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Chris Mannix on M&M: ‘More likely than not, the core of this [Celtics] team stays together’ 02.20.13 at 1:48 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated NBA writer Chris Mannix joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday, one day before the NBA trade deadline, to discuss rumors surrounding the Celtics. Mannix said the Celtics would be wise to do the deal reportedly discussed with the Clippers, but he’s not expecting it to happen.

Eric Bledsoe

Eric Bledsoe

“Boston was making a lot of those calls about [Kevin] Garnett to the Clippers,” Mannix said. “And the interest in the Clippers, I can tell you, it’s divided out there among the organization. The coaching staff, they want Kevin Garnett, because they want to win now. … Whereas the front office, I can tell you this, they’re not all that inclined to give up Eric Bledsoe, who is a potential 10-year starter in this league, and DeAndre Jordan, a sure-fire starter right now, for Kevin Garnett, who could potentially only be giving you a couple more months. Who knows what Kevin Garnett’s future is going to hold? To me, he’s always been on a series of one-year contracts.

“I think at the end of the day, when you throw in the no-trade clause that Kevin has, and you consider the fact that I have not heard a heck of a lot of significant interest surrounding Paul Pierce, I think more likely than not, the core of this team stays together.”

A report Tuesday night had the Clippers pulling out of trade talks. Mannix said he expects Celtics boss Danny Ainge would follow through if the deal is resuscitated.

“I think if the deal is there, he makes it,” Mannix said. “If he can get Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan for Kevin Garnett, you jump at it. I’ve heard some criticisms of this deal from the Boston side; I don’t get it. Has anyone not been watching Eric Bledsoe? As really the fourth guard on this Clippers team — third, I guess, when [Chauncey] Billups is injured — but really, he’s done a lot of things.”

Added Mannix: “You’re dealing with potential right now, because he hasn’t gotten the consistent minutes at the point guard spot because Chris Paul has been there for a couple of years now. But Eric Bledsoe is a guy that could potentially take over as a starting point guard for a team right away, and be an effective guy, be a guy that can score 15 points per game and give you seven, eight assists. Look at the way he’s played this year: He’s up to about 10 points per game. But more importantly, his field goal percentage is in the mid-40s right now, his 3-point percentage is in the low 30s. This is a guy that’s been improving every single year. So I think he’s a guy you would want to get.

“Same thing with DeAndre Jordan, who admittedly is a little bit overpaid, because Golden State threw that massive contract at him last year. But he’s someone that can be a starting center on your team for the next decade.

“And when you make a deal like that, all of a sudden there can be a domino effect. Now you can think about dealing Rajon Rondo next year, when he becomes healthy, because you have Eric Bledsoe already at the starter’s spot. You can trade Rondo for some starting quality pieces or some draft picks, and all of a sudden an old, aging team could suddenly be a fast, rebuilding team on the fly. I think that’s the way it would turn out.”

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Doc Rivers on D&C: ‘We need players’ 02.15.13 at 10:24 am ET
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Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers

Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning, as the NBA heads into All-Star Weekend, and talked about the team’s need to bolster the lineup.

The Celtics are looking for help following season-ending injuries to Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger and Leandro Barbosa.

Danny [Ainge] and I, we thought about it and we all have been thinking about it since all the injuries,” Rivers said. “With the last one with Barbosa, now we can’t look at one position anymore. That’s what we were looking at — looking at size first, then a guard. Now we’re looking at players. We need players. We need to pick up a couple of players as soon as we can get them. That’s what basically we’re doing.

“But we don’t want to do anything so quick that somebody else comes available and then we don’t have room because we’re at the cap threshold. We have to be very careful in what we do.”

Asked what kind of player would help most right away, Rivers said: “I would say a ball-handling guard. It’s no longer a point guard, it’s just a guard. If I had my perfect guard for this group right now, it would be a guard that can play multiple positions and that can shoot, that has some toughness.

“And then you need a big. You’re not going to find a center, so a 4. Obviously a 5 would be great, but a 4 that can stretch the floor. Or a 4 that can rebound, just a great rebounding 4 that has skills.

