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Rajon Rondo: ‘I am not a coach-killer’ 07.12.13 at 10:24 am ET
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Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo

As is his custom, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has remained quiet throughout his team’s tumultuous summer, but C’s broadcaster Cedric Maxwell shared a recent conversation between the two about new coach Brad Stevens.

“On the Fourth of July, I happened to be walking on one of the beaches of Boston, ran into Rajon Rondo’s brother, had him give Rondo a call and I spoke to Rondo personally about this,” Maxwell told Yahoo! Sports Radio. “Rondo said to me, ‘Look, I am not a coach-killer,’ so I think that he wants to get in here, he wants to work hard, he wants to get along with the coach, and he feels like he’s been put into an unfair picture of being such a hard, difficult guy to coach.”

Somewhere along the line, Rondo developed a reputation as a player no coach but Doc Rivers could handle — and even Rivers grew tired of him, or so the rumors go. We tackled how that tale got taller here.

“He is stubborn and pig-headed when it comes to doing it his way and getting it done his way,” added Maxwell. “And he wants to prove people wrong because he was drafted down in the draft — how good he is, how good he’s become. He’s become an All-Star, and he’s become one of the better point guards in the NBA, so I think he has kind of a chip on his shoulder. That kind of comes into play, but a lot of great players always have some kind of idiosyncrasy that kind of goes along with that.”

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Celtics issue ‘thank you’ to Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett at 8:28 am ET
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Thank You

On the day the trade becomes official, the Celtics issued a message to departed superstars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett on both the team’s social media accounts and in an ad in The Boston Globe.

“To two of the greatest Celtics legends of all-time: Thank you. You will always be Celtics.”

The statement is accompanied by a photoshopped image of KG hoisting the 2008 NBA championship trophy and Pierce clutching his Finals MVP award in front of the Garden parquet and banner-filled rafters. The caption:

THANK YOU
FOR YOUR HEART
FOR YOUR PASSION
FOR YOUR SACRIFICE
FOR PLAYING THROUGH THE PAIN
FOR BLEEDING GREEN
FOR HONORING TRADITION
FOR AN AMAZING RIDE
FOR RESTORING CELTIC PRIDE
FOR BANNER 17

Apparently, they forgot: “FOR THREE FIRST-ROUND PICKS,” since it was the team’s decision to trade them.

Yup, it’s official, folks. The trade is scheduled to be finalized on Friday, shipping Jason Terry along with the two Celtics greats to Brooklyn in exchange for Nets Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans and Kris Joseph as well as Brooklyn’s first-round picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

If you’re a tortured fan who needs more proof Pierce and Garnett’s time in Boston is over: Check out these images of their Nets jerseys and watch Pierce tell TMZ, “Who says it’s the end of my career? I plan on playing 10 more years dude.” Also, read this retrospective on Truth and Ticket.

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Kelly Olynyk posts a double-double, but Celtics fall to Rockets in summer league 07.10.13 at 5:59 pm ET
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Kelly Olynyk had a double-double on Wednesday against Houston. (AP)

Kelly Olynyk, shown here in Tuesday’s game against the Pacers, had a double-double Wednesday against the Rockets. (AP)

Kelly Olynyk scored a team-high 19 points and hauled in 10 rebounds in 28 minutes, but the Celtics had their two-game win streak snapped in an 85-78 loss to the Rockets on Wednesday afternoon in NBA Summer League play in Orlando. Olynyk did commit five turnovers and seven personal fouls in the loss. Summer league rules allow players to commit an unlimited number of fouls.

The Rockets, who recently signed free agent center Dwight Howard, jumped out to a quick start, leading 24-17 after one quarter.

The Celtics responded by outscoring the Rockets 23-19 in the second period and cut Houston’s lead to 43-40 at the half. But the Celtics offense went cold again in the third as Boston scored just 16 points and trailed 67-56 entering the final quarter.

