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List: Danny Ainge’s best, worst draft day moves 06.23.11 at 8:37 am ET
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The Celtics’ season has been over for a while now, and if you’re still in mourning, we’re sorry. But it’s times like these when it’s best to look to the future, and in this case, that means Thursday’s NBA draft. The C’s have the 25th pick in a relatively thin class, but as history has shown, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge always is capable of creating some draft day drama. Here are a few of Ainge’s best moves when the Boston is “on the clock” (followed by a few he’d rather have back).

5. Drafting Ryan Gomes in the second round in 2005

Overall, the 2005 NBA draft was a disappointment for the Celtics (see below), but Ainge managed to pluck a promising talent out of the second round. Boston took Ryan Gomes of Providence with the 50th pick, one spot ahead of Robert Whaley and two spots behind Mickael Gelabale. Gomes started 33 games in his first year and 60 his second year, and ended up averaging 12.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game in 2006-07. In the same fashion as Al Jefferson, Gomes saw his trade value increase with his breakout season, and he eventually was used as one of the many pieces in the Kevin Garnett trade.

Gomes never was a back-to-the-basket player in college and was vastly undersized in the NBA. Still, he’s managed to develop into a solid small forward for the Clippers and is averaging over 10 points per game in his career.

4. Trading for Kendrick Perkins in 2003

In his first year as general manager, Ainge had two first-round picks in one of the most talented draft classes in NBA history. No, he didn’t miraculously trade up for LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, or Dwyane Wade, but he did trade draft picks Dahntay Jones and Troy Bell to the Grizzlies for their first-round picks, Marcus Banks and Kendrick Perkins. You might only recognize one name from that transaction, but KP43 is the only one that mattered.

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Danny Ainge is realistic about the 2011 draft 06.22.11 at 2:48 pm ET
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Danny Ainge (AP)

WALTHAM — On the eve of the 2011 NBA draft, Celtics president Danny Ainge said that it’s unlikely the team will find much help for the upcoming season with the 25th pick in the first round.

“When you’re drafting where we’re drafting, I’m not trying to put a negative spin on this, I’m trying to be realistic, the 25th pick in the draft is probably not going to help us, immediately,” Ainge said on Wednesday at the team’s training facility in Waltham. “But there are some players that we think can fit our roster, fit into the personality of our team and have a work ethic that can make our team better in practice and add depth to our roster.”

Ainge said that had no intention of trading the future Clippers pick that is top-10 protected through 2016 to move up in this year’s draft and agreed with the overall sentiment that this is a down year for talent. ‘The picks we have aren’t good enough to get to the very, very top of the draft and we think next year’s draft will be better,” Ainge said.

Here are some other items of interest from Wednesday’s media gathering that also included coach Doc Rivers:

On Rajon Rondo: “He’s not 100 percent yet,” Ainge said. “He’s probably about four weeks away from playing basketball at full speed, but he can do some training and conditioning right now.”

Rondo was running on a treadmill above the practice court at Waltham and wasn’t wearing any kind of a brace for his elbow that he dislocated in the playoffs. He turned down requests for an interview.

On Jermaine O’Neal: “He has every intention of coming back,” Ainge said. “Something could happen, that he won’t come back, but he has every desire to come back and play, and he didn’t like the way it finished this year. He doesn’t want to end his career on that kind of note, wants to be a much bigger contributor next year.”

O’Neal has been in Waltham getting treatment and working out and Ainge said that O’Neal decided not to have more surgery on his knee.

On Lawrence Frank, who has been a finalist for several head-coaching jobs: “Lawrence has interest in coming back,” Ainge said. “Lawrence will have an opportunity to coach, as you know, he’s been a top candidate in a lot of teams this year. We want Lawrence back. Lawrence will have options with other teams, too, he’s not under contract, so he has an option to explore all those options.”

Frank was also getting in some treadmill time.

Ainge also confirmed that free agent center Nenad Krstic has signed with CSKA Moscow and will not be back.

On possibly trading one of their core players: “We love our core group. I will just say this. I never tell players that I would never do anything like that,” Ainge said. “We have to keep our options open and explore. That’s my job. Our intention is to bring our core group back.”

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Chris Mannix on D&C: ‘Rajon Rondo has been on the table in the past year’ at 9:35 am ET
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Sports Illustrated NBA writer Chris Mannix checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to talk about the Celtics and Thursday’s NBA draft. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Mannix said Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge will not shy away from dealing any player in order to avoid a slow descent into mediocrity, and he noted that even the team’s young star, Rajon Rondo, has been the subject of trade talks in the recent past.

“I think he’s talking about moving everybody. I really do,” Mannix said of Ainge. “I’ve had conversations with different people around the league; I would throw Rajon Rondo on that list as well. … He has explored dealing Rajon Rondo in the past. He has talked to other GMs about him in the past. I’m not saying he’s been willing to pull the trigger in the past, but Rajon Rondo has been on the table in the past year or so.

“This is just something that Danny does. He’s not afraid to make the blockbuster deal if he thinks it helps him in the long term. So, I think Danny is absolutely working the phones right now. I think every one of those guys is on the table for a potential deal that he’s sure is going to help him.

“This goes back to what I thought the second after Doc Rivers signed that five-year extension,” Mannix continued. “Doc didn’t sign on for five years to be part of a team that just decomposes as it goes back to the Gerald Green era from a few years ago. He believes this team is going to be able to contend in Year 3, 4 and 5, when presumably Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are gone. But to do that, I think Danny is going to have to shake up the roster. And I absolutely believe, right now, before the draft, after the draft, in the offseason, whenever he’s able to talk to these teams again once the lockout is lifted, he is going to be aggressive on the phone lines trying to improve his team.”

