|Brad Stevens isn’t about to look ahead to the playoffs: ‘There’s a lot of hard work in front of us’||09.27.16 at 9:51 am ET|
WALTHAM — Brad Stevens knows there’s a ton of work to be done between now and the beginning of April.
That’s why he laughs when he’s asked about what his expectations are for making the playoffs and advancing this season.
Entering his fourth season, Stevens has taken his team from 25 to 40 to 48 wins and playoff berths in each of the last two seasons. The natural assumption, with the additions of free agents Al Horford and Gerald Green and first rounder Jaylen Brown, is that a 50-win season with a deep playoff run is in store.
Then the Celtics coach, on media day on Monday, reminded everyone of what he told his team before the media session began.
“See, I’m a basketball coach so I don’t really – I know certainly I want to do my job as well as I can to make sure that we are improving every day and are striving for that ultimate objective. We have a long way to go to be considering talking about any of that stuff.
“And to be quite frank as I told our team real briefly before we walked out here, there was not a lot of room between finishing 10th and second last year in the East. Ultimately we want to be the best, we want to be among those considered the best. There’s a lot of hard work ahead of us, and it’s day by day. I don’t feel any more pressure from what ultimately happens. I’m making sure that practice tomorrow is structured right.”
To Stevens’ point, the Celtics finished tied with the Hornets, Hawks and Heat with 48 wins. The ninth place team were the Bulls with 42 wins and the tenth-place Wizards won 40. The 40 wins would’ve been good enough for seventh seed two seasons ago, the spot the Celtics found themselves in. But not last year. And the East is quickly improving.
“My expectations never change,” Stevens said. “It’s all about getting tomorrow and making sure we’re as good as we can be. It’s a very simple, boring process but it’s the way that I go about it. And I think that the results take care of themselves.”
What would be a successful season?
“Being better the next day. That’s my perspective,” Stevens said in his best Bill Belichick tone. “The one thing I’ve been asked about – last week I got asked about a number of wins goal, I got asked about a playoff goal or a playoff rounds goal or whatever the case may be – right when you define something as success and you reach it, you don’t go any further. You set the limit for your team.
“And I’m certainly not into setting ceilings. And I think that’s why you focus on what you can do and try to put your best foot forward. And go into that next game, and if you do that you can win the game. And that’s my job.”
|Kelly Olynyk raves about meeting Tom Brady, calls him ‘an unbelievable individual’||09.26.16 at 5:48 pm ET|
Kelly Olynyk "it's been a long haul of rehab" from May shoulder surgery pic.twitter.com/bPPBgtr3PM
— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) September 26, 2016
WALTHAM – Kelly Olynyk is pretty psyched that Tom Brady is coming back to the NFL after next week.
The Celtics center said one of the highlights of his summer of rehab from shoulder surgery was listening and talking to Tom Brady as the Patriots quarterback spent time on Long Island trying to lure Kevin Durant to Boston.
“Brady’s an unbelievable individual,” Olynyk said during Monday’s media day. “He’s really, really smart. Just to be able to pick his brain for a half-hour, an hour, going down there was awesome, his philosophies, the way he lives his life. How professional he is, the way attacks every single game, every single moment and just kind of year-round, 24/7, it was awesome to see through his eyes, and hear it through his mouth, what he does and what it takes to be great.
“He’s really exemplified that at a lot of different stages so I’m excited to see him get back in the action, too, man.”
As for his shoulder, the seven-footer said he’s getting better and better but still hasn’t been cleared for contact following surgery on the right shoulder on May 16.
“Shoulder’s doing well. It’s coming along,” Olynyk said. “It’s been a long haul of rehab but it’s getting stronger and improving every day. Seeing visual improvements now. It’s doing well. It just needs to get a little bit stronger so that muscles can protect it and take a hit.”
