|Look back: Shaq, Celtics teammates before||08.04.10 at 11:45 pm ET|
When Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal suit up for the Celtics next season, there will be some familiarity with their new teammates on the court. Both played with Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the 2004 and 2005 NBA All-Star Games.
In 2004, Pierce (Celtics) and Jermaine O’Neal (Pacers) represented the East while Garnett (Timberwolves), Allen (SuperSonics), and Shaquille O’Neal (Lakers) played for the West. Shaq (24 points, 11 rebounds) took home MVP honors as the West won, 136-132, in Los Angeles.
The following year, Shaquille O’Neal changed conferences and joined Pierce and Jermaine O’Neal on the East team as a member of the Heat. Garnett and Allen played for the West. Allen led all players with 17 points and Jermaine O’Neal tied MVP Allen Iverson with 15 for the East. The East won, 125-115, in Denver.
Check out the video of Garnett and Shaq from the 2004 All-Star Game:
|Tony Allen: I felt ‘overshadowed’ while with C’s||07.24.10 at 11:40 am ET|
Former Celtics guard Tony Allen, who recently signed a free agent deal with the Memphis Grizzlies, said Friday he felt ‘kind of overshadowed’ by Paul Pierce and Ray Allen while he was with Boston.
The 6-foot-4 Allen, who spent six seasons with the Celtics and averaged 7.2 points per game and 1.04 steals per game in his career, developed a reputation as a defensive stopper with the defending Eastern Conference champions. Along the way, he was part of a team that made two appearances in the NBA finals, and won a title in 2008.
But he sounded like someone who was anxious to get a new start and make his own name with a young ballclub in Memphis.
‘Being in Boston I was kind of overshadowed by those guys, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen,’ he told reporters on Friday. ‘Here’s a ballclub who’s on the rise and a lot of guys can make names for themselves. It’s a coming-out party for a lot of guys on this team.
‘I’m definitely going to try to start early defining a role, try to bring some sort of toughness to the ballclub,’ Allen said. ‘It’s obvious I have experience, and I’m just looking forward to just letting that marinate amongst the players that’s in this locker room.’
Allen hinted that while he enjoyed his role in Boston as a stopper, it may have caused people to forget he had more to offer than just an ability to defend.
‘I don’t mind embracing the role, but there is more to my game. Let’s not get that twisted,’ Allen said. ‘Whatever I could do to win ballgames. If that’s just passing out Gatorades or flashing towels or giving somebody a high five, I’m willing to do that.’
|Catching up with Glen Davis||07.16.10 at 12:53 am ET|
LAS VEGAS — WEEI.com caught up with Glen Davis while he is training with Joe Abunassar at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas. He talked about the Celtics‘ upcoming season, free agent moves, and a new trio in South Beach.
Optimistic Outlook: ‘I think we’re going to do well [next season]. We have a lot of pieces back. With Ray Allen being back, I’m really happy he came back. I’m also happy that Paul [Pierce] came back. We have KG and then we just added Jermaine O’Neal. There’s a lot of other pieces that we need to put together, but I think Danny [Ainge] and the front office are going to make sure we have the team, the players, and it’s all about just gelling together and making sure it happens.’
‘Family’ Reunion: ‘It was great. To see [Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen] come back means a lot. Especially what it means to them, and that’s what it’s all about. We’re family. Everybody knows that. We’ve been together, we’ve been through the ups and downs. We’ve been through the trenches and we’ve just got to make sure we do what we have to do.’
Shrek and Donkey 2.0? ‘I love Nate [Robinson]. He brings a whole realm to the team that most players can’t bring. I just hope that he finds a place to play, and if it’s not with us, that [stinks], but if it’s with us that’s great. I would love to play with Nate.’
A Big Help: ‘I’ve known Jermaine [O’Neal] since I was in college. He’s a great player. He’s done a lot of things in the NBA, he’s an All-Star-caliber player, he’s been on that level before. He’s a great post up guy. You can always learn something from him, so I’m glad he’s on our team and he can definitely help us.’
No Sweating the Heat: ‘They have a Big Three, we have a Big Three. We have players that are capable of making big shots and playing big minutes; they have players that are capable of doing all that. So I’m not really worried about the Miami Heat. They still have to put the team together and make it gel. And that’s what it’s all about — chemistry — and it takes more than three players to win a championship. And everybody knows that. So there’s no worrying. We’re just ready to play.’
|Three more moves for the Celtics||07.08.10 at 9:33 am ET|
Doc Rivers is back for the final year of his contract. Paul Pierce is signed for four years and now Ray Allen has returned to the fold, agreeing to a two-year deal with a player option for the second year.
Allen’s contract is a coup for Danny Ainge and the Celtics and it’s also an indication that Allen understands the shifting landscape of the NBA. Allen wasn’t in the market for the proverbial last big contract. He needed a place where his skills could flourish, even at age 35.
He also left himself an out if the Celtics struggle, Rivers decides to leave and a new collective bargaining agreement works in his favor. The Celtics meanwhile have left open a two-year window until Kevin Garnett‘s contract expires. It really is a win-win deal for both sides.
The NBA has set the cap for next year at a tick over $58 million, about $2 million more than was expected, and lifted the moratorium on transactions. Many of the big name players have already decided (with a certain big one still to go Thursday night) and the big work for Ainge and the Celtics is done.
