|Celtics Media Day Wrap Up||09.28.09 at 11:34 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo will become a restricted free agent next summer if the Celtics do not sign him to a contract extension by October. On Monday he was tight-lipped when it came to business, suggesting any questions could be answered by his agent, Bill Duffy. ‘I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t really think about it,’ Rondo said. ‘I try to just focus on camp. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. If not, I’ll play it out.’ He reiterated that he will play wherever he is wanted and that his main focus is getting another ring. … Rondo, 23, gained 11 pounds this summer ‘because I’m growing up.’ He trained with a new weight-lifting routine, ate three meals a day, and cut fast food from his diet. He also plans on hiring a chef.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge would like to keep Rondo around as the team’s point guard for the next 10 years and has had early talks with his agent about future plans. He has not, however, had discussions with Ray Allen about his expiring contract and will not address that issue publicly. … Ainge has high expectations for the upcoming season. He believes the offseason moves and returning talent will be successful. ‘We’ve added some great depth, our young players are improving, and Rondo, Perk and Glen Davis, they made great strides last year and I think they’re even going to better this year as their games are maturing. I think that Rasheed [Wallace] and Marquis [Daniels] give us two more starters, proven starters, that are coming off the bench for us that should give us a lot of depth,’ Ainge said.
Paul Pierce is making his confidence in the Celtics perfectly clear. He believes they are the best team in the league when healthy, pointing out they were on a record-breaking pace last season prior to injuries. ‘People are going to say what they want to say about my comments or whatever, but I have total confidence in this ball club,’ he said. … Even though Doc Rivers would prefer to cut back on the veterans’ minutes this season, Pierce refuses to sacrifice playing time for wins. ‘I’m not willing to lose nothing. Next question. I don’t understand that, losing. No.’ … He compared seeing Kevin Garnett back on the court for 5-on-5 drills as a ‘breath of fresh air.’
Ray Allen kicked off media day with some humor while waiting for Pierce to join him and Garnett at the podium. Allen grabbed the microphone to locate his teammate: ‘Paul Pierce. Paul Pierce. Your food is ready.’ … The Celtics’ window of opportunity to win a championship has been mentioned since they acquired veterans Allen and Garnett. Allen, though, is more focused on the here-and-now than two or three years down the road. ‘We don’t look at a window. We’re not looking past this year. We can’t look past this year,’ he said. … Allen is not concerned with adding a player like Rasheed Wallace to the mix. He pointed out many of them have known Wallace since high school and the Celtics have already learned each other’s game.
Kendrick Perkins is heading into training camp 15 pounds lighter than last season and is down to 270 pounds, his lightest total in three years. Perkins did not have a weight-loss regimen but rather trimmed down during his workouts. … His shoulder, which he has dislocated in the past, feels better than it has ‘in a while.’ Perkins noted he is not worried about suffering another injury and is feeling strong. … The big man has been impressed by Wallace on and off the court. Even though he did not know what to expect at first ‘ ‘I didn’t know. I was just waiting to see. It was kind of like scary for a moment,’ he said ‘ Perkins praised Wallace’s versatile game and pointed out he is a great addition to the locker room.
Click here to listen to audio clips from media day.
|KG: Last year humbled us||at 10:59 pm ET|
Kevin Garnett admitted on Monday that watching the playoffs on the bench last year was one of the most painful experiences of his career as he nursed bone spurs behind his right knee.
“I think last year did one thing for us, if anything, it humbled us,” Garnett said during media day for the Celtics. “I think, if anything, it showed that team is everything, not one or two players get things done. I’m eager to see how we come in and how our minds and how we all are in camp. This is our bonding. This is all the time where the guys we haven’t played with … see how they all fit.”
Here are some audio highlights from Monday’s media extravaganza at the Sports Authority Complex in Waltham.
The Celtics left Monday for Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I., as camp begins on Tuesday.
|Doc: I’m not going to overdo it||at 8:50 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Before leaving for Newport, R.I. and a week of getting his team in the right frame of mind to actually put some letters and numbers on the blank banner hanging in the corner of the practice facility, Celtics coach Doc Rivers let the media in on a little secret.
