|Ainge: Tony Allen leaving ‘not a financial decision’||07.14.10 at 10:10 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge had plenty to talk about on Wednesday as he introduced center Jermaine O’Neal to the Boston media, but perhaps the most the most interesting topic touched on was swingman Tony Allen‘s defection to the Memphis Grizzlies for a three-year deal worth a reported $9.7 million.
In discussing the situation with reporters, Ainge indicated that the Celtics had hoped to bring Allen, one of their three 2004 first-round draft choices, back. He said that money was not a driving factor in Allen’s decision to leave.
“Things did work out for Tony, we had a good six years with Tony,” Ainge said when asked what didn’t work out in negotiations. “We wanted Tony back and we tried to get him. It wasn’t a financial decision, there were other decisions, so I think that’s a question you’ll have to ask Tony.”
In his six seasons with the Celtics, Allen averaged 7.2 points, 1.3 assists and 2.6 rebounds in 18.4 minutes and was a plus defender, often guarding the opposing team’s biggest offensive threat.
Asked to evaluate the offseason, Ainge likened making any comment now to saying how a game went while just at halftime. The C’s are looking to add five more players to give them a 14-man squad, but much of time in the near future will consist of waiting to see which players are still available after the big contracts are done being handed out. He also said he does not expect Rasheed Wallace to change his mind regarding retirement.
Ainge said that the Celtics still have needs at multiple positions, noting they are looking for help at center/power forward, backup point guard, as well as wings. He did say that he likes “unproven rookies” Semih Erden (a Turkish center) and Avery Bradley (the team’s first-round draft choice, a point guard), and that the team is in negotiations with Nate Robinson to hopefully continue to back up Rajon Rondo. Asked about Robinson, Ainge said he is a “guy we’re talking with, along with a slew of other free agents as well.”
Josh Howard was a name brought up in the session and Ainge did not deny the team’s interest, saying he would “rather not get into the people who we are pursuing” and that “there’s a long list of them, but he’s on that list.”
The 29th overall pick by the Mavericks in the 2003 draft, Howard has averaged 16.3 points, 1.7 assists, 6.0 rebounds in seven seasons. The small forward had spent his entire career in Dallas before being traded to the Wizards in February. He played in only four games for Washington before tearing his ACL, an injury he is still recovering from.
|O’Neal says he was part of Heat’s plan||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|
“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 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.
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