|Paul Pierce: ‘I see Kevin and Ray playing past this year’||12.13.11 at 5:20 pm ET|
WALTHAM — While much of the discussion at Celtics Media Day focused on a closing championship window for the aging veteran core, team captain Paul Pierce left it open a crack.
“I really see Kevin [Garnett] and Ray [Allen] playing past this year, hopefully with the Boston Celtics even though their contracts are up,” Pierce said. “But if Doc [Rivers] wants to use that as motivation, then I will.”
Both Garnett and Allen are free agents after this shortened season, clearing $31 million worth of contracts from the books, and neither addressed his future beyond this season. Speculation has ranged from this being Garnett’s last season to both he and Allen signing more cap-friendly deals and making another run in diminished roles.
“At any moment, anything can change, so this year, last year, the year before, you guys have asked this same question: ‘Is this our last opportunity?’” Allen said. “Every moment we come out here is our last opportunity, because nothing is promised.”
Pierce, on the other hand, is one of only three Celtics players signed beyond this year ($16.8 million in 2012-13 and $15.3 million in 2013-14). Obviously, he’d like to see the Big Three remain intact beyond 66 more games.
|Keyon Dooling remembers brawling with Ray Allen: ‘Sometimes you know a man better when you fight’||at 3:52 pm ET|
WALTHAM — During Tuesday’s media day for the Celtics, new point guard Keyon Dooling joked about his Jan. 2006 fight with new teammate Ray Allen when Allen – then with Seattle – elbowed Dooling – then with the Magic – and a bench-clearing brawl ensued.
After both were ejected, Dooling took off down the hallway and tried to confront Allen outside the Sonics locker room but was restrained.
“The Sonics? Is that even a team anymore? Oh, that’s ancient history,” Dooling joked. “At the end of the day, when Ray and I saw each other the next time after the fight, we had a conversation and we embraced each other. At the end of the day, it was the heat of battle. I have a lot more respect for him. I know he has a lot more respect for me. Sometimes you know a man better when you fight.
“He’s been nothing but a phenomenal influence since I’ve been here. I’ve had a chance to spend some time with him over the summer, with some of the union business. I’m just looking forward to being here and being a part of the organization.”
Who won the fight?
“Nobody wins in a basketball fight,” Dooling said. “The NBA won. They got all the fine money. They always win, right?”
Other nuggets from Dooling included his feelings about backing up Rajon Rondo at point guard.
“Pushing me, I don’t need much of a push,” Dooling said. “I’m pretty self-motivated. I think I can learn some of the tricks. He’s a guy who averages a lot of assists and so I can pick up little techniques from him and maybe he can pick up some things from me as well. We’ll just try to make each other better every day.”
Dooling said he is looking forward to becoming a key part of the Celtics bench.
“I came in focused,” he said. “This is the opportunity of a lifetime for me so I don’t have any time to waste. I want to pick up the system as quick as I can, offensively and defensively, so I won’t be a liability when I’m on the court. If I’m a liability on the court, not only do I hurt my team, I hurt my family, so I’ve got to be ready to play.
“My experience has made me who I am. I’ve had some hardships in this league. I’ve always been able to persevere and work my way through adversity. This is another chance for me to come out and prove to the world I can play basketball. I think still a lot people don’t really know me unless you’re a true NBA fan. So, I think it’ll be a unique chance for me to prove myself to the world.”
|Jeff Green shoots around before Celtics Media Day||at 9:58 am ET|
Celtics forward Jeff Green participated in a shoot around for 10-15 minutes prior to the team’s Media Day from 10 a.m. to noon, and our own Mike Petraglia caught it on tape. Following Monday’s practice, C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge indicated that something in Green’s physical raised a red flag, thus delaying both Green’s one-year, $9 million contract from being finalized and his ability to practice. While the team has not further addressed the issue, the fact Green was on the floor shooting around at the Celtics’ practice facility in Waltham — especially in front of a group of about 30 media members — is a good sign.
|Irish Coffee: Have the Celtics upgraded their roster?||12.12.11 at 1:22 pm ET|
When Brandon Bass is your biggest offseason acquisition, would you consider that a success? The Celtics needed to get a lot better, and without knowing who the 15th man on the roster will be it’s hard to say they did.
Here’s your 2011-12 Celtics roster, with 14 of the 15 available roster spots all but filled.
Kevin Garnett: $21.2 million
Paul Pierce: $15.3 million
Ray Allen: $10 million
Rajon Rondo: $10 million
Jeff Green: $9 million
Jermaine O’Neal: $6.2 million
Brandon Bass: $4 million
Keyon Dooling: $2.2 million
Avery Bradley: $1.5 million
Marquis Daniels: $1.3 million
Chris Wilcox: $1.3 million
Sasha Pavlovic: $1.3 million*
JaJuan Johnson: $0.9 million**
E’Twaun Moore: $0.5 million***
Total: $84.7 million (plus $14.4 million luxury tax)
*Pavlovic is expected to re-sign for one year at the veteran minimum, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.
**Johnson has yet to reach a deal, but the rookie pay scale suggests he’ll get just under $1 million.
***Terms of Moore’s guaranteed deal have not been disclosed, so I’m slotting him at the rookie minimum.
Did the Celtics improve themselves at any position from the team that lost the Eastern Conference semifinals in five games to an improved Heat squad? Let’s attempt to answer that question. Read the rest of this entry »
|Irish Coffee: Another NBA conspiracy theory||12.09.11 at 2:20 pm ET|
Please indulge me, whilst a tell you an NBA conspiracy theory. It involves a Mormon, a camel, two giants and an insurance salesman. None of them walked into a bar.
