Tag:Danny Ainge
Posted on: May 13, 2011 12:39 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2011 1:00 pm
 

Rivers' return keeps Celtics whole

How the Celtics bounce back from getting toppled by the Heat, that is a question for another day. Priority No. 1 was taken care of Friday when coach Doc Rivers agreed to a five-year extension to remain a Celtic.

This is what Rivers said he was at his core the other night, gracious and optimistic in defeat after the Heat beat the Celtics 97-87 to evict the defending Eastern Conference champs from the postseason in five games. At a time when his players and assistant coaches were hurting -- and worse, uncertain about the future -- Rivers threw them a lifeline when he calmly revealed in the postgame news conference that he was "leaning heavily" toward coming back.

The finer points of a five-year, $35 million extension were still being discussed, but there will be no hang-ups here. Rivers and general manager Danny Ainge work together like left hand and right, and Rivers revealed in a quiet moment after that Game 5 loss Wednesday night that he was serious about returning. Several weeks ago, he basically informed Celtics management that whatever they worked out with his agent, Lonnie Cooper, he'd agree to.

The five-year deal at $7 million annually has been on the table for three months -- perhaps longer, a person familiar with the situation told CBSSports.com Friday. Rivers alluded to the offer Wednesday night on his way out of American Airlines Arena.

"There’s been a contract basically for three months there and Danny and Wyc (Grousbeck) and them have been on the other side of patience," Rivers said. "And it gave us a long time to talk about it as a family. So I haven't signed anything or done anything. But it’s there and I probably will sign it."

The only job that would've remotely tempted Rivers, the person with knowledge of Rivers' situation said, was replacing Phil Jackson with the Lakers. But that wasn't happening, not with Rivers -- not with a Celtic.  

"Leaving the Celtics to go to the Lakers would be akin to selling out," the person said. "He's old fashioned in a good way that way. That's the only job that would've been of any interest."

As for the Knicks, a team Rivers played for, New York executives are not believed to have explored whether Rivers would be available or interested. Mike D'Antoni has a year left on his contract, and team president Donnie Walsh is committed to giving D'Antoni a full season with a stable roster before making any rash decisions. But make no mistake: It wouldn't have mattered. Rivers has grown as close with his players in Boston as any coach in the league, and simply couldn't walk away -- even though some retooling at minimum and rebuilding at worst will be part of the job.

Does Ainge give in to the temptation to trade one of the Big Three at draft time -- the same way he acquired Ray Allen in the first place? Does Paul Pierce accept a secondary role, or even go to the bench? Does Jeff Green stay? How do the Celtics upgrade the size and toughness that was lost in the Kendrick Perkins trade?

All these decisions will be made with Rivers completely in the mix, working as effectively with Ainge as any coach and GM tandem in basketball. And don't forget this: Whatever challenges confront the Celtics, Rivers was adamant about showing the organization the same kind of loyalty it showed him. Before the Big Three were formed, Ainge stuck with Rivers and ignored the groundswell of opinions and speculation that he should be fired. It's no surprise they're finding a way to stick together now.

So close are Rivers and Ainge that one person familiar with their relationship suggested that Ainge may have been inclined to leave if Rivers did. That would've brought about a swift and painful end to the Celtics of the Big Three era, who progress now into a transition period with the most important piece of the puzzle firmly in place.

Posted on: May 13, 2011 12:39 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2011 1:00 pm
 

Rivers' return keeps Celtics whole

How the Celtics bounce back from getting toppled by the Heat, that is a question for another day. Priority No. 1 was taken care of Friday when coach Doc Rivers agreed to a five-year extension to remain a Celtic.

This is what Rivers said he was at his core the other night, gracious and optimistic in defeat after the Heat beat the Celtics 97-87 to evict the defending Eastern Conference champs from the postseason in five games. At a time when his players and assistant coaches were hurting -- and worse, uncertain about the future -- Rivers threw them a lifeline when he calmly revealed in the postgame news conference that he was "leaning heavily" toward coming back.

