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Irish Coffee: Paul Pierce to the NBA rescue! 10.04.11 at 12:20 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

Only two players attended Monday’s NBA collective bargaining session with commissioner David Stern and the NBA brass. One was National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher. The other? Paul Pierce.

Pierce isn’t a member of the union’s executive committee, although CBS Sports columnist Ken Berger suggested the Celtics captain and player representative has expressed interest in becoming the Joe Biden to Fisher’s Barack Obama. Regardless, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver cited Pierce as someone who actually brought tangible ideas to the table during labor discussions in New York City over the weekend.

Not only is Pierce expected to join Fisher again on Tuesday, but Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett have reportedly been invited to join a small group of players in what might be the final negotiating window before the NBA starts canceling regular-season games. Imagine that. Lakers and Celtics on the same side of the ball.

Pierce’s presence is only magnified by the fact that his agent, Jeff Schwartz, is among a handful who encourage union decertification and drafted a letter urging the players not to accept a revenue share less than 52 percent — six points higher than Stern’s current offer and two points above what some believe could seal a deal.

Are those final two percentage points — a total of $80 or so million — worth destroying the momentum that two Celtics-Lakers finals and a Heat firestorm created over the last few seasons? It’s hard to imagine Pierce & Co. allowing these negotiations to devolve into decertification, as that could cost the league the 2011-12 NBA season. These are the issues that Pierce, Fisher, Garnett, Bryant and their colleagues face.

My how far Pierce has come since he got ejected from Game 6 of a first-round series loss to the Pacers in the 2005 NBA Playoffs, swung his Celtics jersey over his head at the Conseco Fieldhouse crowd and showed up to the post-game press conference with his head wrapped in a faux bandage.

If the 2008 NBA Finals MVP was Pierce’s defining moment on the court, this could be his moment of Truth off it. He could cement his legacy as not only a Hall of Famer but a power player in the NBA’s future for years to come.

For more on Tuesday’s pivotal NBA labor negotiations, WEEI.com’s Paul Flannery sets the stage perfectly.

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Celtics on eBay: Danny Ainge’s Blue Jays bat 09.02.11 at 4:17 pm ET
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It’s time to take you into the weekend with the sixth edition of Celtics on eBay. We ask, “Would you pay [a pretty penny] for [current or former member of the Celtics]‘ [eBay item]?” Confusing enough? Good. Let’s get started.

Last week I actually bid three months of a blogger’s salary (or $20) for Tommy Heinsohn‘s handwritten thoughts from his Hall of Fame enshrinement day in 1986, but someone out-bid me by 50 cents about five minutes before the auction ended. Oh, well. I guess that’s the price you don’t pay. At least I know now that I have a nemesis out there — a Kurt Rambis to my Kevin McHale, if you will.

Anyhow, this week’s item is a game-used bat from Danny Ainge‘s storied career as a member of the Blue Jays from 1979-81 — for the low, low price of $350. A brief rundown of Ainge’s time in Toronto: .220 batting average, .264 on-base percentage and .269 slugging percentage. A modern-day Fritz Knothe if I ever did see one.

Would you pay $350.00 for Danny Ainge's game-used Toronto Blue Jays bat circa 1978?

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Want to waste more time this weekend? Vote on these overpriced/awesome Celtics items from previous weeks:

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Celtics sign-and-trade options for Glen Davis 08.08.11 at 4:46 pm ET
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There has been plenty of discussion about sign-and-trade opportunities for the Celtics concerning unrestricted free agent Glen Davis, which leads to a number of questions:

  • How does a sign-and-trade work?
  • Who could the Celtics get in return for Davis?
  • What are the odds of a sign-and-trade after the NBA lockout?

Here, we’ll attempt to answer all three of those issues.

HOW DOES A SIGN-AND-TRADE WORK?

