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Report: Celtics have interest in Troy Murphy and Rip Hamilton 02.16.11 at 10:13 am ET
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We’re still a little more than a week away from the trade deadline of Feb. 24 and things are starting to heat up. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski writes that if New Jersey’s Troy Murphy and Detroit’s Rip Hamilton are bought out of their contracts, the Celtics would have interest in acquiring them.

Murphy was traded from Indiana to New Jersey in the offseason but didn’t mesh with coach Avery Johnson and requested a trade. Wojnarowski writes that several teams would be interested in Murphy ‘€” a big man who can shoot from the outside and rebound ‘€” including New Orleans, Miami, Orlando and Miami.

Hamilton has been cast aside in Detroit, racking up DNP-coaches decision for the last few months. The Celtics have had interest in Hamilton before. Neither player addresses the Celtics’ most pressing need, a small forward to back up Paul Pierce, but both would be upgrades to a second unit that has struggled for consistency.

Players who are bought out of their contracts are free to sign with any team. The Celtics are over the cap and could sign them for a the veterans minimum. The issue for the Celtics is that they have 15 players on the roster and someone would have to go to make room for a new acquisition.

Read More: NBA Trade Deadline, Rip Hamilton, Troy Murphy,
Kevin Garnett on Bill Russell 02.15.11 at 2:46 pm ET
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Celtics legend Bill Russell was among 15 people awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama on Tuesday, the highest honor the president can bestow on a civilian. Kevin Garnett was asked about Russell and his impact.

“Not only did he transcend on the court, but off the court,” Garnett said. “Being righteous for what he believed in, and speaking up and standing up for that right. Different times back in the day, man. I respect a lot of the OG’€™s just because they went through in order for us to be here today. Bill Russell is everything and I just want to say congratulations.”

Garnett was then asked why players don’t speak as forcibly as Russell once did. He cited the media culture and also noted that players are more cautious.

“I don’€™t think people are as opinionated out loud just because of the uproar they can start,” Garnett said. “These days when you bring out issues that cause attention to not only yourself, but your team, it can be labeled a distraction.”

Garnett had one further thought on Russell and what today’s players can take from him, as well as the great players of the past.

“I don’€™t think we go to the extreme to prove a point or go to the extreme to really remember that this is our league,” Garnett said. “I think those days are over. I think the commissioner has a lot of say on how this league is run. The only way you can sustain a solid league is to carry things over. That’€™s all going to be up to the players.”

Read More: Bill Russell, Kevin Garnett,
Shaquille O’Neal’s status in doubt for West Coast trip 02.14.11 at 4:38 pm ET
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When Shaquille O’Neal injured his Achilles, the Celtics thought he would miss a few games. A few games have turned into five and now there is some doubt as to whether he will be ready to play on the team’s West Coast trip following the All-Star break.

Honestly, it’€™s just not healing right now,” Doc Rivers said after the team’s practice on Monday. “We’€™re hoping after the break at some point. When he first injured it, we all thought it would be a one or two game thing and now it’€™s been longer. Now it’€™s getting to the point where he may not play on the west coast trip at all. We’€™re hoping he will. We think he will. Maybe not every game. Maybe play every other game.”

Rivers was more optimistic about Semih Erden, who has missed the last three games with groin and ab injuries. Rivers said he thought Erden might be ready to go in their first game after the break next Tuesday at Golden State.

Read More: Semih Erden, Shaquille O'Neal,
Paul Pierce expected to play against New Jersey 02.14.11 at 4:30 pm ET
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The Celtics breathed a sigh of relief on Monday after an MRI revealed nothing serious for Paul Pierce‘s left foot and the captain is expected to be in the lineup when they play the Nets on Wednesday in their last game before the All-Star break. Pierce apparently was kicked in the foot during the Charlotte game last week.He didn’t practice Monday as the team went through a light walkthrough and he will probably sit out Tuesday as a precaution.

“He’€™s good,” Doc Rivers said. “It’€™s OK, everything’€™s good. I think there’€™s some bruising obviously, swelling. But everything he can play with. That was very good. Obviously the break is coming at a great time. We have one game left.”

Pierce is also dealing with a hand injury that he said happened during Saturday’s practice. He was wearing an ice-wrap over his right hand for a portion of practice on Monday.

