|Avery Johnson: ‘Rebuilding was the right move’ for Celtics||10.23.13 at 4:10 pm ET|
Johnson, who coached the Nets for 2½ seasons and was dismissed shortly after the Celtics trounced Brooklyn last Christmas, will be adding a very distinct voice to the ESPN airwaves this season, sharing his insight every Wednesday on “NBA Countdown.”
In a one-on-one interview with WEEI.com, Johnson shared his thoughts on the state of the Celtics, as well as the Nets’ decision to go all-in.
‘This is a totally different year for the Celtics,’ Johnson said. ‘A lot of the pieces that were there last year, those guys are pretty much in the twilight and near the end of their careers. They still had a lot of great basketball in them and can carry a team during the regular season, but that was an aging team.’
Johnson, known as the ‘Little General’ during his playing career, believes the Celtics were never the same after Ray Allen‘s departure to Miami as a free agent last offseason.
‘The loss of Ray Allen was too much,’ Johnson said. ‘They never really were able to fill his shoes in terms of the great work he did on the court for the Celtics over the years during their championship runs.’
Similar to the beginning of his run with the Nets, a team that only won 24 games in 2011, Johnson sees a team in Boston with an uncertain future.
‘This was a team that needed to change,’ Johnson said. ‘Obviously we didn’t know the change would occur with Doc Rivers not being a part of it, but everything’s changed. Now the Celtics have a lot of pieces they’re still trying to figure out. They’re still working on how they’re going to play defensively and offensively, and where they’re going, not only now, but in the future.’
|LeBron James doesn’t get free agency vs. trades||10.17.13 at 1:12 pm ET|
Apparently, LeBron James thinks leaving for free agency is the same as being traded, since he’s equating Ray Allen‘s defection to Miami to the trade that shipped Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn.
“There were a couple guys who basically [expletive] on Ray for leaving, and now they’re leaving,” the four-time NBA MVP told ESPN.com. “That’s the nature of our business, man. I don’t know what Boston was going through at the end of the day. I know Ray had to make the best decision for him and his family and his career. Doc [Rivers], KG and Paul did that as well. You can’t criticize someone who does something that’s best for their family.”
Dwyane Wade said something similar, albeit more confusing. “People say things about people when they do something when they themselves would do the same thing. It’s about putting yourself in the best situation, and at the end of the day we all do that. You can’t really say anything about someone that does it for themselves.”
This whole things stems from Pierce’s failure to forgive Allen and KG’s “I don’t have Ray’s number anymore” comments. Rivers also chastised Allen for leaving, so I understand calling him out for wanting out of Boston, but given their druthers Pierce and Garnett would still be playing for the Celtics. The former wanted to retire a Celtic, and the latter wanted to retire if he wasn’t going to be a Celtic. They reluctantly accepted a trade to the Nets.
That’s different than choosing the Heat in free agency. Allen made a conscious decision to leave Pierce and Garnett last season. Pierce and Garnett were going to be separated against their will this year. But I don’t expect LeBron to understand that, since he’s basically still defending himself taking an expletive on Cleveland.
|Fast Break: Paul Pierce’s ugly Celtics reunion||10.15.13 at 10:19 pm ET|
Paul Pierce‘s first game against his former team had to be this ugly. The Nets and Celtics combined for 95 missed field goals and 43 turnovers in a brutal 82-80 Brooklyn victory, and that doesn’t even do it justice.
The Celtics held Pierce to just four points on six shots in 27 minutes, but Brooklyn bigs Brook Lopez and Andray Blatche, who started in place of a reluctantly resting Kevin Garnett, combined for 34 points in a winning effort.
Meanwhile, five Celtics scored in double figures — Courtney Lee (14 points), Kris Humphries (12), Jeff Green (12), Kelly Olynyk (10) and Jordan Crawford (10) — as the C’s showed some encouraging signs despite dropping to 1-4 in their first preseason without Pierce since 1998.
|Celtics at Nets: Paul Pierce in, Kevin Garnett out||at 10:18 am ET|
Paul Pierce is expected to play when his new team hosts his former team in the preseason on Tuesday night, but Kevin Garnett won’t be in the Nets lineup against the Celtics, and he’s none too pleased about it.
