Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
 
Tag:Doc Rivers
Posted on: September 29, 2010 7:43 pm
 

Doc defends LeBron

NEWPORT, R.I. – Doc Rivers was not among those watching LeBron James’ nationally televised “Decision” in horror. He’s an old-school point guard who’s come to accept the new-school ways of the NBA.

“I think they’ve gotten a lot of criticism that they didn’t deserve,” the Celtics coach said Wednesday of the Miami Heat’s free-agent coup. “I don’t understand. I think LeBron did everything legal, right? He played it out until he was at the end and he could be a free agent. It didn’t bother me that way. I guess I’m an old-school guy, but it really didn’t bother me in that way. But it bothered a lot of people. For whatever reason, it did.”

And it shouldn’t have, Rivers said – especially for those former players who would’ve done the same thing given the opportunity.

“We did it, but we did it through trades,” Rivers said. “There were 23 teams when I played. Everybody had a Dream Team for the most part. The reason why a lot of guys didn’t leave is because they had two or three Hall of Famers on their team already. LeBron was in that one place for seven years. So it’s not like he didn’t give it a shot. That’s what I don’t get; it’s almost like he never gave them a chance. He was there for seven years. Some of the guys that have been giving criticism wanted to be traded from their teams back in their day, too. It’s just interesting.

“Listen, I’m kind of in between because I’m an old guy but I’m coaching these guys, and it is a different league in that way,” Rivers said. “It is scary that a guy can sort of hold everybody prisoner that way, but it’s in his rights. It’s the way the collective bargaining [agreement] is, so he can do whatever he wants to do. And by the way, there’s not a lot of LeBrons. There’s not a lot of players who would be able to do that. There’s not even going to be one a year, and it’s not going to be anything to that magnitude.”

Superstar team-building, though, won’t stop in Miami. Chris Paul already has made noise this summer about wanting out of New Orleans so he can team up with other superstars. The Carmelo Anthony saga is stalled for now, but his desire to leave Denver and pull a LeBron isn’t going away.

Though Rivers’ played in the ‘80s, few current NBA coaches are more in touch with what he calls “the AAU generation” than he is. He’s living it not only as a coach, but also as a father of two highly recruited players – sons Jeremiah, a point guard at Indiana, and Austin, who has all the top programs fawning over him.

“The first time I ever met Danny Ainge was when we made the All-Star team, and that was like six years in the league,” Rivers said. “I shook his hand before the game – begrudgingly – but I didn’t know him. I didn’t know any player. I knew the players on the Hawks and every player from Chicago. That’s it. Our kids, Jeremiah and Austin, they talk to each other every night – from the guy they played with in California and everything else – and they all know each other. And they all talk about; they’re doing it now, in college. They say, ‘Hey, let us two go here.’ It’s just different now and we’ve got to get used to it.”
Posted on: September 29, 2010 7:25 pm
 

Rivers on KG: 'He'll make or break us'

NEWPORT, R.I. – A year ago, Kevin Garnett was visibly limping up and down the court during training camp, trying to hide the fact that he still wasn’t fully recovered from a knee injury that sabotaged the Celtics’ title defense. On the second day of practice Wednesday, Garnett had no limp, no brace, and no signs of being the kind of defensive liability he was last season.

“Night and day,” coach Doc Rivers said. “I wish he would take a break in practice, but that’s another issue we’ll have to solve. He’s explosive again, especially defensively.”

Rivers must have felt like he was standing in a time machine Wednesday when Garnett grabbed a rebound, threw an outlet pass, and still beat his teammates down the floor. I didn’t see it with my own eyes – that portion of practice was closed to inquisitive observers – but Rivers’ account was believable.

“He couldn’t do that last year,” Rivers said. “Even if he could, he didn’t think he could.”

For the Celtics, it’s simple: To have any chance of getting past Miami to take another shot at the Lakers, they need Garnett to be the old Garnett – or, rather, the young Garnett. If nothing else, Rivers will settle for the healthy Garnett in his bid to get the Celtics back to No. 1 in the NBA in field-goal defense; they slipped to No. 9 last season.

“He’ll make or break us,” Rivers said.

That’s because during the Celtics’ surprising run to the Finals in June, Tom Thibodeau’s infamous defensive schemes were compromised and watered down due to Garnett’s lack of mobility. Gone were the days when Thibodeau could take full advantage of Garnett’s agility – not to mention his reputation as the best defensive player in the league – by letting Rajon Rondo attack the ball with halfcourt and midcourt traps supported by Garnett.

