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Irish Coffee: Danny Ainge discusses Celtics trades 02.25.11 at 11:58 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Once the news came down that the Celtics had traded Kendrick Perkins just before the deadline on Thursday, the instant reaction for most Celtics fans probably went something like this: “Wait, what? I’m sorry, WHAT?!?! What is Danny Ainge thinking?”

When they heard the Celtics president shipped Semih Erden and Luke Harangody to Cleveland for a second-round pick, and then sent Marquis Daniels to Sacramento for cash, most fans (at least the ones on Twitter) seemed to think Ainge had lost his scruples.

He didn’t. There’s proof: The full transcription of his interview with John Ryder and Paul Flannery on the Planet Mikey show Thursday night …

WHY MAKE THE PERKINS TRADE?

“We think it upgrades our team, ultimately, is the reason. You always have to give up something of value to get something of value in return. We feel that this will help our team this year and help us in the future as well.”

ARE THERE CONCERNS ABOUT PERKINS HEALTH?

“Kendrick has had some history of injuries, but he’s recovering. Nobody works harder to recover on their injury than Kendrick, and I think that Kendrick will be fine long-term. …

“Kendrick came back, and he looked good. He worked really hard to get back sooner than we even thought. He’s a great young man, but at the same time we feel like we have a lot of centers, and we have great confidence [Shaquille O’Neal] and Jermaine [O’Neal] will be healthy. And [Nenad] Krstic is probably more healthy than all of those guys at this stage.”

HOW DID THE DEAL DEVELOP?

“It’s something that we’ve discussed periodically. I have conversations throughout the year with a lot of teams, and we take some serious and throw some by the wayside. I wanted to see how our team was playing, and our team was playing great in the absence of Kendrick throughout the season. We beat Miami twice and Chicago and LA and so forth.”

WHAT DOES JEFF GREEN BRING TO THE TABLE?

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Jeff Green, Kendrick Perkins
Steve Pagliuca on D&C: ‘Put the emotions aside,’ and deal is good for C’s at 9:21 am ET
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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.”

Read More: Jeff Green, Jermaine O'Neal, Kendrick Perkins, Nate Robinson
Danny Ainge on Planet Mikey: Celtics ‘agonized’ over dealing Kendrick Perkins at 8:53 am ET
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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.

Read More: Danny Ainge, Jeff Green, Kendrick Perkins, Nate Robinson
Celtics stun NBA, trade Kendrick Perkins 02.24.11 at 4:34 pm ET
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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.

Read More: Jeff Green, Kendrick Perkins, NBA Trade Deadline,
Kendrick Perkins to miss at least three games with knee injury 02.23.11 at 11:24 pm ET
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The good news for Kendrick Perkins is that he didn’t re-injure his surgically repaired right knee. The bad news is that he injured his left knee in a collision with Golden State’s Steph Curry during the Celtics game with the Warriors Tuesday night and will miss the rest of the team’s West Coast trip. The new injury has been described as minor, but it’s enough to keep Perkins off the floor and once again reduces the depth at center to the bare minimum.

With Perkins out of the lineup, the Celtics are down to Semih Erden and Glen Davis to man the center spot. Erden played 17 minutes in his return from his own injury problems Tuesday, while Davis handled the majority of the second-half minutes in Perkins’ absence.

The Celtics play the Nuggets on Thursday and then return to Los Angeles for a game against the Clippers on Saturday before finishing up the trip with a game against Utah on Monday.

Read More: Kendrick Perkins,
Doc Rivers: Rajon Rondo, Big Baby and other things that made the Celtics super on Sunday 02.07.11 at 1:47 pm ET
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For many reasons, the first 12 minutes and 59 seconds didn’t start out very well for the Celtics on Sunday.

There was Orlando jumping out to a 12-2 lead as Dwight Howard dominated. There was Glen Davis leaving a mark in the parquet with the back of his head, suffering a bruised skull. But as he returned to the bench to start the second quarter, that paled in comparison to the bruise to the spinal cord of Marquis Daniels as he ran into the chest of Gilbert Arenas and fell suddenly to the floor.

Things were just completely out of whack. But then it was Rajon Rondo‘s time to take over the game. And did he ever. Immediately after kneeling to check on the well-being of Daniels, Rondo came out of the delay and drove to the basket for a lay-up exactly 20 seconds later that energized the crowd and – more importantly – his teammates. He was on his way to a season-high 26 points.

So, what was the difference in his point guard Sunday?

‘€œWell, after ‘€“ you mean after the first six minutes of horrendous basketball from our team?” Rivers replied rhetorically. It just looked like the first six minutes, we were there to play basketball but I thought they were really invested into the game. And you know, why that changed I don’€™t know, but it was good. We went to an open set which we rarely do. I just didn’€™t see us with any ‘€“ we didn’€™t have anything going.

