|O’Neal says he was part of Heat’s plan||07.14.10 at 4:59 pm ET|
WALTHAM — In meeting with the media on Wednesday, new Celtics center Jermaine O’Neal spoke about his former team, the Miami Heat, saying that he was aware that the plan was to reel in star free agents LeBron James and Chris Bosh while also retaining Dwyane Wade. The Heat also wanted O’Neal back to team with the trio, but he instead took a two-year deal with the Celtics.
“I knew what the were trying to do, and I could have re-signed back with those guys, but it comes down to fit,” O’Neal said. “It comes down to personalities and style of play, and Boston has all that for me. It was the most important choice that I’ve made in my career.
“It was the first time I actually had the opportunity to even be a free agent in about 14 years, so it was very difficult, but I just felt like over the next two years I needed to be somewhere where the focus is strictly about winning now, not worrying about chemistry, not worrying about anything, just about coming in and helping the team win and doing my part of being involved in something good.”
As for having to worry about matching up against the Heat, O’Neal doesn’t seem overly concerned regarding who the top team in the Eastern Conference is.
“I don’t really look at it as an individual matchup,” O’Neal said. “Obviously they have a great tandem down there, but I feel like this team has the best team. … I had a great time down in Miami, I had an opportunity to re-sign back with them, but I just thought that this is where I’m meant to be.”
O’Neal said that he liked the Celtics’ powerhouse over the potential one Miami would eventually form based on the way Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo have proven their ability to work together.
“Those guys, they have a ring already, but they want another one,” O’Neal said. “I don’t have a ring and I want one, so I felt like their hunger and their focus is at a different level. There were some other good teams out there that i really looked at that i thought could compete for the championship, but threes guys just came off an NBA finals appearance and obviously they’ve won one, so they know what it takes to get there.”
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge applauded the Heat for the job they’ve done, saying that though they still might make some more moves, the big pieces they’ve put in place already are substantial.
“It’s pretty impressive,” Ainge said. “They’ve put a terrific team together, but it doesn’t even matter what they do. Obviously [additional moves] could make a little bit of a difference, but the three guys that they’ve put together down there with Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem, that’s a pretty solid team.”
Asked about the chemistry element that O’Neal previously referred to and how it might apply to the Heat, Ainge said: “Wining does amazing things to team chemistry.”
|Report: Williams leaves Celtics for Nuggets||at 11:50 am ET|
According to a report from ESPN’s John Hollinger, forward Shelden Williams has agreed to sign with the Nuggets. Williams was a reserve for the Celtics in 2009-10 who showed flashes in the early part of the season but was not a contributor by the time the playoffs rolled around. The report indicates that the Nuggets also have re-signed veteran guard Anthony Carter.
|Reports: Barbosa traded to Toronto, off Celtics’ radar||07.12.10 at 9:18 am ET|
The Celtics will have to look elsewhere as they try to reload their bench for another run at the NBA finals next seasons after multiple reports have Suns guard Leandro Barbosa being traded to the Raptors as part of a three-player deal that would send swingman Hedo Turkoglu to Phoenix. Barbosa had been rumored as a potential trade target for the C’s this offseason, but that appears to be off the table now. Barbosa averaged 9.5 points as a backup last season and could have replaced the recently departed Tony Allen as the first guard off the Boston bench. Instead, the Celtics will now need to lure in other trade partners to fill that role, using the not-yet-retired Rasheed Wallace‘s contract as bait.
|Janning receives training camp invite||07.10.10 at 8:46 pm ET|
LAS VEGAS — After a brief but impressive stint with the Celtics at Orlando Summer League, Matt Janning has received an invite to be part of their training camp roster this fall, he told WEEI.com.
“They’ve invited me,” he said. “I’ve got to sit down and kind of think about what’s the best opportunity for me.”
Janning, a guard, averaged 11.5 points and shot 9-for-18 in just two games for the Celtics. Although Danny Ainge asked him to stay with the team for the duration of the week, Janning had to leave Orlando early to fulfill a previous commitment with the Suns at the Las Vegas Summer League.
Even though he will consider all of his options this summer, the chance to play for the Celtics is special to the Northeastern alum.
