|Wyc Grousbeck on M&M: ‘We need some help’||02.26.13 at 2:08 pm ET|
Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck stopped in for a visit with Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to discuss how close Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were to being traded last week, the prospect of being a better team without Rajon Rondo, and more Celtics topics.
Pierce and Garnett were the subjects of many trade rumors leading up to last week’s trade deadline.
“For the last two or three days before the deadline, their names came up more than anybody else,” Grousbeck said. “They were the topic of conversations of calls coming into us because people thought maybe we weren’t going to keep it together this spring.
“The assumption going into any February, as long as I’m around, is going to be: Make the team better for this year. Don’t blow it up in the middle of February if you’re in a playoff position.”
The Celtics are 30-27 and hold the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. They are 2½ games behind the Bulls for the sixth seed, and 2½ games ahead of the eighth-seeded Bucks.
“If we were 5-50 or whatever, we’d be pretty likely to do almost anything to make that better,” Grousbeck said. “But I like the way this team has been playing. We need some help, though. We need some more guys. … The icing on the cake was losing [Leandro] Barbosa. [He] was really playing well, lot of energy, defensive intensity, some length, some offense.”
After this season, Pierce will have one more year left on his contract with the Celtics. Grousbeck talked about the likelihood of the captain retiring in a Celtics uniform.
“We’re going to retire his number, whatever happens,” Grousbeck said. “Paul is an all-time great. Just watching him last night, he looked like he was 25 again. … People can’t say ‘Big deal, they’re playing for two hours. What’s the big hardship?’ It’s a grind and that was a grind last night in overtime and everything else. They could have folded up the tent and they didn’t.”
The Celtics bounced back from a loss in Portland on Sunday night to close out a challenging five-game Western Conference swing with a victory in Utah, claiming a 110-107 win in overtime against the Jazz. Paul Pierce broke a 99-99 tie with a 3-pointer, the first of his three consecutive baskets in overtime that put the Celtics in control of the game’s final minutes. Kevin Garnett added four points in overtime, and Courtney Lee helped to ice the game with a pair of free throws with one second left on the clock. Randy Foye‘s attempt to tie the game with a last-second 3-pointer missed the mark, permitting the Celtics to close out their road trip with a 2-3 mark to start the second half.
The strong overtime period continued a roller-coaster second half in which the Celtics outscored the Jazz 32-19 in the third quarter, only to see the Jazz go on a 13-2 run at the start of the fourth quarter that gave Utah an 85-82 lead. However, the Celtics recovered in time to send the game into overtime in a 97-97 deadlock. Pierce missed a chance to give Boston the win when he could not convert a turnaround jumper at the end of regulation, but he made up for the miss by taking over in overtime.
Pierce led the Celtics with 26 points while adding seven rebounds and eight assists. Garnett added 13 points and 10 boards, while Avery Bradley tallied 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 26 points.
For more Celtics coverage, visit weei.com/celtics.
|Ainge on Big Show: ‘I didn’t want to move’ Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett||02.22.13 at 6:09 pm ET|
‘We really like those guys,’ said Ainge on Friday evening. ‘I like Kevin and I like Paul a lot, and I didn’t want to move them.’
Ainge wouldn’t discuss how close he ever came to trading Garnett to the Clippers for Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan — other than to say, ‘I never talked to Kevin’ — or dealing Pierce to the Nets for Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and a pick.
“You don’t just give them away,’ he said. ‘There is great value in those guys.’
So, Ainge apparently wasn’t offered a deal that matched the value he places on either Garnett or Pierce, so he never had the opportunity that Red Auerbach had. For some background, here’s what Ainge told The Boston Globe two years ago (h/t @trubygreen):
|Adrian Wojnarowski on M&M: If Celtics wanted Kevin Garnett to waive no-trade clause, ‘they would have just traded Paul Pierce out from under him’||at 2:33 pm ET|
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to talk about what the Celtics did at the trade deadline and whether or not they missed an opportunity to trade Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett and get something of value in return.
“I don’t know what opportunity really was there,” Wojnarowski said of potential Pierce and Garnett trades. “You could trade them and you could get something for them, but I think the deal Boston really would have liked to have done was with the Clippers. To get Eric Bledsoe, 22-year-old point guard, and DeAndre Jordan, who’s a 23-year-old center who’s developing. That’s a deal I believe Boston would have went to ownership with and said, ‘We’d like to do this, let’s see if we can get KG to lift his no-trade clause.’
“The Clippers coaching staff wanted to do it, and a lot of executives and coaches among the elite in the Western Conference, and some of the elite in the East, they were terrified of KG going to the Clippers. They thought that made the Clippers the team to beat out there. But ownership was reluctant to this deal, and ‘¦ they never agreed in principle to that package. I think that’s one [Boston] may have pulled the trigger on.”
Reports of another proposed Celtics deal, which would have sent Pierce to Brooklyn for Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and the Nets‘ first-round draft pick, also surfaced. That didn’t happen, and Wojnarowski said he doesn’t think it was urgent for the Celtics to make a deal like that.
“I think that Boston can revisit it in deals around draft time,” he said. “Brooklyn’s draft pick is not going to have a great value. They’re a playoff team, you’re getting a pick that’s not going to be really high, in a pretty bad draft. And you’ve got to try and get one good player back. Humphries and Brooks, you’re not really getting either. Humphries is fine, he has a purpose, but not if you’re trying to get younger and rebuild. I have no problem with the Celtics not doing that Brooklyn deal.”
|Donny Marshall on M&M: Josh Smith has ‘no position, no shot selection’||02.21.13 at 1:16 pm ET|
A mere hours before the NBA’s trade deadline, Donny Marshall of CSNNE joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday to discuss the never-ending trade rumors involving Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Fab Melo and more.
