|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.”
|Welcome back, Kendrick Perkins||01.25.11 at 8:06 pm ET|
After missing the first 43 games of the season rehabbing a torn ACL in his right knee, Kendrick Perkins took the court for the first time with his Celtics teammates on Tuesday night as they played the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Perkins injured the knee in the first half of Game 6 of the 2010 NBA finals in Los Angeles as the Celtics – without their starting center and defensive, shot-blocking presence in the low post – lost Games 6 and 7, falling just short of a record-18th NBA title.
Three different players – Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine O’Neal and Semih Erden – have started at center this season and while Perkins is coming off the bench, his return Tuesday certainly bolsters the depth at that position.
Shaq had started 17 straight and 33 overall before injuring his right hip on Friday against the Jazz. Erden has started the last two and now six overall. Jermaine O’Neal has started the remaining five times in the low post.
Doc Rivers would not commit to when Perk will eventually return to the starting lineup and until then, it’s likely to be Erden getting most of the minutes.
Perkins returned to game action with 8:02 left in the first quarter when Erden picked up two quick fouls. He lasted until 2:37 left, giving him five minutes, 25 seconds of continuous action. He collected a lay-up, missed a free throw, grabbed a rebound, dished out two assists and picked up a foul.
|Kendrick Perkins returns||at 7:24 pm ET|
About an hour before the Celtics were to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kendrick Perkins rolled through the locker room and found about 20 reporters congregating by his locker. Someone asked if he had lobbied coach Doc Rivers to play Tuesday night, 10 days ahead of his scheduled target date of Feb. 4. “I probably did,” he said with a smile as he tried to deflect the obvious: He’s back.
Perkins returns about seven months after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament during Game 6 of the NBA finals and about six months after having surgery. It’s been quite a turnaround for Perkins, who had his first live practice on Jan. 16. As late as Monday, Rivers said he wouldn’t rush Perkins back, even with injuries keeping both Shaquille O’Neal (hip) and Jermaine O’Neal (knee) out of the lineup.
Later that night, team trainer Eddie Lacerte and team doctor Brian McKeon told Rivers that Perkins was ready.
“I didn’t think he’d play on this [upcoming west coast] trip, but it wasn’t a big surprise when they walked in,” Rivers said. “When they came in together I knew what they were coming in for, so I was all for it.”
Perkins won’t start yet and Rivers said he was on a restriction on 12-16 minutes. “It’s going to take Perk some time,” Rivers said. “Listen, you don’t miss the amount of games that he’s missed and have the injury that he has and think that because he’s going to play tonight he’s going to be the Perk that you saw the last time.”
Still, with the injuries to the O’Neal’s (Shaq may return Friday, Jermaine O’Neal is out until after the All-Star break) his return has become an important component of the second half of the season. Rivers has not been able to develop a bench with all the injuries affecting various members of the second unit.
For now, Perkins adds depth at a position that needs some, but once he’s able to work his back into the starting lineup he’ll allow Rivers the flexibility to use Shaq and Glen Davis off the bench.
“It’s just another piece we’re adding is the way I’m looking at it,” Rivers said. “That’s great for us. The healthier we can get, the better we can get, the more consistent we can become and we can start rolling. It’s tough to grow as a team when half your team, or at least your bench, is not playing.”
Perkins’ teammates were obviously thrilled with the development. They have been impressed with how hard he’s worked. Perkins said last week that he has lost eight pounds and he appears trimmer and in better shape than when he was injured.
“I’m just hoping he doesn’t foul out in those 16 minutes,” Rivers joked. “Which is very likely.”
|The Celtics won’t rush Kendrick Perkins back||01.24.11 at 4:14 pm ET|
It has to be tempting for the Celtics to see Kendrick Perkins going through live practice sessions and think they need to get him back on the floor now. With Jermaine O’Neal out four weeks for rest and rehab on his injured knee and Shaquille O’Neal likely to miss at least the next two games with a sore hip, the team’s depth at center is once again down to Semih Erden and Glen Davis.
That’s enough to get through a game here or there, and that’s the way the Celtics are going to play it because they are taking the longview on Perkins’ return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Doc Rivers acknowledged Monday that Perkins has already begun lobbying to come back sooner, but it’s falling on deaf ears.
“Honestly, he wants to play tomorrow,” Rivers said. “He’s already approached me about that. The only consideration is when [trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] and Dr. [Brian] McKeon say you can play him. I’m not going to listen to Perk, I can tell you that.”
Perkins has targeted Feb. 4 against the Mavericks as his potential return date and the Celtics have five games left between now and then. They play the Cavs Tuesday at the Garden and then head out for a four-game west coast trip.
It’s unlikely that Shaq will play in the first game Thursday at Portland for a number of reasons — it’s a long flight and it’s the first of a back-to-back with Phoenix on Friday. “I think [Shaq will] play in at least one or two of the games for sure, but I don’t [know] that positively.”
The Celtics have made it this far being patient with injuries. They can afford to wait a little longer.
|Danny Ainge is still counting on Jermaine O’Neal||01.20.11 at 12:19 am ET|
Danny Ainge made this much clear after meeting with Jermaine O’Neal at halftime Wednesday night – he’s not giving up on the center to make an important contribution this season.
Ainge said the 32-year-old O’Neal and the team met and decided not to have the chronic left knee scoped to be “cleaned out.”
