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Stan Van Gundy on M&M: My guess is Rajon Rondo stays in Boston through trade deadline 02.18.14 at 12:26 pm ET
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Speaking with WEEI’s Mut & Merloni on Tuesday morning, NBA analyst Stan Van Gundy said that he sees Celtics guard Rajon Rondo staying in Boston after this week’s trade deadline. To listen to the interview, visit the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Van Gundy said that while Rondo is one of the best in the league at his position, he’s not necessarily a good fit with any of the potential trade partners that have been kicked around.

“He’s a hard guy to classify, because he’s very unique,” Van Gundy said of Rondo. “I don’t think he can carry a team without a ton of talent. But on a championship-level team, he’s as good as anyone.”

With that in mind, Van Gundy said that among those teams, Rondo wouldn’t necessarily be a good match.

“I’m not sure any of the contenders are lacking at that spot,” said Van Gundy, who added he would be “shocked” if any team gave Boston two unprotected first-round picks for Rondo.

Maybe the Pacers would be the best fit,” he said. “But my guess is that he stays in Boston through the trade deadline.”

Van Gundy also said that the two best teams in the Eastern Conference are Miami and Indiana, and added he “can’t imagine what would happen at the trade deadline to change that.”

He also had some nice things to say about Celtics first-year coach Brad Stevens, indicating the addition of Stevens was “a great hire.”

“I think it was a perfect situation for a college guy to go in to, in that he has time,” Van Gundy said of Stevens. “Brad is a very smart, very analytical guy who relates to players very well. I think he’s done a great job late in games this year in terms of situational stuff.

“I think he’s very good, and will continue to get better,” he added.

For more Celtics news, visit the team page at weei.com/celtics.

Read More: Brad Stevens, Rajon Rondo, Stan Van Gundy,
Chris Mannix on D&C: Celtics ‘got the most they could possibly get’ for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett 06.28.13 at 10:28 am ET
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NBA insider Chris Mannix checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning, and the Sports Illustrated senior writer commended Danny Ainge and the Celtics for pulling off a blockbuster trade Thursday, agreeing to send Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets in exchange for a package headlined by the expiring contract of Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace and three future first-round picks.

The trade stings a bit at first, sure, Mannix said, but the Celtics got great return for a pair of older players with big contracts.

‘€œBoston got the most they could possibly get for both these players,’€ Mannix said. ‘€œI’€™m going to be honest guys, I’€™m not sure they could’€™ve gotten a better haul for them. I’€™m not sure there is another team out there that would have absorbed one or both of those players and given the Celtics more in return.

‘€œIt’€™s a tough pill to swallow because in the short term you don’€™t get a whole heck of a lot in the players they get back. ‘€¦ Regardless, they get immeasurably worse in the short term, but I don’€™t know if they could have gotten more for those players.’€

Mannix said Thursday’€™s deal is a very, very risky one for Brooklyn. The organization has in effect given itself a one-year window to win, and it could very well ‘€œbackfire in their faces.’€

‘€œThe Nets are throwing all of their eggs into this one season and hoping they can find a way to get the chemistry to come together and challenge for a championship,’€ Mannix said. ‘€œThrow in the fact that I have no idea how Jason Kidd is going to be able to coach these guys. I say this half in jest, but I’€™m almost expecting Kidd to resign in midseason and activate himself and hand over coaching responsibilities to Lawrence Frank so he can get one more ring as a player as a backup. It’€™s just a bizarre situation out there.’€

The Celtics, meanwhile, could flip Humphries to the Bobcats for guard Ben Gordon, a deal Mannix said Brooklyn and Charlotte may have explored earlier.

Mannix also expects the Celtics to center their rebuilding around Rajon Rondo. That fact that the team didn’€™t take a point guard in the first round of the Thursday’s draft when there were several available speaks volumes about the Celtics’€™ plans.

‘€œIt’€™s a big risk, because nobody has any idea what Rondo’€™s reaction is to all this, how he’€™s going to handle being the focal point of a team that’€™s probably going to be really bad next year,’€ Mannix said. ‘€œThere’€™s no reason to believe they can’€™t try to build around Rondo these next couple of years and see what happens. If it turns out he’€™s not capable of doing it, if it turns out it’€™s not working out, you can always flip him at the trade deadline or at the start of the following season for something better in return.’€

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Read More: Chris Mannix, Jason Kidd, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
Malcolm Huckaby remembers the making of Erik Spoelstra 05.28.12 at 7:28 am ET
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The little office light on in the practice facility still on at 3 a.m. The calculating of plus-minus plays in practice. The guy breaking down film for Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley.

This is my memory up close with a Pat Riley clone and future coach of an NBA dream team named Erik Spoelstra.

I had fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams, playing in the NBA for the Heat, when I inked a one-year deal in 1996 as a free agent with Riley, who coached the team then.

