|Rajon Rondo: ‘I still am’ hard to coach||06.11.13 at 10:02 am ET|
Long silent since tearing his right ACL in February, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has begun popping up across the country as he is wont to do in the summertime. Prior to Game 2 of the NBA finals on Sunday, we saw him along with several other stars reading mean tweets from their Twitter timelines.
Rondo’s line: “Is it me or does Rajon Rondo look like that turtle named Franklin on Nick Jr.?”
Then, Rondo discussed everything from Celtics coach Doc Rivers to Connect Four and algebra with Red Bull Signature Series host Sal Masekela and Sheridan Hoops contributor Brian Kamenetzky on a series of videos promoting the energy drink (h/t NBC Sports). Before we get into Rondo’s dominance of Milton Bradley products and mathematics, let’s deal with the basketball-related discussion centered around Rondo’s coachability.
Rajon Rondo: “I always try to be on the same page as Doc, so I’m always looking at him and reading his mouth, but I pretty much know what he’s going to say. I’ve been playing for him for seven years, and we’ve always pretty much been on the same page, especially now. Each year, we’re growing and communicating better and learning each other more and more.”
Sal Masekela: “A lot of times, you see people who are potentially great players come in the league, and the main problem is coachability. How much of that is on the coach? And how much is it on the player?”
RR: “As a young player, you always think the coach is pretty hard on you, which he should be. If he’s not, that means he doesn’t care. They always say, ‘When I stop talking to you, then you should worry.’
“My first year was pretty rough, but I had great mentors in my life that I could call, and they’d be like, ‘You know what? Just hang in there. You’ve got to listen to your coach.’ So, I was able to make it through that.
“It wasn’t a big deal. We were struggling the first year. We lost 18 in a row that year, so I felt like I could help the team, and you’ve got to look at it a different way. I look at Doc differently now. You don’t look at your coach as trying to hurt you. Obviously, we all want the same thing — to win — so whatever he’s telling me or telling the team, it’s for the betterment of the team, and you have to take yourself out of it and look at it from a team aspect.”
Brian Kamenetzky: “Do you think you were hard to coach earlier in your career?”
RR: “I still am. It’s not that I’m hard to coach; it’s just that I may challenge what you say. I know the game myself. I’m out there playing, so I may have seen something different versus what you saw from the sidelines. I’m going to be respectable. I’m going to let the coach talk. Me and Doc talk all the time; it’s just different dialogue. We’ve built to that relationship, and I’ve been fortunate to play for Doc for seven years. If I have any questions, he’s pretty much got all the answers. And if he doesn’t, he’s always honest with me. I wouldn’t rather play for any other coach.”
There you have it. Rondo isn’t the easiest player to coach, and yet he and Rivers have built a working relationship. All the more reason the Celtics must be weary of Doc’s strange comments about his future in Boston.
Enough about basketball. Let’s get to Rondo’s true passion: Connect Four. In a “Bobby Fischer style” game between Rondo and his two interviewers, we’re treated to this amazing exchange with the four-time NBA All-Star.
|Doc Rivers on Celtics return: ‘I’d rather not say’||06.10.13 at 10:49 am ET|
Last month, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told The Globe Rivers would return for the third season of a five-year, $35 million contract, but Rivers is yet to confirm Ainge’s statement.
Meanwhile, Rivers continues to oversee pre-draft workouts in Waltham and work with Ainge on the team’s offseason. Still, five weeks after telling reporters in the aftermath of a Game 6 loss to the Knicks, “I’m coming back until I say I’m not,” Rivers’ unwillingness to confirm his return has led to rampant speculation.
Is this tied to the June 30 decision on Paul Pierce‘s contract? Or Kevin Garnett‘s own looming decision? Would Rivers really hold the Celtics hostage as big-name coaches find work elsewhere? All valid questions.
Asked if he would address his future in the coming weeks, Rivers told Washburn only, “Soon.”
|Irish Coffee: 10 Things I Heard About Celtics||06.05.13 at 6:34 pm ET|
This is the worst. An aging Big Three stands in the way of LeBron James and a second straight NBA title — only it’s the Spurs, not the Celtics. Instead, Boston basketball fans are inundated with all sorts of ridiculous rumors. I think Kevin Garnett‘s uncle’s cousin’s brother’s sister-in-law just claimed KG’s coming back. That’s why, on another slow C’s news day in June, we’re revealing the latest edition of 10 Things I Heard About Celtics.
10. Heated rivalry: Speaking of LeBron, he went One on Two with Ahmad Rashad and Ahmad Rashad’s earring before taking on San Antonio. Asked if he considered Kobe Bryant his greatest rival, James waxed unpoetically about Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, ultimately landing on Paul Pierce as the closest thing to a rival (h/t @MrTrpleDouble10). Somewhere, a pajama clad Kevin Durant stoically cleans gutters.
“I would say that I don’t really have an individual rivalry. I think the closest would be Paul Pierce,” said the four-time NBA MVP. “I would say Boston is a rival of mine, because I’ve met them so many times in the postseason. I’ve been able to advance against them, they’ve sent me home fishing a few times, so I would say Boston and Paul Pierce would kind of be that guy if I had to name just one guy.”