Under the now expired collective bargaining agreement, the sign-and-trade option benefited all three parties involved. Ideally, the player got a better contract than he would have on the open market, his new team got a player coveted by its opponents and his old team got a a player, picks or some kind of trade exception in return.

For example, the Celtics own “Bird rights” to Davis and could sign him for more dollars than another team at or above the salary cap. I’m guessing Big Baby wouldn’t turn down the extra cash. So, let’s say the Magic and Hawks both want Davis, the Celtics could shop him to the highest bidder in exchange for acting as the middle man.

Recent history of sign-and-trades involving players of Big Baby’s caliber haven’t garnered too much in return. I think we can agree that Davis falls somewhere in between 2010 C.J. Watson and 2006 Al Harrington. Watson signed a three-year, $10.2 million deal with the Warriors, and then got shipped to the Bulls for a second-round draft pick. Harrington inked a four-year, $35.3 million deal with the Hawks, and then got traded to the Pacers for a first-round draft pick. The Harrington deal turned into the No. 11 overall pick in a fairly deep draft — which Atlanta wasted on Acie Law — so there is some value there.

WHO COULD THE CELTICS GET IN RETURN FOR DAVIS?

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Rajon Rondo and his Celtics teammates let the Kendrick Perkins trade get into their heads 07.26.11 at 1:27 pm ET
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Time often puts things into proper perspective.

In the weeks following the Kendrick Perkins trade in late February, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge dismissed the notion that any professional athlete would let the trade of a friend off the court affect his play between the lines.

Five months later, Rajon Rondo admitted to Yahoo! Sports that The Trade influenced the team “more than it should have” — and that was a mistake. Here’s what the C’s point guard said Tuesday of the deal that sent Perkins along with Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic:

“It wasn’t like the man passed away or something. I think we put too much emphasis on it. It’s a business. He got traded. He’s very happy where he’s at. We still talk and I’m always going to have his back. It shouldn’t have affected us the way it affected us.”

Of course, if you remember the fifth episode of NBA Entertainment’s “The Association: Boston Celtics,” which aired soon after the Feb. 24 trade, Rondo sang a different tune at the time:

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Report: Lawrence Frank is Pistons’ top choice 07.21.11 at 5:50 pm ET
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Lawrence Frank spent one season on the Celtics sideline assisting Doc Rivers. (AP)

In his one season on Doc Rivers‘ staff with the Celtics, Lawrence Frank picked up the mantle from Tom Thibodeau as the team’s top assistant and lead defensive coach and returned the team to the top of the defensive rankings. The Celtics led the NBA in points allowed, were second in field goal percentage defense and finished in a virtual tie with Thibodeau’s new team — Chicago — for points allowed per 100 possessions.

Frank spent much of the offseason interviewing for head coaching jobs in Houston, Golden State and Toronto, and now it looks like he has found a new home. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Frank has emerged as the Pistons’ top choice and is expected to receive an offer in the next 24-36 hours.

Wojnarowski also reports that Frank is expected to bring along Roy Rogers, who came over from New Jersey with Frank and served as the team’s big man coach last season. Frank compiled a record of 225-241 as head coach of the Nets that ended after a disastrous 0-16 start to the 2009-10 season. But Frank’s reputation as a dedicated, hard-working coach followed him to Boston and he was able to forge strong relationships with the team’s veterans.

The Pistons were a disaster last season under coach John Kuester, especially defensively where they ranked last in field goal percentage defense and 28th in points allowed per 100 possessions. Only Cleveland and Toronto were worse. There were also reports of an attempted player revolt against Kuester, making Detroit one of the most dysfunctional teams in the league.

Frank will have his work cut out for him as the once-proud franchise is digging out from a series of bad contracts and mediocre results. But team president Joe Dumars pulled off a coup when he drafted Greg Monroe in 2010, and a young nucleus of Monroe, Austin Daye, Jonas Jerebko and rookie Brandon Knight is reason enough for optimism.

