|Doc Rivers on D&C: ‘We need players’||02.15.13 at 10:24 am ET|
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.”
|10 options for Celtics to fill Rajon Rondo’s void||01.28.13 at 12:44 pm ET|
In the wake of Rajon Rondo‘s season-ending right ACL tear, the Celtics surely will be looking to add depth behind Avery Bradley, Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and Leandro Barbosa in the backcourt as soon as possible.
In all likelihood, that group offers the best four options for C’s president Danny Ainge and coach Doc Rivers to fill the void left by Rondo’s injury, and while nobody will replace the four-time All-Star’s impact, there are plenty of available players who could eat minutes in his absence. Here are 10 options.
NBA FREE AGENTS
Keyon Dooling: After abruptly retiring this past fall and accepting a player development role within the Celtics organization, Dooling told The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn he’d consider a comeback. This route probably makes the most sense, considering Dooling’s experience in the C’s system and his influence on the locker room. If he plays himself into NBA shape, his manic defense and 3-point shooting could also be useful weapons at the end of the bench.
Jonny Flynn: After a disappointing NBA career, the No. 6 overall pick in 2009 now plays for the Melbourne Tigers in the Australian National Basketball League. His contract reportedly includes a clause that allows him to return stateside should an NBA team come calling. Flynn’s averages of 5.2 points and 3.8 assists in 29 games for the Rockets and Blazers last season have translated into 16.8 points and 6.0 assists in the mediocre NBL.
Jeremy Pargo: The Cavaliers traded D.J. Kennedy for Pargo and a second-round pick, but they dropped the 26-year-old Gonzaga product after 25 games. He averaged 7.8 points and 2.6 assists in 17.9 minutes for Cleveland.
|Delonte West finds a new home in Dallas||01.12.12 at 10:44 am ET|
When thinking of Delonte West, three things come to mind.
- The viral video of him on YouTube rapping at a fast food restaurant.
- His employment at a furniture store during the NBA lockout.
- And, most importantly, his gritty style of play on the basketball court.
“The old saying is after the game they should know your name,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “I guarantee when you’re done playing Delonte West, you’re going to know Delonte West. That’s big for a team. He’s an instigator.”
Rivers should know. He coached West for four seasons when the 28 year-old was playing for the Celtics. West spent his first three years in the NBA in Boston. His next three years were spent in Seattle and then Cleveland. West re-signed with the Celtics before last season.
Unfortunately, in his second stint as a Celtic, West never was able to stay on the court. He spent the first 10 games of the season serving a disciplinary suspension for pleading guilty to weapons charges related to a Sept. 2009 arrest. Shortly after returning, West suffered a wrist injury which hampered him for the better part of the season. He was limited, appearing in only 24 games.
“It was tough,” West said before his Mavericks played the Celtics. “I really didn’t get a chance to put my best foot forward. I found my way a little bit in the playoffs, but it was too late.”
Despite the injury-riddled season last year, West said the Lakers, Mavericks, and Celtics were all in pursuit of him during the frantic free-agent period. Ultimately, West signed with the defending champion Mavericks. He said the decision to sign with Dallas did not come easy, as he imagined finishing his career in Boston.
West has been an important contributor in Dallas’ title defense this year. He has started all but one of the Mavericks 11 games in place of injured Jason Kidd. “[West] set the tone in recent games with his competitiveness,” said Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle. “Particularly on the defensive end, he’s been solid all the way through.”
West played a season-high 34 minutes Wednesday night in his homecoming to Boston. His line wasn’t impressive: 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting and, of course, one bloody nose.
The Saint Joseph’s University product joked several times that he wanted to play basketball for another 20 years, and that maybe he would end up back in Boston before his career ended. Regardless, West will always remember his time as a Celtic fondly.
“I’ve got to chance to shake hands, share personal jokes, had lectures with some of the Celtic legends,” he said. “I got the chance to have a conversation with Red Auerbach. Those memories you never replicate. There are so many positives and great things that I can take from the basketball experience I had playing in Boston.”
|How the proposed CBA affects the Celtics: Free agency||11.28.11 at 12:01 am ET|
While we wait for the players and owners to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement, we’ll be taking a look at how various parts of the proposal could affect the Celtics. If you’d like to check out the full proposal, SI’s Sam Amick obtained a copy and posted it here.