The finer points of a five-year, $35 million extension were still being discussed, but there will be no hang-ups here. Rivers and general manager Danny Ainge work together like left hand and right, and Rivers revealed in a quiet moment after that Game 5 loss Wednesday night that he was serious about returning. Several weeks ago, he basically informed Celtics management that whatever they worked out with his agent, Lonnie Cooper, he'd agree to.

The five-year deal at $7 million annually has been on the table for three months -- perhaps longer, a person familiar with the situation told CBSSports.com Friday. Rivers alluded to the offer Wednesday night on his way out of American Airlines Arena.

"There’s been a contract basically for three months there and Danny and Wyc (Grousbeck) and them have been on the other side of patience," Rivers said. "And it gave us a long time to talk about it as a family. So I haven't signed anything or done anything. But it’s there and I probably will sign it."

The only job that would've remotely tempted Rivers, the person with knowledge of Rivers' situation said, was replacing Phil Jackson with the Lakers. But that wasn't happening, not with Rivers -- not with a Celtic.  

"Leaving the Celtics to go to the Lakers would be akin to selling out," the person said. "He's old fashioned in a good way that way. That's the only job that would've been of any interest."

As for the Knicks, a team Rivers played for, New York executives are not believed to have explored whether Rivers would be available or interested. Mike D'Antoni has a year left on his contract, and team president Donnie Walsh is committed to giving D'Antoni a full season with a stable roster before making any rash decisions. But make no mistake: It wouldn't have mattered. Rivers has grown as close with his players in Boston as any coach in the league, and simply couldn't walk away -- even though some retooling at minimum and rebuilding at worst will be part of the job.

Does Ainge give in to the temptation to trade one of the Big Three at draft time -- the same way he acquired Ray Allen in the first place? Does Paul Pierce accept a secondary role, or even go to the bench? Does Jeff Green stay? How do the Celtics upgrade the size and toughness that was lost in the Kendrick Perkins trade?

All these decisions will be made with Rivers completely in the mix, working as effectively with Ainge as any coach and GM tandem in basketball. And don't forget this: Whatever challenges confront the Celtics, Rivers was adamant about showing the organization the same kind of loyalty it showed him. Before the Big Three were formed, Ainge stuck with Rivers and ignored the groundswell of opinions and speculation that he should be fired. It's no surprise they're finding a way to stick together now.

So close are Rivers and Ainge that one person familiar with their relationship suggested that Ainge may have been inclined to leave if Rivers did. That would've brought about a swift and painful end to the Celtics of the Big Three era, who progress now into a transition period with the most important piece of the puzzle firmly in place.

Posted on: May 11, 2011 10:53 pm
Edited on: May 12, 2011 12:19 am
 

Rivers: 'I'm a Celtic'

MIAMI – Doc Rivers received a contract offer from the Celtics three months ago, but invoked one of his favorite rules: No contract talk during the season. So the issue was tabled, the future of the Big Three era Celtics on hold.

Over the past couple of weeks, Rivers came to the conclusion that he wants to come back and coach the Celtics next season as opposed to taking a year off to watch his son, Austin, play at Duke. On Tuesday night, after the Celtics were knocked out of the playoffs with a 97-87 loss to the Heat, Rivers revealed what he concluded during Boston’s latest playoff run.

“I’m leaning heavily toward coming back,” Rivers said. “I haven’t made that decision, but I can tell you I probably will. I’ve kind of come to that over the last couple of weeks. You know, I’m a Celtic. And I love our guys and I want to win again here. I do. I’m competitive as hell, I have a competitive group, and so we’ll see. But I can tell you that’s where I’m at today.”

On his way out of American Airlines Arena, Rivers said Celtics management came back to him after the playoffs started to press for a decision. There was a meeting after one of the opening games of this series in Miami.

