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Irish Coffee: Celtics should stop making excuses 03.30.11 at 2:24 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

The Celtics are 5-7 in their last 12 games. You know that. I know that. And they know that. There’s nothing you and I can do about it, but there’s plenty they can — starting with taking some responsibility for coughing wins up to teams like the Nets and undermanned Bobcats.

Just listen to the comments from Celtics veterans in a recent HoopsWorld story

Ray Allen: “I’m not comfortable, and I think even if we didn’t make trades we still had injuries where we were still playing catch up. I’m not comfortable.”

Was he more comfortable taking the same amount of shots per game in January (11.9), when the C’s finished 12-4 without Kendrick Perkins while Allen averaged more points, rebounds and assists than he did this month?

Paul Pierce: “It’s hard when you got pieces missing every other week, it seems like. In another week, we’re going to be a whole new team.”

Was it hard when the Celtics went 33-10 without Perkins for the first 43 games of the season, or when they finished 19-6 in their first 25 games without Shaquille O’Neal — or did it get exponentially harder over the last 12 games against powerhouses like the Nets and Bobcats?

And then listen to the comments from the newest Celtics in that same HoopsWorld story …

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Erik Ainge, Ray Allen
Irish Coffee: Celtics answer all questions 03.25.11 at 1:32 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Rather than fishing for answers to Celtics questions  — like, “Did Shaquille O’Neal suffer a setback?” … “Will Jermaine O’Neal ever return?” … “What’s wrong with Rajon Rondo?” … “Is Doc Rivers gone after the season?” … and, “Why does Kevin Garnett obsess over ‘Big Love’?” — let’s just go straight to the leprechauns’ mouths.

All those questions were answered during interviews on WEEI’s Celtics Thursday when Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan morning show, Garnett appeared on Mut & Merloni and president Danny Ainge spoke on The Big Show. Here are the highlights:

Shaq reportedly received a cortisone shot last Tuesday, what gives?

Doc: “Hopefully Shaq will be back within the next five or six days. Again, that’s the estimated time of arrival.”

Danny: “He’s day-to-day starting about that time. I think Shaq is probably not going to play in Minnesota or Indiana, and I think from that point on it’s day-to-day. He could play in San Antonio, or he may play the next game or the game after that. I’m not certain.

“It’s up to him. Like, ‘Are you ready to play?’ He wants to practice before he goes out to play, so we’ll just wait for him to say, ‘I feel ready to go.’ You can’t just say, ‘Hey, you’re going to play tonight; get out there and play.’ …

“With Shaq, he’s got some soreness in the Achilles tendon, and he wants to try to have it as pain-free as possible before he goes out there to play, rather than play in these games right now. And that’s what we’re trying to wait for. It’s a lot more pain-free today than it was last week.”

KG: “We change dramatically [with Shaq]. You have not only a post presence but a presence, period. Shaq is physical on both ends. He lets that presence be known from the minute the ball goes up.”

Can the Celtics expect anything from Jermaine O’Neal?

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers
Irish Coffee: Pat Riley longs for Doc Rivers 03.11.11 at 9:51 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Four months ago, when rumors started swirling that Pat Riley wants Doc Rivers to replace Erik Spoelstra as head coach of the Heat in 2011-12 (if there is a 2011-12 season), the current Celtics head  coach told WEEI: “As far as I’€™m concerned, I’€™m a Celtic and I plan on being that for a long time, as long as I’€™m coaching.”

Yet, Riley still pines for his former point guard when the two were Knicks, like Rick Blaine longed for Ilsa Lund in “Casablanca.”  Unfortunately for the Heat president, Rivers chose Celtics orchestrator Danny Ainge as his Victor Laszlo.

We’ll let Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski explain

Yes, Riles has long been intrigued with Doc Rivers, his old point guard with the New York Knicks. In his mind, Doc’€™s an extension of his own coaching tree. He must love to hear Rivers tell the story about how Riles told him that he would one day be a coach, about how Doc told him that he was crazy. The Celtics have a contract extension waiting for Rivers, sources say, but so far he’€™s wanted to wait until the season’€™s end to deal with it. For him, it would be difficult to make a direct leap from an aging Celtics roster to the Heat. Rivers is too entrenched, too woven into the franchise’€™s fabric now. What would happen to his relationships with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, with that city, those fans who adore him?

