|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.”
|Jeff Van Gundy on D&C: Celtics ‘just don’t have enough offensive talent’||04.30.13 at 9:52 am ET|
Collins, a 12-year NBA veteran who started the season with the Celtics and was traded to the Wizards in February, revealed Monday that he is gay. The support from people in and around the league was immediate and impressive.
“I expected every player to publicly support him, certainly the league to support him,” Van Gundy said. “I think the question that remains is privately, when you get behind the locker room doors, or they’re in their rooms in the hotels, what do they say then? Because everyone’s aware player-wise that to do like what [Dolphins wide receiver] Mike Wallace said yesterday, there’s going to be major repercussions. But to think that some players don’t have those similar thoughts but just won’t publicly express them is a bit naive. I think if Collins is on a roster next year, I think the public support will always be there. Privately, I think there will still be some ignorance to his situation.”
Collins is being heralded as the first active player in major team sports to come out. However, Van Gundy isn’t so sure Collins, a free agent, will be playing next season.
“The big issue whether Collins gets signed next year or if he’s not signed is going to have nothing to do with his sexual orientation and everything to do with his diminishing skills and athleticism,” Van Gundy said. “He’s a marginal NBA player right now, at best.”
The Celtics head back to New York for Wednesday’s Game 5 as heavy underdogs as they look to extend the series.
“I just think that the Celtics, are they going to be able to find enough offense over the next three games to legitimately put pressure on New York,” Van Gundy said. “Certainly if they win Game 5, anything becomes possible then because then you just have to win one home game to get to the ultimate Game 7. But when I see them, their guard struggles are so dramatic without [Rajon] Rondo that it’s difficult to create quality opportunities in the halfcourt. I think it will be even more so on the road.
“The thing that’s been overlooked is the first two halves of the games in New York, Boston was great. So many people have been focusing on what was wrong in the second halves, and I think it’s a talent issue, they just don’t have enough offensive talent with the loss of Rondo and Ray Allen from last year. But if they can stay in a faster-paced game, like they can get that ball and advance it and attack before the Knick defense gets set, then we’ve seen how effective Jeff Green can be in that type of game, [Paul] Pierce can hit some trail 3’s. I just think they have to play with pace and offensive energy. And if they can do that, their defense should be able to limit New York. They’re still an excellent defensive team.”
|NBA offers support to Jason Collins after his decision to come out||04.29.13 at 1:33 pm ET|
There has been overwhelmingly positive response to former Celtics center Jason Collins‘ revelation Monday that he is gay. Collins revealed his homosexuality in a first-person article he wrote for Sports Illustrated.
NBA commissioner David Stern made his support clear in a statement released shortly after the article was posted on the web.
“As [deputy NBA commissioner] Adam Silver and I said to Jason, we have known the Collins family since Jason and [twin brother] Jarron joined the NBA in 2001 and they have been exemplary members of the NBA family,” Stern said. “Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue.”
Collins, 34, is a free agent after playing out the season with the Wizards following his trade from Boston in February.
“We are extremely proud of Jason and support his decision to live his life proudly and openly,” Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfield said in a statement. “He has been a leader on and off the court and an outstanding teammate throughout his NBA career. Those qualities will continue to serve him both as a player and as a positive role model for others of all sexual orientation.”
A number of NBA players also offered encourgament via Twitter.
‘ Kenneth Faried (@KennethFaried35) April 29, 2013
|Ex-Celtic Jason Collins reveals he is gay||04.29.13 at 11:31 am ET|
Collins, a free agent, explained that at the age of 34 and with 12 NBA seasons (among six teams) behind him, he feels more comfortable discussing his sexuality. He also explained that Boston played a key role in his decision, which he had been considering since the 2011 NBA lockout.
Writes Collins: “I realized I needed to go public when Joe Kennedy, my old roommate at Stanford and now a Massachusetts congressman, told me he had just marched in Boston’s 2012 Gay Pride Parade. I’m seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy. I was proud of him for participating but angry that as a closeted gay man I couldn’t even cheer my straight friend on as a spectator. If I’d been questioned, I would have concocted half truths. What a shame to have to lie at a celebration of pride. I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, ‘Me, too.’
“The recent Boston Marathon bombing reinforced the notion that I shouldn’t wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect. Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully? When I told Joe a few weeks ago that I was gay, he was grateful that I trusted him. He asked me to join him in 2013. We’ll be marching on June 8.”
Collins also explained that he wore the No. 98 this season because of the year’s significance to the gay community. In 1998, gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, tortured and tied to a fence, eventually dying from his injuries.
“When I put on my jersey I was making a statement to myself, my family and my friends,” Collins writes.
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