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Report: Lawrence Frank is Pistons’ top choice 07.21.11 at 5:50 pm ET
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Lawrence Frank spent one season on the Celtics sideline assisting Doc Rivers. (AP)

In his one season on Doc Rivers‘ staff with the Celtics, Lawrence Frank picked up the mantle from Tom Thibodeau as the team’s top assistant and lead defensive coach and returned the team to the top of the defensive rankings. The Celtics led the NBA in points allowed, were second in field goal percentage defense and finished in a virtual tie with Thibodeau’s new team — Chicago — for points allowed per 100 possessions.

Frank spent much of the offseason interviewing for head coaching jobs in Houston, Golden State and Toronto, and now it looks like he has found a new home. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Frank has emerged as the Pistons’ top choice and is expected to receive an offer in the next 24-36 hours.

Wojnarowski also reports that Frank is expected to bring along Roy Rogers, who came over from New Jersey with Frank and served as the team’s big man coach last season. Frank compiled a record of 225-241 as head coach of the Nets that ended after a disastrous 0-16 start to the 2009-10 season. But Frank’s reputation as a dedicated, hard-working coach followed him to Boston and he was able to forge strong relationships with the team’s veterans.

The Pistons were a disaster last season under coach John Kuester, especially defensively where they ranked last in field goal percentage defense and 28th in points allowed per 100 possessions. Only Cleveland and Toronto were worse. There were also reports of an attempted player revolt against Kuester, making Detroit one of the most dysfunctional teams in the league.

Frank will have his work cut out for him as the once-proud franchise is digging out from a series of bad contracts and mediocre results. But team president Joe Dumars pulled off a coup when he drafted Greg Monroe in 2010, and a young nucleus of Monroe, Austin Daye, Jonas Jerebko and rookie Brandon Knight is reason enough for optimism.

Rivers and Danny Ainge will now be in the market for an assistant coach to round out the staff, and they will also be looking for supporting personnel to replace Rogers and Darren Erman, who left to take an assistant coaching job with Golden State. Erman was with the team for the last four seasons.

Read More: Danny Ainge, Darren Erman, Lawrence Frank, Roy Rogers
Talking Hoops, Episode 8: Locked out with Tom Ziller 07.21.11 at 12:36 pm ET
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In the latest episode of Talking Hoops, WEEI.com’s Paul Flannery is joined by SB Nation NBA editor Tom Ziller to talk about the lockout, the Celtics new TV deal, competitive balance and the impact of Yao Ming.

Ziller also provides an update on the Sacramento Kings situation and makes a list of all the things he’s looking forward to next season — if there is a “next season,” of course.

Listen to Talking Hoops here.

Read More: Dvaid Stern, Lockout, Talking Hoops, Yao Ming
Celtics’ 2011-12 schedule released 07.19.11 at 2:32 pm ET
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Despite being in the midst of a lockout with no end in sight, the league released its schedule for the 2011-12 season. Assuming there is a season, these are some of the highlights of the Celtics’ schedule.

As they have for the last three seasons, the Celtics will be part of the annual Christmas Day marathon with a noon date at Madison Square Garden to take on the Knicks. The Celtics have been in Orlando the last two seasons. They will have a prime time game at home against Oklahoma City on Martin Luther King Day, another showcase day for the league.

The Celtics make only one trip to Miami on Nov. 16 and then host a pair of games with them on Dec. 1 and April 1. They host the Lakers on Feb. 9 on a TNT Thursday night game and visit Los Angeles for a 3:30 Sunday game on March 11. They open the season with a home game against the Cavaliers on Nov. 2.

