|Irish Coffee: What’s the bigs deal with the Celtics?||07.18.12 at 3:00 pm ET|
Thank God for Kevin Garnett. Again.
If not for his transition to center last season and the assumption that he’ll now man a position he admittedly hates for three more years, who would have earned minutes at the five other than Chris Wilcox? Fab Melo? JaJuan Johnson? Sean Williams? Might as well punch the Celtics faithful in the stomach thrice.
The bad news: As currently constituted, one among that trio will get minutes to begin the 2012-13 NBA season.
|Irish Coffee: The Kevin Garnett Comedy Hour||07.16.12 at 1:44 pm ET|
In honor of the Celtics center’s official re-signing for three years and $34 million over the weekend, after another season’s worth of interviews, I give you the comedic stylings of Kevin Garnett. Enjoy the NBA superstar’s take on everything from his joy of cooking to y’all drunk fans to our idiotic questions.
|Even with $20 million in the bank, Brandon Bass still has big dreams||07.14.12 at 5:35 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Brandon Bass was rewarded for his career year, collecting a reported free agent prize of $20 million in a three-year deal to come back to Boston.
Now, he focused on proving the Celtics spent their money wisely.
“I had other offers out, but I knew where I wanted to be and that’s back in a green jersey playing for the Celtics,” Bass said. “It’s a great organization, a great group of guys who are all about winning. I’m excited to be back.”
Danny Ainge, the club’s president of basketball operations, certainly saw enough of Bass to feel the investment is a wise one, especially with so many moving parts on the roster since the end of the season. There is a certain intangible value in familiarity, both for Bass and the team.
“Bringing Brandon back to the team was a top priority of ours after the season had ended,” Ainge said. “Brandon has improved as a player every year that he has been in the NBA and we believe that the best is yet to come from him.”
Last season, Bass had the best season of his career, averaging a 12.5 points. He became invaluable to Ainge and Doc Rivers when Jermaine O’Neal went down for the season with a bad wrist. With Kevin Garnett moving to the center position, Bass started nearly every game down the stretch, playing in 59 games, including 39 starts.
“I think I still have a long ways to go,” Bass said. “I’m ready to get back in the gym, and come back a little bit better, [actually] a lot better.”
The funny part of bringing Bass back – presumably to start next season at the big forward spot between Garnett and Paul Pierce – is he might have to win over his family more than he has to convince the Celtics.
“I’ve got big dreams,” he said. “I’m 27 now. Some of my cousins say I’m getting old, but I think I’m still young and I still got big dreams of doing big things in the league. I want to make my imprint on the organization, on a team. I think this is the perfect team.”
WALTHAM — Among teammates, coaches and even owner Stephen Pagliuca, Chris Wilcox is known to be a fun-loving man.
So, it was with great humor and appreciation that Pagliuca listened to Wilcox tell him recently that if only he had been able to play against Miami, things might have turned out differently for the Celtics.
“It’ll be even more special to have all these guys on board and we’ll win that seventh game against Miami this year,” Pagliuca said with a smile and chuckle. “Chris said he would’ve made the difference and I think he was right.”
It was no laughing matter in March when Wilcox became the second Celtics player in three months to undergo heart surgery after being diagnosed with a heart irregularity.
He was officially waived by the Celtics on March 23, but like with Jeff Green, who had heart valve surgery two months earlier, there was an unwritten agreement that the team would offer him a contract once he was medically cleared to resume basketball activity. Saturday was that time, as Wilcox, a much-needed veteran big man in the C’s front court, was formally re-introduced in a press conference at the team’s practice facility.
“I’m good. I’m back now. I’m full contact,” Wilcox said. “I can do everything, lifting weights, just to a minimum though, lifting weights. Everything else, I’m back and I’m ready.
“By training camp, I’ll definitely be full-go. I’ve been working hard all summer, trying to get back right, being prepared and it’s going along well.”
What’s been the biggest challenge of training since heart surgery?
“Cardio. Your cardio, your wind,” Wilcox said. “You have to re-train your whole body over again after surgery like that. So, I think the main thing for me is the my cardio so I’ve just been running, trying to get my wind up. That’s the main thing right now.
“This is a blessing,” Wilcox continued. “This is a blessing for me even to be here right now. So, I’m just going to take full advantage of all my situations and all the opportunities that have been coming my way. And it’s a blessing to come back to a team and be able to pick up where I left off. Read the rest of this entry »
WALTHAM — The departure of Ray Allen has been interpreted in many ways since the NBA’s all-time 3-point field goal shooter decided to leave the Celtics and join the NBA champion Heat on July 6. On Saturday, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge gave his.
“I don’t feel like we lost Ray,” Ainge said. “I feel like Ray left us to go to Miami. We appreciate all that Ray has done and all that him and [wife] Shannon have done in our community and we tried to get Ray back and he chose to go to Miami.”
Ainge reportedly had a two-year, $12 million deal on the table for Allen, but the guard was rumored to have a serious personality conflict with point guard Rajon Rondo and was concerned about his role and playing time next season.
“No one player makes a team and players choose not to come here all the time,” Ainge said. “There are 30 good basketball teams out there and it’s a very competitive league and there’s other teams outside of Boston. We knew Ray had this option and this opportunity and he chose to go that direction.
