|Jeff Van Gundy on D&C: Doc Rivers has personality to pull off return to Boston if trade falls through||06.18.13 at 8:32 am ET|
ABC/ESPN basketball analyst Jeff Van Gundy joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to offer his take on the reported Celtics-Clippers trade talks.
The Celtics are said to be considering sending Kevin Garnett along with coach Doc Rivers to Los Angeles. There has been widespread speculation that Rivers’ tenure in Boston is over either way, but Van Gundy isn’t so sure.
Said Van Gundy: “There’s a lot of people that don’t think he can still come back to Boston. I think it would work fine. He’s got the personality to pull it off. I think he’d be starting over with a different team anyway. It will be interesting to see what happens with Doc. Certainly these are interesting times in Celtic land.”
The Celtics reportedly would acquire young center DeAndre Jordan in the deal.
“I think everybody focuses on some maturity issues and his free throw shooting, and both need improvement,” Van Gundy said. “I like Jordan. I think he is a terrific athlete who has really improved defensively. He’s not like a physical guy, but he is a freak athlete who I think has shown great levels of improvement, where he came in as a second-round pick from Texas A&M after one year, not really accomplished in college. I think he’s continued to improve. Obviously, when you’re such a horrendous free throw shooter it limits how much you can play. But he is active, he can rebound.
“He’s a piece, if you’re trying to rebuild. Is he overpaid a little bit? Who’s not in the NBA? So he can just join the crowd on the long list of overpaid. But I like him better than how some people view him right now. I think he’s still an ascending player. If you’re going to go into a rebuild, he’s someone that’s intriguing.”
Touching on the NBA Finals — the Spurs have a 3-2 series lead heading into Tuesday night’s Game 6 in Miami — Van Gundy said there are intriguing story lines for both teams.
“There’s a lot on these two games for a lot of people on both sides,” Van Gundy said. “I think San Antonio played a great, great Game 5 offensively. I am so interested to see how they come out in Game 6. Do they do what Dallas did two years ago where they came in and they played a great game and beat Miami? Or do they take a sigh of relief and think that they have two games to win one, and so don’t play really as sharp or as desperate in Game 6 as they did in 5?
“And likewise, on the other hand, does the pressure get to Miami where they crack a little bit? Or have they been steeled by these last three years of long playoff runs, and do they show their championship mettle and find a way to win these two games? I’m really looking forward to it.”
|Report: Celtics, Clippers talking again, considering alternatives to Eric Bledsoe||06.17.13 at 1:04 pm ET|
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge reportedly has been holding out for the Clippers to include guard Eric Bledsoe along with center DeAndre Jordan and a first-round draft pick in a deal that would send Kevin Garnett and coach Doc Rivers to Los Angeles, but Wojnarowski writes that the teams are discussing alternatives to Bledsoe.
There also has been speculation that Rivers would find it difficult to return to Boston now, with one league executive telling Yahoo!: “There’s no putting the genie back in the bottle. You can’t pretend this didn’t happen and just go back to work.”
Basketball analyst and ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning, and he was unsure about whether or not a deal involving Celtics coach Doc Rivers and the Clippers would get done.
With Rivers still under contract for three more years, there are potentially a lot of moving pieces in such a trade. But fortunately for the Celtics, president Danny Ainge has a ton of leverage in the negotiations.
Still, Smith pegged the chances of a trade actually going through at just 50 percent.
‘Ultimately, all the cards are being held by Danny Ainge,’ Smith said. ‘It’s a 50-50 shot either a deal gets done or Doc Rivers stays in Boston. I don’t think Doc Rivers will sit out for the year, then do television and all this other stuff. I think he’s going to stay and coach in Boston this year, or he’ll move on because Danny Ainge will see an opportunity to get young and to get a box-office attraction to some degree, if not Blake Griffin, then some quality young guys you can build around.
‘Clearly, you have to go in that direction [getting younger]. If you’re Danny Ainge, it’s going to be a deal you want to make because you’re an older squad now, and it’s time to move in a different direction. Doc is the one hot commodity that he has. [Kevin Garnett] is 37. Paul Pierce is an aging 35. They’re not what they used to be, even though they can still contribute to a championship situation.
