|Video: Shaq’s introduction to Boston||08.10.10 at 2:23 pm ET|
Sporting a bow tie and a gray pinstripe suit, Shaquille O’Neal sat beside Celtics coach Doc Rivers for his introductory press conference on Wednesday. As forward and new teammate Kevin Garnett and Luke Harangody overlooked the event from a higher level at the Celtics’ practice facility, the center fielded questions and held up his No. 36 jersey as he became the first player in franchise history to wear the number. Check out some video highlights from the press conference below:
|Report: Wafer ‘so happy’ to play for Celtics||07.31.10 at 2:08 pm ET|
When Doc Rivers delivered a straightforward message, Von Wafer was happy to oblige.
“I just hope to help the team,” Wafer told SLAM. “I’m all about the team first. I want to do anything I can to help make this a better team. Coach Rivers said, ‘If you’re not going to be a team player I don’t want you here.’ So I’m just gonna do my best to help make us a stronger group.”
Wafer, a 25-year-old guard, confirmed to SLAM that he has agreed to play for the Celtics next season. He spent time playing overseas last season. Now he is embracing the opportunity to return to the NBA … and a contender.
“I wasn’t always sure I’d be back,” says Wafer. “It’s unbelievable. I’m just so happy to be back. I’m just so happy.”
Wafer was drafted by the Lakers in 2005. He most recently averaged 12.4 points in 19.4 minutes for the Rockets during the 2008-09 season.
Click here for the entire SLAM story.
|Rivers: ‘I was … leaning heavily’ toward leaving||07.28.10 at 10:05 am ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he was “leaning heavily” toward taking a sabbatical after this past season, because he was “spent” after the draining campaign and he wanted to spend more time with his family.
In an interview with ESPN’s Andy Katz at a high school tournament in Orlando where his son was playing, Rivers said of the Celtics’ injury plagued, up-and-down 2009-10 season: “It was just a tough year, literally a tough year.”
Despite the Celtics coming within a quarter of winning the NBA title, Rivers said after the season, “I was spent,” adding, “I was most likely leaning heavily the other way — more because of [watching sons Austin and Spencer play].”
Rivers said when the season ended, he was “pretty much done, and Danny [Ainge] knew that.” He said he called coaching legends Pat Riley and Larry Brown for reassurance before committing to returning. “It was very helpful,” he said. “They’ve all been through it.”
Rivers said he consulted with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, then free agents, as well. “I wasn’t coming back unless they were coming back,” Rivers said. “I was first, and I thought that was important for them. We all talked. I can tell you that. I made sure. I knew they had to do their business. And Ray scared me a little bit with the money out there. They had said they were coming back and then you see what everyone was getting.”
Rivers signed for one year and still is considering a sabbatical as an option in the future.
“I’m just doing it year to year,” Rivers said. “Danny was great. [Co-owner] Wyc [Grousbeck] offered a long-term deal, but I didn’t think it was fair to them. I didn’t want to walk out of a contract.”
|Broussard on D&H: C’s ‘did what they had to do’||07.27.10 at 3:25 pm ET|
Dale & Holley welcomed ESPN NBA insider Chris Broussard Tuesday afternoon to talk about all things basketball this offseason, including the topics of LeBron James, the Celtics’ offseason pickups and re-signings and Doc Rivers possibly returning for more than one season.
“If they have a great season, maybe win the championship, I do think that there would be a lot of pull to return to the franchise,” Broussard said of the coach. “I think he’s doing the right thing, I think it’s a fluid situation and he’s leaving his options open, so I’m not too surprised to hear Doc say that.”
Below are highlights. To listen to the full interview click on the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
On when he figured out that LeBron James would be leaving Cleveland:
It’s interesting, because throughout that whole process there were a lot of people close to LeBron who wanted him to stay in Cleveland, and it’s not a smokescreen, to my knowledge. I would have believed he was trying to get Chris Bosh to go there. Toronto agreed to do a sign and trade, LeBron was trying to sell Bosh on coming to Cleveland and being his second guy. If he was able to do that, then I think LeBron would have stayed in Cleveland.
And then of course, LeBron was also trying to talk to Chris Paul. They were trying to figure out a way Chris Paul could be traded to Cleveland. If one of those two things happened, then I think LeBron would have stayed because there was a part him that wanted to stay, that understood legacy. [Michael] Jordan turned a terrible franchise into a champion, Isiah Thomas did it. You hear it, even in the criticism about LeBron’s decision, that the great ones always stay with one team.
