|Ainge on The Big Show: ‘We Value Rondo More Than Anybody Else in the League’||06.26.09 at 3:32 pm ET|
Celtics Executive Director of Basketball Operations and General Manager Danny Ainge, in an interview on WEEI’s Big Show on Friday afternoon, clarified some of his recent comments about point guard Rajon Rondo earlier in the week. While Ainge has been portrayed as having been critical of Rondo during an interview on the Dennis & Callahan Show — in which the G.M. acknowledged that Rondo had been fined for the “unacceptable” act of having been late for practice during the playoff series against the Magic — he insisted that any concerns about the point guard’s behavior were isolated, and that the team has moved on from them.
“I think we value Rondo more than anybody else in the league values him and we know everything about him — all the good and the bad that comes with a 23-year-old kid who’s been put in a pressure kicker,” said Ainge. ” I don’t know if we said he had a bad attitude. I think he needs to mature, like we talked about. But I like Rondo’s attitude. I like Rondo’s competitive spirit. I think the kid, he’s late for a playoff game — we’re not going to condemn him for the rest of his life. We took care of it and it’s over…I’m amazed at how people want to take the little things and blow them out of proportion.”
Ainge also said once again that he does not plan — or want — to trade the 23-year-old.
“We never had any intention of trading Rondo — or Paul Pierce, or Kevin Garnett, or any of our core players, Ray Allen — unless something absolutely blows you away. It is my responsibility to listen and take calls and have discussions to see what those conversations may be,” added Ainge. “He’s going to get better. He’s going to get older, and get more experience. And he’s going to be a terrific point guard for the Celtics in the NBA for a long time.”
Below are some excerpts from the rest of the Ainge interview:
ON TRADE RUMORS
“I think we value Rondo more than anybody else in the league values him and we know everything about him — all the good and the bad that comes with a 23-year-old kid who’s been put in a pressure kicker in Boston. The kid has 40 playoff games under his belt, he’s got four Game 7s under his belt as a 23-year-old point guard. Rondo is not perfect. It seemed like the subject of the day a couple days ago was Rondo ‘ it was not Paul Pierce or Ray Allen or Kendrick Perkins or anyone else ‘ because of all the trade speculation, most of which was bogus.
It’s my job to listen and inquire as you get ready to possibly sign a player to a long-term contract or develop strategies within the organization, to really understand and know what the value is out there for a player’¦
We plan on having this core together, and we plan on adding a couple pieces through free agency, and maybe making smaller deals to make our bench stronger this year. That’s always been our main intention.
ON RONDO’S ATTITUDE
I was asked a question about him being late for a playoff game and I said, yeah, that kind of behavior is unacceptable. That just means you levee the fine and you move on. That has nothing to do with what we think of Rondo as a player.
He’s a very likable guy. He’s liked by his teammates. He gets moody sometimes, but so what?
Can I imagine trying to replace something that’s worked so well? Last year I thought that things were well in spite of some of the injuries we had and we won the championship the year before. Every team that wins and every team that loses, there’s always holes, there’s always things that aren’t perfect, and sometimes we let the Big Three get away with things because they’re such talented players, but they have weaknesses too. It seems like because of the trade rumors and because of the upcoming contract situation possibility, [Rondo] just seems to be the topic, and I should have known that. I don’t really think that I ripped Rondo by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think I should have known that maybe saying anything might have just fueled so much more fire. It seems like the things I said that were good about Rondo, those things just get ignored.
ON WHETHER HE HAS SPOKEN TO RONDO’S AGENT, BILL DUFFY:
Oh, no. I really don’t have any intention to, I’ve never even read the quote. I don’t really care. That’s an agent’s job, is to do everything they can to protect the image and player so I’m not even worried about any of that. That stuff bothers me not at all. Typically what happens is sometimes something is taken out of context and somebody reports looking for a response anyone, so I’m sure the whole story wasn’t, ‘should I rip Bill,’ but anyway, that stuff doesn’t mean anything to me.