“Danny (Ainge) and Wyc (Grousbeck) and them have been on the other side of patience,” Rivers said in the hallway of the arena. “And it gave us a long time to talk about it as a family. So I haven’t signed anything or done anything. But it’s there and I probably will sign it.”

The Lakers losing to Dallas and facing an uncertain future without Phil Jackson and speculation about the team being broken up contributed to Rivers’ desire to get his status resolved quickly.

“I know after listening to the Lakers being broken up after they lost, I’m sure, hell, we’re all done, our team,” Rivers said. “We have to add some people, but other than that I love that locker room. … I don’t believe this team is done.”

Rivers' decision isn't final, though he gave Ainge the go-ahead to speak with his agent, Lonnie Cooper -- a gesture that was understood to mean Rivers is serious about staying.

"I just told them, 'You can just talk to Lonnie,'" Rivers said. "'I don’t want to hear nothing, I don’t want to see nothing. I just want to do my job.' And then we talked last week ... and I told them, 'Whatever you work out with Lonnie, I’ll probably do it."

The pause gave Rivers time to focus on the task at hand and also speak with his family; his wife has only one child still at home, Winter Park High School senior Spencer.

"And he told me he doesn't want me home," Rivers said with a smile.

Rivers' decision has massive implications for the future of the Celtics' veteran core. Kevin Garnett, who has said previously he wouldn't play for a coach other than Rivers, has one year left on his contract. Ray Allen has a player option for next season, and he said Tuesday night, "I don't have any plans of going anywhere else." Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo are under contract for three more seasons.

Rivers staying in Boston also takes him off the market for any number of teams that may have been hoping he'd take a sabbatical and be ready to return to the sideline in 2012. New York, where Rivers played, and Orlando, where he coached, were two of the most logical landing spots.

But sources say Rivers has not forgotten the loyalty Ainge and the Celtics showed him when they stuck with him through one losing season after another before the 2007 trades that brought Garnett, Allen and Pierce together.

"It would be hard for him to leave," one person close to Rivers said. "He wants to show the same loyalty they showed him."

 
Posted on: June 24, 2010 7:57 pm
 

Who wants to work in Portland now?

NEW YORK -- Stunning news came down moments before the NBA draft began Thursday night. No, LeBron James didn't try to reinstate his college eligibility and join John Calipari at Kentucky. Something more unbelievable: The Trail Blazers fired GM Kevin Pritchard, telling him an hour before the draft that it would be his last day of work for the team.

Jason Quick of the Oregonian first reported the firing, which is surprising only for its bizarre timing. Pritchard's right-hand man, former assistant GM Tom Penn, was fired in March, and the writing has been on the wall for Pritchard ever since. Pritchard, who along with Penn was responsible for building one of the most competitive and financially successful franchises in the NBA, will presumably make the 22nd and 44th picks in Thursday's draft -- which he spent months preparing for -- and then start looking for work. Penn has found work already, at least temporarily; he was at the Theater at Madison Square Garden Thursday night working as a salary-cap analyst on ESPN's draft telecast.

According to the Oregonian, owner Paul Allen informed Pritchard of his dismissal Thursday night and instructed him to conduct the draft before leaving the organization. The Portland GM opening now joins a few leadership black holes around the league. The Suns didn't renew GM Steve Kerr's contract, and assistant GM David Griffin decided to leave the organization after being informed that there would be a formal search for Kerr's replacement. Denver GM Mark Warkentien's contract expires Aug. 31, and the organization has made no efforts to re-sign him. Danny Ainge's future in Boston also is up in the air with the possibility that coach Doc Rivers could step down.

As for the gaping hole left in the Portland front office by Pritchard's classless dismissal, the question becomes: Who would want to work for a franchise that treats its people the way the Blazers have treated Pritchard and Penn? The lure of the Blazers' roster and rabid fan base will be a huge calling card for any potential candidate, but buyer beware. Apparently, the money isn't great, either. One of the points of contention that led to Pritchard's ouster was his displeasure with his approximately $1 million salary -- not much more than assistant GMs make in other cities and a quarter of coach Nate McMillan's compensation. Pritchard had one year remaining on his contract.