Trailing 81-73 with 1:38 left in the game, the Celtics made one final push, cutting the lead to three, 81-78, on a Lawrence Hill 3-pointer with 26.9 seconds remaining. But those would be the final points of the day for the Celtics, who finished the scheduled portion of summer league at 2-2. They will have Thursday off before a playoff game on Friday.

The Celtics, who entered the day in third place in the standings, earned two points in the loss by winning the second and fourth quarters. They have 14 points, tying them with the idle Heat for third place. The Heat play Thursday. The Celtics are likely to play in either the third-place or fifth-place game on Friday.

The Rockets are a perfect 3-0, with their final scheduled game set for Thursday. The Rockets are second in the standings now with 16 points after earning five on Wednesday. Oklahoma City leads the group with 20 points after earning six on Wednesday in a win over the 76ers.

Tim Abromaitis (14) and Courtney Fells (10) were the only other Celtics scoring in double figures. Phil Pressey got the start again at point guard for the Celtics. He had an up-and-down game, dishing out a game-high 10 assists but committing four turnovers and making just 2-of-9 field goal attempts.

At halftime, new Celtics coach Brad Stevens spoke to NBA TV. Stevens said he’s not worried about next season’s record as much as he is about the overall approach his new team takes to playing.

“I’ve been a lot less concerned about results [this summer] than playing to a standard. That’s going to be a major emphasis,” Stevens told Nick Cellini and Kendall Gill.

Stevens was also asked about Rajon Rondo and whether he’s reached out to his All-Star point guard.

“From everything I’ve been told, his rehab has been going well,” Stevens said. “Shared quite a few texts, talked on phone. Will talk to him soon.”

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Larry Bird: ‘Believe me, Danny Ainge knows what he’s doing’ 07.08.13 at 6:29 pm ET
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Larry Bird believes Celtics fans should be smiling about about Danny Ainge is doing to the Celtics. (AP)

Larry Bird believes Celtics fans should be smiling about about Danny Ainge is doing to the Celtics. (AP)

One of the greatest Celtics in franchise history believes the team’s intensely loyal fan base should trust in Danny Ainge.

Larry Bird, speaking to reporters Monday at the Orlando summer league games, said he understands why his former teammate and current president of basketball operations of the Celtics traded heart-and-soul pieces Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett last week to the Brooklyn Nets.

“Believe me, Danny Ainge knows what he’s doing,” Bird said. “He won a championship. I never doubt Danny Ainge. Danny does a good job. You know, you do get older. You can’t beat Father Time, and I’m sure things will work out.”

Pierce will be 36 next season while Garnett will be 37 when he suits up with Brooklyn. Both, Bird said Monday can be productive with the Nets.

“I think they’ve both been pretty healthy throughout their careers,” Bird said Monday. “They haven’t had the major, major injuries that I had. I think they got plenty left. The way they will be coached and the bench that they have. Yeah — they’ll pick their spots, but when the time comes, they’ll be there.”

Bird, who serves as Ainge’s counterpart with the Pacers, acknowledged it’s disappointing to see Pierce, the second-leading scorer in Celtics franchise history, not be able to do what he did and finish his career playing only for the Celtics.

“I would have loved to see it,” Bird said. “I got a lot of respect for Paul and what he has accomplished. But who says he’s not going to play another four years? It’s a tough situation.”

Pierce, who turns 36 Oct. 13, averaged 18.6 points per game this past season and, with 24,021 points, trails only John Havlicek on Boston’s all-time scoring list.

“[Pierce] is one of the better ones to ever come through there, he really is,” Bird insisted.

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Big games from Kelly Olynyk, Darius Johnson-Odom lead Celtics over Pistons in summer league at 5:05 pm ET
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Kelly Olynyk

Kelly Olynyk

Guard Darius Johnson-Odom scored a game-high 22 points over the bench while Celtics first-round pick Kelly Olynyk added 13 points, six rebounds and five steals as Boston beat Detroit, 93-63, in a summer league blowout in Orlando.