Olynyk re-aggravated the shoulder in Game 1 of the playoffs against the Hawks after suffering the initial injury in the final game before the All-Star break in February against the Clippers.
|Isaiah Thomas tweets (then deletes) recruitment of Kevin Durant||05.31.16 at 11:05 am ET|
Isaiah Thomas had good intentions in his immediate recruitment of Kevin Durant after the Thunder’s Game 7 loss to the Warriors Monday night.
Just about an hour after Durant and the Thunder fell, 96-88, to the Warriors, Thomas took to Twitter to plant a seed in the mind of the superstar, who will be a free agent this summer.
But the Celtics point guard quickly deleted his tweet to Durant, which featured the No. 35 with a Shamrock to the right.
There are a couple of reasons Thomas might have taken it down, not the least of which is realizing the sensitivity of the moment, after Durant’s dreams of reaching the NBA finals for a second time came to a crashing end. The Thunder became just the 10th team in NBA history to lose a 3-1 lead in a best-of-7 series and the first in the conference finals since the Philadelphia 76ers blew a 3-1 lead to the Celtics in 1981.
Another reason might lie in another sensitivity. The No. 35 is already retired in Boston, as it was raised to the rafters in honor of the late Celtics captain Reggie Lewis, who died in 1993.
Thomas is not the first Boston athlete to openly recruit Kevin Durant to the Celtics. New Patriots nose tackle and lifelong Celtics fan Terrance Knighton said last week during OTAs that he would be in the ear of Durant as soon as Durant’s season was over.
The efforts of Thomas and Knighton might be in vain as ESPN’s NBA insider Marc Stein reports that those close to the situation see Durant signing a two-year max deal to stay in Oklahoma City, with an opt-out after the first year.
Durant will become a 10-year vested NBA veteran after next season, and is eligible to take up a significant portion (up to 35 percent) of any team’s payroll. Durant is currently at the 30 percent threshold.
Most insiders see the most likely scenario at present to be Kevin Durant staying in OKC on a two-year max deal with an opt-out after Year 1.
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) May 31, 2016
Wizards, Heat, Celtics, Rockets, Knicks, Lakers, Spurs and, yes, Warriors … all expected to pursue Kevin Durant in free agency this summer
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) May 31, 2016
|Terrance Knighton continues to recruit Kevin Durant to the Celtics: ‘I’ll be in his ear a lot, trust me’||05.26.16 at 2:47 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Terrance Knighton is busy learning the playbook for the Patriots in their spring practices, workouts and OTAs.
But when he’s not in the playbook, he’s planning out different ways of recruiting Kevin Durant to the Celtics.
Apparently, Knighton didn’t hear Jackie MacMullan on OM&F on Tuesday, throwing cold water on the idea of Durant actually coming to Boston.
She said Celtics fans “can forget about Durant” leaving Oklahoma City for Boston.
That’s not going to keep the big nose tackle, a long-time Celtics fan from Hartford, from trying. He is close friends with the Thunder superstar.
“I’m leaving him alone right now, letting him finished it up. I love how he’s playing. I hope he wins it. I kind of hope he doesn’t,” Knighton said of Durant, who entered Thursday’s Game 5 in Oakland leading Steph Curry and the Warriors, 3 games to 1.
“As soon as the season’s over, if he’s hoisting the trophy or not, I’ll definitely be texting him every day, calling him, flying down to [Oklahoma City]. I’ll be in his ear a lot, trust me.”
|Isaiah Thomas wants a meeting with Tom Brady: ‘I need to pick his brain’||03.08.16 at 3:13 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Those who aspire to greatness always want to learn from other great ones.
That’s why Isaiah Thomas took to Twitter on Tuesday in a very public attempt to get a sit-down with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
“I want to sit down and talk to Tom Brady… I need to pick his brain,” Thomas posted on Twitter Tuesday before practice.
A day after Peyton Manning’s retirement, was there something that spurred the request of the other legendary quarterback?
“Not really. Sometimes I’m thinking on my drive to the facility, and just thinking about that,” Thomas said after practice Tuesday. “I mean, I’m in his backyard. It would be nice if somebody could make that happen to formally meet him, and like I said, just picking his brain about the road to winning a championship, like what it takes and how to focus in on being great.”
