|Steve Pagliuca on D&C: ‘Put the emotions aside,’ and deal is good for C’s||02.25.11 at 9:21 am ET|
Celtics owner Steve Pagliuca checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show and guest hosts Mike Adams and Bob Halloran on Friday morning to talk about the C’s flurry of moves before Thursday’s trade deadline. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The big trade was Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to the Thunder for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic. Pagliuca said he has confidence president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made the right call.
“I have mixed emotions,” Pagliuca said. “I loved Kendrick Perkins as a person and a player, and he helped us get a championship. So, that’s the tough part of the sports business. You’ve got to try to make the club better if you have opportunities. Danny’s done a great job at that over the last eight years, since we’ve been here. He assessed that this was something that would be great for the short run to help us win a championship again, and the longer run.
“I think it could be a win-win for both clubs. Because their club is full of shooters and they need somebody tough inside, and there’s nobody tougher than Kendrick. We picked up a guy, Jeff Green, who was drafted fifth, averaging 15 points a game, he can play the 3, the 4, maybe even the 2 at times. And Nenad Krstic, who’s a great shooter, which really balances [Rajon] Rondo out. Rondo will have a free lane now, because they’ve got to go out and cover Nenad, because he can hit the shot.”
Added Pagliuca: “Danny, again, I think has done a great job. Put the emotions aside ‘ because he loves Kendrick as well ‘ but this will be good for the club.”
The C’s also traded Semih Erden and Luke Harangody to the Cavaliers for a draft pick and shipped the injured Marquis Daniels to the Kings for another pick. This leaves some questions at the center position, as Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal remain sidelined with injuries. Pagliuca said that should turn around soon, as the Celtics’ bench will become a major strength.
“We got two starting players ‘ one averaging 15 points a game; I think Kristic is averaging close to 10 ‘ so, yeah, it’s going to make us very deep,” he said. “And on top of that, Shaq is working really hard to come back, and Jermaine is looking good; I saw him on the bike the other day. If all the things go our way, we’re going to have a very deep team going into the playoffs. And I think that’s what Danny wanted to accomplish.”
The other question concerns the toughness the Celtics lost with the departure of Perkins. “We’ve got a lot of tough players,” Pagliuca said. “Shaq’s a pretty tough player, and he’s coming back. He’s pretty tough in the paint there. [Glen Davis] is a tough player. Baby can bang with anybody. Krstic is also a fighter. He’s no wallflower as well. ‘¦ He’s a fiery player and he wants to win. So, I think we’re going to be very tough and our guys will bring it up a notch.”
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.
|Celtics stun NBA, trade Kendrick Perkins||02.24.11 at 4:34 pm ET|
In moves that shook up the entire NBA, the Celtics pulled off three deadline deals that will affect them now and in the future. According to a source, team president Danny Ainge traded Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for forward Jeff Green and center Nenad Krstic.
In a separate deal, the Celtics also dealt rookies Luke Harangody and Semih Erden for a second-round draft pick. That deal is about clearing roster space for veteran free agents who are expected to be bought out of their contracts, most notably Troy Murphy.
The Celtics also traded Marquis Daniels to Sacramento for cash. As a player with Early Bird contract rights Daniels had the right to veto the trade, but his agent, Mark Bartelstein, said that he would not. They are more concerned with Daniels’ health than his career at the moment.
But it’s the initial deal that was so shocking. Perkins has recently returned from a torn ACL in his right knee and had moved quickly back into the starting lineup. But Perkins injured his left knee against the Warriors and was going to be held out of the rest of the team’s West Coast trip. With Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal also sidelined by injuries, Perkins was the only veteran center left standing.
With Perkins gone, the oft-repeated line from coach Doc Rivers that no one had ever defeated the Celtics with their starting five will stand.
Robinson, on the other hand, was rumored to be available for the last week. His inconsistent play, and the return of Delonte West made him expendable.
In return, the Celtics received Green and Krstic. Ironically, Green was drafted with the fifth pick in the 2007 draft, which the Celtics used to acquire Ray Allen. Green is averaging 15 points and 5.6 rebounds for the Thunder, but he is a poor 3-point shooter and not much of a rebounder for his size. Krstic is a veteran 7-footer who will help fill in some of the gaps left by Perkins, but the two are very different players.
There’s still more coming. The Celtics will have 12 players left on their roster. That opens the door for Ainge to sign as many as three veteran free agents. Murphy is one name who has been mentioned most prominently, although the Celtics figure to have competition from Miami, among other contenders.
Beyond this season, these moves could clear ample cap space for the future. Krstic will be an unrestricted free agent after this season and Green will be restricted. With only Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Avery Bradley under contract beyond the 2012 season, the Celtics could be prime players in the next great free agent class that is likely to include Dwight Howard, among others.
The present is cloudy at best. First and foremost will be restoring calm to a locker room that is among the tightest in the league. Perkins was a major force in that both on the court, and off. Second, is how Rivers intends to use Green who is a versatile forward. With Green and Glen Davis, the Celtics could use a variety of lineups to counter teams like Miami and the new-look Knicks.
|Celtics teach history lesson||03.29.09 at 10:37 pm ET|
On paper the biggest difference between the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder is their records. The Celtics are atop the Atlantic Division with 60 wins while the Thunder have 40 less. But the Celtics also have an advantage that the Thunder cannot attain in a single season ‘ one of the deepest histories in the NBA.
On Sunday the Thunder made the first trip of their inaugural season the TD BankNorth Garden. (Click here for the recap of the Celtics 103-84 win.) The Celtics legacy was not lost on the Thunder squad.
‘Inspirational,’ Jeff Green said of playing in the Garden. ‘That’s the point we want to get at. They won championships and that’s what we want to do. But it takes a lot of focus. You’ve got to play defense. This is our first season. It’s going to take some time. We’ve got to be patient, we’ve got to continue to work hard to get to the point where stuff is working.’
Green was drafted by the Celtics in 2007 and traded to the then-Seattle SuperSonics as part of the Ray Allen deal. He played in Boston last season but this time it was different in a Thunder uniform.
‘We have to establish who we want to be,’ he said. ‘As of right now, we’re working on that. But we want to be a defensive-minded team. We want to be able to stop people when it counts. We want to be able to make our opportunities count when we get those stops. And I think right now we’re in the process of forming our identity but we’ve just got to continue to work at it.’
Rookie Russell Westbrook also has his own ties to the Celtics. The Lawndale, California native, and former UCLA Bruin, grew up as a Los Angeles Lakers fan. Even though he rooted against the Celtics, he appreciates their tradition.
‘It’s kind of like a dream come true growing up, watching the Celtics and Lakers play,’ Westbrook said of his first game in Boston. ‘I’ve seen the old games and things like that. It’s kind of where you planned on being announced.’
Thunder head coach Scott Brooks hopes his young team will learn a thing or two from the Celtics victory.
‘One of things that we will learn is, pick up from this team, is there is a reason why they are a championship team,’ he said. ‘They compete every time they are on the court. They execute throughout the game. They don’t just do it in spurts. It’s something that we have to continue to get better at — play 48 minutes of execution and do a better job of just playing with toughness down the stretch.’
Xs and Os aside, the Thunder can take more than a loss away with them.
‘It motivates you to want to get better, to want to be at that championship level,’ Green said. ‘It’s an honor to play in a building where some of the greats, Bill Russell, who have banners hanging up, Larry Bird, Parish, all those guys. They paved the way and made it possible to do what we do today. But we’ve got to build our own type of history. We have to start somewhere. And I think the more that we work, the better and better we get and the closer we wil get to that championship level.’