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Irish Coffee: Rajon Rondo’s NBA lockout ‘just boring’ 10.26.11 at 10:29 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

Rajon Rondo granted interviews to a number of reporters after participating in an exhibition game in Kentucky on Monday night, which is more than can be said about plenty of Celtics games.

Among his comments was this gem on the NBA lockout (via The Kentucky Kernel): “It’s just boring.”

Tell me about it, bro. Why I else would I be combing the interwebs for anything interesting about the Celtics, like this youth football photo of you? (By the way, I’m 92 percent certain Rondo could start for the Oakland Raiders this Sunday and be better than the Kyle Boller/Carson Palmer Soup du Poop.)

At least NBA owners and players will resume collective bargaining negotiations on Wednesday, according to Newsday. Can’t they just agree on a 50/50 split and end this boredom?

Moving on to a few other Rondoisms (via Kentucky Sports Report and WHAS-11):

  • On losing: “I don’t like to lose. I missed a free throw, so I was pretty pissed off a little bit. I compete to win, and I don’t like to lose. I never like to lose, even a game like this.”
  • On mentoring: “I had a couple of mentors I looked up to and was able to talk to about what I was going through when I was young. That is what I’m doing for those guys. When I’m around, I am showing them positive things to do and how to handle themselves as young men, because I have been through what they are going through. They all want to be in the league and want to win and be the man, but there are certain steps you have to take. They are all very young. Just be patient. I try to tell them not to be in a rush to grow up and get this life so fast.”
  • On playing: “I’m ready to get it going. I’m excited about the season this year. I’m just trying to stay healthy, most of all, and try to get back to the championship and win.”

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Irish Coffee: At what point do NBA players cave? 10.25.11 at 1:27 pm ET
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NBA commissioner David Stern is set to cancel two more weeks of the season. Or he isn’t. Or games through Christmas are in jeopardy. Or an 82-game season is still possible. Or you can torch the entire 2011-12 calendar, including the final years of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen‘s Celtics contracts.

Anything is possible.

If indeed the first 13 games of the Celtics season are canceled, here’s how much money each of the six C’s currently under contract might lose if their first two bi-weekly paychecks are never issued:

Kevin Garnett: $1,630,769.23
Paul Pierce: $1,179,487.23
Ray Allen: $769,230.77
Rajon Rondo: $769,230.77
Jermaine O’Neal: $478,923.08
Avery Bradley: $117,267.69
TOTAL: $4,944,908.77

Garnett has reportedly made more than $300 million in salary and endorsements, so $1.6 million is chump change (0.5 percent of total earnings) — especially when you consider he has $35 million in deferred salary from his last two contract extensions due to him over the first seven years of his retirement, according to NBA.com.

Bradley made $1.4 million in salary as a rookie this past season, so $117K is a crapload of money (8.4 percent of total earnings). Especially when you consider he could be fired after one game in a Hapoel Jerusalem uniform.

Since the Celtics are still selling merchandise, it’s difficult to tell how much revenue they would lose should those 13 games over 28 days go up in smoke. In the 2009-10 NBA season, the C’s earned $68 million in gate receipts over 53 home games (41 regular season, 12 playoff). With six home games scheduled through Nov. 28, that’s $7.7 million in ticket revenue based on the 2009-10 numbers. And that doesn’t include revenue generated from concessions or media rights. Still, they could be saving nearly as much in player expenses.

At what point do the vast majority of NBA players — who are making closer to Bradley-level money than Garnett-level money — panic about losing these paychecks? No matter how hard Garnett, Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant urge them to hold their ground, at some point they’re bound to cave. And that’s what Stern is counting on.

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Irish Coffee: Ray Allen’s microcosm of life 10.20.11 at 1:46 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

Celtics guard Ray Allen and coach Doc Rivers are in Orlando, Fla. for the PGA Tour’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic pro-am on Thursday and Friday. ESPN.com golf writer Michael Collins interviewed Allen prior to a round with 2008 Masters champion Trevor Immelman. Here are 10 things we learned from the exchange:

  • Allen couldn’t have looked less interested to start the interview.
  • Though a scratch golfer, he’s not thinking about a professional golf career.
  • Tee shots in front of a gallery scare him more than an NBA Finals tip-off.
  • His lowest round ever: A 67 at Newton’s Charles River Country Club.
  • He sees golf as a microcosm of life.
  • He doesn’t have a favorite part of his game.
  • Sand shots are the worst part of his game.
  • Ball-striking is the best part of his game.
  • He’d like to see more trash talking in golf.
  • He’d like to see a fight between John Daly and Woody Austin.