Rivers and Danny Ainge will now be in the market for an assistant coach to round out the staff, and they will also be looking for supporting personnel to replace Rogers and Darren Erman, who left to take an assistant coaching job with Golden State. Erman was with the team for the last four seasons.

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All you need to know about Celtics draft picks JaJuan Johnson & E’Twaun Moore 06.24.11 at 1:07 pm ET
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After the initial reaction to the Celtics’ first-round selection of Purdue senior power forward JaJuan Johnson with the No. 27 pick and the second-round selection of Purdue shooting guard E’Twaun Moore with the No. 55 pick — getting all the “Moore Johnson” and “Danny Ainge ordered a couple Boilermakers” jokes out of the way – it’s time to analyze what exactly each of these guys can provide. Here’s pretty much all you need to know about them.

THE MEASURABLES

The pre-draft measurements for the Celtics’ two picks (each player’s ranking at his particular position in parentheses) …

JaJuan Johnson (PF) and E’Twaun Moore (SG)

6-foot-10 (2nd) … Height … 6-foot-4 (15th)
220 lbs. (28th) … Weight … 191 lbs. (28th)
7-foot-2 (11th) … Wingspan … 6-foot-9.5 (10th)
8-foot-11.5 (6th) … Standing Reach … 8-foot-3.5 (20th)
7.5% (13th) … Body Fat … 7.6% (8th)
33.5″ (3rd) … Standing Vertical … 32.0″ (7th)
38.0″ (3rd) … Max Vertical … 34.5″ (13th)
15 reps (5th) … Bench (185 lbs.) … n/a
11.21 (19th) … Lane Agility … 11.12 (17th)
3.14 (33rd) … 3/4 Court Sprint … 3.31 (19th)

What can you take away from these numbers? Obviously, Johnson’s got great leaping ability to match his height. He’s strong, but he’s also skinny and ranks 13th among incoming power forwards with his 7.5 percent body fat. While those issues can be improved with relative ease, his speed and quickness probably won’t.

As for Moore, he ranks in the middle or bottom among incoming shooting guards in most of these measurables, but his wingspan and leaping ability might make up for some of his lack of height.

THE NUMBERS

Where the Celtics were picking — at No. 27 and No. 55 — they weren’t going to land the athletic freaks with off-the-charts measurables. Instead, they targeted  guys whose four years of college experience and production translated into a school-record 107 victories.

So, let’s break down their per-game statistics as seniors for a Boilermakers team that finished 26-8 and lost to VCU in the third round of the NCAA Tournament …

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Transcript of Danny Ainge on D&C: Big Three still can lead Celtics to championship at 10:41 am ET
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Danny Ainge (AP)

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning, the day after he selected two Purdue players in the NBA draft.

The C’s first-round pick was 6-foot-10 JaJuan Johnson, and Ainge sounded cautiously optimistic that Johnson can help the Celtics immediately.

“I think he can contribute,” Ainge said. “I always hate to put too many expectations on guys before the draft and after the draft. I think that sometimes we get all excited and get carried away on the draft. Historically, there’s just not that many guys that come in on a good team, on championship-caliber teams, that are able to contribute. Well have three or four young guys on our roster this year, and one or two of them might contribute day in and day out. The others will have to find their spots through injuries and opportunities in other ways.

“Size is hard to find. I think that his size gives him a little bit of an advantage. And his experience in college — he was an All-Big Ten player, and he’s nearly 6-foot-10 and he’s long. There’s just not that many of those guys out there, so the competition is much thinner.”

Following a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Obviously, you’re happy with your guy. How long did you target this particular guy, JaJuan Johnson?

We started following JaJuan closely last year, trying to see if he should come out to the draft. He was counseled to back to school. We liked him some last year, but we did follow him closely this year.

I think the only minus, really, is just he’s very thin. But he’s multi-skilled. He can shoot, handle the ball, pass, block shots, rebound. He just needs to put a little weight on.

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