|Transcript of Danny Ainge on D&C: Big Three still can lead Celtics to championship||06.24.11 at 10:41 am ET|
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.
|Doc Rivers on The Big Show: Calling himself a Celtic for first time was ‘great feeling’||06.23.11 at 6:21 pm ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined The Big Show Thursday afternoon for the first time since signing his five-year contract extension after last season. He told the guys that the thought behind the extension was Rivers’ willingness to not only give it another go with the team he had in place but also future teams whatever they may be.
“[Celtics GM Danny Ainge] and I had been talking all year,” Rivers said. “I told him my thoughts early on and so I think that gave Danny the belief that I was going to be here or not coach for a year or two. It was going to be one or the other. It’s a good place. I just thought for me, so much movement and change and chasing different teams if you know what I’m saying, when we were bad, they were very loyal to me. We hopefully have at least a year to go after this one more time with the older guys and then eventually we’re going to have to make changes. I think I need to be a part of that as well.”
Here’s more highlights of that interview, including Rivers’ thoughts on Glen Davis and what the C’s need heading into next season.
On getting into the Bruins:
I enjoyed it. I didn’t know what I was watching.
On four Boston coaches each of whom has won a championship since 2004:
This group of coaches, we do have a good camaraderie. I went to Game 6 [of the Stanley Cup finals] and I went because of that. I just thought I should go. I had a ball. My young son went and for him who had never seen a hockey game, saw scoring like no other in the first five minutes. He thinks this is how hockey should be played all the time.
On taking a picture with the other three coaches:
I agree with that. Somebody actually asked me we should all have our rings or trophies and stand there and do something for charity. “City of Champions” or something. That would be pretty cool. Read the rest of this entry »
|Chris Mannix on D&C: ‘Rajon Rondo has been on the table in the past year’||06.22.11 at 9:35 am ET|
Sports Illustrated NBA writer Chris Mannix checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to talk about the Celtics and Thursday’s NBA draft. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Mannix said Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge will not shy away from dealing any player in order to avoid a slow descent into mediocrity, and he noted that even the team’s young star, Rajon Rondo, has been the subject of trade talks in the recent past.
“I think he’s talking about moving everybody. I really do,” Mannix said of Ainge. “I’ve had conversations with different people around the league; I would throw Rajon Rondo on that list as well. … He has explored dealing Rajon Rondo in the past. He has talked to other GMs about him in the past. I’m not saying he’s been willing to pull the trigger in the past, but Rajon Rondo has been on the table in the past year or so.
“This is just something that Danny does. He’s not afraid to make the blockbuster deal if he thinks it helps him in the long term. So, I think Danny is absolutely working the phones right now. I think every one of those guys is on the table for a potential deal that he’s sure is going to help him.
“This goes back to what I thought the second after Doc Rivers signed that five-year extension,” Mannix continued. “Doc didn’t sign on for five years to be part of a team that just decomposes as it goes back to the Gerald Green era from a few years ago. He believes this team is going to be able to contend in Year 3, 4 and 5, when presumably Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are gone. But to do that, I think Danny is going to have to shake up the roster. And I absolutely believe, right now, before the draft, after the draft, in the offseason, whenever he’s able to talk to these teams again once the lockout is lifted, he is going to be aggressive on the phone lines trying to improve his team.”
|Shaq thanks Doc Rivers at retirement press conference||06.03.11 at 1:56 pm ET|
During his retirement press conference at his home in Orlando, Shaquille O’Neal made special mention of his time with the Celtics, especially coach Doc Rivers. O’Neal singled out Rivers and Phil Jackson as the pro coaches who helped him the most.
“Playing for Doc Rivers this year was very, very special,” O’Neal said. “We had a lot of talent on the team but Doc Rivers always, always focused on the team. Thank you Doc.”
O’Neal said that he would have needed surgery on his Achilles in order to play again and that would have kept him out nine months. “The best solution was going in and cleaning it up with a nine-month recovery,” O’Neal said. “I thought it was good business to let Danny [Ainge] know right away so that he could get some young talent. It’s a beautiful organization. They still got a lot left.”
Shaq added, “I was really down on myself because I went up there with one mission only and I felt like I let the city down. I didn’t want that to happen again.”