Shaquille O’Neal won’t return until after All-Star break 02.12.11 at 6:28 pm ET
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The Celtics thought Shaquille O’Neal would be out for a few games with what they called an inflamed Achilles. A few games have lasted longer than they expected and now it seems unlikely that O’Neal will be back until after next weekend’s All-Star break at the earliest.

It’s not just Shaq. Fellow center Semih Erden (groin, strained abductor) is also not likely to return before the break.

“Semih’€™s out until after the break and Shaq will be too,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said following the team’s practice on Saturday. “We don’€™t even know if they’€™ll be back after the break right now. Semih’€™s groin is not improving and Shaq’€™s Achilles is not improving at all. We thought we’€™d have them both back by the last game, but that’€™s fine. We’€™re good.”

Rivers said Shaq’s injury has not gotten worse, but it hasn’t improved. “It just hasn’€™t healed,” the coach said. “It’€™s no worse, but it hasn’€™t healed as quickly.”

The Celtics are already without Jermaine O’Neal (knee surgery) and Marquis Daniels (bruised spinal cord) for at least the next month, if not longer. They hope to get Delonte West back Wednesday when they play the Nets in their final game before the break. Following the break, the Celtics will head out west for a four-game road trip with games against the Clippers, Warriors, Jazz and Nuggets.

Read More: Semih Erdenm Injuries, Shaquille O'Neal,
Nate Robinson will try to play against Heat 02.12.11 at 4:15 pm ET
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Nate Robinson was at the Celtics practice facility until 11 p.m. Friday night getting treatment on his bruised knee, which he injured in a freak collision with the Lakers’ Shannon Brown. He was at the facility again Saturday, but didn’t participate in the team’s practice, other than in the walkthrough segment.

With the Celtics down to just nine other healthy players, Robinson will try to go Sunday when they play the Heat at the Garden. “The pain in there is kind of funky so we’€™re just trying to ice it right now,” Robinson said.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Delonte West would not play Sunday, but may try to give it a go on Wednesday when they play the Nets in their final game before the All-Star break. Shaquille O’Neal (Achilles) and Semih Erden (groin) also won’t play and their return has been delayed until after the break at the earliest.

“Semih’€™s out until after the break and Shaq will be too,” Rivers said. “We don’€™t even know if they’€™ll be back after the break right now. Semih’€™s groin is not improving and Shaq’€™s Achilles is not improving at all. We thought we’€™d have them both back by the last game, but that’€™s fine. We’€™re good.”

Asked if Shaq’s injury has become worse, Rivers said, “It just hasn’€™t healed. It’€™s no worse, but it hasn’€™t healed as quickly.”

With Jermaine O’Neal (knee surgery) and Marquis Daniels (bruised spinal cord) also out for the next month at least, the Celtics need all the bodies they can muster for the next two games.

“We’€™ve just got to find a way to win regardless of who goes down,” Robinson said. “That’€™s why it’€™s called a team.”

Read More: Delonte West, Nate Robinson, Semih Erden, Shaquille O'Neal
Delonte West gets closer to return 02.11.11 at 2:27 pm ET
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Delonte West wanted to play Thursday night against the Lakers. He went to the Celtics medical staff and argued his case. They debated the issue and that debate is what caused Doc Rivers to say, no. Not yet.

“I said if we have to go back and forth on it, then the answer is no,” Rivers said. “So, he’s going to practice Saturday. I would actually like him to play in the New Jersey game [next Wednesday] just to get him one game [before the All-Star break].”

Rivers left the door open for West to come back against Miami on Sunday. It will largely depend on how West does at practice, who went through his first full-contact work this week.

The Celtics may need him. Nate Robinson left the Lakers game at the 8:45 mark of the second quarter with a bruised knee and didn’t return. Without Robinson the Celtics bench was reduced to Glen Davis and Von Wafer. Rookie Avery Bradley played less than two minutes to finish out the third quarter because of foul trouble and fellow rookie Luke Harangody was a DNP-coaches decision.

The Celtics have been waiting for West for most of the season. He missed the first 10 games with a suspension and then broke his wrist just five games into his return. His return will help their backcourt depth, which has been depleted with the loss of Marquis Daniels.

Read More: Delonte West, Marquis Daniels, Nate Robinson,
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