First up: Free agency
I. CAP EXCEPTIONS
Let’s establish a couple of realities for the Celtics this season. 1. They will be over the cap. 2. They will be at or near the luxury tax.
This is important because there are new realities for tax teams in the proposed CBA, the biggest being the use of the mid-level exception. Under the old agreement any team could use the full MLE amount on one or more players. That’s how the Celtics were able to sign James Posey and Eddie House in 2007 and Rasheed Wallace (2009) and Jermaine O’Neal (2010) even though they were over the cap. They also used what’s known as the bi-annual exception to sign Marquis Daniels in 2009.
Here’s what’s different (quoted directly from the proposal).
- Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception: Set at $5M in years 1 and 2, growing 3% annually thereafter; maximum contract length of 4 years; can be used every year.
- Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception: Set at $3M in year 1, growing 3% annually thereafter; maximum contract length of 3 years; can be used every year.
- Bi-Annual Exception can only be used by non-taxpayers. Amount set at $1.9M in year 1, growing 3% annually thereafter. Exception cannot be used in 2 consecutive years and has maximum contract length of 2 years (same as under 2005 CBA).
Assuming the Celtics will be a tax team, they would have to use the smaller MLE and would lose the ability to use the bi-annual exception. There’s another wrinkle here as reported by SI’s Zach Lowe:
“Every team can use the full mid-level exception, provided doing so does not take the team more than $4 million over the tax line. If you use the full mid-level to get to or approach that barrier looming $4 million over the tax line, you cannot cross it by re-signing your own free agents via Larry Bird Rights.”
This gets a little complicated but the takeaway is the Celtics probably couldn’t use the full MLE and re-sign Jeff Green and/or Glen Davis.
So, it seems likely that team president Danny Ainge will be looking for free agent help armed with only the $3 million exception and the veterans minimum to attract free agents. That’s not the worst thing in the world because Ainge would like to keep the books clean for next summer and the last thing he needs is a $5 million contract hanging out on their balance sheet. There will also be lots of veteran players looking for contracts on Dec. 9 who might be willing to sign on for one year with a contender.
II. CONTRACT LENGTHS AND BIRD RIGHTS
- Maximum contract length of 5 years for Bird players and 4 years for other free agents.
- Maximum annual increases of 7.5% for Bird and Early Bird players, and 4.5% for other players.
- Period for a player’s prior team to match an Offer Sheet that a Restricted Free Agent receives from a new team shortened from 7 to 3 days. (NOTE: The last bullet point affects Green as a restricted free agent.)
As before, players can get the best return by re-signing with their teams when they hit free agency. Of the Celtics’ free agents, three have the most value: Green, Davis and Delonte West.
The question for Ainge is how much value do they represent to the Celtics, not just for this year but beyond? One of the late tweaks to the proposal was keeping the sign-and-trade option. Beyond that, teams can use the sign-and-trade mechanism for the next two years regardless of their cap and tax situation. Here’s the language:
- Except during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, teams are prohibited from acquiring a free agent in a sign-and-trade if their team salary post-transaction would exceed the tax level by more than $4 million. The maximum contract length for a sign-and-trade is 4 years, and maximum annual increases are 4.5%.
Davis, in particular, could have value in a sign-and-trade.
III. AMNESTY CUTS
This is a big one to watch because there could be a handful of players hitting the open market who might be willing to go to a team like the Celtics — or the Lakers, Heat, etc.
Here’s the rule:
- Each team permitted to waive 1 player prior to any season of the CBA (only for contracts in place at the inception of the CBA) and have 100% of the player’s salary removed from team salary for Cap and Tax purposes.
The only Celtic who could potentially fit in this scenario would be Jermaine O’Neal who has one year and $6.2 million left on his deal. That could potentially allow them to use the full MLE, but seems unlikely considering the short time he has left under contract and the reality that cutting the only legitimate center on a team that needs at least one, if not two more centers would be a major risk.
Here’s the potentially crazy part:
- A modified waiver process will be utilized for players waived pursuant to the Amnesty rule, under which teams with Room under the Cap can submit competing offers to assume some but not all of the player’s remaining contract. If a player’s contract is claimed in this manner, the remaining portion of the player’s salary will continue to be paid by the team that waived him.