The starting five is under contract along with Glen Davis, first-round pick Avery Bradley, Turkish center Semih Erden and Rasheed Wallace. More on Sheed in a minute, but it’s worth pointing out that Philly legend Sonny Hill told the Globe that Wallace might be re-thinking his decision to retire.
Beyond that, Oliver Lafayette and Tony Gaffney have non-guaranteed minimum-level deals, and there’s also second-round pick Luke Harangody, who has not signed a rookie deal yet. Keeping Wallace where he is for a moment, that’s 12 players if all of the rookies make the final roster.
Now Ainge has to get creative.
Keep a few things in mind. The Celtics are over the cap and they used the bi-annual exception on Marquis Daniels last summer. That leaves the mid-level exception, valued at $5.765 million, and veteran minimum contracts.
Here are three more items of business for Ainge as he puts the finishing touches on the 2010-11 Celtics. Read the rest of this entry »
|Allen: ‘There’s no other place I wanted to be’||07.07.10 at 11:21 pm ET|
“I’m happy to be returning as a Celtic,” he told WEEI.com via text message. “There’s no other place I wanted to be.”
According to a source familiar with the negotiations, WEEI.com confirmed the deal is worth $10 million annually. The second year is a player option.
Allen, who turns 35 this month, made it clear following the NBA finals that he would like to return to Boston — ‘I’ll deal with that when the time comes, but it’s obvious that I don’t want to be anywhere else,’ he said after Game 7. He garnered attention from around the league, however, once he hit the free agent market. According to one report, LeBron James contacted Allen about joining him, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade on a “Dream Team.”
Allen averaged just over 16 points during last season and the playoffs. He set an NBA finals record by hitting eight 3-pointers against the Lakers. Allen will be entering his 15th season in the league and doesn’t expect to slow down any time soon.
‘I believe I’m so far ahead of the game that I’m able to play longer,” he told WEEI.com during the regular season. “People look at basic standards of guys my age at 34, like some guys at 34, there’s no way they could play basketball right now. And I’m thinking at my age now, I can go even a few more years doing what I’m doing the way I’m doing it because for me, it’s not rocket science.”
|Source: Allen agrees to return to Boston||at 9:54 pm ET|
WEEI.com has confirmed Ray Allen will return to the Celtics after agreeing to a two-year deal worth $10 million annually, with a player option for the second year. ESPN.com’s Marc Stein first reported the deal on Twitter.
Allen, who turns 35 this month, averaged just over 16 points last season and in the playoffs. He garnered attention from around the league when he hit the free agent market this summer, and was reportedly contacted by LeBron James about playing for a “Dream Team” with him, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
Allen had attested during the NBA finals, however, that he would like to return to the Celtics. His agreement keeps the Big Three intact for another shot at a title after Paul Pierce agreed to a new four-year deal last week.
|Ray Allen’s developing market||07.06.10 at 9:44 am ET|
Now that Doc Rivers and Paul Pierce are back in the fold, the next logical move for Danny Ainge is to work out a contract with Ray Allen. The Celtics want him back. They can offer him the best deal, and Allen has said that he wants to return. But it’s not always that simple.
Allen is being courted by the top tier of free agents, namely LeBron James (Ken Berger of CBSsports.com had the details Monday) and until James makes a decision much of the free agent world is in limbo.
James is said to be unsure of whether he will return to the Cavaliers or take an offer from one of the other teams that is pursuing him — the Knicks, Nets, Bulls and Heat. (It’s safe to assume the Clippers took themselves out of the running, if they were ever a serious option to begin with).
If James does stay in Cleveland, the Cavs would only have the mid-level exception to offer Allen and they also need help in the center department. If James goes elsewhere, those teams would have cap money to spend on supporting players, but they are all basically building teams from scratch and it’s unclear how much of that precious cap room they would be willing to use on Allen.
Both the Knicks and Heat are in desperate need of point guards, while the Nets would have to bring along an expensive power forwards to entice James. The Bulls may be the wild card in this scenario since they have a ready-made team in place for either James or Dwyane Wade, and Allen already has an existing relationship with new coach Tom Thibodeau.
In the end, there may not be a huge deal waiting for Allen when the dust settles, but shooting is always at a premium, and Allen and Mike Miller are the two best shooters available in free agency.
So, the Celtics will wait it out. Because they have Allen’s “Bird rights,” they can go over the cap to re-sign him and don’t have to use the MLE. The key for Ainge isn’t the dollars, however, it’s the years.
Allen will turn 35 this July, and the track record for shooting guards that old is not great. The Celtics are gambling that Allen’s commitment to conditioning will carry him through the latter part of his career and he will be more Reggie Miller than Mitch Richmond, which seems like a decent probability.
A two-year deal would be ideal, but with competition for his services, they may have to go to three. Ainge showed his resolve to bringing the Celtics core back together when he went four years on Pierce’s new contract. If he did go to three for Allen it would allow him to go year-to-year with the veterans as Kevin Garnett‘s contract is up after two more years.
The Celtics won’t be able to be under the cap anytime soon when all this is over, but they may be able to reduce their luxury tax bill, which would also make it easier to continue adding veteran pieces this summer or at the trade deadline. There will also be a new collective bargaining agreement in place after next season, which could significantly alter the NBA landscape.
There is much uncertainty around the NBA these days, but the Celtics’ path is clear. It just may take a few weeks for it to come into sharper focus.
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