“That’s the list. There’s so many places to look. The China league ends in a week. So now some of the American players that are playing over there will begin coming back over to our league. The D-League. And then obviously through a trade. We don’t have a lot of assets to trade, so we have to be very careful there.”

Added Rivers: “We’re just looking for the best available player now. Obviously it would be great to have a shooter, one more shooter for us. Then we need a big that can rebound and defend.”

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Danny Ainge: ‘We have a tough week ahead of us’ when it comes to personnel decisions 02.14.13 at 5:50 pm ET
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Danny Ainge (AP)

Danny Ainge

Making his weekly appearance on “The Big Show” Thursday afternoon, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge discussed a number of topics, including how the team plans to try to replace the production of Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger and Leandro Barbosa, all three of whom have gone down with injuries.

Ainge said the trade options are “much less” than they were prior to the injury streak, and added, “It’s going to be tough. We have a tough week ahead of us.” At the same, he noted the team would take advantage of the break provided with this weekend’s All-Star Game and “explore trades and free agent signings.”

One name that was floated as a possible signee is Delonte West, a free agent who has some experience in the Celtics system.

“Delonte is a player we certainly know, probably better than anybody in the NBA,” Ainge said. “And he’s on a list of guys we are looking at. We’re going to take this entire week during the All-Star break and explore trades and free agent signings. We have a long list of players, and he’s on that list. It’s hard. It’s a difficult thing for players to not play basketball all year who haven’t played since last April and expect them to come in and be able to contribute.”

Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to The Big Show audio on demand page. For more Celtics news, visit the team page at weei.com/celtics.

On the options the Celtics have now being different than they were two years ago when three of the team’s top players went down with injuries:

“Obviously, our options are much less. You know, I was really anxious to see the team play. When Rondo went down, obviously, it was a devastating blow, and I think that hurts because Rondo has been a terrific playoff player for us and … but I was anxious to just see, because Doc [Rivers], from the beginning of the year, we’re going to trying to do some things different. We’re going to try — instead of running a similar offense when Rondo is off the court, we’re going to do some different things. And we still hadn’t seen much of that because Rondo had played so many minutes, but the team was really jelling and really playing well. But losing Jared, who, obviously when he plays, we’re just a better rebounding team and have an extra body in there to give Kevin [Garnett] rest. That was a big blow, and we immediately tried to figure out how we can replace Jared, and then, when Leandro went down, that was crushing because Leandro, every day in practice, is one of our best players. I watch him from my office and I look down there and he just lives in the paint. Just blows by guys and finishes shots and makes passes. And he’s been really good all year long. And he just hasn’t had a lot of opportunities. But there just aren’t people out there who are as good as those players. It’s going to be tough. We have a tough week ahead of us.”

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Should we believe Kevin Garnett trade rumors? 02.06.13 at 3:04 pm ET
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By now, you’ve heard the absurd Kevin Garnett trade rumors.

The Clippers inquired about him, or so Sporting News reporter Sean Deveney‘s sources said.

Or maybe the Clippers and Celtics never had that conversation, as ESPN, FOX Sports West and the Los Angeles Times reported. And maybe a reporter from SportsOnEarth.com who uses the Twitter handle @Powell2daPeople knows the inner desires of Garnett, one of the most guarded NBA superstars you’ll ever find.

Ok, so first the Celtics must trade Paul Pierce, and then Garnett will waive his no-trade clause for a deal that’s never been discussed? Got it. Actually, wait, what about Denver? Does KG want to play for the Nuggets in another trade that’s never been mentioned? Not according to The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla: “Through his representatives, Garnett has let it be known he has no current interest in the Nuggets.”

The question everyone should be asking: Which teams would want Kevin Garnett?

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Doc Rivers on possibly adding Greg Oden: ‘He’ll come with a long list of scenarios’ 02.03.13 at 1:11 pm ET
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Coach Doc Rivers, general manager Danny Ainge and the Celtics may very well be interested in adding Greg Oden to their roster but they’re doing a job of not going overboard in expressing their enthusiasm after meeting with him on Saturday while the rest of the team had the day off.