‘They’re not the guys to build around anymore, and if you’re Danny Ainge you know this better than anybody. As a result, it will behoove him to get a deal done. And Doc Rivers is the one piece you have that’s an ace. You have to maximize it.”
|Report: Celtics ‘deep in discussions’ about trading Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers to Clippers||06.15.13 at 4:57 pm ET|
The Celtics and Clippers are “deep in discussions” about a trade that would send coach Doc Rivers and surefire Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles, according to Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowksi.
Garnett would waive his no-trade clause to join Rivers in L.A., according to the report, but the C’s insistence on acquiring Eric Bledsoe in addition to the current Clippers package of DeAndre Jordan and a pair of first-round draft picks could be the last remaining hurdle of a blockbuster deal.
A swap of Garnett for Jordan and Bledsoe works under the salary cap, and the draft picks would reportedly be enough to entice the Celtics into allowing Rivers to walk from the three years and $21 million remaining on his contract and take assistant coach Tyronn Lue with him to Los Angeles.
On Saturday, Rivers and Chris Paul may discuss the All-Star point guard’s plan to re-sign with the Clippers should Garnett join him, Wojnarowski reported, but both the Celtics and their coach are willing to walk away should the deal not be finalized in the next couple days.
|Irish Coffee: 10 Things I Heard About Celtics||06.05.13 at 6:34 pm ET|
This is the worst. An aging Big Three stands in the way of LeBron James and a second straight NBA title — only it’s the Spurs, not the Celtics. Instead, Boston basketball fans are inundated with all sorts of ridiculous rumors. I think Kevin Garnett‘s uncle’s cousin’s brother’s sister-in-law just claimed KG’s coming back. That’s why, on another slow C’s news day in June, we’re revealing the latest edition of 10 Things I Heard About Celtics.
10. Heated rivalry: Speaking of LeBron, he went One on Two with Ahmad Rashad and Ahmad Rashad’s earring before taking on San Antonio. Asked if he considered Kobe Bryant his greatest rival, James waxed unpoetically about Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, ultimately landing on Paul Pierce as the closest thing to a rival (h/t @MrTrpleDouble10). Somewhere, a pajama clad Kevin Durant stoically cleans gutters.
“I would say that I don’t really have an individual rivalry. I think the closest would be Paul Pierce,” said the four-time NBA MVP. “I would say Boston is a rival of mine, because I’ve met them so many times in the postseason. I’ve been able to advance against them, they’ve sent me home fishing a few times, so I would say Boston and Paul Pierce would kind of be that guy if I had to name just one guy.”
9. Trading faces of franchises: “Healthy” and “Pierce” haven’t been mentioned in the same sentence too often over the last couple years, except when Boston Herald beat writer Steve Bulpett recently wrote, “there is reportedly healthy interest in Pierce out on the market.” Now, we don’t know who considers what healthy, but I’m guessing the offers are more of the Kris Humphries ilk than the Eric Gordon variety.
|Kevin Garnett’s future determines Celtics’ ability to be competitive next few seasons||05.10.13 at 10:27 am ET|
If next season’s Celtics team does not start Kevin Garnett at power forward, prepare for a long, dark stretch. Without KG patrolling the middle in green and white, feel free to reintroduce yourself to the lottery, long losing streaks and the empty promise of rebuilding.
While you miss the scowls, intensity and blocked shots after the whistle, remember that the decline of the Celtics is more complex than the team simply aging. The major problem is the Celtics actually ask Garnett to do more now than they did during the NBA finals run in 2010. Despite his age (37 on May 19) and contract (2 years, $24.3 million), Garnett still is a premier power forward and a critical piece for a team chasing a championship.
‘Back in Minnesota, Kevin used to say, ‘I want to live beyond my contract,’ ‘ new Timberwolves president (and former coach) Flip Saunders told WEEI.com. ‘That meant whatever he was getting paid, whenever someone would see him in a game or in a practice, he wanted to live up to that contract and then play beyond that.’