‘It wasn’t my decision, so that’s where I’m going to leave that,” Garnett, who already voiced his displeasure in coach Jason Kidd‘s plan to rest him on back-to-backs, told the New York media after Monday’s win in Philadelphia. ‘I’m trying to be as positive as I can. It’s not up to me. I’m being positive and go with the plan that was laid out for me and being positive with that. So I’m trusting Jason and the plan he has for myself. … I just feel like every day you have a chance to better your craft and be part of the group, I’d like to be a part of that.’
Pierce has already expressed to reporters that he will not be in the Brooklyn lineup when the Nets come to Boston for the final game of the Celtics preseason on Oct. 23. The same is expected to be true for Garnett.
Meanwhile, Jeff Green pulled a KG “I don’t have Ray Allen‘s number anymore” after Monday’s Celtics practice. ‘I haven’t spoke to none of them since they got traded,” he said. “Probably [Jason Terry] is the last person I talked to out of them. It just got to the point where it was time to move on for me. They’re gone. I can’t worry about how they feel or how I feel. The trade happened. When I see them, brief words and then I’ll get ready to play.’
Now, if only Green can back up that statement the way Garnett did in 2011-12. He’s currently shooting a team-worst 27.5 percent from the field on a team-high 10.0 field goal attempts per game and averaging fewer points in more minutes than Phil Pressey. Perhaps that’s what Brandon Bass was trying to say here: ‘We don’t have our OG’s anymore, so the young G’s got to step up and be old G’s now and go out and play. It’s sunk in.”
|Rajon Rondo isn’t shedding any tears over Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett||09.30.13 at 8:52 pm ET|
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?
|Paul Pierce eyes return to Boston — someday||09.23.13 at 12:49 pm ET|
Paul Pierce wants to return to Boston. Just not as a basketball player.
Maybe as a restaurant owner.
‘Ultimately, what I would like to do is have a business in Boston,’ the former Celtics captain told The Boston Globe. ‘Maybe like a sports bar. I would love to do something like that here. None of the former Celtic great players have come and done that. I thought about it, and why hasn’t anyone come and opened up a nice restaurant? You see the Don Shula restaurant, the Michael Jordan restaurant, and Magic [Johnson] got the theaters in LA. Why nobody here? All this history, all these championships and love, why has nobody done that?
‘I am going to still have relationships here. I’m always going to come to this city. Every year, when I’m done, I’m going to have a reason to come here.’
Or maybe as a front office executive.
‘Who knows? I may be working for Wyc Grousbeck or Danny Ainge,’ he added. ‘A lot of players don’t understand it. I’ve always understood it. And [other players] let their pride and ego get in the way. I’ve made a lot of money here, I’ve built relationships, won a championship here, I thank y’all for everything y’all gave me. How can I be mad for everything they’ve given me. I’m thankful.’
So, if it’s any consolation, Pierce still loves Boston.
Here’s hoping his restaurant will be more Ray Bourque‘s Tresca than David Ortiz‘s Big Papi’s Grille. Either way, Pierce better get the 2008 Celtics together to recreate the Scotch ‘n Sirloin commercial from 1986.
|The reason Celtics traded Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett?||09.16.13 at 9:18 am ET|
‘ SHO_PR (@SHO_PR) September 15, 2013
I knew there had to be a reason other than, “We knew that this time was coming,” that the Celtics traded the heart and soul of the organization and the face of the franchise to the Nets for any deal that involves Kris Humphries. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce wear sunglasses at night and fraternize with Magic Johnson. Even if they were at the Floyd Mayweather fight in Las Vegas over the weekend, those are two of the biggest taboos going in Boston.
(h/t Red’s Army)
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