|Irish Coffee: Danny Ainge’s tankless Celtics job||10.03.13 at 2:44 pm ET|
The great Ian Thomsen elicited not one, but two of the best quotes on the tanking issue facing the Celtics this season in his latest for Sports Illustrated — both from C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.
Here’s the first important phrase from Ainge, addressing what many believe is the strongest NBA draft class since the 2003 edition that produced eight All-Stars (including a guy by the name of LeBron James) — headed by potential franchise players Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Marcus Smart and Julius Randle.
“If Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was out there to change your franchise forever, or Tim Duncan was going to change your franchise for 15 years? That might be a different story. I don’t see that player out there.”
Interesting. If this isn’t some strange attempt at a Red Auerbach-esque bluff, then tanking doesn’t concern these C’s — not only because of the historically poor Ping Pong luck of the Irish, but because Wiggins isn’t LeBron.
Besides, even if Ainge wanted to tank, it’s not like he’s gathering his coach and players around the locker room and delivering an anti-motivational speech. (Which, by the way, would be great: “Great draft picks are born from great opportunity, and that’s what you have here tonight, boys. That’s what you’ve earned here tonight. One season. If we played 82 games, they might win 41. But not this season. Not this year. This year, we tank them. This year, we lose all of them. And we shut it down because we can! This year, WE are the worst basketball team in the world.” And a slow clap, of course.) Anyhow, as for real Ainge quotes, here’s that second important one.
|Better Media Day Photo? Scal vs. Sheed||at 11:55 am ET|
|VIDEO: Top 10 2013-14 Boston Celtics Media Day moments||10.01.13 at 10:40 pm ET|
Irish Coffee’s annual Top 10 Celtics Media Day moments. A comprehensive look at the day’s events, including interviews with Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens, Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, Brandon Bass, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Keith Bogans, Vitor Faverani, Avery Bradley, Jordan Crawford and Courtney Lee. Just about everyone, except MarShon Brooks, who flew under the radar. Along with his afro.
|Vitor Faverani is the best||09.30.13 at 10:50 pm ET|
Vitor Faverani has a mohawk, and he is the best.
With five simple words, the bewildering Brazilian puts Boston on notice: “Not too much questions please.” Not only does Faverani understand English, he gets this Celtics media contingent. Not too much questions please, indeed.
Then, responding to a question about why he joined the Celtics, Faverani confounds everybody once again. “We go to the Cuban restaurant, so it’s easy,” he says. “When I taste the food there, I say, ‘I want to stay in Boston.’”
Reporters wonder, “Did he understand the question?” Don’t worry. He did. “No,” Faverani says, “that’s joke.”
Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge tries to explain.
‘Vitor has been playing professionally in Spain for a number of years,” says the son of Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “He was a draft prospect when he was at the age of the draft, and he’s just kind of over the last few years really worked hard and got himself in shape and played better. …
“He did a couple workouts around the draft time in the U.S., and he came here, and we were pretty high on him, and he had his agent here, they were both here, and we said, ‘All right, what does it take to get it done? Let’s get this done right now.’ And we kind of hashed it out real fast before he could get in a bidding war.”
But Faverani tells a much better tale, because he is the best.
Addressing the Boston press for the first time since the Celtics traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett this summer, the rehabbing Rajon Rondo didn’t seem all that bothered by their absence at Media Day.
“It wasn’t difficult at all,” said Rondo. “I didn’t feel anything. I actually landed in L.A. the night of the draft, and I got about 45 text messages coming through my phone. I thought I was traded. You never know.”
Instead, the Celtics had dealt Pierce and Garnett, the face and the soul of the franchise that drafted him. So, Rondo traded texts with his longtime teammates, even talked to them on the phone, but beyond that?
Rondo has developed quite a poker face during his interactions with the media, so it’s no surprise he didn’t show any emotion when talking about two players he called brothers for the past six seasons. However, the anticipation in Rondo’s voice over the possibility of putting his own stamp on these new C’s was palpable.
“This is a fresh start for us, a new coach and an entire new team,” he said. “I’m excited about the fresh start. I’m excited every year for each team, but for me to get back on the court I just want to compete. I haven’t competed in a while, and I’m a very competitive player and a very competitive person, so I miss being out their on the court with my teammates and helping them win.”