ON WHETHER THE SPECULATION WAS DRIVEN BY THE MEDIA RUMOR MILL
I can never say to any player that ‘I will never trade you under any circumstance,’ and that might be a dangerous thing to say because then it’s ‘oh, he left an opening.’ But there’s a big difference, I mean, logically, with the age of our team, with the lack of athleticism you get as guys get older, if there’s one thing we need, it’s a young, vibrant, energetic, rebounding, loose-ball-getting, tempo-changing 23-year-old point guard with experience. So if there’s going to be a trade it better be soemthing unbelievably special and that’s where some of these rumors are silly and ludicrous, and I wish that people would just use their heads, use their mind and give us a little more credit when they consider trade rumors.
ON DEALING WITH PLAYERS WHOSE NAMES ARE IN THE RUMOR MILL
I’m honest with them. I tell them when things are real, I tell them when things are not. I tell them what are plans are and what our intentions and goals are and Itell them just like it is. If I did have intention of trading them, if there was something that were true in a rumor and they asked, I would tell them. I’m as honest with these players as I can [be]. I don’t tell them every single conversation I have because conversation means nothing adnso I’m jsut as honest as I can [be] with these players.
ON THE DRAFT IN GENERAL
First of all, nobody would draft the number five pick and let him stay over in Europe for two more years. I tihnk they would have gone a different direction had they known that.
ON KEVIN GARNETT
Kevin, it was amazing. His entire countenance over the last six weeks of the season, he was just kind of down and grumpy and uncomfortable. I think he felt pressure to try to come back and he had all this pain in his knee.
Right after the surgery ‘ I mean three days after the surgery ‘ a smile on his face, he can bend his knee all the way. He can straighten it out all the way. He just went back to the West Coast the other day. Before he left, I saw him doing full weight workouts. He was doing squats ‘ one-legged squats, two-legged squats ‘ he was doing most of his whole routine again. His spirit is returned: his enthusiasm for the upcoming season, his hope.
All of a sudden, he’s back to being the real Kevin Garnett. His personality has returned. You could just see that once he had that bone spur on the back of his knee, that that was really bothering him.
ON QUESTIONS ABOUT WHETHER GARNETT COULD HAVE RETURNED DURING THE PLAYOFFS
It’s just all talk. Everybody thinks they know, everybody hasa different view, and then everybody starts speculating on all sorts of conspiracy theories. You should have heard all the media trying to contact me. ‘What was going on?’ and ‘he’s got these secret ACL tears.’ One thing I would always say to the media is ‘think about the situation before you respond. I mean, if he had an ACL tear, why in the world would you ever not give surgery immediately? There’s so many things out there that people don’t think before they report.
He was not going to come back and play, most likely. The pain management– I mean, the fact that he came back and played before and played OK even though he wasn’t the real Kevin Garnett, he played OK. I think as an organization we were holding out hope that that might be the case, the he can give us 15 or 20 minutes, and, you know, maybe a Willis Reed-type surge for a couple of works and really that was just KG and the doctors, if he could do it. We were never putting pressure on him and he never anticipated or expected that to happen, but there was a tiny bit of hope that that might happen. In hindsight maybe we should have relieved Kevin of that pressure, but I do not think he was going to play against Cleveland or in the NBA Finals, not unless he just felt this surege and this adrenneline rush that was going to get him out there, but after the surgery he was so much better. He wasn’t healthy after the surgery, it’s going to take another couple months for him to be healthy enough to play basketball, but we’re very encouraged by the range of motion and strength that’s returned to his knee. On top of that, before the surgery he was really able to get strong– really, really strong– and I think that’s always helpful in your rehab from the surgery.
ON SHAQ TO THE CAVS:
I think that that’s a good pickup for Cleveland, especially since they didn’t really give up anything to get Shaq there, so how it all works will be everybody’s guess, if it’s going to make them that much better, but it doesn’t change our plans. We’ve had some plans on what we intend to do this summer for the last month or two, as we see weaknesses in our team and what we can do to improve from our core and build around them and improve our bench, and our plans have not changed any.
ON VINCE CARTER TO ORLANDO AND THE IMPROVING EAST:
It will be interestng to see, I mean they still don’t have Turkoglu signed, there’s speculation that he may go somewhere, so Vince Carter may have been insurance for Turkoglu. So we’ll see what the final product is. Vince Carter’s a very good player, it’s a good aquisiton. For the price they gave up to get Vince Carter it’s a good risk. Even though Courtney Lee was really becomming a good player, he had a fantastic rookie year, and usually guys come back after a fantastic rookie year with a teriffic second year. So it’s not like theydidn’t give anything up, but Courtney Lee still probably isn’t Vince Carter. Courtney is a much better defender than Vince but Vince is more of a dynamic scorer. So I think it’s a good trade for Orlando.