Garnett has done exactly that in his six seasons in Boston. His playoff averages (35 minutes, 12.7 points, 13.7 rebounds, his highest playoff average since 2004) against the Knicks also demonstrated that quality basketball remains afloat in his veins. Surrounded by the right players, Garnett still can help Boston contend for a championship. After watching Garnett for 18 seasons, Kevin McHale — who drafted Garnett in Minnesota with the No. 5 pick in 1995 — still is amazed by his former student. Garnett was the first player in 20 years to go directly to the NBA from high school, and McHale recently reminisced about Garnett’s rookie training camp in Minnesota, when the 19-year-old was only a couple of months removed from his senior prom.
‘I loved the kid the first day of practice,’ McHale said. ‘He laid on the floor after his first training camp — laying on the ground with nothing left — and I said, ‘We’ve got to go again tonight.’ He went, ‘Huh?’ I said we did two-a-days, and he was like, ‘Oh my.’
“But that night he came and he laid it on the ground, played on the line, laying on the ground, playing on the line. At the end, he was laying on the ground, and I said to him, ‘Now we do two again tomorrow.’ He looked up at me and said, ‘Man, this is going to be a job.’ He hasn’t changed since then, he’s just got better.
“His ability to compete at a high level for such a long time, his love of the game, his competitive nature,’ marveled McHale, ‘it really is fun to watch.’
Competing at a high level for an extended period of time in the National Basketball Association takes a rare talent. It is a skill that is difficult, but far from impossible. The highest standard of excellence has been set by the Spurs, a team with an aging superstar in soon-to-be-Hall-of-Famer Tim Duncan. Far from the best of friends, Garnett and the 37-year-old Duncan share very similar basketball philosophies, a fact not lost on Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
‘They can look in the mirror and realize they’re both the same in so many respects as far as how they run their lives in the NBA and how they’ve run their careers,’ Popovich said during his last trip to Boston. ‘They’re both competitive as hell, they both understand the game, they both love being on the court, and neither one of them is really that excited about the hoopla that is all around it, but they’ve also endured by taking care of their bodies and what they do in the summertime to take care of their bodies.’
|Danny Ainge sees Celtics stars returning next season||05.09.13 at 5:04 pm ET|
On his final weekly appearance on Salk & Holley of the 2012-13 NBA season, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge called the recent Stephen A. Smith rumors “silly,” indicated Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett will return next season, reaffirmed Rajon Rondo should be back for training camp and called Paul Pierce‘s future the first tough decision of his summer.
On Pierce: “There’s a lot that will go into it, but it hasn’t even started yet. We have until June 30 to make any decision. Listen, Paul’s been one of the greatest Celtics of all-time, and that will play a part in it. We love what he’s done for us, but ultimately we have to do what we think is the best for us from this point forward. And I think that Paul still has a lot of basketball left in him.”
On Rivers: “”Doc is always unsure. Coaching is very, very draining. Every year with Doc, he’s had to go home and sort of recharge and ask himself that question, ‘Is this something that I’m passionate about and want to continue doing?’ I understand that. And we sort of give him time to unwind and relax, and after a couple of 92’s on the golf course, he usually comes back.
“I think Doc will be coaching the Boston Celtics.”
On Garnett: “I’ll touch base with KG probably some time next week. He puts so much into the game. He invests as much as any player I’ve ever seen. He just needs time to chill and contemplate his life, and then we’ll talk at some future time, but I do anticipate that KG will play. Just like I did last year, I feel the same this year. I don’t know for sure, but we’ll know more in the next couple weeks.”
On Rondo: “So far, he looks good. Him and [Leandro] Barbosa have both been rehabbing and both have looked good from their ACL [injuries]. From everything our medical staff has told us, Rondo is doing great, and he should be ready by training camp.”
The Barbosa mention seemed strange, considering the C’s dealt him to the Wizards in the Jordan Crawford deal. Ainge said not to read too much into the veteran rehabbing in Boston (but still …). Here are more highlights from the fantastic interview by Salk & Holley — a must listen for anyone looking for a summer Celtics primer:
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