“I love MarShon Brooks,” Marshall said. “I think that he is one of my favorite, if not my favorite first couple of years players. He’s a terrific scorer. … It comes to an end at some point and then you have to start rebuilding. Paul Pierce is the Bob Cousy, the John Havlicek of the Celtics today. He really is. You have a guy on your team that has played for you his entire career and has played through all the ups and downs. … If you can get a guy like MarShon Brooks, if you can get a guy like Kris Humphries; you know what, personality off the court aside, it helps you on the court.”
Another hot topic for the trade deadline has continued to be the possible availability of Hawks forward Josh Smith.
“I don’t know if Doc Rivers wants to coach a guy like Josh Smith,” Marshall said. “The guy has no position, I’m talking basketball alone. He has no position. He has no shot selection. Sometimes you’ll see him shooting 3’s. He’ll shoot air balls, then he’ll make two or three. Then you’ll see him shooting mid-range jumpshots, then you’ll see him in the post. He really has no position. … He hasn’t proven himself as a winner, one. He doesn’t really understand the concepts of what they’re running. Maybe that’s the coach and the system that you can play in Atlanta, but I’m not so sure that he’s a Doc Rivers-type guy.”
While Smith’s athleticism is obvious, his personality and attitude has come into question in the past.
“Everyone across the board [says] ‘We don’t know, we stay away from Josh Smith,’ ” Marshall said. “Because his personality, he will blow up at you. He will walk out of practices. These are reports from guys who are on that team; coaches and players. Obviously you have to have a guy come and experience it for yourself, but guys in the NBA talk. It’s a small fraternity and that bad news can derail, it will stay with you for a long time, and I think a lot of people know that about Josh Smith, apart from his talent on the floor.
|Chris Mannix on M&M: ‘More likely than not, the core of this [Celtics] team stays together’||02.20.13 at 1:48 pm ET|
Sports Illustrated NBA writer Chris Mannix joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday, one day before the NBA trade deadline, to discuss rumors surrounding the Celtics. Mannix said the Celtics would be wise to do the deal reportedly discussed with the Clippers, but he’s not expecting it to happen.
“Boston was making a lot of those calls about [Kevin] Garnett to the Clippers,” Mannix said. “And the interest in the Clippers, I can tell you, it’s divided out there among the organization. The coaching staff, they want Kevin Garnett, because they want to win now. ‘¦ Whereas the front office, I can tell you this, they’re not all that inclined to give up Eric Bledsoe, who is a potential 10-year starter in this league, and DeAndre Jordan, a sure-fire starter right now, for Kevin Garnett, who could potentially only be giving you a couple more months. Who knows what Kevin Garnett’s future is going to hold? To me, he’s always been on a series of one-year contracts.
“I think at the end of the day, when you throw in the no-trade clause that Kevin has, and you consider the fact that I have not heard a heck of a lot of significant interest surrounding Paul Pierce, I think more likely than not, the core of this team stays together.”
A report Tuesday night had the Clippers pulling out of trade talks. Mannix said he expects Celtics boss Danny Ainge would follow through if the deal is resuscitated.
“I think if the deal is there, he makes it,” Mannix said. “If he can get Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan for Kevin Garnett, you jump at it. I’ve heard some criticisms of this deal from the Boston side; I don’t get it. Has anyone not been watching Eric Bledsoe? As really the fourth guard on this Clippers team — third, I guess, when [Chauncey] Billups is injured — but really, he’s done a lot of things.”
Added Mannix: “You’re dealing with potential right now, because he hasn’t gotten the consistent minutes at the point guard spot because Chris Paul has been there for a couple of years now. But Eric Bledsoe is a guy that could potentially take over as a starting point guard for a team right away, and be an effective guy, be a guy that can score 15 points per game and give you seven, eight assists. Look at the way he’s played this year: He’s up to about 10 points per game. But more importantly, his field goal percentage is in the mid-40s right now, his 3-point percentage is in the low 30s. This is a guy that’s been improving every single year. So I think he’s a guy you would want to get.
“Same thing with DeAndre Jordan, who admittedly is a little bit overpaid, because Golden State threw that massive contract at him last year. But he’s someone that can be a starting center on your team for the next decade.
“And when you make a deal like that, all of a sudden there can be a domino effect. Now you can think about dealing Rajon Rondo next year, when he becomes healthy, because you have Eric Bledsoe already at the starter’s spot. You can trade Rondo for some starting quality pieces or some draft picks, and all of a sudden an old, aging team could suddenly be a fast, rebuilding team on the fly. I think that’s the way it would turn out.”
|False start: Celtics stumble in Denver to open second half||02.19.13 at 11:27 pm ET|
In their first game following the All-Star break, the Celtics couldn’t keep pace with the Nuggets in a 97-90 loss in Denver on Tuesday night.
Playing a Nuggets team that, at 23-3, is one of the most dominant at home in the NBA, the Celtics’ balanced offensive attack proved insufficient. After arriving at halftime with a 50-49 lead, the Celtics were outscored 29-20 in a game-changing third quarter, with the eight-point deficit entering the final period proving too much to overcome.
However, Paul Pierce struggled both from the floor (shooting 2-for-14 en route to 10 points) and with foul trouble, fouling out in the final seconds. The Nuggets attempted more than twice as many free throws as the Celtics (34 to 16).
The Nuggets were led by forward Danilo Gallinari, who had 26 points, and guard Ty Lawson, who had 24 points along with six rebounds and six assists.
Boston falls to 8-16 on the road with four games remaining on the current Western Conference swing. The Celtics are 28-25 on the season.
For a complete recap, click here.
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