“The next shot is the best shot — the most important shot.” Sounds like he takes the same approach to golf as he does in basketball. Speaking of which, three people who donated $4,500 to The Home For Little Wanderers earned the chance to play (read: “lose”) a game of H.O.R.S.E. with Allen in his driveway before his wife Shannon Allen prepares them a home-cooked meal. Good times.

Allen is the lone member of the Celtics’ Big Four not rumored among NBA players expected to participate in a two-week exhibition tour in Puerto Rico, London, Macau and Australia, according to ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard. Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo are expected to participate — and Kevin Garnett is reportedly mulling an offer to play — during the canceled first two weeks of the NBA season.

I don’t know about you, but I kind of respect the fact that Allen isn’t bothering with any of these exhibition games or sticking his nose in labor negotiations. He’s ready to play whenever the lockout lifts. Otherwise, he’ll be playing golf. “I can work out for basketball, but there are so many hours left in the day.” So Shuttlesworth.

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Irish Coffee: Kevin Garnett bleeps everything up 10.18.11 at 11:18 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski piggybacked the ESPN reports over the weekend that Celtics forward Kevin Garnett‘s involvement in collective bargaining negotiations may have disrupted a potential 50/50 split of basketball-related income between NBA owners and players. The C’s-related portion of Woj’s piece:

This fight has grown nastier, more personal, in the past weeks. Privately, management insists that everything changed when the Celtics’ Kevin Garnett walked into the negotiating room on Oct. 4. The owners knew it wouldn’t go well when Garnett started glowering across the table, sources said, like the league lawyers, owners and officials were opponents at the center jump. He was defiant, determined and downright ornery. He was KG. Everyone knew Hunter had to cede to the wishes of the stars, and the stars demanded that the players stop making concessions to the owners.

As one league official said, “We were making progress, until Garnett [expletive] everything up.”

Colleague Paul Flannery and I had a brief e-mail exchange on the subject, and I couldn’t agree with him more: Are we really going to believe that by fixing the owners with a KG stare that they packed up and went home?

Owners and players will sit down with federal mediator George Cohen on Tuesday. In an appearance on CNN, NBA commissioner David Stern indicated that the meeting could be one of the most significant days of the lockout. Here are some highlights of that interview (via The New York Times):

  • The good: “We would push as hard as possible to be up and running in 30 days.”
  • The bad: “We keep negotiating and we keep losing games in the calendar.”
  • The ugly: “If there’s a breakthrough, it’s going to come on Tuesday. And if not, I think that the season is really going to potentially escape from us, because we aren’t making any progress.”

Calling a potential 50/50 split “a very thin deal for the NBA,” Stern also stressed three needs of the owners: 1) “an opportunity to be profitable,” 2) “a more robust revenue sharing plan” and 3) “a system that allows small market and large market teams to tell their fans: ‘We can compete if we’re well managed.’”

In related news, a group led by billionaire Joshua Harris bought the 76ers for a mere $280 million.

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10 Things I Heard About Celtics VIII 10.17.11 at 2:02 pm ET
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On another slow Celtics news day, there’s still plenty to learn about Boston’s green men. Here are 10 more C’s links of interest we discovered over the past few days (“10 Things I Heard About Celtics” IIIIIIIVVVI and VII).

10. Current and former Celtics players Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green and Marquis Daniels all participated in Midnight Madness festivities at their respective Alma maters over the weekend.

Allen and Daniels judged dunk contests at UConn and Auburn, respectively. Likewise, Kentucky and Georgetown recognized Rondo and Green for their contributions to the Wildcats and Hoyas.

“Rondo, by the way, is outstanding,” UK head coach John Calipari recently said. “I mean this guy, he is working … and I told him, and I told Nazr Mohammed the same thing: When they are done if they want to come back and join this staff and finish up their degrees, they are welcome. They are great young people who want other people around them to get better and they are not afraid to share their knowledge and their experiences.”

Even C’s coach Doc Rivers showed up to watch his son Austin Rivers at Duke’s first official practice. Doc hasn’t abandoned his own Alma mater, as he is a member of the search committee for Marquette’s new AD.

Rivers’ respite from the golf course won’t last long, as he will join a slew of PGA Tour stars and former Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon in the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic pro-am. Welcome to the NBA lockout, ladies and gentlemen.

9. After totaling almost as many fouls (5) as points (7) in his losing debut for Italian team Benetton Treviso, Celtics second-round draft pick E’Twaun Moore bounced back in Game 2, totaling 11 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals in 23 minutes during an 85-84 victory. He started both games.

