|Report: Smith ‘blessed’ by Celtics training camp invite||09.18.10 at 5:09 pm ET|
Jamar Smith considers himself “blessed beyond belief” to be invited to the Celtics training camp, he told the Evansville Courier & Press. Smith, a shooting guard, shared his excitement about getting the call to come to Boston:
“I’ve been working out like crazy,” said the former University of Southern Indiana star and Division II Player of the Year.
By “crazy,” he means several hours per day on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign, sometimes with members of the Illini basketball team and coach Bruce Weber, who originally signed Smith.
Now Smith has a chance to fulfill a dream. But sometimes that chance seems to be a dream.
“When my agent told me (about the Celtics’ invitation), I was, ‘Are you serious?’ ” said Smith. “Now I’m in the gym two or three times a day. My dad called me and asked, ‘Are you working hard?’ When I said I was, he said, ‘Well, you have to work harder.’ “
Smith averaged 21.6 points per game last season at USI.
|Shaq calls out Cavs, Mo Williams||09.04.10 at 5:07 pm ET|
There was a time when being a role player would not have sat well with Shaquille O’Neal. That time has passed.
In a recent interview with the Times-Picayune, O’Neal explained that he now looks forward to playing for an unselfish ball club, even if it means less time on the court.
“I’m at the point in my life where I can’t carry a team by myself anymore, but I can be a piece on a team that’s already good,” he said. “The Celtics are good with or without me. A lot of people say, ‘How can I be a complementary player?’ But at 38, it’s easy. If I was 28, it would be a problem, Doc.”
O’Neal called out his most recent team, the Cavaliers, for their approach on offense. He singled out one former teammate in particular.
“I like that they (the Celtics) play together and nobody really worries about shots,” O’Neal said. “When I was with Cleveland, guys who couldn’t even play were worried about shots. Why was Mo (Williams) taking 15 shots, and I’m only taking four? If LeBron takes 20 shots, that’s cool.
“So I said, let me get with a good team for the last two years. I don’t mind people calling me a journeyman. I’ve been programmed to move around every three years.”
O’Neal averaged a career-low 8.7 shots per game last season. LeBron James led the Cavs with 20.1 field goal attempts. In contrast, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 12.1 attempts each.
O’Neal also added that he had been interested in the Hawks and Hornets before signing with the Celtics.
|Five things to know about Delonte West’s return to Boston||09.01.10 at 11:57 pm ET|
On Wednesday, the Celtics signed free agent guard Delonte West. It has been three years since West left Boston, and the 27-year-old has taken a long journey — both professional and personal — to get back. Here are five things to know about West’s return to the Celtics:
1. This Isn’t His First Time Around: The Celtics drafted West with the 24th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. West was in the same rookie class as Al Jefferson (18th pick) and Tony Allen (25th pick). He played his first three seasons in Boston, averaging 8.3 points, 3.8 assists, and 3.2 rebounds. During that time, West made his mark with his aggressive play and hustle on the court. However, he was traded to the SuperSonics in 2007 as part of the Ray Allen trade.
2. Short-Lived in Seattle: West’s time on the SuperSonics is now a blip in his six-year career, but it was a stop that eventually led him to title contention. West played in 35 games for the SuperSonics (30 off the bench) and averaged 6.8 points in 20.8 minutes.
Just minutes before the 2008 trade deadline, West was sent to the Cavaliers in a three-team deal. He didn’t spend much time in Seattle but, as the video shows, it was enough for him to leave his mark on his teammates.
3. Championship Hunting in Cleveland: West jumped right into the Cavs system and started the remainder of the 2007-08 season. That year the Cavaliers reached the Eastern Conference Semifinals before being eliminated by the Celtics in Game 7. West averaged 10.8 points in his first postseason appearance since 2005.
He started every game he played the following season and posted nearly 14 points while shooting 46.5 percent from the field during the Cavs playoff run. Last season West came off the bench, contributing 8.8 points, 3.3 assists and 2.8 rebounds.
During this time, West played alongside Shaquille O’Neal. He proved his versatility as a reserve, a role the Celtics will look for him to fill, while gaining valuable postseason experience.
West was traded from the Cavaliers to the Timberwolves this summer, before being waived by the T-Wolves.
