|Brad Stevens isn’t about to look ahead to the playoffs: ‘There’s a lot of hard work in front of us’||09.27.16 at 9:51 am ET|
WALTHAM — Brad Stevens knows there’s a ton of work to be done between now and the beginning of April.
That’s why he laughs when he’s asked about what his expectations are for making the playoffs and advancing this season.
Entering his fourth season, Stevens has taken his team from 25 to 40 to 48 wins and playoff berths in each of the last two seasons. The natural assumption, with the additions of free agents Al Horford and Gerald Green and first rounder Jaylen Brown, is that a 50-win season with a deep playoff run is in store.
Then the Celtics coach, on media day on Monday, reminded everyone of what he told his team before the media session began.
“See, I’m a basketball coach so I don’t really – I know certainly I want to do my job as well as I can to make sure that we are improving every day and are striving for that ultimate objective. We have a long way to go to be considering talking about any of that stuff.
“And to be quite frank as I told our team real briefly before we walked out here, there was not a lot of room between finishing 10th and second last year in the East. Ultimately we want to be the best, we want to be among those considered the best. There’s a lot of hard work ahead of us, and it’s day by day. I don’t feel any more pressure from what ultimately happens. I’m making sure that practice tomorrow is structured right.”
To Stevens’ point, the Celtics finished tied with the Hornets, Hawks and Heat with 48 wins. The ninth place team were the Bulls with 42 wins and the tenth-place Wizards won 40. The 40 wins would’ve been good enough for seventh seed two seasons ago, the spot the Celtics found themselves in. But not last year. And the East is quickly improving.
“My expectations never change,” Stevens said. “It’s all about getting tomorrow and making sure we’re as good as we can be. It’s a very simple, boring process but it’s the way that I go about it. And I think that the results take care of themselves.”
What would be a successful season?
“Being better the next day. That’s my perspective,” Stevens said in his best Bill Belichick tone. “The one thing I’ve been asked about – last week I got asked about a number of wins goal, I got asked about a playoff goal or a playoff rounds goal or whatever the case may be – right when you define something as success and you reach it, you don’t go any further. You set the limit for your team.
“And I’m certainly not into setting ceilings. And I think that’s why you focus on what you can do and try to put your best foot forward. And go into that next game, and if you do that you can win the game. And that’s my job.”
|Full Court Press: Danny Ainge will go all out in free agency, and not just for Kevin Durant, Celtics going Eurostash||06.25.16 at 9:31 pm ET|
Remember the pursuit of Manny Ramirez? How about the ill-fated chase for Alex Rodriguez? Think back when Zdeno Chara was on the market in 2006. The Patriots and Darrelle Revis married for one season, and it yielded New England’s fourth Super Bowl title.
Well, the Celtics’ dream of putting Kevin Durant in green next season has the potential of eclipsing all of those in terms of media focus and civic involvement.
Danny Ainge knows, just from their reaction to the lack of trade on draft night, that the entire fan base is in a frenzy. The Celtics are in full-in mode to get their guy who could change the fortunes of the franchise for the next decade.
This is like the summer of 2007. They not only brought in Ray Allen on draft night in the trade for the draft pick that netted Jeff Green, they got Kevin Garnett in a trade at the end of July. There is the draft. There are trades and then there’s free agency. All three factor in Ainge’s roster building.
This summer could be similar to ’07 as Kevin Durant and Kevin Love are potentially on the radar (that is, if Durant wants Love). Roc Nation Sports, Durant’s agency, is not only calling the shots on Durant’s deal, they are sending the message that Durant wants a full supporting cast around him that will immediately compete for his first NBA ring.
The Celtics have a lot going in their favor. They have tradition, a red-hot young coaching talent, loads of cap space and something L.A., Golden State, Miami, San Antonio and Oklahoma City don’t have. Civic pride and brotherhood among the pro sports teams. That’s why Rob Gronkowski, Bill Belichick and David Ortiz showing up courtside really matter. The Celtics should give Gronk, Belichick, Ortiz and even Tom Brady a call to reach out to Durant. Isaiah Thomas continued this effort on Saturday.
At $27.685 million committed to salaries for next season, the Celtics are in remarkably good shape to attack free agency. They not only are a young team coming off back-to-back playoff seasons, they have more cap space than any team that made the playoffs in last season. As a matter of fact, only the Sixers and Lakers, the two worst teams in the NBA last season, have less money committed to salary for the 2016-17 season.
Of the teams pursuing Durant (Warriors, Spurs, Clippers, Celtics, Thunder, Heat), only the Celtics could pull off two max-deal free agent signings. There’s Durant, Dwight Howard, DeMar DeRozan, Luol Deng and Al Horford among others.
|Brad Stevens takes blame for messy Celtics: ‘I’ve got to figure out how to coach this team better’||01.05.15 at 11:30 pm ET|
Stevens sounded an ominous signal Monday following a 104-95 lifeless loss to the lowly Charlotte Hornets on “Seats for Soldiers” night at TD Garden.
His team started slow out of the gate and really never recovered, trailing 22-11 late in the first quarter and 50-36 at the half.
“First of all, they played at a great pace, and they made shots and Kemba (Walker) was great,” Stevens said. “We couldn’t stop him. Cody Zeller was playing at a higher energy-level than anybody else on the floor a lot of the game, and you know (Gerald) Henderson has always really given us fits. I thought all three of those guys looked like they were at a different level early. And we weren’t very good.”
It got so bad that Stevens ran through his entire 13-man roster by the end of the third quarter. What was he hoping to accomplish?
“No idea. I think tonight was more of an anomaly because I was throwing darts. I can act like I know the answer to your question, but I was throwing darts,” Stevens said.
Asked a question about the breakout game for James Young and whether it might mean more playing time for the rookie, Stevens instead took the opportunity to do a little soul searching.
