|List: Danny Ainge’s best, worst draft day moves||06.23.11 at 8:37 am ET|
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.
|Will Gomes be on the market?||06.27.10 at 11:41 pm ET|
Former Celtic Ryan Gomes was traded from the Timberwolves to the Trail Blazers on Draft Night. But the Trail Blazers may release Gomes for financial reasons, according to the Oregonian, which would add him to the free agent market:
Team president Larry Miller said the Blazers will probably release newly acquired forward Ryan Gomes in order to avoid taking on the remaining three seasons of his contract.
The team has until Tuesday to make a decision, but Miller said he has already told Gomes’ agent not to fly him to Portland.
Gomes was drafted by the Celtics in 2005 and has remained a fan favorite in Boston since being sent to Minnesota as part of the Kevin Garnett deal. He has expanded his game to the perimeter since his departure, and shot 37 percent from 3-point range over the past two seasons.
Even though Gomes does not fill the Celtics resounding void down low, he could be a player to watch depending on how free agency shakes out. While there have been no reports that he is on the C’s radar, he is a quality player worth a look should he be added to the free agent market.
|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.
- James Posey also came to Vegas to support his team. He watched the New Orleans Hornets take on the Los Angeles Clippers from their bench.
- 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.
|Role reversal for Gomes||07.13.09 at 7:49 pm ET|
LAS VEGAS — It’s a case of role reversal for Ryan Gomes.
He tried to soak in as much as he could in his first two seasons with the Celtics, listening to advice from Paul Pierce, the only veteran on a team dominated by youth and inexperience.
Now it is Gomes’ turn to play the role of mentor. This week, he’s offering his knowledge to the Minnesota Timberwolves Summer League team in Las Vegas.
“Even though I know time is flying and it’s going to be my fifth year, when you’ve got a lot of young guys on the team, you want to share some knowledge,” Gomes said. “I don’t know it all and I don’t think there are a lot of people who do, but when you watch the games you want to help them to get better. As players, you’re always trying to help each other out.”
When Gomes isn’t helping the Timberwolves, he is improving his own game at Joe Abunassar’s Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, along with former Celtic Sebastian Telfair. The shortage of wing players on the Timberwolves means Gomes may have to play in the backcourt as well, and he is focusing on his game away from the basket to increase his shooting percentage.
Last season he averaged 13.3 points and 4.8 rebounds, shooting 43 percent from the field and 37 percent from three-point range.
“We’ve just got to be prepared,” he said. “We’ve got to be on our Ps and Qs because you just never know what can happen. It’s our job over the summertime when you’re not around the coaches and you can’t play in Summer League to work on your game and be ready for next year, and that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Gomes is not the only ex-Celtic looking to help the Timberwolves have a successful season. He noted Al Jefferson has been diligently rehabbing from ACL surgery to get back in the game as their leading scorer and rebounder.
“He’s doing good. He’s way ahead of schedule,” Gomes said. “He’s training hard and he’s on the court a little bit. We need him back, of course. He’s our All-Star, he’s the motor that goes, so hopefully next year we’ll have a good year.”
While he is focused on helping the Timberwolves win next season, the Celtics are still on his mind — even two years after being traded.
“I’m still learning from Paul and I’ll still learn from Ray (Allen) and all those other guys because of the fact that they have knowledge of the game,” he said. “Doc Rivers was great to me, Danny Ainge and those guys gave me an opportunity by drafting me, so I stay in touch with them and I still watch a lot of their games because when they made the trade, I knew what it was for. It was to win it.”
And that’s a good example to follow.
|More than trade bait||01.30.09 at 6:21 pm ET|
An NBA title with the Boston Celtics has made it easy to forget about Kevin Garnett’s days with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He is no longer the player who couldn’t win it all. Rather he is the champion who proved anything is possible.
Yet the former Celtics who were involved in the blockbuster deal are still known as ‘the guys traded for Garnett.’ It has been two seasons, though, since the move and now they are ready to make a name for themselves in Minnesota.
“We’re thankful for what [the Celtics] gave us but now we’ve got to set our own trends, set our own careers,” Ryan Gomes said in a telephone interview. “We’re not with the Celtics anymore. We know who they have and what they’ve accomplished, but now we’ve got to try to set other goals for ourself.”
Gomes, Al Jefferson, and Sebastian Telfair are the only remaining players on the Timberwolves from the 2007 trade. (Gerald Green and Theo Ratliff have signed with other teams.) Last season they finished 22-60, their worst record since the pre-Garnett era. In attempt to establish a new identity, the Timberwolves made off-season moves to acquire a highly-touted rookie and veteran shooter. Nonetheless they got off to an eight-game losing streak.
“What people should understand is that we had high expectations coming into this season, with the trade of Mike Miller and getting Kevin Love and Brian Cardinal and Rodney Carney,” explained Gomes. “We had high expectations and it didn’t work out for the first 35 games.”
The Timberwolves were 4-15 when head coach Randy Wittman was replaced by former VP of Basketball Operations Kevin McHale. Ironically it was a Celtic great who got the Timberwolves playing their own style of basketball. They headed into the new year hot off a five-game winning streak.
“In the beginning we did go through a rough time,” Gomes said. “Our schedule in the month of December was real tough and we were trying to find ourselves. But now we’ve found ourselves and I think that’s why we’re playing well. Everyone’s understanding their roles and fulfilling them, and I’d say that’s the most important thing. Whenever you have success that means everyone’s doing their part.”
Gomes points to a demoralizing loss as the source of their improved play. In December the Timberwolves (then 6-24) blew a 29-point lead in the third quarter to the Dallas Mavericks. In spite of losing, the Timberwolves gained confidence and momentum.
“We ended up losing that game and that was what turned it around,” said Gomes. “We had seen what we could become and where we were at, and then they took it away from us. They kept fighting and kept pushing through it and believing they could win, and I think that’s what we took out of it. We had a tough stretch where we lost 13 games in a row early in the season and that game showed that we can bounce back and we can make something of the season. There’s a lot more games to be played, and once that came in January we got off on the right foot and we’ve been rolling ever since.”
The Timberwolves are 9-3 since January 1, including upsets over the New Orleans Hornets and Phoenix Suns. They will look to continue their streak when they face the Celtics on Sunday in Boston. Their former teammates have taken notice.
“First of all, Big Al’s playing like an All-Star,” said Kendrick Perkins. “Second of all, Randy Foye has stepped his game up. Rodney Carney, the rookie (Kevin) Love, Sebastian (Telfair), they’re all playing well. Since coach Kevin McHale got the job, they’ve been playing well. They’re playing good defense and I’ve been watching them lately on TV, so they’ve been playing really well.”
With just under 40 games left on their regular season schedule, the Timberwolves are nine games out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference. A postseason berth is a longshot, but Gomes doesn’t mind waiting. Even if their time doesn’t come this season he is confident it’s only a matter of time before the Timberwolves establish themselves as a playoff contender.
“I think the Timberwolves are a team on the rise and this year is not over,” Gomes said. “We’ve got a lot of games to play and if we play the way we’ve played this month for the rest of the season, who knows where we’ll be. Hopefully we can maybe sneak in the playoffs and if not we could be right there. Next year should be our breakout year to take what we did this year and carry it over next year from the beginning and have a successful season. So the Timberwolves should be a team that teams should be worried about in the West and in the East because of the way we’ve been playing lately.”
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