Washington is the team I think that’s probably improved themselves the most with Mike Miller, Randy Foye, and of course Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood coming back healthy. They’ll be a real force in the East as well.
D.J. Bean contributed to this report.
|Doc laughs off trades on ‘PTI’||06.11.09 at 11:14 pm ET|
PTI: You were in the same situation last year that the Lakers are now. Up 2-1 and you won Game 4 and won the series, so how important is this game to the Lakers?
Rivers: Well it’s important to the Lakers. I think it’s more important to the Magic, obviously. You know the Lakers are looking at this, they would clearly like to win the next two games, but they’re thinking if they win one, they go back home with six and seven to win one, so for them that’s the way they’re thinking. Obviously for Orlando, they just have to try to hold serve at home. I’ve always thought, and I still believe, it’s a disadvantage they have three games in a row at home because when teams are evenly matched, it’s tough to win three games in a row anywhere. And so I do think it’s tougher on Orlando in that way.
PTI: Alright Doc, when all is said and done who do you think is going to win this series and the NBA Championship?
Rivers: You know, I hope neither one wins. I would just like to table it for next year. (Smiles) But now that I know that that can’t happen, I think being in the East, you’re always cheering for the East Coast teams. You don’t want the West to win anything. Having said that, I think the Lakers are the favorite. I just think they’re just so talented and they’ve been there before, so you’ve got to make them the favorite in this series.
PTI: Now let me ask you the hypothetical question that maybe you just alluded to with the beginning of that answer. If Kevin Garnett had not gotten injured, did you like your chances to repeat this year?
Rivers: Yeah I did, but he was and that’s part of the game and so I accept that. There’s times when you watch and you wish you could have had the opportunity to compete with a healthy basketball team. But guys, as you know in sports, injuries are absolutely part of the season and it happens and unfortunately it happens for us. And so to me the two best teams right now are Orlando and the Lakers and they deserve to be there. Next year we hope that’s a different story.
PTI: Doc, Kevin Garnett just had successful surgery and I know you’re hoping he’s going to be back for at least 75 or more games next year. But how did you feel about this guarantee that he was going to be able to lead the Celtics to another title. Is that a check you guys can cash?
Rivers: I love it. (Laughs) I love it. I hope he’s right. I hope it’s not a Patrick Ewing guarantee ‘ I lived through those. No, I love it. I love when players are confident. I think Kevin believes that, he wants that to happen, and so do we. And to me it’s good. I like when players start guaranteeing things. I like it more when they back it up and I’m hoping Kevin can do that.
PTI: I’m just thinking about two summers ago when you guys had the blockbuster move that kept talk radio and our show going for weeks. Are you and Danny (Ainge) plotting anything like that this summer? Do you see your personnel needing to be shuffled in that way?
Rivers: No I don’t, but we’ve got a huge trade we’re going to announce. I’m just joking. There’s no trade coming. (Laughs) No, no we’re good. I like who we are. I think we do have to add some length to our basketball team as well, especially with Leon Powe maybe not coming back for at least til midseason or later. We’ve got to add one more big to our team. Other than that, I love our basketball team, I love our guys, and I think we’ll be in great shape next year.
|Grousbeck: KG is feeling great||06.03.09 at 2:36 pm ET|
- Wyc: “I saw KG this morning, he’s feeling great and he’s the most fired up he’s ever been. For KG, that’s saying something.”
- Ray on NBA’s International growth: “We enjoyed Rome for training camp. We enjoy playing overseas in bigger arenas; fans are just as crazy.”
- Ray: “Anytime I’m in the gym, somebody runs down to rebound for me. They’ve built a great team (off court) so we can focus on basketball.”
|KG undergoes successful surgery||05.26.09 at 2:14 pm ET|
BOSTON ‘ The Boston Celtics announced today that forward Kevin Garnett underwent successful right knee arthroscopy and removal of posterior knee bone spurs today at the New England Baptist Hospital. The surgery was performed by Team Physician Dr. Brian McKeon and was assisted by Dr. Michael Belkin and Dr. John Richmond.