4. Troubles Along the Way: West’s time with the Cavs wasn’t seamless, though. Last September, he was arrested on weapons charges after being pulled over for speeding in Maryland. He recently pled guilty to the charges and will be suspended for the first 10 games of the season.
West also struggled with what has been described as a “mood disorder” and missed part of the 2008 preseason to seek help.
5. A Fan Favorite Returns: In spite of his off-the-court issues — and the fact that he was a postseason foe — West remains a fan favorite in Boston. The impact of his quirky personality has lingered since the 2007 trade, and his on-camera comedy is still a must-see by Celtics faithful.
|Ortiz ‘fine’ with Shaq as ‘Bigger Papi’||08.22.10 at 5:30 pm ET|
David Ortiz knows nicknames.
So what does the Red Sox slugger think of sharing his own with another star athlete in Boston?
Among the suggestions for newly-signed Celtic Shaquille O’Neal is “Bigger Papi,” a spin-off of Ortiz’s moniker. Big Papi wouldn’t mind.
“He’s a big dude,” Ortiz said of the 7-1, 325 pound center. “It’s not a big deal. It’s fine.”
O’Neal’s new nickname has been a topic of debate since the big man signed with the Celtics this summer. His past aliases include Big Diesel, Shaq Fu, The Big Aristotle, and Shaqtus when he played for the Suns.
Boston-themed nicknames up for debate range from the Big Shamrock and Green Monster to the Big Leprechaun and Jolly Green Giant.
After 18 years in the NBA, Ortiz thinks O’Neal’s name speaks for itself.
“I think he’s got a good name,“ Ortiz said. “I don’t think he needs to change it. [I’d call him] ‘Big Shaq’ so people know who they’re talking about.”
Ortiz, an avid Celtics fan, has never met O’Neal but plans to do so this season. He believes O’Neal will make a big impact for the Celtics … no matter what his nickname is.
“I think it’s going to be a good addition to the team,” Ortiz assessed. “I’m pretty sure the 15, 20 minutes that he plays are going to be good.”
|Davis helps give back in a big way||08.19.10 at 12:37 am ET|
Glen Davis has been visiting deserving children this week and presenting them with a new home basketball court as part of the RE/MAX of New England Home Court Program contest.
This year’s winners included the Plummer Home for Boys of Salem and the Cassidy family of Haverhill. A total of three winners were selected from hundreds of entrants who submitted letters explaining why they were in need of a home court makeover.
Davis, along with Cedric Maxwell, conducted community basketball clinics with the winners. The Plummer Home for Boys also received a donation from the Forever Young Foundation and the Cassidy family received a bedroom makeover.
For more information on the RE/MAX of New England Home Court Program contest, visit www.celtics.com.
|Report: Trail Blazers turned down Celtics||08.19.10 at 12:05 am ET|
For weeks, Rudy Fernandez was the center of Celtics offseason rumors after expressing his unhappiness playing for the Trail Blazers. And while those talks had quieted recently, there was still chatter as to whether or not the Celtics would acquire the Spanish guard.
All of those rumors can be put to rest. On Wednesday, the Oregonian reported, “Fernandez has informed agent Andy Miller that he is prepared to be suspended by the Blazers and forfeit the final two years of his contract in order to return to Europe and play in his homeland of Spain in 2012.”
According to the report, the Trail Blazers turned down offers from the Celtics, Bulls, and Knicks. Trail Blazers general manager Rich Cho told the Oregonian, “I’m not going to be pressured into making a deal. I’m not going to make a trade just to make a trade. It has to be the right deal for the team.”
Yahoo! Sports also reported the Celtics were one of approximately 15 teams that expressed interest in Fernandez.
Fernandez is still under contract with the Trail Blazers for the upcoming season. The team has an option for the 2011-12 season.
|Pierce talks Pacquiao, ‘greatest athlete to ever live’||08.17.10 at 12:11 am ET|
When Paul Pierce isn’t battling on the court, he enjoys watching battles in the ring. Elie Seckbach from AOL FanHouse recently caught up with the boxing fan, who says Manny Pacquiao is the “best pound-for-pound boxer in the world” and shares who he considers to be “the greatest athlete to ever live.” (Watch to the end to get former Celtic/Laker Rick Fox’s take on Shaq in green.)
Click here for more on the Celtics special relationship with Pacquiao.