“I think camp is important this year but obviously with Kevin coming back, [joining] Rasheed, Paul, Ray, they’re not spring chickens,” Rivers said. “Perk’s [left] shoulder, Tony’s [right] foot, we’re going to go as hard as we need to but I’m not going to overdo it.”
So, the Celtics all got together on Monday and left for Salve Regina University after meeting their media commitments. Kevin Garnett and his right knee, Rasheed Wallace and his new uniform, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Tony Allen and his right foot and Kendrick Perkins and his left shoulder joined the rest of their teammates to prepare for a run at getting back on top of the NBA world.
But Rivers was clear about one thing – the NBA Finals are played in June and the playoffs begin in April, something that was reinforced in his mind toward the end of last year.
“Listen, we’re going to try and build through the year,” Rivers said. “I’m not going to try and get everything in in camp. I can tell you right now that we’re going to be behind coming out of camp than where we were last year. I’m more concerned with just preserving. I’m not that concerned about it but that’s the way we’re going to do it.”
As for the new faces like Rasheed Wallace, Marquise Daniels and Shelden Williams all fitting in, Rivers said he’ll manage just fine.
“Bottom line is this, everybody is here for one purpose and that’s to win and when you’re together in that way, I don’t think egos are much of a problem,” Rivers said. “If you’re not together in that way, then egos become a problem. If egos become a problem on this team, then we’re not thinking in the right way and that’s the way I look at it.”
And don’t ask about windows of opportunity with this team. There’s only one window the Celtics are trying to keep open in the house.
“I’m just worried about the 2010 window right now,” Rivers said. “Our goal is to win it this year, that’s it. I don’t look at windows with this team. Obviously, this team won’t be the same in 2012 and 2013. I think we’re all smart enough to understand that.”
|Report: Celtics optimistic about KG||09.11.09 at 11:35 am ET|
After undergoing knee surgery in May, Kevin Garnett returned to the Boston Celtics training facility in Waltham on Monday, Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports reported. While the organization hopes he will be cleared to participate in full-court scrimmages for the start of training camp, they are proceeding with caution.
According to Spears, Garnett is currently limited to court drills but could be cleared for contract drills as early as a week before training camp begins. The Celtics main concern, though, is not Opening Night but rather the postseason.
‘We’re looking for him to be there at the end of the season, not just the start of the season,’ Ainge told Yahoo!. ‘We’re getting him ready for training camp and looking forward to him being healthy in the playoffs. He looks good. Really good.’
Garnett has not played since March 25 when he scored four points in 17 minutes during a loss to the Orlando Magic. The Celtics forward, who has not averaged less than 31 minutes per game since his rookie year, has not played over 30 minutes since February 12.
In Celtics backcourt news, Ainge told Yahoo! he has not decided whether or not the Cs will offer Rajon Rondo a contract extension before the season. In the meantime, the Celtics are considering the addition of a third point guard. Free agents Tyronn Lue, Dan Dickau, and Mike Taylor worked out at the team’s training facility on Thursday.
|Red Claws name assistant coaches||09.07.09 at 9:20 pm ET|
On Monday the Maine Red Claws named Randy Livingston and Mike Procopio assistant coaches for the upcoming inaugural season. Procopio, 34, has deep ties to the Boston Celtics organization. He spent four years as a scout for the Cs before working as an assistant at Boston Amateur Basketball Club under Leo Papile, the Celtics Assistant Executive Director of Basketball Operations. He developed a reputation as one of the top development coaches nationwide as Director of Basketball Operations for Attack Athletics in Chicago and has trained players including Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, and Dwyane Wade.
‘Along with having four years of NBA front office experience, Mike Procopio regularly works out some of the best players in the NBA,’ Red Claws head coach Austin Ainge said in a team statement. ‘His experience and ability to develop players should make our team a desirable place for every player looking to make a jump to the next level. As soon as I got this job, Mike was one of the first calls I made because of his experience teaching the game.’
Livingston, a 12-year NBA veteran, led the Idaho Stampede to the 2008 NBDL Championship. He retired from playing after his title-winning season to become the Stampede’s associate head coach. Livingston, 34, helped coach the team to a second place finish in the West Division (31-19) in his first season on the sidelines.
