|Paul Pierce tells podcast how he nearly left Celtics for Blazers, but wanted to join Mavericks||02.03.16 at 10:14 am ET|
After Paul Pierce led the Celtics to the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals, and before he led them to the 2008 title, he wanted out of Boston, and he nearly got his wish.
Speaking to Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast, Pierce explained how he helped nix a deal to the Blazers and pushed for a trade to the Mavericks that would’ve altered Celtics history.
“It was just discouraging,” Pierce told Mannix, courtesy NESN.com. “It was just like I want people to know who Paul Pierce is, what type of player he is, but the only way to do that is to be on the big stage, be in the playoffs with a shot at the championship. It was discouraging playing so well and not reaching the team success that I wanted to reach. Because at the end of the day, that’s how you’re going to be measured on how your team does more than what you do as an individual. When I didn’t see that, the results of that, it created doubts where maybe I could go somewhere else and find that.”
Trader Danny Ainge, who long lusted after point guard Chris Paul, worked on the framework of a deal that would swap the two young stars. But Pierce wanted none of it.
“It was just like, (the Blazers) weren’t going to the playoffs, they had a young team, too, players always getting in trouble, and I was just like, I’m not going to Portland,” Pierce said on the podcast. “I think I made the announcement. I think I did an article in the paper saying I wasn’t going to Portland if I got traded there. I might as well stay in Boston if I go to Portland. I know that was the one trade I knew about that was on the table that they were really close to pulling.”
Pierce had another destination in mind: Dallas, where he would join his fellow member of the draft class of 1998, Dirk Nowitzki. The Mavs boasted a committed owner in Mark Cuban, and a young roster that would eventually win a title in 2011. Maybe it would’ve happened sooner with Pierce.
“If you can get me to Dallas, that’s where I wanted to go at the time,’ Pierce said. “I thought Dallas was a player like me away from winning. They were 50-game winners. Dirk was pretty much by himself. I even ran into Dirk and Mark Cuban that summer. It was like, ‘Mark, you’ve got to find a way to get me over there. I want to get over there. I think I could help you all get over the hump.'”
It never happened, and for that, the Celtics should be grateful.
|Report: Celtics have interest in Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari||02.02.16 at 12:21 pm ET|
If so, that player could be Danilo Gallinari.
According to a report from over the weekend on Sportando, a website that tracks worldwide basketball, the Celtics have interest in the Nuggets’ sharpshooter, who’s in the midst of his best season.
The 6-foot-10 Italian, the No. 6 overall pick by the Knicks in the 2008 draft, has rebounded from 2014 knee surgery to post the best numbers of his career. He’s averaging 19.3 points and 5.6 rebounds a game, both career highs, and he ranks among the NBA’s top 10 in free throws made (291, 5th) and attempted (333, 9th).
That the Celtics would have interest shouldn’t be a surprise, since the Herald’s Steve Bulpett reported over the summer that Gallinari was a potential target of Celtics president Danny Ainge and that the sides had discussed a deal.
Gallinari, 27, is signed through the 2017-18 season on a two-year, $34 million extension.
|Report: Celtics boss Danny Ainge has spoken to forward David Lee about his future||02.01.16 at 3:24 pm ET|
Lee, who has not played in the last 12 games, is a free agent after the season. The 6-foot-9 power forward has lost his spot in the rotation with the Celtics deciding to shift to a smaller lineup featuring the versatile Jae Crowder at the 4.
Both Ainge and head coach Brad Stevens have praised Lee’s willingness to make the best of what everyone recognizes is a less-than-ideal situation. The 32-year-old former All-Star is a skilled scorer in the post, but not necessarily a fit in Stevens’ offense, which is built more around ball movement and 3-point shooting.
“All the success he has had in the NBA ‘¦ he has dealt with it right,” Ainge told CSNNE.com. “He knows an opportunity is going to come to him at some points. He’s staying ready.”
Ainge declined to disclose what he told Lee’s camp, and there are no indications the forward has requested a trade in advance of the Feb. 18 trade deadline.
Lee is averaging 7.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. He’s only two years removed from going for 18.2 and 9.3 in Golden State.
|Report: Celtics inquired about Hawks’ Al Horford, Jeff Teague||01.31.16 at 9:12 am ET|
“Atlanta, I’ve been told, is ready to turn the page, to give the team to Dennis Schroeder, their young point guard, who is ready to step up and be a starter,” Mannix said. “Teague is available because Teague has some value. He has another year left on his contract, about $8 million per year, and teams across the league are looking to get him.”
Mannix continued, “I’ve heard that Boston’s inquired about several players with Atlanta, Teague and Al Horford. Teague might seem like a weird fit with this team because they already have point guards, but he is an asset, He’s someone the Celtics could be interested in.