Riley mused on a then-undrafted free agent point guard out of Boston College who had overcome a horrific ankle injury, calling me a player who was a PHD (poor, hungry and desperate). Spoelstra, at the time, was crafting his skill in the dungeon of the video room of the team, working long hours desperately trying to give Riley any advantage possible.

Most people on the outside at the time of the 1996-97 season failed to give the kind of credit they do now for the work of assistant coaches, who work zombie hours with all the credit going to the head coach. But the knowledge that was around when I played was priceless. You had a Hall of Fame coach in Riley, along with Stan Van Gundy (who, after I asked him and Spoelstra how much sleep they got the night before, replied, ‘€œHuck, sleep is overrated’€), and assistant coach Bob (Can Do) McAdoo, who once led the NBA in scoring when guys with nicknames like ‘€œIce Man’€ were playing.

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Read More: Bob McAdoo, Erik Spoelstra, Malcolm Huckaby, Pat Riley
Glen Davis: Magic ‘capable of beating’ Celtics in playoffs 04.19.12 at 2:26 am ET
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Since being traded from the Celtics to the Magic prior to the season, Glen Davis is now 0-3 against his former team. Yet, Big Baby believes his new squad is fully prepared to defeat the C’s should they meet in the playoffs — even without the injured Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu.

“I think we’re capable of beating them,” said Davis, who totaled 27 points in the Magic’s 102-98 loss in Boston.

If the playoffs started today, the Celtics (37-26) — who clinched a fifth straight Atlantic Division title and the Eastern Conference’s fourth seed — would face the Hawks (37-25) in the first round, but the Magic (36-26) still have a shot at the fifth seed and a date with the C’s. However, Orlando may have to do it without Howard (herniated disc) or Turkoglu (fractured face), both of whom remain doubtful until the playoffs and questionable beyond.

Which is why those in the Magic locker room viewed their four-point loss in Boston as a positive, even if the Celtics were also without two stars in Rajon Rondo (back) and Ray Allen (Allen) as well as a key role player in Mickael Pietrus (knee) — all of whom are expected back for the playoffs.

“Today, we didn’t even have two of our guys,” said Davis. “They didn’t have two of their guys, but at the same time we had a big missing piece today, and we still came out there and played the right way and was in the game. So, whatever happens, happens. Whoever we play, Indiana or Boston, we are going to bring energy, and we are going to play hard, and that’s all that matters.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Dwight Howard, Glen Davis, Orlando Magic
Magic drama and the Celtics postseason 04.05.12 at 3:35 pm ET
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Magic coach Stan Van Gundy blew the lid off the simmering tensions in Orlando on Thursday when he told reporters that management had informed him that star center Dwight Howard wanted him fired at the end of the year.

Or as Howard Beck from the New York Times put it:

“A well-placed Orlando Magic source claims Dwight Howard has asked the team to fire Coach Stan Van Gundy. The well-placed source? Stan Van Gundy.”

What followed was a revealing, and then awkward press conference. “It’s 12:02 right now,” Van Gundy said. “If they want to fire me at 12:05 I’ll go home and find something to do. I’ll have a good day.”

Then Howard appeared, apparently unaware of what his coach had just said. Some awkward small talk ensues and it’s clear that Howard still doesn’t know what just happened, setting up the walk-off line as Van Gundy throws Howard to the wolves: “Are you guys done with me? You can talk to him now.”

Various players have already spoken on, and off the record, in support for Van Gundy yielding a giant mess for a team that as of last week seemed fairly secure in the third spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. But the Magic have lost four straight and been passed by the Pacers in the standings.

That leaves them in fifth for the moment, opposite of where the Celtics are sitting as the fourth seed. (An important note: Winning the Atlantic Division doesn’t guarantee homecourt advantage in the first round. If the fifth seed has a better record — like the Magic do know — they would get homecourt in the series.)

Regardless, the Celtics playoff positioning is a tenuous thing. They have a game and a half lead on the slumping Sixers for first place in the Atlantic Division, but also are in the middle of facing their toughest stretch of games against quality opponents. They could finish anywhere from third to seventh.

Here’s how the standings look at the moment:

3. Indiana 33-21
4. Boston 30-23
5. Orlando 32-22
6. Atlanta 32-23
7. Philly 29-25

Here’s how they look simply by record with Games Behind noted after record:

Indiana 33-21   –
Orlando 32-22   1
Atlanta 32-23   1.5
Boston 30-23   2
Philly 29-25     3.5

The Celtics play all four of those teams once and the Hawks twice, which will set up a frantic race to the finish.

Read More: Dwight Howard, Stan Van Gundy,
Celtics: Irish Coffee 10.01.10 at 8:51 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Rajon Rondo shows off his comedic chops in the newest NBA 2K11 commercial. It’s essentially a take on the old “Da Bears, Da Bulls” sketches from Saturday Night Live. Derrick Rose asks a group that includes Rondo, Andre Iguadola, Joe Smith and Russel Westbrook the question, “What about the ’86 Bulls vs. the 2011 Celtics?” Of course, everybody picks the Bulls.