‘After this successful surgery, Kevin can now begin to focus on rehabilitating his knee, returning to top physical shape and fully preparing for the 2009-10 season,’ Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge remarked.
Garnett appeared in 57 games this season for the Celtics averaging 15.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.11 steals and 1.19 blocks in 31.1 minutes per game. Garnett became the youngest player in NBA history to have played in 1,000 career games when he played against the Bulls on October 31, 2008 at the age of 32 years and 165 days. Garnett was named to the 2009 NBA All-Defense First Team for the second consecutive season and his 10th consecutive season of being named to either the First or Second Team. The Farragut Academy product was named to his 12th All-Star game this past season and his 12 appearances are second-most among active players behind only Shaquille O’Neal.
‘I expect Kevin to return to active duty in full force and be that consummate two-way professional that he has shown all of us throughout his fantastic NBA career,’ Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers added.
|Draft prospect compared to Garnett||05.25.09 at 7:57 pm ET|
This summer B.J. Mullens is looking to make a name for himself in the NBA Draft, but he doesn’t mind being compared to certain players along the way.
Very few players would complain when drawing similarities to one of the best in the game.
‘I can get compared to Kevin Garnett, his inside game,’ Mullens told HOOPSWORLD (Click here for video), ‘Outside game, Dirk Nowitzki, explosive like Amar’e (Stoudemire). Those three guys I like to compare myself and mix them all together and do a little bit of triple threat.’
Mullens has been working out at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, where Garnett has also trained. The 7-foot, 260-pound center averaged 8.8 points and 4.7 rebounds in his freshman season at Ohio State. He lists his strengths as his footwork, outside jumper, and versatility playing both inside and outside.
Like Garnett, he was named to the Parade Magazine First Team All-American in high school. Mullens plans to work out for 15 teams before the draft, including the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers.
|Cassell hired as Wizards assistant coach||05.21.09 at 9:11 pm ET|
Sam Cassell made his goal very clear when he signed with the Boston Celtics in 2008 — he wanted to coach. On Thursday, he accomplished that mission. Cassell was hired by the Washington Wizards to serve as an assistant coach to the newly appointed Flip Saunders. According to Michael Lee of the Washington Post, Cassell is already participating in pre-draft workouts.
“After 15 seasons playing in this league, I have accomplished all that I have dreamed of as a player,” Cassell said in a statement issued by the Wizards. “Now the time has come for to me to take my love for the game to the coaching ranks and pass on what I’ve learned. This team is loaded with talent, and it’s a great way for me to start my coaching career.”
Cassell will be part of a coaching staff that has close ties to Kevin Garnett. Cassell and Garnett were teammates in Boston and Minnesota; Saunders served as the Timberwolves head coach for ten seasons; and Wizards assistant coach Randy Wittman coached Garnett in Minnesota during the 2007 season.
|Ainge: We never question KG||at 12:11 am ET|
Kevin Garnett held out hope. The Boston Celtics front office held out hope. Even though the probability of playing seemed unlikely, a chance is still a chance. And for that, Celtics president Danny Ainge has no regrets on leaving the possibility of Garnett’s return open.
‘There was some question if KG would be able to play at some point in the playoffs, and we had hope. And we still had hope for that, and it just didn’t turn out that way. But one thing that we can’t do, and one thing that we don’t do internally, is never question Kevin Garnett,’ he told WEEI’s The Big Show. ‘I mean, Kevin Garnett for 12 years has never given anybody any reason to think he would not play if he could. The guy just doesn’t miss games.
‘But the reality of it is, is there was still hope. I think there was a bit of hope in Kevin’s mind, there was hope in our minds, there was hope in Doc’s mind even though we knew that the possibility, that the stronger possibility existed that he probably wouldn’t play, there was a little bit of hope that he might be able to at some point. So I think second-guessing doesn’t do any good. It didn’t turn out, he wasn’t able to play, and we don’t really think that we’ve set ourselves that far back.’
In retrospect, holding off surgery during the season may actually help Garnett’s recovery.
‘We think the surgery now is fine. Anyway, Kevin’s gotten stronger, he’s been working extremely hard,’ Ainge said. ‘And some people think the stronger your legs are when you get the surgery, the better prepared you are for your rehab anyways. So we’re not second-guessing any of that.’
Garnett is slated for surgery next week.
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