O’Neal began his press conference by saying, “I never thought this day would come that father time would catch up with Shaquille O’Neal.”
He found time to make a joke at the Knicks expense after they unexpectedly let Donnie Walsh go earlier on Friday. He picked up a cell phone and said, “You want me to come up and apply for the Knick general manager job? That was the president of the Knicks. He wanted me to fly up after the press conference.”
|Wyc Grousbeck on D&C: ‘I want Miami to lose so badly’||05.25.11 at 9:56 am ET|
Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning during a charity benefit for the Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Boston. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
After the Celtics lost to the Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Grousbeck was asked if he is still watching the playoffs. “I am watching this year because I want Miami to lose so badly,” he said, adding “I’m rooting hard against the Heat.”
Grousbeck said he will be rooting for the Mavericks the rest of the way because of his relationship with Mavs owner Mark Cuban. Said Grousbeck: “I love the guy. … He’s just a good guy. He genuinely roots for us against other teams. He is a Celtics fan when he’s not a Mavs fan. And we’re going to return the favor.”
Grousbeck did give the Heat credit. “I thought they outplayed us in the series,” he said. “They had more juice. They had more pop. I can’t really deny that. I would have loved to take that Monday night game in Boston and make it 2-2 and see what happened. I think we might have won the thing. But I don’t really regret with like a huge missed chance. I’m just annoyed we didn’t beat them.”
When asked about the trade of Kendrick Perkins, Grousbeck said he felt Perkins was not the difference in losing to the Heat. “I love Perk, but I don’t think our issue was guarding their 5 spot,” he said. “Our issue was guarding their 2, 3 and 4. So, not only did we need Jeff Green, we needed about three more of him.”
Grousbeck played down the chemistry factor. “We had gotten that far in the season without Perk. He hadn’t played essentially the entire season,” Grousbeck said. “So, we were starting the games with [Shaquille O'Neal] and finishing the games with [Glen Davis]. And that would have continued in the playoffs if Perk was there. So, Perk wouldn’t have been starting if Shaq had been healthy.
“Where the plan fell short is Shaq not being able to come back; we thought he could.”
|Celtics made Doc Rivers highest-paid NBA coach||05.19.11 at 10:47 am ET|
Following the retirement of Phil Jackson, formerly the only eight-figure earner among coaches in the four major sports, Doc Rivers has become the highest paid coach in the NBA, according to Forbes Magazine.
After making $5.5 million this past season, Rivers will now make an average of $7 million over the next five seasons after signing a $35 million extension. He surpassed Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni, who both make $6 million per season.
Interestingly, the magazine credits the jumps by Rick Pitino from the University of Kentucky to the Celtics and John Calipari from UMass to the Nets “as the catalysts driving NBA coaching salaries to a new level.”
Meanwhile, the Celtics may have to hire a new assistant coach, as Lawrence Frank is a candidate for the opening head coaching positions for the Warriors and Rockets, although Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey appears to be the favorite in Houston, according to CBS Sports.
As a side note, Forbes determined Patriots head coach Bill Belichick‘s annual estimated salary of $7.5 million is the highest paycheck for any coach in the four major sports.
|Report: Rockets interview Lawrence Frank again||05.17.11 at 8:44 am ET|
Just a year after losing defensive-minded assistant coach Tom Thibodeau and watching him take the Bulls to the Eastern Conference finals, the Celtics and head coach Doc Rivers might be posting the position on the NBA’s “Help Wanted” list for a second straight season.
Thibodeau’s replacement, Lawrence Frank, went through a second round of interviews with the Rockets on Monday for the head coaching position left vacant in Houston by Rick Adelman, according to Houston’s local FOX affiliate. He is reportedly one of three finalists for the job, along with Mavericks assistant coach Dwane Casey and Celtics Hall of Famer Kevin McHale.
This past season, Frank did an admirable job as Rivers’ assistant coach, leading the Celtics to a No. 1 ranking in points allowed (91.1) and No. 2 ranking in defensive rating (100.3 points per 100 possessions). Under Thibodeau in 2009-10, the C’s ranked fifth in both points allowed (95.6) and defensive rating (103.8).
Last serving as a head coach in 2009, Frank totaled a 225-241 record (.483 winning percentage) with the Nets for six-plus seasons.
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