According to a person familiar with the Blazers' internal dynamics, one option would be to appoint team president Larry Miller, head of the team's business operations, to serve as the figurehead replacement for Pritchard and hire a competent No. 2 to handle the day-to-day basketball decisions.






Posted on: May 6, 2010 12:25 pm
 

Ainge fine: Funny but deserved

My thoughts on Celtics president Danny Ainge being fined $25,000 Thursday for throwing a towel in the air behind the basket in an effort to distract the Cavaliers' J.J. Hickson at the free-throw line during Boston's Game 2 victory? Oh, he deserved it. It was funny, but he deserved it.

The NBA's news release says Ainge engaged in "conduct detrimental to the game" and that he created an "unauthorized distraction."

That makes me wonder what constitutes an authorized distraction. But I can't argue with this penalty. Paying customers can whack Thunder sticks together, wave their arms, yell about a free-throw shooter's maternal relative -- pretty much anything they want to do, short of throwing something onto the court.

Players, coaches and team executives are held to a higher standard of conduct, and they should be.

Here's the YouTube clip of Ainge's actions, in case you missed it. Coincidentally, Hickson missed the first free throw with Ainge doing nothing. As Hickson is shooting the second free throw, you can see Ainge in a suit to the right of the basket (from Hickson's point of view), and you can see the towel fluttering into the air. Hickson made that free throw.

I wonder how much Ainge would've been fined if he'd missed it?
Posted on: April 18, 2009 12:03 pm
 

Bulls' Deng says he could be back for Round 2

BOSTON -- With all the focus on Kevin Garnett, there's been barely a mention of another key player missing the Bulls-Celtics series. But Luol Deng said Saturday he may be able to return in some capacity if Chicago advances to the second round.

"In my mind, yes," Deng said in the visiting locker room before the Bulls and Celtics opened their best-of-seven series. "I don't know what the doctors will say, but I feel like I could hopefully do something."

Deng has been out since the end of February with a stress fracture in his right leg. He revealed Saturday that an MRI this week showed the fracture is about halfway healed.

"It's leading in the right direction," Deng said. "It could be a month. It could be longer. I could be OK in two weeks."

Unlike Garnett, who is averse to sitting on the bench when he can't play, Deng said he's OK with it. Garnett, too, told Celtics coach Doc Rivers he'd make an exception and join his teammates on the bench.

"I know Garnett is very intense," Deng said. "I can sit on the bench. It's tough, but I'm fine sitting on the bench."

Rivers and the Celtics were still wrestling with a more serious, off-the-court health situation as they prepared to open their title defense. Team president Danny Ainge was continuing to rest comfortable in Massachusetts General Hospital after suffering a mild heart attack Thursday.

"He told me I've got to start eating better and exercising more, because I have more stress than him," Rivers said. "I told him he's stressing about me stressing. And to relax."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on: April 16, 2009 6:31 pm
Edited on: April 16, 2009 7:06 pm
 

Danny Ainge suffers heart attack (UPDATE)

Celtics president Danny Ainge is recovering at a Boston hospital after suffering a minor heart attack Thursday. He is "recovering nicely" at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he is expected to be hospitalized for several days, according to a statement released by the team.

Ainge, 50, a member of two NBA championship teams with the Celtics and their general manager since 2003, will miss at least Game 1 of the Celtics-Bulls series when the Boston opens its title defnse on Saturday. He's the architect of the Celtics team that won its 17th championship last season, having pulled off blockbuster trades for Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett.

I know there's someone out there thinking that Thursday's news about Garnett did this to Ainge. Don't go there. It's times like these when we all realize there are things bigger than sports. Speedy recovery, Danny.

 

 

 

 

Category: NBA
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com