“Horford, a little more difficult. It would be a gamble going after Al Horford because Al Horford is in the last year of his deal and he’s going to command a salary north of $20 million next year. But as we know and as I just said, (president of basketball operations) Danny Ainge is a gambling GM. He could make a move like that, too.”
Atlanta is currently tied for the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference at 27-21, with the 29 year old Horford averaging 15.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Teague, 27, 14.5 points and 5.5 assists per contest.
|Former Butler player Andrew Smith, visited recently by Celtics coach Brad Stevens, dies at 25 of cancer||01.12.16 at 6:51 pm ET|
The news was broken by Smith’s wife, Samantha, who tweeted: “Andrew peacefully passed away in his sleep and in my arms as I told him I loved him this morning. Love you always, Smith.”
Smith had battled non-Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia over the last two years. Stevens, his former coach at Butler, missed the Celtics game on Jan. 8 in Chicago to pay Smith what turned out to be a final visit. He had previously checked in with him in November when the Celtics visited the Pacers, and Smith was hopeful a bone marrow transplant would help him beat the disease.
Stevens tweeted his condolences on Tuesday.
“To the toughest guy I ever met – Thank you, Andrew,” Stevens wrote. “We love you and will always be inspired by you.”
Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel noted in a separate post that, according to Samantha, Stevens called or texted Andrew Smith more than anyone outside of his family.
The 6-foot-11 Smith played on both of Butler’s national runners-up teams, in 2010 and 2011. He was a freshman reserve in 2010 when the Bulldogs lost a classic final to Duke, and he averaged 8.5 points a game for the club that lost to UConn. He played professionally in Lithuania for two years. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in January of 2014.
Smith’s father Curt issued the following statement:
“Andrew packed more living into his 25 years than most of us will enjoy in a full 75 years. He lived his faith, relished his family, selflessly served his wife, and pursued his passion of basketball at the highest levels.”
|Studs and Duds: Celtics avoid major embarrassment, beat Sixers||11.26.15 at 7:30 am ET|
This could have been a very bad look for the Celtics.
Trailing by five points with under three minutes to go, the Celts were on the verge of giving Philadelphia its first win of the season. Instead, Brad Stevens‘ crew was able to rally, handing Philly its 16th loss in as many tries this season, with the Celtics claiming an 84-80 victory Wednesday night at TD Garden.
The Sixers now have tied the 1976-77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the longest losing streak in U.S. professional sports, having dropped 26 in a row dating back to the end of last season.
Philly is two losses away from matching the most losses to start an NBA season, which is currently held by the New Jersey Nets, who lost 18 times before winning a game in 2009.
The Sixers only scored three points in the final 6:13.
For a complete box score, click here. To go on beyond the box score, read on.
STUD OF THE NIGHT: Isaiah Thomas.
The guard not only netted a season-high 30 in his team-high 38 minutes, but managed a plus-17 when on the floor. He also added six assists while going 4-for-7 from 3-point territory. Thomas is now averaging 21.2 points per game, having managed at least 14 points in every game this season.
DUD OF THE NIGHT: Kelly Olynyk.
In his 14 minutes, the Celtics‘ forward went 0-for-5 from the floor, managing just three rebounds. The Celts were a minus-8 when Olynyk was in action. It was the seventh straight game he has failed to reach double-figurges in scoring, with the 24-year-old’s field goal shooting percentage dropping to 37 percent.
|Celtics really should be eyeing these free agents this offseason||05.31.15 at 1:53 pm ET|
The Celtics are heading toward a big summer in 2015, as Danny Ainge will do his best to reel in a top-tier free agent who could help the Celtics become a top team in the Eastern Conference next season.
The Celtics, who were swept by the Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs, need help in the front court. The Celtics didn’t have a go-to scorer, nor did they have anyone who could rebound against Cleveland. Scoring and rebounding are two statistical categories the Celtics most need help in.
Ainge will take a crack at signing unrestricted free agents such as Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge, but chances are those players will end up staying in Memphis and Portland, respectively. Same goes for restricted free agents like Golden State’s Draymond Green and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard; two players who will stay where they are or go to another title contender out west.
But there’s still plenty of talented free agents available who could be looking for a change of scenery. Here are four free agents the Celtics could sign this summer.
Greg Monroe, PF/C
2014-15: 16 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists
The unrestricted free agent will be attracting attention from a lot of teams this summer. Monroe is a good rebounder whose consistent offense is something the C’s need out of their front court. He can score with his back to the basket and is the most realistic free agent candidate on this list for the Celtics. This past season, Monroe averaged a double-double for the first time in his career. Adding Monroe to the offense would make the Celtics a top-five team in the East next season. Even though Ainge may have Kevin Love listed above Monroe on his free agent wish list, Monroe most likely will sit atop of Ainge’s list after Cleveland ultimately signs Love back for one more season.
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