Instead, O’Neal will put off having knee surgery and will undergo four weeks of rehab to strengthen the area around the knee.
“We haven’t really known what we are going to do,” Ainge said. “We had a discussion at halftime, Jermaine, and myself, and our medical staff, and have decided that we are not doing surgery. The surgery that we were considering by the way, was just a cleaning out.
Surgery could have kept him out for two months but Ainge said surgery or not, O’Neal would’ve been back this season or in time for the playoffs.
“That’s always a guess, but probably closer to eight weeks. And you know again, Jermaine had a lot to do with the decision. And Dr. [Brian] McKeon was fine with it, and it’s not an easy decision, and I think that Jermaine feels like he overdid it a little bit. He’s got some bruising from the bone on bone that he has in his knee. He just needs to let that calm down, and build up the strength in it.”
The reason the Celtics and O’Neal are hopeful for a return is the fact that he isn’t dealing with serious ligament or cartilage tears.
“There’s not ligament or cartilage damage that was going to be prepared, it was a cleaning out process,” Ainge said. “We decided against that, we’ll take the next four weeks to do nothing, but work to build up his glutes and quads, with the sole purpose of that. So he’ll be rehabbing to build strength in his leg to get ready for the end of the season.”
The ailing left knee has limited O’Neal to 17 games and 18 minutes per contest this season, during which he is averaging just over five points and 3.8 rebounds.
“This is a good option,” Ainge added. “I mean, we felt – either way we thought he might be back for the playoffs. If he had it cleaned out or if he didn’t. You know, again, it’s just he’s got a lot of wear-and-tear on the knee. But this is a good option. I think he feels like if he gets himself in better shape and the strength then he’ll be ready to give us an effort that we haven’t seen this year out of him.
“I would say the purpose is to get him ready to play in late-season and postseason play, with no restrictions. I mean his first night there might be, but the purpose is to get him back 100 percent.”
The Celtics signed O’Neal last July to a two-year, $12 million deal, with O’Neal being paid the full midlevel exception of about $5.76 million this season.
|Irish Coffee: Magic president claims Celtics ‘act tough’||01.19.11 at 12:51 pm ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …
The Orlando Sentinel executed a midseason Q&A session with the Magic’s version of Danny Ainge — president of basketball operations Otis Smith — and he essentially called the Celtics a bunch of what singer Everlast called “fake tough guys, trying to act hard.” Here’s the exchange:
- Sentinel: One could argue the Celtics are tough.
- Smith: They act tough. They’re not really tough. They act tough.
The Celtics are just 5-8 against the Magic during the regular season since the arrival of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, but they own a 7-6 advantage against Orlando in the postseason — and that’s without Garnett in the lineup for a 4-3 Eastern Conference semifinals loss during the 2008-09 playoffs. The C’s ousted the Magic 4-2 in the conference finals last season, when many critics questioned the Magic’s toughness (rightfully so).
JERMAINE O’NEAL HAS A FASHION LINE?
The future of Jermaine O’Neal‘s basketball career remains in limbo, as we await a decision Wednesday on how he’ll treat his knee moving forward this season, but he may already be setting himself up for his next venture as a fashion mogul.
O’Neal will be rolling out a new fashion line of casual sportswear, Le Jaunty, over the course of the 2011 calendar year.
“I’ve always been into fashion,” O’Neal told WWD.com. “I’m from Columbia, S.C., and my family is very religious. We’d go to church and Sunday school and we always had to dress up. I enjoyed that.”
Just when you thought O’Neal’s season couldn’t get less interesting …
THE ASSOCIATION: EPISODE 2
Eipsode 2 of the behind-the-scenes documentary “The Association: Boston Celtics” airs on Friday night at 7 p.m. on ESPN. Episode 1 was a must-see for any Celtics fan. Here’s the remaining schedule:
- Episode 2: Friday, 7 p.m.
- Episode 3: Feb. 25, 7 p.m.
- Episode 4: March 16, 7 p.m.
- Episode 5: April 15, 8 p.m.
|Jermaine O’Neal to decide on whether to have surgery next week||01.14.11 at 7:34 pm ET|
Jermaine O’Neal has already met with the Celtics medical staff and will meet with a doctor on Monday for a second opinion on whether he should have surgery on his knee. O’Neal said he would make an announcement on Tuesday. “My preference is to play,” O’Neal said. “You don’t get this opportunity very often.”
If O’Neal did have surgery he would likely be out anywhere from 2-3 months. That timeframe would possibly put him back by the end of the regular season, but realistically it would be very difficult for him to contribute this season.
“If it means two months or more, that’s basically it,” Doc Rivers said. “Everyone thinks when you say two months that means you play in two months. No, that means you start working out in two months. If you’re coming back in April and you haven’t played all year, there’s a very low chance of that you’re going to help us.”
Rivers said that O’Neal’s decision would have no bearing on what happens with Kendrick Perkins and his rehab. “They’re two different things,” Rivers said. “I’m going to look out for the best interest of J.O. and I’m going to look out for the best interest of Perk and I’m going to do that separately.”
O’Neal said he is beyond frustrated by this latest turn of events. After missing 19 games he was able to return and had played well defensively, but he had a tough back-to-back last weekend and his knee swelled up after practice on Tuesday.
“It’s past that. It’s past frustrating. It’s far past that,” he said. “I didn’t foresee this happening.”
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