Here’s the rest of the schedule (all times are Eastern Standard):

NOVEMBER
Wed 02 vs Cleveland   7:30 pm
Fri 04 @ Atlanta   8 p.m.
Sat 05 @ Indiana   8 p.m.
Wed 09 vs Charlotte   7:30 p.m.
Fri 11 vs LA Clippers   7:30 p.m.
Sat 12 @ Cleveland   7:30 p.m.
Wed 16 @ Miami   8 p.m.
Thu 17 @ Orlando   8 p.m.
Sun 20 vs Golden State   3:30 p.m.
Tue 22 @ Washington   7 p.m.
Wed 23 vs Toronto   7:30 p.m.
Fri 25 vs Milwaukee   7:30 p.m.
Sun 27 @ Detroit   1:30 p.m.
Tue 29 @ Toronto   7 p.m.
DECEMBER
Thu 01 vs Miami   8 p.m.
Sat 03 @ Milwaukee   8:30 p.m.
Mon 05 @ LA Clippers   10:30 p.m.
Thu 08 @ Portland   10:30 p.m.
Fri 09 @ Utah   9:00 p.m.
Sun 11 vs Atlanta   6:00 p.m.
Fri 16 vs New Jersey   7:30 p.m.
Sun 18 vs Philadelphia  1 p.m.
Wed 21 @ New Jersey   7:30 p.m.
Thu 22 vs New York   8 p.m.
Sun 25 @ New York   12 p.m.
Tue 27 @ Memphis   8 p.m.
Wed 28 @ New Orleans   8 p.m.
Fri 30 vs Detroit   7:30 p.m.
JANUARY
Mon 02 @ Orlando   7 p.m.
Wed 04 vs Charlotte   7:30 p.m.
Fri 06 vs Indiana   7:30 p.m.
Sat 07 @ Detroit   7:30 p.m.
Mon 09 vs Atlanta   7:30 p.m.
Wed 11 vs Dallas   8 p.m.
Fri 13 vs Sacramento   7:30 p.m.
Sat 14 @ Charlotte   7 p.m.
Mon 16 vs Oklahoma City   8 p.m.
Wed 18 vs Denver   7:30 p.m.
Fri 20 vs Phoenix   8 p.m.
Mon 23 vs Orlando   7:30 p.m.
Wed 25 vs Minnesota   7:30 p.m.
Fri 27 vs Indiana   7:30 p.m.
Sun 29 @ New Jersey   6 p.m.
Tue 31 @ Indiana   7 p.m.
FEBRUARY
Wed 01 vs Toronto   7:30 p.m.
Fri 03 vs Cleveland   7:30 p.m.
Sun 05 vs Memphis   12 p.m.
Tue 07 @ Milwaukee   8 p.m.
Thu 09 vs LA Lakers   8 p.m.
Fri 10 @ Philadelphia   7 p..m
Sun 12 vs Chicago   3:30 p.m.
Wed 15 vs Detroit   7:30 p.m.
Thu 16 @ Chicago   8 p.m.
Sun 19 @ Houston   7 p.m.
Mon 20 @ Dallas   8 p.m.
Wed 22 @ Oklahoma City   8 p.m.
Wed 29 vs Milwaukee   7:30 p.m.
MARCH
Fri 02 vs Washington   7:30 p.m.
Sun 04 vs New York   1 p.m.
Tue 06 vs Houston   7:30 p.m.
Wed 07 @ Philadelphia   7 p.m.
Fri 09 vs Portland   7:30 p.m.
Sun 11 @ LA Lakers   3:30 p.m.
Mon 12 @ Phoenix   10:30 p.m.
Wed 14 @ Golden State   10:30 p.m.
Fri 16 @ Sacramento   10 p.m.
Sat 17 @ Denver   9 p.m.
Tue 20 vs New Orleans   7:30 p.m.
Wed 21 @ Toronto   7 p.m.
Fri 23 @ Atlanta   7:30 p.m.
Sun 25 @ San Antonio   8 p.m.
Wed 28 vs Utah   7:30 p.m.
Fri 30 @ Minnesota   8 p.m.
APRIL
Sun 01 vs Miami   3:30 p.m.
Wed 04 vs San Antonio   7 p.m.
Thu 05 @ Chicago   9:30 p.m.
Sun 08 vs Philadelphia   6 p.m.
Wed 11 vs New Jersey   7:30 p.m.
Sat 14 @ Washington   7 p.m.
Sun 15 @ Charlotte   6 p.m.
Tue 17 @ New York   8 p.m.
Wed 18 vs Orlando   8 p.m.

