|Mannix on D&C: ‘Not a unanimous decison’ for C’s on Shaq||08.04.10 at 10:09 am ET|
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to discuss the Celtics‘ impending signing of Shaquille O’Neal. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Mannix said it’s a one-year deal for the veteran minimum ‘ approximately $1.4 million ‘ with a second-year player option. “This was not an easy decision for either side,” Mannix said, adding, “Shaq is obviously taking a monster pay cut. … It’s a huge, huge pay cut for this guy to play for this team and to accept a reserve role, coming off the bench.
“And for the Celtics, I can tell you this much, it was not a unanimous decision. This is not something that the entire front office and coaching staff entirely agreed upon. But it is a Danny Ainge type of move. He’s taken risks like this in the past, whether it’s Gary Payton or Stephon Marbury or Nate Robinson this past year. He’s taken chances on guys he thinks can help put them over the top. Danny obviously is convinced that Shaq is what this team needs right now.”
Asked if it was Shaq’s off-court distractions or on-court issues that made the Celtics hesitate, Mannix said: “It’s a little bit of a blend of both, but I think you’d have to start with the on-the-court problems. He is the worst pick-and-roll defender of all-time. He really is. He’s just a horrible, horrible guy when you’re coming off blitzing those screens. And Kendrick Perkins was one of the better pick-and-roll defenders on this Celtics team. This whole defense that Tom Thibodeau put together, and Kevin Garnett glued together, was based on effective pick-and-roll defense.
“It’s going to be incumbent now on Doc Rivers, and to a certain degree Lawrence Frank, who is essentially taking over that Tom Thibodeau role, to redesign the defense. They’re going to have to come up with something almost entirely new when Shaq’s on the floor. Because think about it: The two teams standing in Boston’s path are really Orlando and Miami, and those teams are going to run pick and roll all day long.”
Mannix also noted how Shaq often was in the way of Steve Nash when they were teammates in Phoenix. “Rajon Rondo is going to have similar problems,” Mannix said. “Shaq is not a guy who is even remotely comfortable playing anywhere but six or seven feet away from the basket. So, that’s going to be a challenge for Doc Rivers and his coaching staff to figure that out as well.”
All that said, Mannix said he thinks the signing is a good one for the Celtics. “He instantly becomes the best rebounder you have out there,” Mannix said. “And I’m not worried about him bogging down the fast break. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Kendrick Perkins wasn’t exactly Brad Daugherty running the floor out there for the Celtics. I just think overall, he’s a solid fit.”
Added Mannix: “While I understand the risks ‘ and I think it’s a huge risk to a certain degree ‘ you’re not going to get by Miami, you’re not going to get by Orlando unless you make an upgrade. And Shaq, to me, was the best available upgrade out there.”
Asked about controversial guard Delonte West, Mannix said it makes sense for the Celtics to bring him in. West was waived by the Timberwolves this week following a trade from Cleveland. “I think they should [sign him],” Mannix said. “Delonte obviously is familiar with the system, familiar with Boston, familiar with some of the pieces that are in place there. And he’s a proven combo guard. Obviously, the personal problems he’s had off the floor have been well-documented. … But again, you’re talking about adding guys for the minimum salary. If Delonte doesn’t work out ‘ and I guess to a certain degree if Shaq doesn’t work out ‘ you can just waive these guys.”
|Father: Perk won’t play for ‘Tall Blacks’||07.24.10 at 2:12 pm ET|
Perkins’ estranged father Kenny Perkins lives in New Zealand and was a veteran of that country’s National Basketball League in the 1980s and 90s. However, a few days after New Zealand men’s basketball assistant coach Dillon Boucher said Perkins could play for their national team if he met FIBA eligibility criteria, his father said the Celtics’ big man will never play for the Tall Blacks.
‘He has no intention of playing for the Tall Blacks ‘ not now or ever,’ Kenny Perkins told the Waikato Times. ‘They tried this a long time ago when Tab Baldwin was the coach and I would never let him play for Tab Baldwin.
‘His main goal is to play for the United States.’
Perkins is currently out of action for six months with a knee injury suffered in Game 6 of the NBA finals against the Lakers.
|Ainge on D&C: Perk out until February||07.15.10 at 12:40 pm ET|
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge called into the Dennis & Callahan show to discuss the offseason so far for the C’s. On the docket were many hot topics, including the signing of Jermaine O’Neal, pursuing several new players, the return of Doc Rivers and many of last year’s playoff team, and when Kendrick Perkins could be expected to return to the team.
‘It’s projected that he’ll be back probably after the All-Star break, could be my guess, sometime in mid- to late February,’ Ainge said. ‘We’ll be very careful with Perk and not be in a rush to get him back, but I guess there’s a chance to get him back probably a little earlier, that’s probably realistic.’
Highlights of the interview are below. To listen to the full interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan show audio on demand page.
On the LeBron James sweepstakes and how he handled himself:
[I feel] the same thing everybody else feels. It was over the top, it was too much. I think he should have told the Cavaliers well beforehand what he was doing. I just think there were a lot of things that weren’t handled perfectly. It was not fun to watch and see. I didn’t really enjoy the dance show a day or two after either, celebrating in Miami.
On Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert‘s subsequent comments:
I think they were inappropriate and I don’t think that’s the right way to handle it either. [They're] understandable, but not the right way at all.