And what about Doc Rivers, the coach who molded Rondo into a four-time NBA All-Star point guard?
|Irish Coffee: Celtics answer questions, create more||09.25.13 at 6:53 am ET|
The Celtics hosted their annual charity golf tournament on Tuesday, signaling the unofficial start of the season. While Media Day looms Monday, the C’s front office, their coach and players addressed a few pressing questions.
As Celtics president Danny Ainge said, ‘I’m very excited about the team, because there are so many questions to be answered and so many unknowns of what’s going to happen and who’s going to step up and who’s not.’
So, without further ado, the answers to the questions you’ve all been asking. And then more questions.
When will Rajon Rondo return?
Since this is the biggest question they face, it deserved its own post. The short of it: Rondo is ‘unlikely’ to start the season, according to coach Brad Stevens, and anything to the contrary would be ‘shocking’ to Ainge & Co.
Where does Jared Sullinger’s domestic violence case stand?
Ainge: ‘The outcome is looking good, but we can’t talk about any of that yet. It’s still pending that conclusion. Jared will be in training camp. He’s in our facility working out every day. I think he’s taking care of everything in the exact right way that he should, and I think that Jared is a good kid and he’s a good Celtic and he’s a guy that we have big hopes for. And we don’t think that he’s done anything so wrong that he shouldn’t be part of our team today.’
Now, how’s that for a non-answer answer? Carry on.
Have they discussed a new contract for Avery Bradley?
‘Sure,’ said Ainge, ‘but there’s nothing imminent there. … We may talk in October, but most likely next summer.’
If the C’s and Bradley don’t agree to an extension by November, he’ll be a restricted free agent after the season.
Ainge, who was in Tacoma, Wash., for Bradley’s mother’s funeral last week, said the 22-year-old ‘seems to be doing better,’ especially given the birth of his first son, Avery Bradley III, on Tuesday morning.
‘I guess we’ll call him AB III,’ said Ainge.
Why haven’t we heard from Gerald Wallace all summer?
‘I’m right there with you,’ said Ainge. ‘I’m anxious to meet Gerald. I’ve met him before when I was doing television, but I haven’t had much conversation with him. He’s really the only one, but he’ll be in town I think next week, so we’ll be watching closely and will sit down. I’ve obviously watched him play a lot of basketball.
‘It’s interesting. Gerald got a good contract in Charlotte, was their best player when they went to the playoffs and that led to a big payday for him. He was traded for two first-round picks to Portland. He played very well in Portland to the point where New Jersey wanted to give away Damian Lillard in order to get him, and then New Jersey wanted him bad enough to pay him a very lucrative contract, so it seems like everywhere he’s been he’s been well-liked and well compensated. He’s a good player.
“It wasn’t a great fit for him in New Jersey last year, but we’ll try to see if we can make it a better fit for us.’
Wait. Is it normal for an executive not to meet a guy he’s paying $10 million a year? ‘It’s a nightmare trying to get a hold of players in the summertime,’ added Ainge. ‘I was the same way when I was a player.’ Well, that explains it.
What can we expect from Jeff Green this season?
|Rajon Rondo ‘unlikely’ to return for Celtics’ season opener||09.24.13 at 1:41 pm ET|
MILTON — Over the past month, the Celtics have rapidly backed away from their projections this past spring that Rajon Rondo would be healthy for the start of the 2013-14 NBA season, and on Tuesday the organization essentially announced the four-time All-Star would not be in the lineup come Oct. 30.
“My understanding and the last time that we’ve had discussions about it is that it’s very indeterminate still, but it sounds like it would be unlikely that he would be playing at the very start of the season,” C’s coach Brad Stevens said from the team’s annual charity golf tournament. “What that means beyond that, I think that’s going to be on his doctors, the training staff and him making the call on when he’s ready. I’ve told him from Day 1, ‘Come back when you’re ready,’ because I think it’s really important that he feels really good when he’s back and ready to play.”
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge put it more succinctly: “I would be shocked.”
No players participated in the golf portion of the event, but Rondo was expected to arrive in Boston on Tuesday. He’s also expected to join the team when training camp begins on Oct. 1 in Newport, R.I.
‘I’ve been in constant contact with him, and so has Brad,” added Ainge. He seems to be in a really good place emotionally and mentally, and now we’re just trying to get the physical part done. And he’s got a ways to go.”
So, when exactly can we expect to see Rondo in a Celtics uniform again?
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