|Stephen A. Smith on D&C: ‘A 50-50 shot’ Doc Rivers ends up with Clippers||06.17.13 at 10:24 am ET|
Basketball analyst and ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning, and he was unsure about whether or not a deal involving Celtics coach Doc Rivers and the Clippers would get done.
With Rivers still under contract for three more years, there are potentially a lot of moving pieces in such a trade. But fortunately for the Celtics, president Danny Ainge has a ton of leverage in the negotiations.
Still, Smith pegged the chances of a trade actually going through at just 50 percent.
“Ultimately, all the cards are being held by Danny Ainge,” Smith said. “It’s a 50-50 shot either a deal gets done or Doc Rivers stays in Boston. I don’t think Doc Rivers will sit out for the year, then do television and all this other stuff. I think he’s going to stay and coach in Boston this year, or he’ll move on because Danny Ainge will see an opportunity to get young and to get a box-office attraction to some degree, if not Blake Griffin, then some quality young guys you can build around.
“Clearly, you have to go in that direction [getting younger]. If you’re Danny Ainge, it’s going to be a deal you want to make because you’re an older squad now, and it’s time to move in a different direction. Doc is the one hot commodity that he has. [Kevin Garnett] is 37. Paul Pierce is an aging 35. They’re not what they used to be, even though they can still contribute to a championship situation.
“They’re not the guys to build around anymore, and if you’re Danny Ainge you know this better than anybody. As a result, it will behoove him to get a deal done. And Doc Rivers is the one piece you have that’s an ace. You have to maximize it.”
|Stephen A. Smith on D&C: Some in NBA circles question ‘whether or not Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers desire to continue to coexist’||05.08.13 at 9:44 am ET|
Stephen A. Smith talked with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday about trade rumors involving the Celtics and Clippers, and what he believes the Celtics will do in the offseason.
Smith said he thinks the Clippers, who were rumored to be interested in Kevin Garnett at the trade deadline, still would like to acquire Garnett, and that the Celtics might try to use that interest to get Blake Griffin from them. To get Griffin, though, Smith said they might have to allow Doc Rivers to go to Los Angeles.
“The Clippers, I know for a fact, were interested in Kevin Garnett,” Smith said. “[Chris Paul] isn’t necessarily happy right now. He wants to stay with the Clippers. I think he’s planning on staying with the Clippers because they can offer him close to $30 million more than anybody else. But he also looks at the Clippers and has reached the conclusion that he needs help on the front line, because neither Blake Griffin nor DeAndre Jordan has the requisite post-game skills to really make room for him to operate. They’re incapable of pulling guys away from the basket and being a threat on the perimeter and therefore giving Chris Paul space to operate.
“From that standpoint, once again, the Clippers have to be willing to let go of one of those guys. They would prefer it to be DeAndre Jordan, because clearly Blake Griffin has a better upside. Plus, he’s a better player. … As a result, in an effort to keep CP3, who’s a guy that approaches free agency and they’re looking to re-sign, they are entertaining a plethora of possibilities.”
One of those possibilities, Smith said, could involve Rivers heading to Los Angeles along with Garnett and Paul Pierce.
“According to guys that I’ve spoken to in NBA circles, the Boston Celtics would look at a guy like a KG, willing to unload him, and who knows, they may be willing to market [Garnett and Pierce] as a package deal,” Smith said. “If you’re the Clippers, obviously that’s not enough to let go of somebody like a Blake Griffin. But if you combine keeping CP3 as a priority, knowing that he wants legitimate help on his front line for the immediate future, combined with the fact that even though I believe Vinny del Negro has done a good job, there are others that don’t believe so. … If somehow, some way, you could get your hands on Doc Rivers in the same breath as you’re getting KG and Paul Pierce, it could be something that could be attractive. And if that’s attractive enough, if you’re Danny Ainge, and you and Doc Rivers, as much as you respect one another, you’ve just worked with one another for a long time — who knows what the situation is, but you might be willing to let Doc Rivers out of his contract.
“You’re not going to do it for Brooklyn or probably anybody within the Eastern Conference, but to move out west to Cali? That might be an attractive enough proposition for the Clippers to sit there and say, well, you know what, OK, we would let go of Blake Griffin under those circumstances.”
|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.”
|The mean Greg Stiemsma makes an appearance||03.13.12 at 1:42 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES — You wouldn’t think that Blake Griffin and Greg Stiemsma would have a history. After all, Griffin is the former No. 1 overall pick, a Rookie of the Year, a two-time All-Star and a national name. Prior to this season, Stiemsma was essentially a nameless vagabond, floating through the European circuit with occasional appearances in the D-League.
But back in 2009 at the Las Vegas summer league, Stiemsma made an impression when he blocked Griffin twice. Perhaps that was on Griffin’s mind on Monday night when the Celtics took on the Clippers in a game that was described as physical and chippy. Things had already become heated when Stiemsma checked in late in the first quarter.
Then Griffin got a dunk and made sure to put the ball in Stiemsma’s chest. The center flipped it back and both players received double technicals. A few possessions later, Stiemsma came over from the weakside and responded with a blocked shot. Griffin retaliated with a breathtaking lob dunk, one of the few seen Monday night in lob city. But Stiemsma didn’t back down, burying a 20-footer the next time down the court.
“Maybe for him,” Stiemsma said when asked about their summer league past. “I didn’t have any hard feeling coming in. Right out of the gate it kind of started right when I got in. Whatever it was, I can leave things on the floor. Whatever it is, I’m not worried about it.