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Talking Hoops, Episode 7: Bethlehem Shoals 06.18.11 at 10:15 am ET
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On the latest version of the Talking Hoops WEEI.com’s Paul Flannery is joined by Bethlehem Shoals the founder of FreeDarko.com and co-author of The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History.

Flannery and Shoals put a wrap on the 2010-11 season by examining the Heat, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki and NBA narratives, while also pondering the future of Rajon Rondo.

Listen here: Talking Hoops, Episode 7

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Transcript of Shaquille O’Neal on D&C: ‘I didn’t want to let the people of Boston down two years in a row’ 06.03.11 at 11:06 am ET
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Shaquille O'Neal (AP)

Future Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal called in to the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning, the day of his scheduled press conference at his Orlando house to formally announce his retirement after one injury-plagued season with the Celtics and 19 years in the NBA.

Asked if this is a happy or sad day, O’Neal said: “A little bit of both. Business-wise, I felt that the Boston organization and the people of Boston treated me very, very well. I could have gotten a little minor surgery and then been out for nine months, but then we would have been in the same situation again, everybody sitting around waiting for me. So, I thought it was great business to let Danny [Ainge] go out and get some younger talent.”

Added O’Neal: “I didn’t want to let the people of Boston down two years in a row.”

Asked if he’s 100 percent certain that he will stay retired, Shaq coyly replied: “For now, yes.”

Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The big question is where does Shaq appear on the Mount Rushmore of big men in the NBA. Is that a question you want to deal with?

I never really deal with it. For me, coming from where I come from, how I was taught to play the game — my father used to mention all those great names to me. Like, “Son, when you block a shot, don’t show off and knock it out of bounds. Keep in inbounds, like the great Bill Russell. Son, I need you to dominate. I need them to change the rules for you like they with Wilt Chamberlain. You know what, son, the jump hook is nice. I need you to shoot the little hook like Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar].”

So, for me to have my name mentioned next to those guys — and you can’t forget Chief, Robert Parish. He was great. too. So, for me to have my name mentioned up there, it’s a blessing.

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Wyc Grousbeck on D&C: ‘I want Miami to lose so badly’ 05.25.11 at 9:56 am ET
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Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning during a charity benefit for the Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Boston. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

After the Celtics lost to the Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Grousbeck was asked if he is still watching the playoffs. “I am watching this year because I want Miami to lose so badly,” he said, adding “I’m rooting hard against the Heat.”

Grousbeck said he will be rooting for the Mavericks the rest of the way because of his relationship with Mavs owner Mark Cuban. Said Grousbeck: “I love the guy. … He’s just a good guy. He genuinely roots for us against other teams. He is a Celtics fan when he’s not a Mavs fan. And we’re going to return the favor.”

Grousbeck did give the Heat credit. “I thought they outplayed us in the series,” he said. “They had more juice. They had more pop. I can’t really deny that. I would have loved to take that Monday night game in Boston and make it 2-2 and see what happened. I think we might have won the thing. But I don’t really regret with like a huge missed chance. I’m just annoyed we didn’t beat them.”

When asked about the trade of Kendrick Perkins, Grousbeck said he felt Perkins was not the difference in losing to the Heat. “I love Perk, but I don’t think our issue was guarding their 5 spot,” he said. “Our issue was guarding their 2, 3 and 4. So, not only did we need Jeff Green, we needed about three more of him.”

Grousbeck played down the chemistry factor. “We had gotten that far in the season without Perk. He hadn’t played essentially the entire season,” Grousbeck said. “So, we were starting the games with [Shaquille O'Neal] and finishing the games with [Glen Davis]. And that would have continued in the playoffs if Perk was there. So, Perk wouldn’t have been starting if Shaq had been healthy.

“Where the plan fell short is Shaq not being able to come back; we thought he could.”

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Doc Rivers on D&C: ‘I just thought it was time to show’ loyalty 05.16.11 at 10:37 am ET
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Doc Rivers said part of the reason he re-signed with the Celtics so quickly was to quash rumors that he was headed elsewhere. (AP)

Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning, three days after agreeing to a five-year contract extension to remain with the team.

Rivers said that rumors he was contemplating whether to take a sabbatical from coaching so that he could spend more time with his family weren’t accurate — at least not this year.

“Last year, they were probably more right,” he said. “Last year I was absolutely leaning that way. This year I really never was. After last year’s summer and going through the decision that we went through, I was pretty sure I was coming back and I was pretty sure I wanted to come back here.

“This is a special place. And I’ve said that before. You can’t get a lot of these jobs where you coach teams like the Celtics, or the Red Sox, or the Yankees, and I have one of them. I work with a great GM in Danny Ainge and I have good ownership. So, why change?”

Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Doc, if you don’t mind revealing this, whose idea was it for the longterm contract? Was it you that wanted the extra years, or did Danny want to lock you up for the extra years? Whose idea was it?

Danny brought it up to me. When he first brought it up, I was surprised by it. This was a while ago that he brought it up. I think actually he brought up even more years to start.

I never thought of it in those terms. Because we kept doing these one-year or two-year deals, and I never thought of it. Danny walked in my office and said, “Listen, I want you to be here with me for a long time. And I want to make this something where we’re together for a long time.” And so he brought up the number of years.

You’ve got to process that when you commit to something for that long. We did, and we thought it was the right thing to do.

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