|Jeff Van Gundy on D&C: Doc Rivers has personality to pull off return to Boston if trade falls through||06.18.13 at 8:32 am ET|
ABC/ESPN basketball analyst Jeff Van Gundy joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to offer his take on the reported Celtics-Clippers trade talks.
The Celtics are said to be considering sending Kevin Garnett along with coach Doc Rivers to Los Angeles. There has been widespread speculation that Rivers’ tenure in Boston is over either way, but Van Gundy isn’t so sure.
Said Van Gundy: “There’s a lot of people that don’t think he can still come back to Boston. I think it would work fine. He’s got the personality to pull it off. I think he’d be starting over with a different team anyway. It will be interesting to see what happens with Doc. Certainly these are interesting times in Celtic land.”
The Celtics reportedly would acquire young center DeAndre Jordan in the deal.
“I think everybody focuses on some maturity issues and his free throw shooting, and both need improvement,” Van Gundy said. “I like Jordan. I think he is a terrific athlete who has really improved defensively. He’s not like a physical guy, but he is a freak athlete who I think has shown great levels of improvement, where he came in as a second-round pick from Texas A&M after one year, not really accomplished in college. I think he’s continued to improve. Obviously, when you’re such a horrendous free throw shooter it limits how much you can play. But he is active, he can rebound.
“He’s a piece, if you’re trying to rebuild. Is he overpaid a little bit? Who’s not in the NBA? So he can just join the crowd on the long list of overpaid. But I like him better than how some people view him right now. I think he’s still an ascending player. If you’re going to go into a rebuild, he’s someone that’s intriguing.”
Touching on the NBA Finals — the Spurs have a 3-2 series lead heading into Tuesday night’s Game 6 in Miami — Van Gundy said there are intriguing story lines for both teams.
“There’s a lot on these two games for a lot of people on both sides,” Van Gundy said. “I think San Antonio played a great, great Game 5 offensively. I am so interested to see how they come out in Game 6. Do they do what Dallas did two years ago where they came in and they played a great game and beat Miami? Or do they take a sigh of relief and think that they have two games to win one, and so don’t play really as sharp or as desperate in Game 6 as they did in 5?
“And likewise, on the other hand, does the pressure get to Miami where they crack a little bit? Or have they been steeled by these last three years of long playoff runs, and do they show their championship mettle and find a way to win these two games? I’m really looking forward to it.”
|Report: Celtics, Clippers talking again, considering alternatives to Eric Bledsoe||06.17.13 at 1:04 pm ET|
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge reportedly has been holding out for the Clippers to include guard Eric Bledsoe along with center DeAndre Jordan and a first-round draft pick in a deal that would send Kevin Garnett and coach Doc Rivers to Los Angeles, but Wojnarowski writes that the teams are discussing alternatives to Bledsoe.
There also has been speculation that Rivers would find it difficult to return to Boston now, with one league executive telling Yahoo!: “There’s no putting the genie back in the bottle. You can’t pretend this didn’t happen and just go back to work.”
|Report: Doc Rivers ‘feels it may be time for a change’||06.12.13 at 11:48 am ET|
On Wednesday, ESPN’s Chris Broussard quoted a source close to the situation as saying there is some truth to the rumors that Rivers remains unsure whether he’ll return.
“Doc loves coaching,” the source said. “He loves coaching in Boston. But he feels it may be time for a change.”
Rivers, who has spent nine years with the Celtics, has three years and a reported $21 million remaining on his contract. The ESPN story stated that Rivers’ close relationship with president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is making his decision difficult. Ainge previously suggested that Rivers might need some time to regroup after a challenging season, but that he expected him to return to the bench.
|Phil Jackson says he’d take Bill Russell over Michael Jordan||05.24.13 at 10:35 am ET|
Legendary coach Phil Jackson, on an interview tour to promote his new book, gave a surprising answer when asked which player in NBA history he would choose to start a franchise.
“In my estimation, the guy that has to be there would be Bill Russell,” Jackson told Time magazine. “He has won 11 championships as a player. That’s really the idea of what excellence is, when you win championships.”
Jackson coached Michael Jordan‘s Bulls to six championships and Kobe Bryant‘s Lakers to five more. In his book, “Eleven Rings,” Jackson compares the two, noting that Jordan was a better leader, shooter and defender. Asked which one he’d prefer to have on his team, Jackson played it down the middle.