Griffin scored 24 points and had nine rebounds. Stiemsma had two points and two boards, but he gave the Celtics 20 minutes and a big presence in a game where Brandon Bass spent the night in foul trouble.
“That was the mean Stiemsma today,” coach Doc Rivers said. “It was great to see that. He got the blocked shot. We’re going to have to work on his trash talk a little bit. But it was good to see. We needed that.”
“You can’t play mad all the time, but you’re not going to back down from anybody either,” Stiemsma said. “I don’t care what position or situation they’re in. If I come in and play physical and take a shot to the mouth, a couple of shots to the head if it helps us win, I’ll do it.”
With Chris Wilcox (heart issues) and Jermaine O’Neal (wrist) away from the team, Stiemsma is the only backup big man on the roster. He’s been dealing with a foot injury of his own and he once again left the arena in a walking boot. Rivers acknowledged before the game that Stiemsma is playing hurt, but there’s no other choice right now.
“I get fired up when I have a couple of bumps and bruises in the morning,” he said.
His teammates have taken note of the 26-year-old’s toughness, both mentally and physically.
“You’ve got to have some kind of toughness to make this team,” Kevin Garnett said. “Not only that, but to make this team and sustain it. He’s not a pushover. He’s quiet but he’s not a pushover by any means.”
For Stiemsma, tough play is nothing new. He’s endured far worse during a nomadic career that has taken him around the world and put him in truly hostile environments. He once played a game in an empty arena in Turkey after security cleared the building following unrest in the stands.
“This was almost a European style feel where a few shots were thrown here and there,” Stiemsma said. “That’s where the game went tonight. We pushed through it. We got back to what we do well and came out with a win.”
He did have one concern after it was over, however after picking up his first technical foul. “I’m hoping someone will chip in with the fine,” he said.
|Blake Griffin treats Kendrick Perkins like a Kia Optima||01.31.12 at 9:36 am ET|
I bet Jeff Green couldn’t get dunked on like that. I kid. I kid. Somewhere, Danny Ainge is smiling.
|Paul Pierce speaks for starters: ‘No excuse to way we started out’||03.10.11 at 12:50 am ET|
It would seem after his bench was outscored, 26-12, in a 108-103 loss to the Clippers Wednesday night at TD Garden, Doc Rivers would have laid blame for the defeat at the hands of his reserves.
But Rivers also realizes that the Celtics dressed just five players Wednesday who were with the team before the Feb. 24 trade deadline, and one of those five was Avery Bradley.
It’s a lot to ask any second unit to make up a 15-to-20 deficit in a game, let alone one that was making its debut. So, the way Rivers saw it, this loss really was at the feet of his “Big 4″ – namely Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.
“I was concerned because in the first quarter, our four starters put us in a hole and then you needed to sub, and you knew nothing good was going to happen,” Rivers said, as his team fell behind by as much as 15 in the first quarter and 23 early in the third.
“It actually [wasn't bad]. They held their ground,” Rivers said of his reserves, led by Carlos Arroyo and new starting center Nenad Krstic. “The problem was it was a 20-point ground [deficit] they were holding and that’s very difficult.
“We sub anyway. We sit guys down regardless of score. Obviously, we were down 20 and we’re subbing. It’s not something you want to do but you have to.”
Pierce couldn’t argue.
“It’s tough when you get out to bad starts and a lot of that has to do with the starters. How we come out at the beginning of the games, we’ve got to come out with a better focus,” Pierce said. “Once you get a team confidence like the Clippers then they feed off that for the rest of the game and were able to get the win.”
Pierce did point to the defensive struggles of the second unit but only as far as they had to pick up the pieces from the starters not playing defense, either.
“I think some of it is the second unit, but a lot of that was at the start of the game with the first five so no excuses on that point,” Pierce said. “They came out and shot 70 percent and a lot of that was against the guys that know what we are doing night in and night out.
“You give some leeway to the newer guys, but there is no excuse to the way we started out giving them the big lead and then having to fight all the way to get back into the game.”
The reserves did a very respectable job on Blake Griffin, who had just 12 points in 37 minutes. Down 23, the Celtics slowly started to chip away, outscoring the Clippers, 24-16 in the third to cut the lead to 10.
Then the starters finally did their thing. Allen drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing on a bullet pass from Rondo with 7:36 left to draw the Celtics within six, 86-80. Garnett’s jumper with just under six minutes left capped a 15-2 run to draw the Celtics within three.
But Mo Williams drained three free throws with 5:23 left to restore the lead to six. Jeff Green drilled a trey with 47.4 seconds left to get within four, 104-100. Allen’s three with 10.5 seconds left turned out to be too little, too late.
The Celtics will try to regroup and start a new winning streak on Friday against the upstart 76ers in Philadelphia. The Sixers are making a late-season push to finish in the middle of the playoff pack in the Eastern Conference and are one of the hottest teams in the NBA since the All-Star break.
Friday would be a great time for a new start for the “Big 4.”
|Audio: Celtics midseason podcast||01.26.11 at 12:54 pm ET|
The Big Show’s Glenn Ordway just recorded his first podcast. The first episode of the Big O’Cast features
WEEI.com’s Celtics writer Paul Flannery. The guys talk about the Celtics season to date, including the play of the two O’Neals, the impact of Kendrick Perkins’ return and some other news around the NBA. The guys specifically talk about the potential trade of Carmelo Anthony, the favorites for the NBA Championship as well as the emergence of Blake Griffin. Listen to the debut of this NBA podcast.