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Danny Ainge: Big part of the second half involves getting Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce healthy 02.28.13 at 5:24 pm ET
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In his weekly appearance on “The Big Show” Thursday, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge talked about a variety of topics, including why Boston didn’t make more deals at the trade deadline and the health of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Ainge was asked as to whether he was concerned at all about the fatigue level of Pierce and Garnett, the latter of whom sat out Friday’s game against the Suns.

“Yes, I always am. Paul and KG have been incredibly durable throughout their entire careers,” Ainge said. “They take good care of themselves, but I do think that they need rest. If we have any chance of winning playoff basketball games, we need those guys fresh, healthy. Paul’s neck thing I think comes and goes, but there was a stretch I think when we were in that losing streak, I actually think that might have been one of the biggest factors. Paul was not 100 percent and yet he continued to play. That’s just who Paul is.

“I think Doc is determined to cut those guys’ minutes down now that we have a little bit more depth on the bench and we get some more bodies in here. That’s a big part of the second half of the season — getting them healthy.”

Ainge also talked about the remarkable run of LeBron James, calling him the “best player in our game today, without question. When it’s all said and done, he could be one of the best players of all time.”

“He’s one of those guys, the first time I ever saw him, in the first five minutes, I questioned whether he could be one of the best basketball players who ever lived,’ recalled Ainge. “And he was 17 years old at the time and he had a similar body — he’s probably 10 or 15 pounds heavier now, but he was so gifted, because he not only could shoot, pass and dribble, but he was the smartest guy on the court. The most intense guy on the court. The most unselfish guy on the court.

“I’ve been one of those people who know that LeBron is not perfect, and he’s been under the microscope since he’s been a young man. I think he’s done a pretty good job handling all this stuff and he continues to get better. Now, people are having to have the conversation about him and Michael Jordan. I think it’s still too early, but he’s getting better. And like Michael, now he’s starting to make mid-range jump shots, 3-point shots, and he’s virtually unguardable with one person. You need two and three people to guard him. If he’s making shots, you just have to tip your cap and pray that he misses.”

Here are some more highlights of the Q&A:
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Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James
Adrian Wojnarowski on M&M: If Celtics wanted Kevin Garnett to waive no-trade clause, ‘they would have just traded Paul Pierce out from under him’ 02.22.13 at 2:33 pm ET
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Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to talk about what the Celtics did at the trade deadline and whether or not they missed an opportunity to trade Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett and get something of value in return.

“I don’t know what opportunity really was there,” Wojnarowski said of potential Pierce and Garnett trades. “You could trade them and you could get something for them, but I think the deal Boston really would have liked to have done was with the Clippers. To get Eric Bledsoe, 22-year-old point guard, and DeAndre Jordan, who’s a 23-year-old center who’s developing. That’s a deal I believe Boston would have went to ownership with and said, ‘We’d like to do this, let’s see if we can get KG to lift his no-trade clause.’

“The Clippers coaching staff wanted to do it, and a lot of executives and coaches among the elite in the Western Conference, and some of the elite in the East, they were terrified of KG going to the Clippers. They thought that made the Clippers the team to beat out there. But ownership was reluctant to this deal, and ‘€¦ they never agreed in principle to that package. I think that’s one [Boston] may have pulled the trigger on.”

Reports of another proposed Celtics deal, which would have sent Pierce to Brooklyn for Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and the Nets‘ first-round draft pick,  also surfaced. That didn’t happen, and Wojnarowski said he doesn’t think it was urgent for the Celtics to make a deal like that.

“I think that Boston can revisit it in deals around draft time,” he said. “Brooklyn’s draft pick is not going to have a great value. They’re a playoff team, you’re getting a pick that’s not going to be really high, in a pretty bad draft. And you’ve got to try and get one good player back. Humphries and Brooks, you’re not really getting either. Humphries is fine, he has a purpose, but not if you’re trying to get younger and rebuild. I have no problem with the Celtics not doing that Brooklyn deal.”

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Read More: Adrian Wojnarowski, Danny Ainge, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
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.

“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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Read More: Danny Ainge, DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard, Eric Bledsoe
Doc Rivers on D&C: ‘We need players’ 02.15.13 at 10:24 am ET
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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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Read More: Danny Ainge, Delonte West, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett
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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Making his weekly appearance on ‘€œThe 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 ‘€œmuch less’€ than they were prior to the injury streak, and added, ‘€œIt’€™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 ‘€œexplore 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.

‘€œDelonte is a player we certainly know, probably better than anybody in the NBA,’€ Ainge said. ‘€œAnd 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:

‘€œObviously, 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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Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Kevin Garnett, NBA
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.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, Greg Oden
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