9. Trading faces of franchises: “Healthy” and “Pierce” haven’t been mentioned in the same sentence too often over the last couple years, except when Boston Herald beat writer Steve Bulpett recently wrote, “there is reportedly healthy interest in Pierce out on the market.” Now, we don’t know who considers what healthy, but I’m guessing the offers are more of the Kris Humphries ilk than the Eric Gordon variety.
|Grande & Max to host weekly ‘Celtics Summer Cooler’||at 1:27 pm ET|
The first edition will air this weekend, and the show will run through Sept. 28, leading up to training camp. Grande and Max have called more than 1,200 games since teaming up for Celtics radio on WEEI in 2001, including the 2008 title. The two expect to have C’s front office personnel, players, beat writers and columnists on the show.
‘This is going to be the most interesting offseason for the Celtics since 2007 when [president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge] pulled off the big trades for KG [Kevin Garnett] and Ray Allen,’ said Jason Wolfe, VP of Programming and Operations for WEEI. “Celtic fans deserve a show that will be devoted to the team’s efforts this summer, and no one knows the strategy better than Grande and Max.”
|Michael Carter-Williams: Playing for Celtics ‘would be a blessing’||05.28.13 at 9:05 pm ET|
Even the most trusted experts can’t agree on where Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams will go in next month’s NBA draft. While many forecast the Hamilton, Mass., native as a top-10 pick, ESPN.com’s Chad Ford slotted him to the Celtics at No. 16 as recently as three weeks ago.
‘I don’t really pay attention to any of the mock drafts,’ Carter-Williams told WEEI.com’s Ben Rohrbach on his Green Street podcast. ‘At the end of the day, they’re all pretty much wrong anyway.’
That’s why the point guard was caught off guard when the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett asked him at this month’s NBA scouting combine about playing for the Boston team he grew up rooting for on the North Shore.
‘I kind of want to get away and play somewhere else,’ he told Bulpett.
Given some time to mull the possibility of playing for his hometown C’s, Carter-Williams sang a different tune on Rohrbach’s podcast this week.
|Jared Sullinger: ‘I’ll be 100 percent’ by September||05.23.13 at 6:43 pm ET|
As the Celtics honored hundreds of middle school students for their perfect attendance at Thursday’s 22nd annual “Stay in School” celebration at Northeastern University, Jared Sullinger shared the lessons he’s learned since undergoing the surgery to repair a lumbar disk that ended his rookie season in February.
“In life, it’s kind of different,” said the recently turned 21-year-old power forward. “Teachers give you a lesson and then the test whereas in life you get the test and then the lesson. I’ve learned that through this situation right now. I’m getting a test of my patience, my discipline … so I’m just learning the lesson now.”
The lesson in patience should be completed by the end of the summer. By his calculations, Sullinger’s 50 percent and on target to return fully healthy before training camp.
“It’s a 10-week process,” said Sullinger. “Every two weeks, we’re going to bump it up 10 percent. By September or October, I’ll be 100 percent to go full. About two weeks ago, I met with the doctor. He said it’s a full go. Our medical staff — [strength and conditioning coach] Bryan Doo, [head trainer] Ed Lacerte — we’re just taking it slow. You don’t want to go right into the pounding, so every two weeks it’s just 10 percent bumping it up.”
Sullinger averaged 6.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in 19.8 minutes a night over 45 games as a rookie, eventually earning high praise from his teammates for his basketball IQ and a starting role in late January. When he does finally play for the first time since aggravating the injury four minutes into a game against the Kings on Jan. 30, he’s been told the medical issue that’s plagued him since his Ohio State days will be gone.
“Everybody says back with a question mark,” said Sullinger, “but you might as well put an X through that, because I had surgery, I’m taking my time and getting back right. There won’t be a reoccurring injury.”
|Report: Celtics guard Terrence Williams arrested||05.20.13 at 9:38 am ET|
On Sunday afternoon, during a scheduled visit to see his son in Kent, Wash., Williams and the woman argued in the parking lot of her apartment building, where he exposed the gun and made verbal threats, she told police.
The first-year Celtics guard’s father Edgar Williams and mother Sherry Jackson both spent time in prison, and his father was murdered shortly after his release from jail on drug charges in 1993, according to The New York Times (h/t SI.com).
The C’s signed Williams out of the Chinese Basketball Association to a series of 10-day contracts in February, and then inked him for the remainder of the season in early March. The deal included a non-guaranteed salary for 2013-14, when Williams was expected to compete for backup point guard duties behind Rajon Rondo.
He averaged 7.1 points (49.5 FG%), 1.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 13.3 minutes over 24 games for the Celtics this season. He appeared in five of their six playoff games against the Knicks, averaging 1.0 point, 2.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 9.6 playoff minutes a night.
When Sebastian Telfair was arrested on gun charges soon after the 2006-07 campaign, Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck disowned the former C’s guard — announcing the removal of his nameplate from his Waltham locker in an email to The Boston Globe — and the team included him in the deal for Kevin Garnett that summer.
That shouldn’t get your hopes up for a Kevin Love deal involving Terrence Williams.