“I’ve talked with Ray much over the last five years. I’m a fan of Ray. I’m grateful for what he’s done and he’ll always be part of that 2008 championship and the success we’ve had since then as well. But I have a feeling there wasn’t one thing. I think it was an accumulation of lots of things, including the allure of Miami. And I’ll just leave it at that.”
As a reporter was asking a question about the club’s roster, Ainge went back and finished up his thoughts on Allen.
“I will say that I was hopeful that he would make another decision, but I was not surprised,” Ainge concluded.
|Adrian Wojnarowski on M&M: ‘Good chance’ Celtics retain Ray Allen, Dwight Howard ‘not going to Brooklyn’||07.03.12 at 12:14 pm ET|
Yahoo! Sports NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski appeared on the Mut & Merloni show Tuesday to discuss all things NBA, including trade rumors involving Dwight Howard and the future of Ray Allen. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Wojnarowski said that if the Celtics are indeed offering Allen a two-year deal worth $12 million, that it puts them in a favorable position to get him back, but he didn’t cross off other potential suitors. One team Wojnarowski doesn’t think will land Allen, however, are the Grizzlies, who were reportedly asking about Allen during the trade deadline.
‘When Boston and Memphis talked about a deal at the trade deadline that fell apart, I know that Ray was not excited about being sent to Memphis,’ Wojnarowski said. ‘Even though they’re a playoff team, he didn’t see it as a very desirable location at that time. ‘¦ I think geography is important to Ray and his family being geographically being closer, that’s why I thought the Knicks could be a possibility because of that, and obviously Miami’s intriguing because he knows he has a chance to be on the big stage to win, Mike Miller‘s future is very much in doubt there.
‘The fact that Boston has shown, if they are at two years, $6 million per, which I think is comparable to what I’ve been hearing of what Jason Terry is being offered by teams around the league, then I think that gives Boston a good chance to be able to retain him.’
Wojnarowski doesn’t think a rumored poor relationship with Rajon Rondo will deter him from signing with the Celtics, but he thinks it is a factor in the decision.
‘The thing with Ray and Rajon which I think has been there, the one thing people have always said to me, in that locker room and in the organization is, whatever issue they may have had with each other, with personalities, they never carried it on the court,’ Wojnarowski said. ‘It never was an issue on the court, which at the end of the day is all that really matters. So only Ray knows how much of a factor it is. I think it is a factor, but I don’t think it’s enough of a factor that it’s driving him away or would drive him away. ‘¦ Ray Allen is not going to leave Boston because he doesn’t get along with Rajon Rondo.’
Wojnarowski also touched on the Howard saga. The unsatisfied All-Star center is reportedly being shopped in a potential trade with the Nets, but Wojnarowski doesn’t think that’s going to happen.
‘He’s not going to Brooklyn. It’s very unlikely. Orlando’s not interested in accommodating what Dwight wants,’ Wojnarowski said. ‘They’re willing to make the deal that they think gives them the best return. Last year, when teams wanted to take Dwight as a rental, he had the real threat of, ‘Hey, if you trade for me at the trade deadline or before the season or whatever it would be, I’m just going to go to Brooklyn as a free agent because they have cap space.’ He doesn’t have that threat anymore. The Nets are loading up all their cap space as we speak.’
Added Wojnarowski: ‘What team out there has cap space next year that would be appealing to him? Now Atlanta has been talked about a lot the last couple of days because of all the money they’re getting off, but listen, a big part of what Dwight has been doing here in wanting to get to a big market, specifically New York or LA, is his Adidas deal is worth two, I’ve been told even three times more by being in New York or LA. So going from Orlando to Atlanta, while it’s his hometown and Josh Smith is a close friend, and maybe it’s appealing on some levels, it’s not going to give him the pay day that he’s been looking for here.’
|2012-13 Celtics free agent options at center||06.25.12 at 5:21 pm ET|
Eleven of the 15 players on the roster against the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals can begin negotiating with the Celtics or any other team as NBA free agents on July 1. More importantly, they can sign anywhere on July 11 once an audit determines the salary cap. That figure is expected to be close to the 2011-12 number of $58 million, and a large chunk of that will be dedicated to one of the C’s biggest needs: Centers.
The Celtics started last season with two true centers (Jermaine O’Neal, Greg Stiemsma), mixed in a little Chris Wilcox early and settled on Kevin Garnett, who finished the year as the best remaining center in the playoffs. Now, a year later, nobody remains from that list. While Garnett, Stiemsma and Wilcox are all options depending on their mindset, health and value, respectively, the C’s may need anywhere from 0-3 guys who can play the five.
The Celtics have four players under contract in 2012-13 for a combined $34.5 million (Paul Pierce, $16.8M; Rajon Rondo, $11.0M; Avery Bradley, $1.6M; JaJuan Johnson, $1.1M). Pending decisions on or by Garnett, Ray Allen, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox, Mickael Pietrus, Keyon Dooling and Stiemsma, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge will have anywhere from $0-33 million to spend in free agency.
As a result, expect the C’s to be linked to just about any and every free agent on the market. Nobody is out of their league. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the options that should be available to the Celtics at center, separating the current free agent players into four categories.