What was fascinating about Thomas’ discussion was his comparison with another current NBA star who is headed out the door like Manning.
“It would just probably be like sitting down with Kobe,” Thomas said. “I got the chance to talk to Kobe. I’m real good friends with Floyd Mayweather so I get to pick guys’ like that’s brain. I just would like to sit down and actually meet him and also just pick his brain about winning championships, and how he goes about his day, how he prepares. I like his preparation to everything. I like to pick guys’ brains, especially the best in the business, best in their field, and see what he has to say to me. Hopefully I can make it happen.”
Thomas was reminded that he is from the West and a Broncos fan. Wouldn’t that get in the way?
“He shouldn’t be mad at that,” said Thomas, a native of Tacoma, Washington and a product of the University of Washington. “I didn’t grow up here. It’s not like I grew up here and I’m not a Patriots fan. But I’m a fan of his. I like how he carries himself. He carries himself like he’s the best quarterback ever.”
Like Brady, Thomas was somewhat overlooked when he played for the Huskies in the Pac-10, becoming the NBA equivalent to the NFL’s Mr. Irrelevant in 2010 when he was the last pick of the NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings.
“No doubt. He was definitely not – coming into the NFL he wasn’t supposed to be a Pro Bowler, wasn’t supposed to be a franchise player, wasn’t supposed to win Super Bowls and be arguably the best quarterback ever,” Thomas said of Brady. “And I want to be on that path. I’m not saying I’m going to be the best player ever but…”
As for taking a leadership role on the Celtics, like taking Marcus Smart aside on Saturday and settling him down, Thomas says he’s enjoying the responsibility.
“I just want to grow. I want to grow,” Thomas said. “Not just being a basketball player but being a leader in all aspects, all facets of the game. And why not learn from the best. Especially, I think it’s better to learn from different guys in different sports in how they lead and how they get respect from their teammates.
“Like I said, I would love to pick his brain, ask him a few questions. I got to do it with Kobe. I got to do it with Floyd Mayweather, always do it with him and things like that. Manning’s retired so I can’t do it with him. So I’d love to do it with Brady.”
I want to sit down and talk to Tom Brady… I need to pick his brain
— Isaiah Thomas (@Isaiah_Thomas) March 8, 2016
|Isaiah Thomas on seeing Malcolm Butler court-side Thursday night: ‘He couldn’t intercept that one’||02.26.16 at 3:03 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Cameras didn’t catch him looking over to Malcolm Butler for approval but Isaiah Thomas did know Butler and Dion Lewis were court-side watching as Thomas dished one of the more famous assists of the season in a 112-107 win over the Bucks Thursday night.
“Yeah, I definitely [saw] them. [Butler] couldn’t intercept that one,” Thomas laughed, referring to the pass with 50.6 seconds left that wound up in the hands of Jae Crowder. Crowder drilled a wide open three that put the Celtics up, 109-102 after the Bucks cut it to four.
“That’s what made it as good a pass as it was is that Jae hit a real clutch shot for us and got us the win,” Thomas said. “The the pass would’ve been good if he didn’t make it but it makes it that much better.
“Right before I picked the ball up, I was thinking of shooting a floater and I saw him. It was my bailout pass. I saw him in the corner. But then when I was guiding myself to jump, I couldn’t see him anymore. I was like, ‘That’s my only pass and hopefully, he’s still in that corner.’ And he was there and he got there at the right time to shoot the shot.
“The internet was broke last night Everybody has been hitting me about the pass. Guess it was a pretty nice pass.”
|Tom Brady goes all Rajon Rondo in wishing Celtics ‘good luck’ this season||10.29.14 at 12:13 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Tom Brady is at it again on Facebook.
On Wednesday, his page posted a photoshopped image of him from his childhood holding an old-school Voit basketball. The photoshopped part was the Rajon Rondo-esque headband.
Brady appears a bit chubby in the photo but with an endearing smile.
The post wishes the Celtics “good luck this season.”
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