages at Simmons. Wrote Jeremiah:

My father has never quit anything in his life. He now has an NBA Championship, and helped in rejuvenating the Celtics.

You know nothing about winning, about sacrifice, and being a champion. You sit behind a desk and pick on people.

You are an Internet bully. There is a reason nobody will side with you. They like my dad better than you.

If you don’t have all the facts, which you clearly DON’T, I suggest you sit down and shut up. Good day sir.

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Report: Celtics, Nets blockbuster involving Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce pending 06.27.13 at 1:20 pm ET
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The Celtics and Nets have agreed to a deal that will send Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn, pending Garnett waiving his no-trade clause, according to Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski.

While both sides are pressing to finalize the trade, Garnett “doesn’t want to be pressured into a quick decision,” a source told Wojnarowski, and the NBA’s moratorium prevents any deal from becoming official until July 10.

Jason Terry would reportedly join the two future Hall of Famers in going to Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, the Celtics would receive three first-round picks — in non-successive seasons from 2014-18 by rule, the report said, giving the C’s nine first-rounders over the next five seasons.

The Celtics would also assume the following salaries in order to make the deal work: Gerald Wallace (3 years, $30.3 million), Kris Humphries (1 year, $12 million), Reggie Evans (2 year, $3.5 million), Keith Bogans (sign-and-trade) and one more NBA minimum-wage player.

The Celtics also discussed potential Garnett and Pierce trades with the Warriors and Mavericks, according to Wojnarowski.

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Wyc Grousbeck on D&C: ‘We’re all square’ with Doc Rivers, although ‘it was not our idea’ for him to leave 06.26.13 at 9:37 am ET
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Wyc Grousbeck

Wyc Grousbeck

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about Doc Rivers‘ departure to the Clippers.

Danny Ainge said at a Tuesday press conference that it was Rivers’ idea to leave, dismissing reports that the Celtics initiated the change. Grousbeck concurred and said he’s sorry to see Rivers go.

“I would say a little disappointment,” Grousbeck said. “I’m where Danny was, and he clearly expressed it, which is we thought we’d be here for this five-year term with Doc. He was, as Danny said, he talked to Doc about staying and having longevity. And nine years is a long time, there’s no question. But 12 years is longer. So, we were planning for the long term with Doc because we think he’s one of those foundational guys.

“It was a good run, a couple of [NBA] Finals appearances. But it was not our idea.”

Grousbeck said Rivers’ decision was not shocking, as the parties have been talking for “three or four weeks,” but it was difficult to accept.

“It’s not a bolt out of the blue, it’s an ongoing discussion,” he said. “And it finally got to the point where he said, ‘Maybe it’s time.’ And we, over a period of time, ended up agreeing with him.”

Grousbeck insisted he has no animosity toward Rivers for wanting a different challenge at this stage.

“I talked to Doc the other day. I said, ‘Look, we’re all square. You’ve given us your heart and soul for nine years; we’ve given you a lot of support. I feel great about it. And I took some of your money on the golf course, buddy. So, we’re all good.’

“But I don’t feel he owes us more. I don’t feel he owes us the next three years. I think he’s entitled to take a look at the next three years. And he left in a way and on terms that got us some benefit back. So, I don’t feel misused or that we’re not even. I think we’re even. I just would have been willing to go forward with Doc. And now that we’re not — actually, it’s energized Danny. He’s got a list of coaching candidates — which we’re not going to discuss today. But he’s got a list of guys. He’s got a new spring in his step. And it’s energized Danny to rebuild, which is what’s necessary.”

Added Grousbeck: “I think Doc and we are even. I think those nine years, if you had told me this is how the nine years were going to go when we signed him, I would have been thrilled. I’m very happy with how it went. And we’re even.”

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