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Impromptu Irish Coffee: The Next Bill Russell? 07.28.11 at 1:58 pm ET
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When someone compares a player to Bill Russell, my usual reaction is a rolling of the eyes, followed by an audible sigh and capped by a sarcastic, “And Harold Miner is the next Michael Jordan.” However, when a member of the Celtics‘ front office makes the analogy, that’s an entirely different story.

Celtics senior director of basketball operations Leo Papile — also the Boston Amateur Basketball Club’s director — told Louisville’s Courier-Journal that the current star of his AAU program, Nerlens Noel (great name, by the way), could indeed be the next William Felton Russell:

“No one has ever been compared to Bill Russell, but I said that about this kid when he was in the eighth grade. He has a basketball brain like no other player that I have ever coached. He’€™s a special kid. …

‘€œHe has great timing. Everything he does is just perfect. He passes, his team defense … it’€™s all just perfect. And now he has an offensive game.”

ESPNU’s No. 3 ranked recruit and top-ranked center in the Class of 2013, Noel led Papile’s BABC team to the Peach Jam title earlier this month and the AAU Super Showcase championship game this past week. This winter, the 6-foot-10, 215-pound Everett native enters his junior season at New Hampshire’s Tilton School.

To put Papile’s statement in perspective, he has worked for the Celtics since 1997 and currently serves as one of the team’s chief talent evaluators at the NBA, D-League, international and collegiate levels. Founding the BABC in 1977, he has helped develop NBA talents like Patrick Ewing and Dana Barros.

So, the real question is: Does the 17-year-old Noel even know who is the greatest winner in professional sports? Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Russell, Boston Celtics, E'Twaun Moore, Nerlens Noel
Rajon Rondo can bend his elbow just fine 07.27.11 at 1:54 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo tweeted this photo while on vacation in Las Vegas. The Celtics point guard dislocated his left elbow during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Heat on May 7.

Two weeks ago, Rondo told Louisville’s FOX affiliate, “I’m still in a little bit of pain right now, but the swelling is down. The only thing is there’s swelling in my joint. I’ll be fine, it just takes time. I’ve got a couple more weeks that I’m off, as far as rest and the repetition of weights.”

Well, from the looks of it, Rondo appears to have full range of motion in the elbow. Rondo, teammate Kevin Garnett and Celtics Director of Basketball Development Tyronn Lue reportedly attended the Marquee nightclub’s BoomBox room on Friday night along with fellow NBA players Chauncey Billups (in Las Vegas to renew his wedding vows, according to The Detroit News), Amare Stoudemire, Kenyon Martin, Rip Hamilton, Rudy Gay, Chuck Hayes and … wait for it … Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Amare Stoudemire, Boston Celtics, Josh Smith, Kevin Garnett
Rajon Rondo and his Celtics teammates let the Kendrick Perkins trade get into their heads 07.26.11 at 1:27 pm ET
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Time often puts things into proper perspective.

In the weeks following the Kendrick Perkins trade in late February, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge dismissed the notion that any professional athlete would let the trade of a friend off the court affect his play between the lines.

Five months later, Rajon Rondo admitted to Yahoo! Sports that The Trade influenced the team “more than it should have” — and that was a mistake. Here’s what the C’s point guard said Tuesday of the deal that sent Perkins along with Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic:

‘€œIt wasn’€™t like the man passed away or something. I think we put too much emphasis on it. It’€™s a business. He got traded. He’€™s very happy where he’€™s at. We still talk and I’€™m always going to have his back. It shouldn’€™t have affected us the way it affected us.’€

Of course, if you remember the fifth episode of NBA Entertainment’s “The Association: Boston Celtics,” which aired soon after the Feb. 24 trade, Rondo sang a different tune at the time:

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Kendrick Perkins, Rajon Rondo
Celtics’ free agent options at backup point guard 07.15.11 at 6:21 pm ET
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We’€™re two weeks into the NBA lockout, but that doesn’€™t mean we can’€™t examine which free agents will be available to the Celtics for the (fingers crossed) 2011-12 season once commissioner David Stern and players association executive director Billy Hunter hash out their differences. We have already profiled the C’€™s biggest needs — at center and shooting guard — so we move to a less pressing but critical position: Backup Point Guards.

The Celtics started and finished the 2010-11 season with three additional players capable of playing the point guard position behind All-Star starter Rajon Rondo on the 15-man roster: Delonte West, Avery Bradley, Nate Robinson (before trade) and Carlos Arroyo (after trade). Only Rondo and Bradley remain, so it stands to reason that the Celtics will sign at least one more floor general.

The C’€™s targets depend on how confident they are in Bradley and how cheaply they can find a reliable backup (or third-string). As we’€™ve noted  before, the Celtics have six players under contract in 2011-12 for a combined $64.3 million (Kevin Garnett, $21.2 million; Paul Pierce, $15.33 million; Ray Allen, $10 million; Rajon Rondo, $10 million; Jermaine O’€™Neal, $6.23 million; Avery Bradley, $1.53 million), and Jeff Green is due at least another $5.91 million this offseason.

Signed through 2014-15, Rondo has cemented himself as the franchise’s foundation, and Bradley — under their control until his restricted free agency in 2014-15 — is slotted as the backup of the future. As a result, the C’€™s ideally would seek a veteran pure point guard and/or a capable combo guard who wouldn’t completely destroy their chances should Rondo’€™s injury issues persist and Bradley prove ill-prepared for big minutes. Arroyo and West fit those descriptions, but one might be too expensive and the other could sign overseas during the lockout.

Without further ado, let’€™s take a look at the options that should be available to the Celtics at backup point guard, separating the current free agent players into five categories ‘€¦

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Read More: 2011 NBA free agents, Boston Celtics, Carlos Arroyo, Delonte West
Rajon Rondo: ‘It’s the worst pain I’ve ever been in playing ball’ 07.14.11 at 2:59 pm ET
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At his annual basketball camp in Louisville, Rajon Rondo took time to talk to reporters earlier this week. The local Fox affiliate has the video.

Among the things he discussed are his dislocated elbow, an injury he suffered in Game 3 of the Celtics playoff series with Miami. “It’s the worst pain I’ve ever been in playing ball,” Rondo said. “I’m still in a little bit of pain right now, but the swelling is down. The only thing is there’s swelling in my joint. I’ll be fine, it just takes time. I’ve got a couple more weeks that I’m off, as far as rest and the repetition of weights.”

As for possibly playing overseas, Rondo said he’s talked to his agent Bill Duffy about it, but it doesn’t sound like it’s in his future. “A lot of things go into playing overseas, a lot of little things you have to take care of,” he said. “For me, right now, I’m just focused on getting healthy — getting healthy and getting better for my team next year, the Boston Celtics.”

Read More: Rajon Rondo,
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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Read More: Al Jefferson, Danny Ainge, Delonte West, Gerald Green
Danny Ainge is realistic about the 2011 draft 06.22.11 at 2:48 pm ET
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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.”

Read More: 2011 NBA Draft, Jermaine O'Neal, nenad krstic, Rajon Rondo
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