“And Jameer [Nelson] picked up that one foul and we just decided to go basically open spread. And we told Rondo to get to the rim, and, you know, use his instincts. He’€™ll find open guys.’€

The Celtics went with a spread offense that allowed more lanes for Rondo to drive to the basket and create off the dribble.

‘€œWell it really depends on the game,” Rivers said. “I want him to be aggressive every game. We’€™re not going to run spread every game because it doesn’€™t make a lot of sense every night. We’€™d like to match up with him, especially Jameer wanted to stay on the floor because of his fouls, but that is how we want him to take the ball to the basket.

“Whenever he does go, we want him to go with power and speed and be willing to get fouled. And I thought over everything that was it. Obviously he made great shots and all that. I just liked the fact that he had no problem if he got fouled.’€

Then there were the 21 missed 3-pointers by the Magic, who missed 61-of-93 shots. After the Celtics allowed the Mavericks to beat them on 8-of-17 shooting from long range, Rivers realized early his team was committed to not allowing that again.

Rivers asked for prayers for Davis and Semih Erden, who drew the assignment of guarding Dwight Howard when Kendrick Perkins was forced to the bench to rest. Those prayers were essentially answered in the form of a 91-80 win. Yes, Howard ate up Big Baby, Perkins and Erden for 22 points in the first half. But he had just six points in the second half as the Celtics put on the defense clamps, led by Davis’ ball denial in the post.

‘€œPhenomenal,” Rivers said of the effort. “Great defense. I think any time you lose a game where you think you broke your principals and defensively you were not right, then the next time you play if you’€™re a defensive team, you’€™re probably going to have a good defensive effort. And I thought we did that. I said this with Baby and Perk, it was a test for them.

“It was tough because we were going to leave them on an island and Dwight had it going early. And we just kept telling them, ‘€˜We’€™re doing the right thing. Just keep doing it.’€™ And that was tough for them, and the fact that they stayed with it and stayed on it was good.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Dwight Howard, Glen Davis
Irish Coffee: The Kevin Garnett controversy timeline at 1:19 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

The first time I can remember controversy around Kevin Garnett was in 2004, when as a member of the Timberwolves he said he was going to break out grenades, missile launchers and M16’s to take down the Kings in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Also in Minnesota, Garnett had confrontations against such immortal NBA legends as Mark Pope, Anthony Peeler, Rick Rickert, Francisco Elson and Tyrone Nesby. Those issues haven’t subsided in Boston, where his latest dust-up came Friday against the Mavericks — and nearly again Sunday when Hedo Turkoglu knocked Garnett to the ground.

As a result, I figured it was time we sorted these incidents out in a timeline of his indiscretions:

  • April 28, 2008: In Game 4 of a first-round series, Hawks center Zaza Pachulia headbutted Garnett after a hard foul. In Game 7, Garnett exacted revenge, executing a backcourt pick.
  • Nov. 7, 2008: After throwing a blow at Bucks center Andrew Bogut‘s face, Garnett was suspended for one game.
  • Nov. 10, 2008: Defending Jose Calderon, Garnett wagged his finger at the Raptors point guard Dikembe Mutombo-style.
  • Dec. 5, 2008: Getting on all fours and barking like a dog in the backcourt, Garnett taunted Portland rookie guard Jerryd Bayless. Oh, and he made Glen Davis cry.
  • Oct. 11, 2009: In a preseason game against the Nets, Garnett shoved then New Jersey forward Yi Jianlian‘s arms aside and bumped bodies with him during a dead ball.
  • April 17, 2010: In an attempt to clear Quentin Richardson away from Paul Pierce, Garnett elbowed the Heat forward and was subsequently suspended for Game 2 of a first-round playoff series.
  • Nov. 2, 2010: Following a Celtics win over the Pistons, Detroit forward Charlie Villanueva Tweeted that Garnett called him “a cancer patient.” Garnett fired back, claiming he said, “You are cancerous to your team and our league.”
  • Nov. 10, 2010: A handful of days after a Celtics win over the Bulls, Chicago center Joakim Noah told a local radio station, “[Garnett]’s a very mean guy. Where’s the love? None at all. Ugly, too.” After the Richardson incident, Noah had already called Garnett “a dirty player.”
  • Jan. 28, 2011: In a Celtics loss to the Suns, Garnett issued a low blow on Phoenix forward Channing Frye‘s groin during a 3-point attempt. Garnett was ejected. And Suns coach Alvin Gentry later said, “I lost a little respect for him.” Garnett refused to apologize.
  • Feb. 4, 2011: Following a fast-break foul by Mavericks guard J.J. Barea, Garnett grabbed the referee’s arm during the dust-up and got hit with a technical.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Marquis Daniels
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