|Report: Heat no longer staring at Shaq||02.27.11 at 10:31 am ET|
According to the Palm Beach Post, the Heat redecorated the walls leading to their locker room over the All-Star break. The face lift included the removal of images from the team’s title run in 2006, which notably included the sweat-drenched face of former Miami (and current Celtics) center Shaquille O’Neal. In place of images from the Heat’s lone title, the team now has posted images of its current stars, including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade (a holdover from the championship team) and Chris Bosh.
|Doc Rivers hopes Jeff Green can be the new James Posey||02.25.11 at 7:14 pm ET|
Doc Rivers told reporters in Denver that he envisioned newly acquired guard/forward Jeff Green as being a player with the skill set to replicate the contributions made by James Posey in the team’s 2007-08 NBA title run. The Celtics coach suggested that the 24-year-old, whom Boston netted along with Nenad Krstic in exchange for center Kendrick Perkins and guard Nate Robinson, offered the ability to spread the floor with offensive weapons.
“We’ve been trying to get that lineup since Posey left. And I think people forget how many times we did that in the playoffs, which was every fourth quarter for the most part,” Rivers told reporters. “We haven’t been able to duplicate that.”
As for the decision to part with Perkins, who was also a part of that 2007-08 championship team, Rivers said that the performance of Shaquille O’Neal would be critical to the way in which the deal is assessed. O’Neal has not played since Feb. 1, but Rivers said that the 38-year-old is expected to return in good health.
“We need to get Shaq healthy. Shaq will be healthy. But if Shaq plays great, then this deal was obviously really, really good for us,” Rivers said. “And that’s on Shaq. Getting Shaq in great shape, getting him ready, getting him healthy is really going to be important for us in the playoffs.”
Meanwhile, though much of the attention on the locker room dynamics of the deal has fallen on the departure of Perkins from Boston, Green’s exit from Oklahoma City was being treated with comparable gravitas. About 12 minutes into his discussion of the deal with reporters at a press conference, Thunder GM Jeff Presti choked up when he discussed Green’s departure. Read the rest of this entry »
Celtics owner Steve Pagliuca checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show and guest hosts Mike Adams and Bob Halloran on Friday morning to talk about the C’s flurry of moves before Thursday’s trade deadline. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The big trade was Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to the Thunder for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic. Pagliuca said he has confidence president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made the right call.
“I have mixed emotions,” Pagliuca said. “I loved Kendrick Perkins as a person and a player, and he helped us get a championship. So, that’s the tough part of the sports business. You’ve got to try to make the club better if you have opportunities. Danny’s done a great job at that over the last eight years, since we’ve been here. He assessed that this was something that would be great for the short run to help us win a championship again, and the longer run.
“I think it could be a win-win for both clubs. Because their club is full of shooters and they need somebody tough inside, and there’s nobody tougher than Kendrick. We picked up a guy, Jeff Green, who was drafted fifth, averaging 15 points a game, he can play the 3, the 4, maybe even the 2 at times. And Nenad Krstic, who’s a great shooter, which really balances [Rajon] Rondo out. Rondo will have a free lane now, because they’ve got to go out and cover Nenad, because he can hit the shot.”
Added Pagliuca: “Danny, again, I think has done a great job. Put the emotions aside — because he loves Kendrick as well — but this will be good for the club.”
The C’s also traded Semih Erden and Luke Harangody to the Cavaliers for a draft pick and shipped the injured Marquis Daniels to the Kings for another pick. This leaves some questions at the center position, as Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal remain sidelined with injuries. Pagliuca said that should turn around soon, as the Celtics’ bench will become a major strength.
“We got two starting players — one averaging 15 points a game; I think Kristic is averaging close to 10 — so, yeah, it’s going to make us very deep,” he said. “And on top of that, Shaq is working really hard to come back, and Jermaine is looking good; I saw him on the bike the other day. If all the things go our way, we’re going to have a very deep team going into the playoffs. And I think that’s what Danny wanted to accomplish.”
The other question concerns the toughness the Celtics lost with the departure of Perkins. “We’ve got a lot of tough players,” Pagliuca said. “Shaq’s a pretty tough player, and he’s coming back. He’s pretty tough in the paint there. [Glen Davis] is a tough player. Baby can bang with anybody. Krstic is also a fighter. He’s no wallflower as well. … He’s a fiery player and he wants to win. So, I think we’re going to be very tough and our guys will bring it up a notch.”
Celtics president Danny Ainge joined WEEI Thursday night to talk about the trade that sent Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic, as well as the present and future of the team in the wake of the unexpected moves. Ainge said that he and coach Doc Rivers “agonized” over the decision but ultimately decided it was the best interest of the team.
“I’m as close to Perk as any of them,” Ainge said. “I have a great relationship with him. I brought him in as an 18-year-old. It was very difficult. We shed some tears today, talking to Perk. It was tough. He’s a good kid. I think he’s going to a great situation for himself and for his future. I think Oklahoma City is a top-notch franchise and they obviously have some great young players. He has a bright future there, so that does make it a little bit easier.”