Read More: 2011-12 Celtics schedule,
Report: Knicks have interest in Lawrence Frank 07.18.11 at 5:25 pm ET
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Celtics assistant coach Lawrence Frank has interviewed with Houston, Golden State, Toronto and now Detroit for their head coaching jobs and he is said to be one of two finalists for the Pistons job along with former Hawks coach Mike Woodson.

It’s no secret that Frank wants to be a head coach again. He had a fairly successful run with the Nets that stretched over seven seasons before coming to a screeching halt when the Nets began the year 0-16 in 2009-10. That said as much about New Jersey’s talent as Frank’s abilities as a coach.

In his one season with the Celtics, Frank was tasked with operating the team’s defense. They ranked first in fewest points allowed, second in field goal percentage defense and were in a virtual tie with the Bulls in terms of points per 100 possessions. He also had a solid rapport with the veteran players — no easy task.

It has been assumed that Frank would return if he couldn’t get a head-coaching job but the Celtics may have competition for his services.

The Knicks have been casting about for a defensive-minded assistant and Newsday’s Alan Hahn reports that Frank would be a good fit as he and head coach Mike D’Antoni have a good relationship and — unlike many coaches — he wouldn’t be bothered by working for a coach in the last year of his contract. Additionally, Hahn notes that Frank’s wife and daughters stayed in New Jersey while he was working in Boston.

Like head coach Doc Rivers, all of Boston’s assistants were working on one-year contracts last season. Team president Danny Ainge noted that while he expected Frank to get offers, the team would have interest in bringing him back.

Read More: Celtics, Knicks, Lawrence Frank, Pistons
Rajon Rondo: ‘It’s the worst pain I’ve ever been in playing ball’ 07.14.11 at 2:59 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo

At his annual basketball camp in Louisville, Rajon Rondo took time to talk to reporters earlier this week. The local Fox affiliate has the video.

Among the things he discussed are his dislocated elbow, an injury he suffered in Game 3 of the Celtics playoff series with Miami. “It’s the worst pain I’ve ever been in playing ball,” Rondo said. “I’m still in a little bit of pain right now, but the swelling is down. The only thing is there’s swelling in my joint. I’ll be fine, it just takes time. I’ve got a couple more weeks that I’m off, as far as rest and the repetition of weights.”

As for possibly playing overseas, Rondo said he’s talked to his agent Bill Duffy about it, but it doesn’t sound like it’s in his future. “A lot of things go into playing overseas, a lot of little things you have to take care of,” he said. “For me, right now, I’m just focused on getting healthy — getting healthy and getting better for my team next year, the Boston Celtics.”

Read More: Rajon Rondo,
Lockout links: July 12 07.12.11 at 9:00 pm ET
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Minnesota finally fired coach Kurt Rambis. (AP)

We’re almost two weeks into the NBA lockout and while there’s a whole lot of nothing happening on the labor front — no talks, no proposals, no urgency to get a deal done — the league hasn’t quite gone to sleep. Here’s a look at some of the news that’s been making the rounds while we sit around and wait.

ITEM: Minnesota fires Kurt Rambis

Minnesota finally got around to firing Rambis three weeks after it had been reported that that was the plan all along. It was an embarrassing situation for a franchise that has devolved into train-wreck vaudeville under general manager David Kahn.

Rambis may not have earned a third season after winning just 32 games over two seasons with an ill-fitting triangle offense and not even a hint of defense (his resistance to playing Kevin Love in his first season didn’t help matters either). That’s fine, but the way this played out was unnecessarily silly. (Read this Yahoo report on how Kahn tried to kick Rambis upstairs).

Now the Wolves need a new coach and here’s where it gets interesting. Up and coming assistant J.B. Bickerstaff has reportedly left for Houston, along with former college coach Kelvin Sampson, to join Kevin McHale‘s new coaching staff. But Yahoo reports that Bickerstaff’s father, veteran coach Bernie Bickerstaff, is in the mix.