“I don’t know,” Stevens said. “I don’t know. I’ve got to figure out how to coach this team better. I’m not doing a very good job. We’re not playing well and we’re playing almost ‘ it’s not good basketball. We’ve got to do a better job playing good basketball. I’ll figure out the rotations later, once we start playing good basketball and once we all are very focused on very good basketball. And that’s on me. I’ve got to do a better job.”
|Doc Rivers: ‘Just like we wanted Ray to stay, I know they wanted Wes to stay’||03.13.13 at 7:34 pm ET|
The shockwaves from the Wes Welker signing in Denver extended not only beyond New England but beyond the NFL.
Just ask Doc Rivers. The Celtics head coach is a close friend of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and was the guest of the Patriots coach on Dec. 10 when the Patriots beat the Texans on Monday night football at Gillette Stadium.
So, Rivers, who grew up a Bears fan, actually felt badly for Patriots fans and acknowledged as much before the Celtics hosted Toronto Wednesday night at TD Garden, just hours after Welker’s seismic signing with the Broncos.
‘Say it ain’t so, Wes,’ Rivers said in opening his pre-game press availability Wednesday night.
But the most interesting part of Rivers’ reaction came later when asked if he ever talked about team building and keeping it together. Rivers compared Welker’s exit to that of Ray Allen to the Miami Heat.
‘We lost Ray, it feels like, the same way that they lost Wes,’ Rivers said. ‘We wanted him, we did everything we could, and somehow they go somewhere else.’
The similarity is striking. Allen left via free agency for Boston’s chief rival and defending champion Miami Heat. Welker is now going to the Broncos and playing with Peyton Manning, New England’s biggest rival behind the Ravens in the AFC.
‘Just like we wanted Ray to stay, I know they wanted Wes to stay,’ said Rivers. ‘It just sometimes doesn’t work out.’
For more, visit the Celtics and Patriots team pages at weei.com/celtics and weei.com/patriots.
|Doc Rivers has learned a lot from Bill Belichick||12.11.12 at 9:58 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Doc Rivers had a special chance to go inside the Patriots game preparation minutes before kickoff Monday night. He learned a lot from the invitation from Patriots coach Bill Belichick. On Tuesday, he was asked about his experience and was asked if anyone on his team compares to Tom Brady.
“Rondo is our Tom Brady, as far as being the point guard/quarterback,” Rivers said after Tuesday’s practice. “Kevin [Kevin Garnett] probably as far as all of the relationship stuff. Tom Brady has got to be right there [as one of the best in history]. It’s surgical watching him play. Then to have that, plus the relationship with [Belichick], I don’t know if there’s been a better great quarterback relationship with their coach ever. Bill Walsh and Joe Montana would be the only other one that comes to mind for me. That’s pretty neat. And they’re so different as people. That’s pretty cool.”
Rivers was on the sideline with Mark Wahlberg while Rondo was also in attendance wearing a Wes Welker jersey. Rivers took in the game from the suite belonging to Belichick and watched with Belichick’s girl friend Linda Holliday.
“I was there most of the game,” Rivers said. “I left in the middle of the fourth. I asked Linda could I leave now? Is it safe so it was. I love watching that team play. I was telling our guys that today. It’s just really awesome watching them execute, how professional they are. Every time I go to a Patriots game, I get so much out of it.
“I got to sit in their offensive gameplan meetings before they went out on the field. It’s just really cool. It’s a neat atmosphere. You can’t be around it enough, you really can’t.”
Rivers was amazed at the Patriots’ execution of their game plan.
“To me, their execution and how serious and how they prepare for it,” Rivers said. “Obviously, it’s different, they have one game to prepare for a week. It does make a big difference when we have five in a week, four in a week, it’s a little harder to do. Everybody knows their job and they do their job.
“It’s a neat atmosphere,” Rivers added. “Football [teams] in general [game plan weekly] but the Patriots do it on another level. Just the execution. Listening to what they said they wanted to do on offense before the game and then watching them actually do was pretty impressive.”
|Your daily Rajon Rondo update: At Patriots practice||08.01.11 at 8:36 am ET|
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo attended Patriots practice on Sunday and chatted up head coach Bill Belichick as well as a number of players, including newest Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco and nose tackle Vince Wilfork, who had developed a friendly relationship with as a regular attendee of Celtics games at the Garden.
Growing up in Louisville, Ky., Rondo played quarterback in youth football leagues, but his mother steered her 6-foot-1, 170-pound son toward a life of basketball as a safety matter. Perhaps that’s where he developed the toughness to finish Game 3 and play in Games 4 and 5 with a dislocated elbow.
Here are some more pictures from Rondo’s day at Patriots training camp … Read the rest of this entry »
|Celtics made Doc Rivers highest-paid NBA coach||05.19.11 at 10:47 am ET|
Following the retirement of Phil Jackson, formerly the only eight-figure earner among coaches in the four major sports, Doc Rivers has become the highest paid coach in the NBA, according to Forbes Magazine.
After making $5.5 million this past season, Rivers will now make an average of $7 million over the next five seasons after signing a $35 million extension. He surpassed Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni, who both make $6 million per season.
Interestingly, the magazine credits the jumps by Rick Pitino from the University of Kentucky to the Celtics and John Calipari from UMass to the Nets “as the catalysts driving NBA coaching salaries to a new level.”
Meanwhile, the Celtics may have to hire a new assistant coach, as Lawrence Frank is a candidate for the opening head coaching positions for the Warriors and Rockets, although Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey appears to be the favorite in Houston, according to CBS Sports.
As a side note, Forbes determined Patriots head coach Bill Belichick‘s annual estimated salary of $7.5 million is the highest paycheck for any coach in the four major sports.
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