“I got the Clippers tonight,” Rivers said before Sunday’s game with the Clippers. “I said hi to him, reminisced about high school days when I watched some AAU, but other than that, I can tell you I thought far more about the guys we are playing tonight than next year.

“We really haven’t talked about [additions]. Honestly. We obviously can, because we need a body. But we really haven’t talked about it much at all. Nothing really. What I think Danny is doing is probably doing all the work right now and I’m sure this week maybe, or who knows in two weeks, he’ll come with a long list of scenarios.”

The Celtics are in the market for a big man after losing Jared Sullinger for the season to back surgery on Friday. Rivers said he has only heard from Sullinger via text since the surgery and expects him out of New England Baptist Hospital this weekend.

Other Sunday pregame notes: Eric Bledsoe started for Chris Paul (knee), who missed his seventh game in nine contests Sunday. “In some ways, they are harder to guard and some ways they are not. Obviously, Chris Paul is fantastic. But when he plays, at least you know where the ball is at a lot, because it’s in his hands and that helps you somewhat defensively. When he doesn’t play, the ball is going all over the place, and they are in some ways difficult to guard.”

As for Doc Rivers’ Super Bowl prediction: “Oh, San Fran; it’s not even really close. It won’t be close, it’ll be a blowout,” he said, before hinging his bet bigtime. “Three points. No I do think San Fran, but who knows? I think they are the better team, but clearly I don’t know enough about football. That’s why I’m here.”

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Reports: Celtics meet with center Greg Oden 02.02.13 at 8:09 pm ET
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Greg Oden

According to multiple reports, the Celtics met with Greg Oden in Boston on Saturday as part of an informational exchange with the free agent center. However, with Oden having stated that he is targeting a return to the NBA in 2013-14, the meeting was described as an opportunity for the two sides to talk without any expectation of a deal being imminent.

“We wanted to talk to Greg to see where he is physically,” Ainge said.

The 7-footer was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2007, but he played just 82 games for Portland after sitting out his rookie year with the first of multiple knee injuries. He last played on December 5th of 2009.

The fact Oden is still drawing strong interest from teams despite his medical history is a testament to his talent. He had five double-doubles — including a 13-point, 20-rebound night — in the 21 games he played before being injured in his last year.

“We’re just finding out as much as we can and letting Greg know what we have here,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Boston Herald. “He’s not ready to play now, but he’s someone who’s very interesting.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Danny Ainge: ‘We’re not ready to cave in yet… It’s going to take more than that’ 02.01.13 at 6:29 pm ET
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Celtics chief basketball executive Danny Ainge says it was the right thing to do for the career of Jared Sullinger to end the rookie’s season and have back surgery now, leaving the Celtics without yet another weapon in their lineup.

The team announced late Friday afternoon that Sullinger underwent successful lumbar disc surgery Friday at the New England Baptist Hospital. Surgery was performed under the direction of Celtics Team Physician, Dr. Brian McKeon. The team announced through its release that Sullinger is expected to be ready in time for training camp for the 2013-14 season.

Ainge said Sullinger spent the last two days in the hospital before the decision was made Friday on advice from specialists to go ahead with the surgery.

The Celtics lost Rajon Rondo for the season to a torn ACL in his right knee on Sunday. Five days later, they have lost their most physical rebounder. The Celtics are 22-23 and have won two straight after a six-game skid, and are hanging on to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Still, Ainge isn’t giving up on the season.

“We’re not ready to cave in yet, are you kidding? It’s going to take more than that,” Ainge said just before Friday’s game with the Magic at TD Garden. “We’ll just have to win in a different way. Jared’s our best rebounder. We don’t have to play that way. Last two games, we played without Jared last game and I think our team looked great. The second half and most of the Miami game, we played smaller ball and were able to win. Against New York, they’re a small-ball team, we played small against them, had a win against them in New York.

“I think we’re going to have to win in a different way without Jared and without Rajon. We’ll see what we have.”

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