Also mentioned is University of Washington coach Lorenzo Romar, which is curious, and (shocker!) Don Nelson would be interested in coming out of retirement for a shot at the job. The jokes just write themselves.

Under normal circumstances, the Timberwolves would be an attractive opening as they have nowhere to go but up and a bevy of talented players including Love, rookie Derrick Williams and the mysterious Ricky Rubio. But then you remember that Kahn is calling the shots.

What was it that Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said as the lockout commenced?

“We need a sustainable business model that allows all 30 teams to be able to compete for a championship, fairly compensates our players, and provides teams, if well-managed, with an opportunity to be profitable.”

If well-managed. Right. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Kevin Durant, Kurt Rambis, NBA lockout, Yao Ming
Celtics extend qualifying offer to Jeff Green, make him restricted free agent 06.30.11 at 1:56 pm ET
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The Celtics extended Jeff Green a qualifying offer, which makes him a restricted free agent. (AP)

The Celtics extended forward Jeff Green a one-year qualifying offer at $5.9 million, which will make the forward a restricted free agent. The move was procedural and gives the team the right to match any offer Green receives once the league opens — or rather re-opens — for business following a lockout that could start as early as midnight on July 1.

The team also announced that they have exercised the third-year option on Avery Bradley. For first round picks, the first two years of their contracts are guaranteed. The team has options on the third and fourth years before a player can become a restricted free agent like Green is now.

Green can still sign a long-term extension with the team once the new Collective Bargaining Agreement rules in place or he could return for the one-year offer and become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Celtics could also let him walk if another team offers a huge deal, but that seems unlikely as they have maintained that he is a part of their long-term plans.

Yet the Celtics have also carefully planned to have as much cap space as possible after next season and it will be interesting to see how much they ultimately invest in his services. It wouldn’t be the worst thing for the franchise if Green simply came back for the one-year offer and kept the books clear for the summer of 2012. Of course all the roster speculation is premature until the new CBA rules are in place.

The question for the Celtics and Green — assuming he does return — is what kind of player will he be for them?

Green arrived from Oklahoma City in the Kendrick Perkins trade with the expectation that he would provide scoring and athleticism off the bench, as well as a solid backup for Paul Pierce. Green averaged 9.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 26 games for the Celtics and while his minutes were cut from 37 in OKC to 23 with the C’s, that was essentially the same production he gave the Thunder. On the plus side his field goal percentage jumped from 44 to 49 percent, but his 3-point shooting dipped under the 30-percent line.

After four years in the league, Green seems to have settled in as a good but not great player, which doesn’t exactly translate into future franchise cornerstone. But the Celtics believe that he still has room to develop, particularly with a full training camp under his belt.

“I think Jeff played excellent,” team president Danny Ainge said in an end of the season media session in May. “Maybe the expectations were too high. We knew he wasn’t going to start. We knew he wasn’t going to play 35 minutes. We needed a veteran player, an experienced player, an athletic player. We know what Jeff Green is. He’s a highly efficient offensive player who plays good defense. That’s what we need and he’s young and I think he’s just going to get better because of his character and work ethic.”

The problem — as it was last season — is finding a role for Green. Ainge floated the idea of starting Green and using Pierce off the bench, which seems like a reach considering Pierce is one of the best players in franchise history and still playing at an All-Star level.

While Pierce’s minutes are likely to go down next season that’s still only about 15 minutes of action. Green also struggled defensively as a four-man, although that had a lot to do with whoever was playing center. When he was in the lineup with Pierce and Kevin Garnett for example, he did just fine. When he teamed with Glen Davis to form an undersized frontcourt, not so much. Adding legitimate depth at center behind Jermaine O’Neal and rookie JaJuan Johnson can only help Green.

The Celtics believe that they can contend for a championship again next season with their core players in place, provided they receive some help from free agency and their young players develop into contributors. But no player needs to help more than Green.

If Ainge is right that Green’s best years are ahead of him he can give the Celtics a dimension they’ve lacked since the big three era began. If this is as good as it gets then it doesn’t seem likely that Green will be enough to get them past Miami and Chicago.

Read More: Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Paul Pierce,
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