“It’s an asset if you can go inside-out,” Olynyk told NBA TV after Boston’s first win of summer league. After scoring 25 points in Sunday’s first game, Olynyk added an all-around game on Monday, chipping in with three assists and a blocked shot.

The Celtics were in complete control of the game, jumping out to a 30-9 lead after one quarter. The Celtics benefitted from balanced scoring as 12 of 13 players on the roster scored.

It was just the sixth 30-point decision in the history of summer league play in Orlando.

Phil Pressey was on the only other Celtics player in double figures, scoring 12 points.

While the Celtics improved to 1-1 in summer league, the Pistons, coached by Rasheed Wallace, suffered their first loss and evened their record at 1-1.

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Irish Coffee: What next for Danny Ainge’s Celtics? 07.02.13 at 8:05 am ET
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Doc Rivers is gone. Come July 12, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry aren’t walking through that door. Even Terrence Williams got the boot. And so begins the next chapter in Celtics lore.

Strap in, because this may take a while. The previous rebuilding phase lasted 22 years, and Kris Humphries is involved this time around. A locker room shared by the former Mr. Kardashian and Rajon Rondo might just ignite enough toxicity to blow these Celtics up from the inside out. That’s one option, I guess.

At least C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge acquired a handful of building blocks, adding an additional first-round draft pick in four of the next five seasons and clearing cap space in 2014. Whatever else he accomplishes over the next couple months, it will all be done with an eye toward next summer.

As a result, don’t expect a Josh Smith to join the Celtics during the NBA’s free-agency period that began on Monday. Ainge admitted as much when introducing “not star” rookie 7-footers Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson.

Sure, the Celtics could chase a sign-and-trade deal for Smith, ink Rondo’s high school roommate to double-digit millions and let a handful of wildly entertaining sixth-seeded seasons commence, but that wouldn’t get them much closer to the only thing that matters around here: An 18th banner. As Ainge said, “This is the Boston Celtics.”

Of course, Ainge also said, “We are not tanking. That’s ridiculous.” So, what exactly is he doing?

Read the rest of this entry »

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Danny Ainge talks Dwight Howard, NBA free agency 07.01.13 at 9:56 pm ET
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Paul PIerce and the Celtics ran circles around the Lakers Thursday night. (AP)

Paul PIerce and the Celtics ran circles around the Lakers Thursday night. (AP)

While Danny Ainge told reporters in Mattapan that “free agency right now is not a priority for us,” the Celtics president of basketball operations inquired about free agent Lakers center Dwight Howard.

Ainge reportedly put a call in to gauge Howard’s interest in a sign-and-trade involving the C’s bitter rivals, but Howard’s representatives said, “No,” according to The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn.

During a press conference introducing 7-foot rookies Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson, Ainge announced he is more interested in “cleaning up” the roster than lobbying a list of free agents that includes Howard, Josh Smith, Tyreke Evans and Monta Ellis.

Still, Ainge reiterated his stance on Rajon Rondo: The three-time All-Star point guard is a centerpiece worth building around, and the Celtics aren’t actively seeking a trade for him. That’s not to say they won’t pick up the phone when other teams inquire about Rondo, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, Courtney Lee, Jared Sullinger and everybody else, including Olynyk — just as Howard’s agents answered Ainge’s call.

“Maybe the assumption is that we’ll give away any of our players,” Ainge told reporters from the Boston Center for Youth & Families Mildred Avenue Community Center. “There has been calls for all those guys, and maybe the assumption is we’re just changing everybody, but we’re not. We’re starting to get younger.”

Considering the departure of coach Doc Rivers and the pending trade of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets on July 12, the Celtics appear to be sinking deeper and deeper toward the 2014 NBA draft lottery, but Ainge assured Washburn, “We are not tanking. That’s ridiculous. This is the Boston Celtics.”

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