Nevertheless, he’€™s perfect for Miami. He’€™s a championship coach. He has a blueprint for making a Big Three work, for holding difficult stars accountable and together. Yet Rivers has a relationship with his GM that Riley has never had with a coach. He isn’€™t afraid to tell GM Danny Ainge that he’€™s completely wrong, that he’€™s going to do it his way and that that’€™s just way it has to be. Rivers and Ainge can argue, debate and sometimes even rage, but ultimately Ainge lets Rivers coach the Celtics. It’€™s hard to imagine a scenario where Riley, or Rivers, could have the autonomy that they would need to co-exist. Go down the list of strong-minded, successful coaches, and ask yourself how many could come from the outside and fit into that insular Heat world.

Do you think every time the Celtics visit American Airlines Arena, Riley quotes the words written by Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein‘s grandfather and great uncle: “Of all the arenas, in all the towns, in all the world, he walks into mine”?

Celtics fans can revel in the fact that the Heat essentially want to be the Celtics, from the president right on down to the players. And to throw another log on the fire, read Jessica Camerato’s discussion with former Heat starter and current C’s backup point guard Carlos Arroyo — conducted in Spanish and translated by Miami blog Hot Hot Hoops – during which Arroyo explains the difference between the two teams:

“I think it starts with the players. Not every player has incredible team chemistry. [Boston] already has a lot of time together, and they know each other very well on the court. I think that’€™s what Miami is missing. Boston always has a very complete team and I hope it happens this year.”

For everybody’s sake, let’s jut hope Riley doesn’t start crying in the front office.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett
Irish Coffee: Danny Ainge discusses Celtics trades 02.25.11 at 11:58 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Once the news came down that the Celtics had traded Kendrick Perkins just before the deadline on Thursday, the instant reaction for most Celtics fans probably went something like this: “Wait, what? I’m sorry, WHAT?!?! What is Danny Ainge thinking?”

When they heard the Celtics president shipped Semih Erden and Luke Harangody to Cleveland for a second-round pick, and then sent Marquis Daniels to Sacramento for cash, most fans (at least the ones on Twitter) seemed to think Ainge had lost his scruples.

He didn’t. There’s proof: The full transcription of his interview with John Ryder and Paul Flannery on the Planet Mikey show Thursday night …

WHY MAKE THE PERKINS TRADE?

“We think it upgrades our team, ultimately, is the reason. You always have to give up something of value to get something of value in return. We feel that this will help our team this year and help us in the future as well.”

ARE THERE CONCERNS ABOUT PERKINS HEALTH?

“Kendrick has had some history of injuries, but he’s recovering. Nobody works harder to recover on their injury than Kendrick, and I think that Kendrick will be fine long-term. …

“Kendrick came back, and he looked good. He worked really hard to get back sooner than we even thought. He’s a great young man, but at the same time we feel like we have a lot of centers, and we have great confidence [Shaquille O'Neal] and Jermaine [O'Neal] will be healthy. And [Nenad] Krstic is probably more healthy than all of those guys at this stage.”

HOW DID THE DEAL DEVELOP?

“It’s something that we’ve discussed periodically. I have conversations throughout the year with a lot of teams, and we take some serious and throw some by the wayside. I wanted to see how our team was playing, and our team was playing great in the absence of Kendrick throughout the season. We beat Miami twice and Chicago and LA and so forth.”

WHAT DOES JEFF GREEN BRING TO THE TABLE?

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Jeff Green, Kendrick Perkins
Danny Ainge on Planet Mikey: Celtics ‘agonized’ over dealing Kendrick Perkins at 8:53 am ET
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Celtics president Danny Ainge joined WEEI Thursday night to talk about the trade that sent Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic, as well as the present and future of the team in the wake of the unexpected moves. Ainge said that he and coach Doc Rivers “agonized” over the decision but ultimately decided it was the best interest of the team.