‘I feel extremely fortunate to have a coach of Randy Livingston’s caliber to help me,” Ainge said. ‘Randy knows the game, knows our league, and has experience at every level of basketball. I trust Randy’s instincts and basketball IQ implicitly and will rely heavily on his opinion.’
|Eastern Conference Preparing for Competition||08.18.09 at 10:20 pm ET|
Two years ago the Boston Celtics traveled to Europe for training camp. That season they won the championship. The close-knit squad credited the trip overseas for their unwavering chemistry on the court.
“The second we got to training camp in September, we all said, hey, let’s meet in September without the coaches and come together and just start playing with each other, starting to get to know one another, and I think all that stuff really helped us,” Paul Pierce said during the 2008 playoffs.
This summer Orlando Magic point guard Jameer Nelson hopes he can have the same effect on his teammates. Nelson is hosting the Magic at his Philadelphia-area home for ‘Building Magic,’ a week-long getaway that combines strength and conditioning drills with team-building activities.
Like the Celtics did in 2007, the Magic traded a handful of core players in exchange for an All-Star (Vince Carter) and added to their bench along the way. After losing Rafer Alston and Courtney Lee, key pieces in their postseason run, and veteran mentor Tony Battie, Nelson understands the importance of this offseason.
He explained to Sports Illustrated in July:
‘We’re trying to piece it together because our team was in transition. For the most part, the big guns have committed — Vince [Carter], Dwight [Howard] and Rashard [Lewis]. After those guys have committed, no one can really back out unless they have some type of serious issue.
This year we’re doing it from the 16th through the 22nd of August. We do it at the same facility every year, same gym at Haverford College. We’ll work out with my trainers — conditioning drills, weightlifting, stuff to get your body right. The basketball stuff we do is later in the afternoon. We do that for about 2-3 hours.
Afterward, we’ll mix up the nightlife. We always do a dinner. Other days we’ll do paintball or bowling, maybe go to the movies.’
|Familiar Faces at Vegas Summer League||07.20.09 at 1:35 pm ET|
Even though the Boston Celtics already participated in the Orlando Summer League earlier this month, there were still plenty of familiar faces on hand at the 2009 Las Vegas Summer League last week:
- A relaxed Paul Pierce, who has a home in Vegas, donned a backwards Red Sox hat and sunglasses to a few games last Wednesday. Later that afternoon he was joined in the stands by Celtics GM Danny Ainge during the Milwaukee Bucks/Chicago Bulls match up.
- Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck traveled to Las Vegas for the NBA’s Board of Governor’s Meeting. Grousbeck was appointed to the league’s Labor Relations Committee. While in Vegas he emphasized the Celtics commitment to winning next season to WEEI.com.
- Sam Cassell looked like the Mayor of Summer League when he made his first appearance, being swarmed by friends before sitting courtside with Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau, who spent the week eyeing talent. Cassell, of course, was sporting a huge smile but this time he had traded in his uniform for a polo and khaki shorts as assistant coach for the Washington Wizards. He was at the helm on Sunday when he led the Wiz to a victory over the New York Knicks.
- Ryan Gomes and Sebastian Telfair were in town training at Joe Abunassar’s Impact Basketball facility. Both players spent their mornings working out before checking out some Minnesota Timberwolves‘ action from the bench. Click here to read more on Gomes’ role reversal.
- Patrick O’Bryant chatted with a reporter as he was late chasing a loose ball out of bounds with the Toronto Raptors. O’Bryant averaged 11.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.6 blocked shots.
- Brandon Wallace returned to Vegas, the same place where the Celtics signed him to his first NBA contract two years ago. Wallace suited up for the Wizards after spending last season in Poland. He posted 3.5 points and 1.8 rebounds per game under assistant coach Cassell.
- Kevinn Pinkney is giving the NBA another shot after playing in Italy the past two seasons. Pinkney, who had a brief stint with the Celtics during the 2006-07 season, averaged 2.4 points and 2.6 boards for the Clippers.
- Orien Greene came to Vegas as a spectator hoping to catch on with an NBA team next season. He recently returned home from playing in Amsterdam.
For more on the 2009 Las Vegas Summer League check out the five things we learned, including why the league is talking Sheed.