“I would flip a coin,” he said. “Whichever one came up heads or tails, I’d take that person. They were that good.”
|Report: Nets denied permission to speak to Doc Rivers||05.24.13 at 7:02 am ET|
Ainge has said that he expects Rivers to return to Boston next season. Rivers has three years and $21 million remaining on his contract as part of an extension he signed two years ago this week.
“Doc has told me he’s coming back,” Ainge told ESPN Thursday. “I talk to him almost every day about our team and what we are going to do moving forward.”
Ainge would not comment directly about the Nets’ interest, but he acknowledged Rivers is highly regarded around the league.
|Assistant GM Ryan McDonough leaves Celtics for Suns||05.07.13 at 2:05 pm ET|
“Ryan distinguished himself among an impressive group of candidates for our GM position,” Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby said in a statement. “His natural leadership and communication skills will serve the Suns well. And, his prodigious work ethic and ability to identify talent will enable us to take full advantage of the 10 draft choices, including six in the first round, that we have over the next three years. We welcome his championship pedigree to our organization.”
McDonough, 33, became Boston’s assistant GM in September 2010, after spending two seasons as the team’s director of player personnel, one season as the director of international scouting, one season as director of amateur scouting and four years as a special assistant to basketball operations.
McDonough, who grew up in Hingham, is the son of the late longtime Boston Globe columnist Will McDonough and the brother of ESPN announcer Sean McDonough and former NFL director of player personnel Terry McDonough. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 2002 with a degree in journalism and mass communications.
McDonough was profiled in a recent SB Nation feature by Paul Flannery and was described as “part of a new breed of talent evaluators who have been making inroads into the highest level of the NBA in recent years.”
Said prescient Celtics coach Doc Rivers in the story: “He’s very good at what he does. He’ll be a GM. There’s no doubt about that.”
|Bruce Bowen on D&C: Rumored Celtics-Clippers megadeal ‘hard to fathom’||05.07.13 at 10:29 am ET|
ESPN NBA analyst Bruce Bowen joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to talk about the playoffs and speculation about a possible megadeal between the Celtics and Clippers.
On ESPN’s “First Take” Monday, Stephen A. Smith suggested that the Celtics and Clippers might talk about a deal that would send Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Los Angeles for Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler. Smith also indicated that Doc Rivers might follow Garnett and Pierce to LA and become coach of the Clippers.
Bowen laughed at the prospects of such a deal, saying: “I find it hilarious sometimes.”
Added Bowen: “That’s difficult to see, the LA Clippers giving up Blake Griffin, No. 1. And No. 2, they want to build around that ball club, and that’s Chris Paul and him and DeAndre Jordan, I believe. So, that one there, that’s a little hard to fathom.”
The Clippers rumor aside, there continue to be reports that Pierce and Garnett might have played their final game as Celtics. While both are under contract, they could retire or the team could package either or both in an attempt to acquire younger talent.
Bowen said he would prefer that the team keep its stars and add complementary players rather than blow it all up and start over.
“You’ve got to continue to put pieces along the side of your core. ‘¦ You just keep adding pieces to it,” Bowen said. “That allows you to keep that standard that you have. And in the process, you hope to find a diamond in the rough that will be able to replace one of the key components.
“Unfortunately, we saw the huge loss of Rajon Rondo this year. And trust me, I believe that if he’s there, they beat the Knicks in that series. But it didn’t happen. You look at the bench. Boston went through a plethora of injuries this year. So, you really try to find guys that can fit into some of those roles as far as coming in, adding to what Paul was doing, adding to what KG was doing. When you have that, that’s where you’re able to make the best moves and the best decisions.”
Added Bowen: “When you start breaking up teams it’s an immediate rebuild. But I think there’s a way of rebuilding where you’re still competitive, where you’re still able to put a great product on the floor. And that’s what it boils down to right now, is bringing out a great product. What are we going to be able to do. Can we put out something that is nice out there, where our fans can be proud of. Even if we’re not winning like we used to, especially in Boston, they just want to see somebody playing hard and giving their best effort. If you can have something like that that is competitive, that’s the way you continue to — and from the business side, keep the fans in the seats and continue to keep the support of the white and green.”