On July 31, 2007, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge convinced former C’s teammate, good friend and Timberwolves general manager Kevin McHale to ship Kevin Garnett to Boston in return for Al Jefferson and a cup of poop soup over a deal with the Lakers involving Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom. And the road to a 17th NBA championship was paved.
On Feb. 1, 2008, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak dangled the immortal Kwame Brown and his 5.7 points/5.7 rebounds per game as the centerpiece of a trade for Grizzlies All-Star Pau Gasol and his 18.9 points/8.8 rebounds per game. And former C’s general manager Chris Wallace delivered the 2009 and 2010 NBA titles to L.A.
On June 25, 2009, Dan Gilbert and the Cavaliers brass traded $20 million worth of Sasha Pavlovic and a washed up Ben Wallace for four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal.
|Irish Coffee: Celtics on Grant Hill’s short list and other NBA free agent rumors||12.06.11 at 12:58 pm ET|
Because NBA teams can contact free agents but cannot sign them until Friday, you’ll hear plenty about players truncating lists of potential destinations — mini versions of LeBron James‘ ill-conceived Decision, if you will.
Four players, all great would-be additions in Boston, have included the Celtics on their short lists, according to various reports: Shane Battier, Grant Hill, Kurt Thomas and Leon Powe.
Battier would require the $3 million mini mid-level exception, and that might still not be enough for Danny Ainge to lure The No Stats All-Star. Hill might cost the C’s $3 million as well, unless by some miracle coach Doc Rivers can leverage his relationship to convince his fellow former Orlandoan to sign for the 10-year veteran minimum ($1.4 million). Both free agent’s list include seven teams, according to SI.com.
- Battier’s list: Heat, Spurs, Pacers, Raptors, Grizzlies, Celtics, Thunder
- Hill’s list: Suns, Knicks, Bulls, Spurs, Warriors, Celtics, Clippers
While Sports Illustrated cited the Suns as the heavy favorite to retain the 39-year-old Hill, a New York Post report confirmed Hill’s interest in the Celtics, Bulls and Knicks, making the point that Phoenix is a rebuilding team that can’t offer the chance for a title like the Celtics, Bulls or even Knicks.
With the possible exception of the Spurs, the Celtics will be in the unfortunate position of offering the lowest contract to either player, as those other teams as currently constituted will have the full $5 million exception.
The Post report also linked the Celtics, Heat and Bulls to another 39-year-old in Thomas. While all three teams would be offering the 10-year veteran minimum, the Bulls can offer slightly more to retain Thomas, but the Celtics and Heat would probably have more minutes available for him.
Finally, ESPN Los Angeles reporter Dave McMenamin talked to a familiar face, tweeting: “Leon Powe said the Grizzlies and Celtics are the teams he’s looking at.” The injury-plagued Powe chose Memphis over a return to Boston after being waived by the Cavaliers late last season. He averaged 5.5 points and 1.6 rebounds in 8.8 minutes over his final 16 games, and then played only 3.5 minutes a night during the Grizzlies’ playoff run.
To recap, the Celtics can offer the worst contract among seven teams vying for the best player on this list (Battier) and would be lucky to land a pair of 39-year-olds (Hill and Thomas) or a guy who has played a combined 50 games over his last two seasons due to serious knee injuries (Powe). And I’m on board with any and all of these moves. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2011-12 Celtics free agency period!
|Celtics free agent options at power forward redux||12.02.11 at 5:32 pm ET|
Welcome to the fifth and final part of this week’s daily post-NBA lockout position-by-position breakdown of free agent options available to the Celtics. We’ve profiled the C’s biggest needs – at center and shooting guard — as well as two other critical positions (backup point guards and small forwards), so we move to the final piece of Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge’s puzzle: Backup Power Forwards.
The Celtics started this past season with a surefire Hall of Fame four in Kevin Garnett, and backed him up with a Sixth Man of the Year candidate in Glen Davis. The C’s version of assistant to the assistant regional manager rotated from Luke Harangody to “We Hardly Knew Ye” Chris Johnson to Troy Murphy, with a dabble of Jeff Green, who played the four for the Thunder but is more suited to the three on the Celtics. Got all that? Good.
As we’ve noted before, the Celtics have six players under contract in 2011-12 for a combined $64.3 million (Garnett, $21.2 million; Paul Pierce, $15.33 million; Ray Allen, $10 million; Rajon Rondo, $10 million; Jermaine O’Neal, $6.23 million; Avery Bradley, $1.53 million), and should match any offer Green receives — unless another team far exceeds his qualifying offer of $5.9 million.
Davis and Murphy are free agents, and while they might sound like a buddy cop duo from Dublin, they’re actually both pretty darn good for second and third options at the four. The addition of first-round pick JaJuan Johnson — a 6-foot-10 senior power forward out of Purdue — likely makes a Murphy-type expendable. But even with Garnett, Green and Johnson expected to be on the 2011-12 roster, the Celtics should seek one more power forward option, in case Johnson isn’t ready and to leave Green on the wing.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the options available to the Celtics at backup power forward, separating the current free agent players into four categories and forgetting about David West, because that ain’t happening.
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