In truth, other than Michael Jordan, the ’86 Bulls roster was awful, finishing 30-52. Let’s hope the ’11 Celtics finish better than that. The ’97 Bulls vs. Genghis Khan is a way better question.

O’Neal vs. O’Neal

Dime Magazine rated Shaquille vs. Jermaine O’Neal as one of the top-10 position battles in the NBA this season. Honestly, I don’t see it. Jermaine should start until Kendrick Perkins returns, and Shaq should provide 15-20 minutes per game off the bench. One man’s opinion.

Celtics 1, Politicians 0

The Boston Media Consortium agreed to reschedule the Oct. 26 gubernatorial debate between Deval Patrick and Charlie Baker, so as not to coincide with the C’s opening night game against Miami. I guess we know where Boston’s priorities lie. Big Baby for Governor?

Heat Hate

Yahoo’s  Adrian Wojnarowski got the C’s–Shaq, in particular–to open up about the Heat. And let’s just say there’s no love lost between them.

‘€œThey got a great 1-2,’€ Shaq told Yahoo, completely discounting Chris Bosh‘s presence. “Everyone is young this, young that. I’€™ve been in the NBA Finals six times in the last 16 years, and I haven’€™t seen a young team make it all the way and win it. They may look better, but they don’€™t do what we do.”

Wojnarowski says not to expect the Celtics to come out of the gate fast. “Not with Delonte West suspended 10 games and Perkins out until February and Doc Rivers monitoring his player’€™s minutes to make sure everyone’€™s fresh for the playoffs,” he writes. “Rivers has kept it civil with the Heat, but he knows his players hate most of them, and this entire buildup brings a level of loathing that makes the coach feel like these are the old days.”

Paul Pierce echos those sentiments: ‘€œWe’€™ll continue to go at our slow pace and creep up on everybody.’€

I gotta be honest: I don’t like the sound of that. Do they really think they’re sneaking up on anybody? Don’t tell me we’re gonna be sitting through another lackadaisical regular season. I expect the C’s to come out of the gate with something to prove. Their first game is against Miami, the same team that everybody seems to be anointing already. In their first 10 games, they face the Heat twice, the Knicks, the Bucks, the Bulls, the Thunder and the Mavericks. Are we expected to believe that Boston won’t be up for those games?

Shaq Watching the Paint Dry?

Stumbled across an old article in The Onion, entitled, “Shaq To Solidify Celtics’ Ability To Get 3-Second Violations.” Thought that was pretty funny …

“Not only does Shaq’s presence in the paint give his team more opportunities to turn the ball over, but the Celtics have also added an experienced big man who makes an already old team significantly older,” said NBA analyst David Aldridge, adding that O’Neal should fill a key role in terms of drastically slowing down the Celtics’ offense. “Danny Ainge was looking for someone with size who can’t make it down to the other end of the court, and he went out and got the best in the business.”

The Van Gundy Rule

The NBA dress code has gone too far: Stan Van Gundy is no longer allowed to wear turtlenecks. What is this world coming to? Next thing you tell me, Brian Scalabrine won’t be able to wear his corduroy sportcoats.

“I don’t like that,” Rivers told the AP. “I really like Stan’s style. I thought Stan really set the bar for the dress code. I think he should stay with that. I think it’s nice.”

Read More: Adrian Wojnarowski, NBA2K11, Rajon Rondo, Stan Van Gundy
SVG: Celtics weren’t playing possum 05.24.10 at 10:27 pm ET
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Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said anyone who thought the Celtics were holding back during the regular season just because they won only 50 games is terribly mistaken.

“I think that’s a bunch of crap,” Van Gundy said. “I think they had injuries, period. I don’t think they were holding anything back. Kevin Garnett had a serious knee injury that takes a lot of time to get back to full strength. When we were at the All Star Game, at that point, I didn’t either Garnett or Pierce were at full speed or looked healthy, still. I thought Kevin was still having trouble with mobility in that leg and Paul’s foot was bothering him. Injuries mean a lot.”

Van Gundy saw both Garnett and Paul Pierce during the All Star break in Arlington, Texas. He said he knew at the time, the Celtics weren’t at full strength. The Celtics finished fourth in the East with a 50-32 record, behind Cleveland, Orlando and Atlanta.

“They weren’t 41-41 were they? The way everybody talked about them they exploded out of the blue after winning 41 games,” Van Gundy added. “Didn’t they win 50 games? Fifty games is a hell of a season, and those guys weren’t healthy. I don’t they were out there saying, ‘Let’s hold it back.’ I think that’s ridiculous and I think it’s insulting to them, quite honestly.”

Doc Rivers knows a thing or two about getting shown the door. He was dismissed early in the 2004 season following a 1-10 start in Orlando after earning coach of the year honors in 2000. He has watched as Mike Brown won 60-plus games in back-to-back seasons and led his team to the NBA Finals in the year before.

“I don’t know what you have to do to keep your job,” said a perplexed Rivers.

Read More: Celtics, Magic, NBA playoffs, playing possum
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