“I’€™m as close to Perk as any of them,” Ainge said. “I have a great relationship with him. I brought him in as an 18-year-old. It was very difficult. We shed some tears today, talking to Perk. It was tough. He’€™s a good kid. I think he’€™s going to a great situation for himself and for his future. I think Oklahoma City is a top-notch franchise and they obviously have some great young players. He has a bright future there, so that does make it a little bit easier.”

Ainge said that while both his health and his pending free agency were concerns, neither one was a deciding factor in making the deal. “He wanted to test the market. Last time, he didn’€™t test the market, and this time he wanted to see what his value was, and that was a concern,” Ainge said. “It wasn’€™t so much of a concern that we would have done something just for that purpose. But the fact we were able in our opinion to help our team for this year and protect ourselves for the future was very good for us.”

On the new additions, Green and Krstic, Ainge said: “We’€™re really excited with the guys that we got. Jeff Green is a terrific player. He’€™s a versatile player. He’€™s playing 37 minutes on one of the top teams in the West as a starter. He’€™s 24 years old. He brings length and athleticism to the game and great versatility. And we like Krstic. Krstic is a terrific shooter. I think he complements Rondo’€™s game very well in that he’€™s another guy that can knock down that mid-range jump shot.”

Ainge noted that Shaquille O’Neal was a week away from returning and that he likely would have come back before Perkins did from his knee strain. He also said that he thought O’Neal would be better suited as a starter than someone coming off the bench and that the team played better when Shaq was in the starting lineup. “Shaq has proven to be excellent with our starters,” he said. “The numbers actually show that he has been better with our starters. We beat all the good teams in the league while Kendrick was out.”

As for the developing veteran free agent market, Ainge said that the Celtics would like add a wing, a frontline player and possibly a guard, although he said that was probably the least of their priorities. He added that they may sign just two players and leave another spot available for now.

To listen to the complete interview, click here.

Read More: Danny Ainge, Jeff Green, Kendrick Perkins, Nate Robinson
Danny Ainge plays the waiting game as trade deadline nears 02.23.11 at 11:58 pm ET
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As the clock ticks toward 3 p.m. and the end of the trade deadline Thursday, the Celtics are in the same position they were last week. They would like to make a move for a backup small forward, but they don’t have many assets other teams want and they don’t seem to want to give up the few that teams do want — namely Semih Erden and Avery Bradley.

Now that Kendrick Perkins will be held out of the remaining three games on the team’s West Coast trip, and Shaquille O’Neal seems no closer to a return, Erden is once again being counted on as a contributor, and not just a developmental prospect.

While the 24-year-old Erden is not ‘young’ by NBA standards, 7-footers with emerging offensive skills on cheap second-round contracts are rare. You wouldn’t package him for a stopgap like say, Utah’s Raja Bell, who has two more years left on his contract.

The problem is that the Celtics just weren’t built to make an in-season trade, which team president Danny Ainge has acknowledged time and again. All the pieces were supposed to be in place, but then Marquis Daniels bruised his spinal cord and that was the one area where they didn’t have a contingency plan.

The Celtics don’t have any contract-friendly veterans stashed at the end of their roster and the one that they would most like to part with — Nate Robinson’s — has an extra year left on his deal. Daniels has what’s known as ‘Early Bird’ rights and thus would be able to block any trade that involved him if it comes to that and Von Wafer and Luke Harangody don’t make enough money to match up with anyone on their own.

Despite their obvious need, Ainge has played his hand tightly this trade season and he doesn’t want to make a panic trade. If he can make a move he seems determined to make the price drop, which would take him right up to the deadline.

In the interim, the Celtics have been linked to players like Corey Brewer and Kirk Hinrich who wound up elsewhere, and for a brief moment to Shane Battier who has gone nowhere. As quickly as a rumor surfaces, it gets shot down just as fast. The other names haven’t changed: Anthony Parker, Dahntay Jones, Josh Howard.