He understood that and wanted to stay, a part of him did, but when he realized they couldn’t get that second guy, and then you looked down the road [he asked] “Would I be able to ever get that second guy here? It’s been seven years and it hasn’t happened.” That’s when he really had to say, “You know what? I may have to go.”
Now, Chicago was always very strong in consideration and Miami with their situation was always right there too, but I really think he gave Cleveland a legitimate shot. Finally, when Bosh made it clear that [he] was going to Miami with [Dwyane] Wade, that’s when LeBron realized he wasn’t going to be able to get anybody [in Cleveland]. Can [he] get through Boston what they’re going to do in Miami, Chicago and the Lakers, other teams, like Orlando, without that second guy. He had to go make sure that he had a couple of star teammates.
On the Celtics’ offseason strategy of re-signing their veterans:
I think they’ve done well. The Jermaine O’Neal move was a good one. I know they hate to lose Tony Allen, his defense was critical down the stretch, but I think they should move on without him. I’ve got to admit, I was among the surprised when they played so well in the playoffs, so I do wonder if they’ve got enough left to reach the finals again next year.
I was just talking about with age and things like that. You wonder two years from now, they’re going to be old and pretty much done with that. With [Rajon] Rondo, who’s developing into an All-Star and they’ve got a few other young guys, but that’s my only worry, I think they did what they had to do. I think it’s the right thing to go ahead and try to take one more shot at it. My pick is Miami in the East, but I think the Celtics will be right there.
|Doc: ‘Bigger deal’ made about coaching decision||07.06.10 at 11:13 pm ET|
For weeks, the uncertainty of Doc Rivers’ coaching career with the Celtics was unavoidable. It was discussed during the playoffs, immediately after Game 7 of the NBA finals, and on Draft Night. The media outlined the pros and cons of both options while fans weighed on what would be the best move for Rivers.
Forget about where LeBron James was going to sign. In Boston, the biggest question was who would be on the sidelines next season.
In the end, Rivers stayed with the Celtics. After all the hype leading up to his decision, he told AOL FanHouse the speculation of leaving the Cs “was blown out of proportion.” Even though he did consider stepping down to spend more time with his family, Rivers called the attention his decision received “embarrassing”:
“It was really no different than any other year,” Rivers said in an interview with FanHouse at the Air Tran Orlando Pro Summer League. “It was a much bigger deal made about it than it was. It’s what we do every year. We (his family) go home and relax and we sit around.”
Share Rivers has one year left on his contract. However, he was considering stepping away from coaching for a year to watch his children, including star-studded, high school rising senior Austin Rivers, play.
Rivers admits there were “times” he came close to stepping away. Still, he didn’t think his decision process deserved as much focus as it got.
“Because it got out that’s what we do, I thought it was embarrassing to me because it was just so much attention about it,” Rivers said of what he called an annual evaluation. “Once you made (the decision), it was great. The family was good and everybody was happy. And now you just worry about your team and you got to get everybody back, and you got to add a couple of guys.”
Rivers is currently in Orlando with the Celtics Summer League team. Austin Ainge is coaching the squad.
|Rivers: Sheed helps C’s by waiting||at 11:54 am ET|
Recent reports indicated that Rasheed Wallace might be reconsidering his decision to retire. Celtics coach Doc Rivers, however, said Monday from the Summer League in Orlando that Wallace is helping the team by delaying an official decision.
“He’s trying to help us out by waiting, which is good,” Rivers said in a story at AOL FanHouse. “He’s still our property so we can use that in a trade or something. He’s doing a great thing for us.”
Rivers said the chances that Wallace will return are “very little or none.”
Wallace is scheduled to make $6.32 next season and $6.79 million in 2011-12.
|Report: Doc’s first call to Allen||07.01.10 at 11:53 pm ET|
When NBA free agency began on Thursday, the first phone call Doc Rivers made was to Ray Allen, the Boston Globe reported.
“I can’t go into who but I can tell you we started at 12:01 last night like everybody else did,” he said. “The first call we called Ray. We sat around and we have these names on the list and we said hey guys our most important guy is Ray. We gotta get Ray back. Paul and Ray. And we already talked to Paul because we could. Ray is a vital part to our basketball team, huge.”
Allen, an unrestricted free agent, will undoubtedly be receiving several phone calls from around the league. According to a recent report in the Miami Herald, LeBron James contacted Allen about playing alongside he, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. Allen stated during the season he would like to return to Boston.
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