In other words, teams that are under the cap would get first crack at Amnesty players via waivers. That adds a whole other layer of intrigue to the process, but if the player passes through waivers he’d become an unrestricted free agent and you can bet the Celtics will be watching this list intently for unexpected bargains.
Free agency is tentatively scheduled to begin on Dec. 9, the same date as training camps will open. It will make for a hectic period of player movement and with so many roster spots available, the Celtics will be scrambling to fill those vacancies. If form holds, it seems likely Ainge will be looking to fill the roster gaps with a mix of veterans on short-term contracts.
|Irish Coffee: Naturally, Celtics legend Bill Russell taught Joe Torre everything he knows||11.17.11 at 12:08 pm ET|
Naturally, former Yankees manager Joe Torre — who grew up in Brooklyn as the Knicks lost three consecutive NBA Finals appearances from 1950-53 in his formative years — is a Boston Celtics fan. Ugh.
“I was a Boston Celtics fan,” Torre told CBSSports.com. “In fact, I really got my idea of team play from watching the Celtics in the ’50s with those guys, how they shared the ball all the time. Bill Russell, of course, when I met him and told him that story, I think he was a little surprised. I just love that nobody was bigger than the other guy.”
At least we can now credit Russell for the four Yankees World Series titles from 1996-2000. Add them to his list of championships. I know this Torre type. I’m sure he was a Steelers fan in the 1970s, too. Typical.
DELONTE WEST HEADING FAR EAST?
According to a SheridanHoops.com report, the Guangdong (Beavis: “Huh-huh huh-huh-huh) Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association “is contacting Rodney Stuckey and Delonte West, one of whom may come to China.” However, over the summer, West claimed a judge ruled he could not play overseas due to his ongoing probation from a 2010 weapons charge, which isn’t expected to end until July 2012.
|10 Things I Heard About Celtics IX||11.04.11 at 3:07 pm ET|
On another slow Celtics news day, there’s still plenty to learn about Boston’s green men. Here are 10 C’s links of interest we discovered over the past few days (“10 Things I Heard About Celtics” I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII and VIII).
10. I’m not sure why I think these “how to pronounce” videos are so hilarious, but they crack me up every time. The embedded one on Celtics second-round draft pick E’Twaun Moore is the best. Each member of the 2010-11 C’s gets the pronunciation treatment, but the JaJuan Johnson, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley ones are the best of the bunch. Am I the only one who finds these funny?
As an aside, Moore is averaging 6.7 points on 50 percent shooting, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 26.3 minutes over three games for Italian club Benetton Treviso. Speaking of second-round Celtics draftees, Gabe Pruitt was picked fourth overall in the NBA Development League Draft by the Sioux Falls Skyforce. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be playing in Italy than South Dakota.
9. While the lockout robbed Celtics fans of hearing Tommy Heinsohn’s dulcet tones during the canceled season opener on Tuesday night, at least the Worcester Telegram’s Bill Doyle let Heinsohn’s voice be heard. After all, he was in NBPA president Derek Fisher‘s shoes once.
- On the lockout: “I’m not coming down on either side at this particular point. I just know that this is a crucial period for the game of basketball. The economy is tough for everybody. … Obviously it’s going to cost both parties money. The reputation of the league has yet to be determined.”
- On NBA’s return: “I have no clue. I agree with the people. I’d love to see a basketball season.”
- On the NBPA: “I’d hate to be Billy Hunter right now. He’s got to stand up and bump his chest for the players, and he’s got to keep the agents happy who are telling their players what to do. So he’s got an audience of players and agents, and then he’s got to go fight the owners.”
God, do I miss NBA basketball. It’s sounds like Tommy does, too. I think we can all agree with colleague Paul Flannery’s most recent column: “Has this really all been worth it?”
|Irish Coffee: Top 10 opening-night Celtics efforts||11.01.11 at 1:24 pm ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …
It’s a sad day for basketball fans. The NBA was supposed to debut on Tuesday night with back-to-back nationally televised games between the Bulls and defending world champion Mavericks, followed by the Thunder and Lakers in the nightcap. Then, the Celtics were slated to host the Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
Instead, Monday represents the day the NBA begins robbing its fans of professional basketball, so now is as good a time as any to remind everyone what we could be missing. Without further ado, we present the Top 10 opening-night performances of the past 25 years by Celtics (Rule No. 1: no repeats).