While the deadline clock ticks, the secondary market for veteran free agents who are bought out of their contracts has begun to take shape. The first domino to fall is Troy Murphy who was traded to the Warriors and who is expected to be bought out of the final year of his contract. Once that process clears he will be free to sign with any team for the veterans minimum and is said to have Miami and Boston high on his list.

Murphy doesn’t address the Celtics need at small forward, but he can shoot 3′s and rebound and would offer a new wrinkle to the second unit. The Heat are in the same position as the Celtics. They also don’t have many tradeable assets, which is why they made Mike Miller available. Expect Miami and Boston to battle it out on the veteran free agent front.

Elsewhere, there were other deals that had an impact on the Celtics, the most notable coming from New Jersey when the Nets swiped Deron Williams from Utah (click here for a breakdown).

Also, the Hawks acquired Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong from Washington in exchange for Mike Bibby, Maurice Evans and Jordan Crawford. Hinrich isn’t the shooter that Bibby is, but he is a much better defender, which is important come playoff time.

Despite the blockbuster moves, there have been a dearth of smaller transactions and that’s the game the Celtics are playing. With less than 24 hours remaining, that market is still taking shape.

Read More: Anthony Parker, Danny Ainge, Nate Robinson, Semih Erden
Danny Ainge on Big Show: Trades being discussed, coaches ‘wish’ their players were like Kevin Garnett 02.10.11 at 6:14 pm ET
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Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made his weekly appearance on The Big Show Thursday, discussing the team’s potential activity in the the trade market, Ray Allen‘s forthcoming record, and Kendrick Perkins‘ future with the team.

With Marquis Daniels having gone down with a bruised spinal cord in Sunday’s game after a collision with Gilbert Arenas, Ainge admitted that the team is more likely to make calls than simply field them.

“We’re having conversations,” Ainge said. “I think the Marquis incident makes us a little bit more proactive rather than just receiving calls and seeing what else might be a possibility to back up Paul [Pierce] or Ray [Allen] in the playoffs.”

With recent focus being placed on whether Kevin Garnett is a dirty player, Ainge suggested that teams and players throughout the league ‘€” including the ones Garnett has robbed the right way ‘€” would be happy to have him.

Alvin Gentry wishes that Channing Frye played like Kevin Garnett, would give anything if Channing Frye played with the passion and the heart and the intensity and the work ethic of Kevin Garnett,” Ainge said.

“I think that John Kuester wishes that Charlie Villanueva played with the passion and the intensity and had the work ethic and character of Kevin Garnett. That’s all I’ll say about that.”

Ainge said his words aren’t a shot at the players, but more a statement regarding what Garnett brings to a team.

“I’m not dissing on Charlie for any other the players,” Ainge noted. “I’m saying that Kevin Garnett is one of the most coachable, hard-woking players that I’ve ever been around in the NBA, especially as a star.”

Ainge cited more of attention being paid on the part of the media as a reason as to why many have questioned Garnett this year.

“Everything’s blown out of proportion,” Ainge said. “Kevin Garnett’s a great player on a great team. He talks and he plays hard. There’s nothing else to it than that.”

Allen could break Reggie Miller‘s record of 2,560 career 3-pointers with a pair of treys Thursday against the Lakers.

“I think this record of Ray’s is significant because I think it will last a long, long time,” Ainge said.

“I think he’s going to set a record of over 3,000 3-pointers and I think that’s just unbelievable.”

Perkins has told media outlets recently that he has declined a contract extension offered to him by the team. Ainge shed light on the situation.

“Perk was offered a contract that we can offer,” Ainge said. “Under the collective bargaining agreement there’s only a certain about of money we can offer Perk, and we offered him that contract. Understandably, Perk’s not interested in that contract.

Ainge noted that the team “can’t offer him a nickel more than we’ve offered him” and that the situation has “been explained to him” by both Ainge and Perkins’ agent.

Read More: Alvin Gentry, Channing Frye, Charlie Villanueva, Danny Ainge
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