Ainge said that while both his health and his pending free agency were concerns, neither one was a deciding factor in making the deal. “He wanted to test the market. Last time, he didn’t test the market, and this time he wanted to see what his value was, and that was a concern,” Ainge said. “It wasn’t so much of a concern that we would have done something just for that purpose. But the fact we were able in our opinion to help our team for this year and protect ourselves for the future was very good for us.”
On the new additions, Green and Krstic, Ainge said: “We’re really excited with the guys that we got. Jeff Green is a terrific player. He’s a versatile player. He’s playing 37 minutes on one of the top teams in the West as a starter. He’s 24 years old. He brings length and athleticism to the game and great versatility. And we like Krstic. Krstic is a terrific shooter. I think he complements Rondo’s game very well in that he’s another guy that can knock down that mid-range jump shot.”
Ainge noted that Shaquille O’Neal was a week away from returning and that he likely would have come back before Perkins did from his knee strain. He also said that he thought O’Neal would be better suited as a starter than someone coming off the bench and that the team played better when Shaq was in the starting lineup. “Shaq has proven to be excellent with our starters,” he said. “The numbers actually show that he has been better with our starters. We beat all the good teams in the league while Kendrick was out.”
As for the developing veteran free agent market, Ainge said that the Celtics would like add a wing, a frontline player and possibly a guard, although he said that was probably the least of their priorities. He added that they may sign just two players and leave another spot available for now.
To listen to the complete interview, click here.
|Shaquille O’Neal’s status in doubt for West Coast trip||02.14.11 at 4:38 pm ET|
When Shaquille O’Neal injured his Achilles, the Celtics thought he would miss a few games. A few games have turned into five and now there is some doubt as to whether he will be ready to play on the team’s West Coast trip following the All-Star break.
Honestly, it’s just not healing right now,” Doc Rivers said after the team’s practice on Monday. “We’re hoping after the break at some point. When he first injured it, we all thought it would be a one or two game thing and now it’s been longer. Now it’s getting to the point where he may not play on the west coast trip at all. We’re hoping he will. We think he will. Maybe not every game. Maybe play every other game.”
Rivers was more optimistic about Semih Erden, who has missed the last three games with groin and ab injuries. Rivers said he thought Erden might be ready to go in their first game after the break next Tuesday at Golden State.
|Shaquille O’Neal won’t return until after All-Star break||02.12.11 at 6:28 pm ET|
The Celtics thought Shaquille O’Neal would be out for a few games with what they called an inflamed Achilles. A few games have lasted longer than they expected and now it seems unlikely that O’Neal will be back until after next weekend’s All-Star break at the earliest.
It’s not just Shaq. Fellow center Semih Erden (groin, strained abductor) is also not likely to return before the break.
“Semih’s out until after the break and Shaq will be too,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said following the team’s practice on Saturday. “We don’t even know if they’ll be back after the break right now. Semih’s groin is not improving and Shaq’s Achilles is not improving at all. We thought we’d have them both back by the last game, but that’s fine. We’re good.”
Rivers said Shaq’s injury has not gotten worse, but it hasn’t improved. “It just hasn’t healed,” the coach said. “It’s no worse, but it hasn’t healed as quickly.”
The Celtics are already without Jermaine O’Neal (knee surgery) and Marquis Daniels (bruised spinal cord) for at least the next month, if not longer. They hope to get Delonte West back Wednesday when they play the Nets in their final game before the break. Following the break, the Celtics will head out west for a four-game road trip with games against the Clippers, Warriors, Jazz and Nuggets.
|Nate Robinson will try to play against Heat||at 4:15 pm ET|
Nate Robinson was at the Celtics practice facility until 11 p.m. Friday night getting treatment on his bruised knee, which he injured in a freak collision with the Lakers’ Shannon Brown. He was at the facility again Saturday, but didn’t participate in the team’s practice, other than in the walkthrough segment.
With the Celtics down to just nine other healthy players, Robinson will try to go Sunday when they play the Heat at the Garden. “The pain in there is kind of funky so we’re just trying to ice it right now,” Robinson said.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Delonte West would not play Sunday, but may try to give it a go on Wednesday when they play the Nets in their final game before the All-Star break. Shaquille O’Neal (Achilles) and Semih Erden (groin) also won’t play and their return has been delayed until after the break at the earliest.
“Semih’s out until after the break and Shaq will be too,” Rivers said. “We don’t even know if they’ll be back after the break right now. Semih’s groin is not improving and Shaq’s Achilles is not improving at all. We thought we’d have them both back by the last game, but that’s fine. We’re good.”
Asked if Shaq’s injury has become worse, Rivers said, “It just hasn’t healed. It’s no worse, but it hasn’t healed as quickly.”
With Jermaine O’Neal (knee surgery) and Marquis Daniels (bruised spinal cord) also out for the next month at least, the Celtics need all the bodies they can muster for the next two games.
“We’ve just got to find a way to win regardless of who goes down,” Robinson said. “That’s why it’s called a team.”