To put his performance in perspective, Moore’s averages through two games (9.0 PTs, 4.0 PFs, 4.0 REB, 1.0 AST and 1.0 STL in 27.5 MIN) compare less than favorably to BT teammate Brian Scalabrine (12.0 PTs, 3.5 REB, 3.0 AST, 2.5 PFs and 0.5 STL in 31.5 MIN). So, tame your Moore excitement.

Meanwhile, C’s backup point guard Avery Bradley is scheduled to make his Hapoel Jerusalem debut on Monday.

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Irish Coffee: Kevin Garnett fights for the nobodies 10.07.11 at 1:28 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

If you weren’t on the players’ side of the NBA lockout before, it’s getting harder and harder not to be.

Despite the fact that they are inching closer and closer to losing paychecks, and despite the fact that the league’s top players are finding it more and more difficult to seek employment overseas — an issue we’ll get to in a moment — NBA superstars are holding firm against owners.

Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski called Kevin Garnett‘s “apoplectic” plea to his fellow players not to drop lower than a 52-48 split on behalf of the league’s next generation — even in the face of losing his $21 million salary and perhaps his last best chance at a second NBA title to a lost season — “one of the most unselfish acts in these labor talks.” Here’s what one young mid-level salary player told Wojnarowski:

“What he’s doing now, to me, it says a lot about K.G. He’s willing to sit out the year, and give up [$21 million] at the end of his last big contract, and probably his last really good chance to win another ring. For him, this is about the principle.

“I don’t want to hear this stuff from our guys saying, ‘Oh, he can afford to sit out. He’s made a lot of money.’ I respect the [expletive] out of those guys standing up for us right now, him, Kobe, all of them.”

If owners and players don’t reach an agreement by Monday, the NBA will cancel the first two weeks of the regular season. If the lockout lingers any further, the players will indeed lose paychecks beginning on Nov. 15.

The four most prominent players at the most recent collective bargaining session in New York City — Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce and Amare Stoudemire — stand to lose a combined $219,000 per day if the NBA does not return by mid-November. I’m not sure, but I think that’s a lot of money.

“It’s very, very easy to jump ship when things get hard,” Garnett told Yahoo! Sports. “It’s very, very easy to start thinking differently. I’m not that type of person.”

NBA owners are in this for the long haul, as those who own profitable franchises will be able to make up for lost revenue fairly quickly over the course of the collective bargaining agreement and those who (claim they) don’t profit will actually save money each day the lockout continues.

That’s not the case for aging superstars like Bryant and Garnett, who have 1,401 combined hours of NBA basketball on their aching knees. And it’s not as easy as they might have once thought to make that money back overseas, as Bucks center Andrew Bogut‘s agent David Bauman noted to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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Irish Coffee: Paul Pierce to the NBA rescue! 10.04.11 at 12:20 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

Only two players attended Monday’s NBA collective bargaining session with commissioner David Stern and the NBA brass. One was National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher. The other? Paul Pierce.

Pierce isn’t a member of the union’s executive committee, although CBS Sports columnist Ken Berger suggested the Celtics captain and player representative has expressed interest in becoming the Joe Biden to Fisher’s Barack Obama. Regardless, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver cited Pierce as someone who actually brought tangible ideas to the table during labor discussions in New York City over the weekend.

Not only is Pierce expected to join Fisher again on Tuesday, but Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett have reportedly been invited to join a small group of players in what might be the final negotiating window before the NBA starts canceling regular-season games. Imagine that. Lakers and Celtics on the same side of the ball.

Pierce’s presence is only magnified by the fact that his agent, Jeff Schwartz, is among a handful who encourage union decertification and drafted a letter urging the players not to accept a revenue share less than 52 percent — six points higher than Stern’s current offer and two points above what some believe could seal a deal.

Are those final two percentage points — a total of $80 or so million — worth destroying the momentum that two Celtics-Lakers finals and a Heat firestorm created over the last few seasons? It’s hard to imagine Pierce & Co. allowing these negotiations to devolve into decertification, as that could cost the league the 2011-12 NBA season. These are the issues that Pierce, Fisher, Garnett, Bryant and their colleagues face.

My how far Pierce has come since he got ejected from Game 6 of a first-round series loss to the Pacers in the 2005 NBA Playoffs, swung his Celtics jersey over his head at the Conseco Fieldhouse crowd and showed up to the post-game press conference with his head wrapped in a faux bandage.

If the 2008 NBA Finals MVP was Pierce’s defining moment on the court, this could be his moment of Truth off it. He could cement his legacy as not only a Hall of Famer but a power player in the NBA’s future for years to come.

For more on Tuesday’s pivotal NBA labor negotiations, WEEI.com’s Paul Flannery sets the stage perfectly.

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