“A lot of my friends are like, ‘You’re playing with the Celtics, that’s awesome.’ And it really is,” he said. “I’ve been in Boston the last four years, a little more than that now, watched games down at the Garden, and I’ve seen those guys play, so it’s real nice knowing that I’m close to getting a chance to be part of all that.”
|Allen: ‘There’s no other place I wanted to be’||07.07.10 at 11:21 pm ET|
Ray Allen reached a two-year agreement with the Celtics and is looking forward to continuing his career in Boston.
“I’m happy to be returning as a Celtic,” he told WEEI.com via text message. “There’s no other place I wanted to be.”
According to a source familiar with the negotiations, WEEI.com confirmed the deal is worth $10 million annually. The second year is a player option.
Allen, who turns 35 this month, made it clear following the NBA finals that he would like to return to Boston – “I’ll deal with that when the time comes, but it’s obvious that I don’t want to be anywhere else,” he said after Game 7. He garnered attention from around the league, however, once he hit the free agent market. According to one report, LeBron James contacted Allen about joining him, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade on a “Dream Team.”
Allen’s return to the Celtics keeps the “Big Three” intact. Paul Pierce agreed to a four-year deal last week and Kevin Garnett has two years left on his contract.
Allen averaged just over 16 points during last season and the playoffs. He set an NBA finals record by hitting eight 3-pointers against the Lakers. Allen will be entering his 15th season in the league and doesn’t expect to slow down any time soon.
“I believe I’m so far ahead of the game that I’m able to play longer,” he told WEEI.com during the regular season. “People look at basic standards of guys my age at 34, like some guys at 34, there’s no way they could play basketball right now. And I’m thinking at my age now, I can go even a few more years doing what I’m doing the way I’m doing it because for me, it’s not rocket science.”
|Source: Allen agrees to return to Boston||at 9:54 pm ET|
WEEI.com has confirmed Ray Allen will return to the Celtics after agreeing to a two-year deal worth $10 million annually, with a player option for the second year. ESPN.com’s Marc Stein first reported the deal on Twitter.
Allen, who turns 35 this month, averaged just over 16 points last season and in the playoffs. He garnered attention from around the league when he hit the free agent market this summer, and was reportedly contacted by LeBron James about playing for a “Dream Team” with him, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
Allen had attested during the NBA finals, however, that he would like to return to the Celtics. His agreement keeps the Big Three intact for another shot at a title after Paul Pierce agreed to a new four-year deal last week.
|Doc: ‘Bigger deal’ made about coaching decision||07.06.10 at 11:13 pm ET|
For weeks, the uncertainty of Doc Rivers’ coaching career with the Celtics was unavoidable. It was discussed during the playoffs, immediately after Game 7 of the NBA finals, and on Draft Night. The media outlined the pros and cons of both options while fans weighed on what would be the best move for Rivers.
Forget about where LeBron James was going to sign. In Boston, the biggest question was who would be on the sidelines next season.
In the end, Rivers stayed with the Celtics. After all the hype leading up to his decision, he told AOL FanHouse the speculation of leaving the Cs “was blown out of proportion.” Even though he did consider stepping down to spend more time with his family, Rivers called the attention his decision received “embarrassing”:
“It was really no different than any other year,” Rivers said in an interview with FanHouse at the Air Tran Orlando Pro Summer League. “It was a much bigger deal made about it than it was. It’s what we do every year. We (his family) go home and relax and we sit around.”
Share Rivers has one year left on his contract. However, he was considering stepping away from coaching for a year to watch his children, including star-studded, high school rising senior Austin Rivers, play.
Rivers admits there were “times” he came close to stepping away. Still, he didn’t think his decision process deserved as much focus as it got.
“Because it got out that’s what we do, I thought it was embarrassing to me because it was just so much attention about it,” Rivers said of what he called an annual evaluation. “Once you made (the decision), it was great. The family was good and everybody was happy. And now you just worry about your team and you got to get everybody back, and you got to add a couple of guys.”
Rivers is currently in Orlando with the Celtics Summer League team. Austin Ainge is coaching the squad.