On the Celtics’ prospects against the new Miami Heat:
No matter where LeBron was going to go he was going to be in the Eastern Conference and [his new team was] going to be really good, whether he was staying in Cleveland or New York, New Jersey. The team was going to be built around him and it’s going to be a great team regardless. Three of the top 10 players in the league, including two of the top three, that’s going to be a tough pill to handle. I think they are going to get a supporting cast that can help them win and I think that team’s the team to beat. Read the rest of this entry »
|Now healthy, winning the priority for O’Neal||07.14.10 at 5:57 pm ET|
WALTHAM ‘ Jermaine O’Neal came clean on why he struggled so mightily against the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs this past season. The new C’s center said he was kicked in the left ankle in a March 11 contest against the Knicks, which led to it being ‘extremely swollen.’ He tried toughing it out in the playoffs, but the results weren’t pretty, as he average just 4.2 points and 5.6 rebounds and saw the Heat fall in five games.
‘You go out there, you’re telling your team, you’re telling your followers that you’re ready to play, and whatever excuse you have should be kept in the locker room, so I chose not to talk about it because it didn’t really matter,’ O’Neal said. ‘I still felt like I could go out there and help the team. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do it. It was just one of those things.’
Both he and Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said that he is healthy, and O’Neal now looks forward to embracing a new environment in Boston as he enters his 15th season in the league.
‘One thing I admired about the Boston Celtics team was the coaching and also the way the players played together, it was very selfless on the court,’ O’Neal said. ‘They compete at a very high level on both ends of the floor. They don’t really care who gets the credit for scoring or rebounding or whatever it may be, they just kind of play together and play to win.’
O’Neal said he looked at the way Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett united in Boston for a chance at a first ring, and that his decision was strongly based on their line of thinking, saying, ‘I thought those guys [were] at a position in their career where I’m kind of at that same position.’
With starting center Kendrick Perkins out for the time being with torn MCL and PCL ligaments, the popular line of thinking has been that O’Neal will be the starting center until whenever Perkins returns (sometime in early 2011, whether it be January of February) and that he will then spell both Perkins and Garnett in a reserve role with Glen Davis.
Given what O’Neal has been able to accomplish in his career statistically, it might be hard to imagine a six-time All-Star turning down other offers for a potential job off the bench. Still, despite coming close to averaging a double-double from 2000 to 2007, O’Neal is extremely content with his new role.
“It’s not about options, it’s about winning,” O’Neal said. “That’s what it really boils down to. I’m not at a point in my career where I need to worry about that. I’ve been on an Olympic team, I’ve had Nike campaigns, I’ve had All-Star games, All-NBA’s and I don’t have an NBA finals appearance, which is the most important thing to me and that’s what I really value the most right now.
“Sometimes as players we kind of take for granted that it’s going to keep happening. All those great years in Indiana, you couldn’t have told me that I would go five straight years of basically talking about ‘ going into camp ‘ talking about just making the playoffs. It’s a big difference when you come into camp talking about a championship run and talking about trying to make the first round.”
There could be a string of factors that could make the road bumpier than some would hope, whether it be keeping everyone happy, fighting off injuries, or dealing with O’Neal’s old team, now fully equipped with Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade, but it’s quite clear the center is all smiles and glad to be in Boston.
|Report: Could Shaq fit in Boston?||07.06.10 at 1:03 am ET|
According to a report on ESPN.com, which cited league sources, the Celtics have expressed interest in center Shaquille O’Neal. With the C’s already over the salary cap, they could offer no more than the $5.8 million per year mid-level exception. According to the report, O’Neal would be intrigued by the idea of playing for Celtics coach Doc Rivers and with forward Kevin Garnett.
With Kendrick Perkins sidelined for part of the 2010-11 season following surgery to repair his torn ACL, the Celtics are looking for help at center. O’Neal averaged 12.0 points and 6.7 rebounds a game while playing 23 minutes a night for the Cavaliers in 2009-10.
The report said that O’Neal has also encountered mutual interest with the Hawks and Mavericks, and that if LeBron James returns to Cleveland, he would consider a return to the Cavs. O’Neal, 38, has played for the Magic, Lakers, Heat, Suns and Cavs in his career.
|Celtics sign Semih Erden||07.05.10 at 1:54 pm ET|
The Celtics signed center Semih Erden of Turkey, the team announced on Monday. Erden was drafted by the Celtics with the 60th pick in 2008.
The 7-foot, 240-pound big man averaged 8.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game for Fenerbahce Ulker this past season en route to the Turkish League championship.
Erden is on the Celtics Summer League roster and will play for Turkey in the 2010 FIBA World Championships.
The Celtics are in need of a big man following the injury of Kendrick Perkins.
|Celtics Harbor Cruise raises over $50,000||07.01.10 at 11:25 pm ET|
Earlier this week, the Celtics and Xfinity hosted a harbor cruise on the Spirit of Boston and raised over $50,000 to benefit the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation.
Kendrick Perkins, Glen Davis, and Brian Scalabrine joined over 100 Celtics fans on the two-hour Boston Celtics Harbor Cruise. C’s legends Cedric Maxwell, Dana Barros, and former ‘American Idol’ finalist Ayla Brown also attended.
‘It’s always great to come out and support the Shamrock Foundation because it’s all about giving back to the kids,’ Perkins said. ‘It’s fun to have the opportunity to spend some time with the fans away from the court.’
The Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation benefits children directly through programs that provide education and support, including partners Perkins School for the Blind, Children’s Hospital Boston, Horizons for Homeless Children, and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC). More information on the Shamrock Foundation is available at www.celtics.com.