“We literally didn’t pressure the ball up the floor [last season],” Rivers said “When you think about it, you have Rondo on the floor and Kevin to shadow and we couldn’t do it last year. That was a huge concession for our defense, and it put way too much pressure on our defense. Teams were running their offense at 18-20 seconds. Two years ago, they didn’t get into their offense until 12 or 10. That was a huge difference for us.”
Posted on: September 20, 2010 11:04 am
 

Preseason Primers: Celtics


Ah, it seems like The Decision was only yesterday. This week, CBSSports.com will be rolling out our team-by-team training camp primers, which can be found here in the BergerSphere and in the informative, snarky, rollicking neighborhood known as the Facts & Rumors blog . I'm starting with the defending Eastern Conference champion Celtics. You know, the Vintage Big Three. (I'm so 2008.) In keeping with the cloak of secrecy surrounding the Miami Heat's training camp, you will need a security clearance to find out when we're dropping the camp primer on the South Beach version of the Big Three.

Boston Celtics

Training camp site: Newport, R.I.

Training camp starts: Sept. 28

Key additions: Shaquille O’Neal (free agent), Jermaine O’Neal (free agent), Von Wafer (free agent), Delonte West (free agent)

Key subtractions: Tony Allen (free agent), Shelden Williams (free agent). • Likely starting lineup: Rajon Rondo, PG; Ray Allen, SG; Paul Pierce, SF; Kevin Garnett, PF; Jermaine O’Neal, C.

Player to watch: Kevin Garnett. Getting the Big Ticket back to health is of no small importance for the defending Eastern Conference champs. During the Celtics’ surprising run to the NBA Finals, KG finally started to move around better and was able to log substantial minutes without any obvious consequences. Will Garnett ever get back the explosiveness that he possessed before his knees started breaking down? No way. But if he can lose the limp and get some of his lateral mobility back – which he showed glimpses of during the Finals – his impact on the Celtics’ success cannot be overstated.

Chemistry check: Under Doc Rivers’ leadership, the Celtics have been more adept than any team in the league at incorporating new (and mostly zany) personalities into an established locker room. If the Celtics can withstand the potentially disruptive additions of Stephon Marbury, Nate Robinson and Rasheed Wallace, then bringing Shaq into the fold should be easy. But it’s worth wondering how enthusiastic O’Neal will be if asked to accept a secondary role – first to Jermaine O’Neal, and then to Kendrick Perkins once Perk recovers from his knee injury. Prediction: If Shaq didn’t make waves in Cleveland with the way Mike Brown underutilized him, there’s no way he causes trouble for Rivers. One thing about Shaq is that he respects those who’ve earned it. As for Delonte West: If anyone can harness his talents and help him get his personal life under control, it’s Rivers.

Camp battles: Boston has plenty of frontcourt depth. What Rivers will be looking to establish in camp at Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I., is a dependable backcourt rotation. Tony Allen, who became a defensive stopper of sorts during the playoffs, is a big loss. Rivers will be counting on Daniels, Robinson, West and perhaps someone who isn’t on the roster yet to give him quality minutes behind Rondo and Ray Allen.

Long shots: The Celtics recently worked out Adam Morrison, Rashad McCants, Cuttino Mobley and Trenton Hassell. There isn't much room at the inn, but it's a sign of how badly Boston needs some backcourt depth. Mobley, who has been cleared by doctors to resume his career after retiring due to a heart ailment, is the longest of these long shots.

Biggest strength: Experience. From the championship in ’08, to Garnett’s injuries, to Glen Davis’ shirtless, bloody fistfight in a moving car, to Rondo’s growth as the undisputed leader of the Big Four, to Perkins’ series-altering knee injury in the ’10 Finals, the Celtics have been galvanized by experiencing ups and downs together. Rivers’ decision to return for another season, coupled with extensions signed by Pierce and Ray Allen, has set the table for one more run with the Celtics’ core group before age catches up to them.

Glaring weakness: The glass-half-full version of the above says experience, exshmerience: The Celtics are too old for this stuff. But that’s what everybody thought last year when Boston played .500 ball from Christmas Day to the end of the regular season. At that point, my preseason Celtics-Spurs prediction for the Finals was looking about as dead in the water as the Celtics were. As it turned out, I was only half wrong. I wouldn’t advise counting them out until someone beats a fully healthy Celtics team in a seven-game series.


Posted on: August 3, 2010 4:58 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2010 10:46 am
 

The Big Shamrock (UPDATE)

Shaquille O'Neal is about to take his talents to South Bay -- Boston, that is. The 38-year-old, 15-time All-Star is close to agreeing to a deal with the Celtics, a person with knowledge of the agreement confirmed to CBSSports.com.

Shaq, soon to be known as the Big Shamrock -- or, fill in your favorite nickname -- is on the verge of accepting the veteran's minimum starting at about $1.4 million, the person with knowledge of the deal said. The number of years was still being worked out Tuesday, but Comcast SportsNet-New England -- which first reported the Shaq-to-Celtics news -- said O'Neal is seeking a two-year deal. In all likelihood, the second year would be a player's option.

As Royce Young pointed out , the fit is ideal for both O'Neal and the Celtics. Shaq, who struck out in his bid for a fifth championship last season with LeBron James in Cleveland, wants one more shot with a veteran-laden, contending team. The Celtics, who already have added another O'Neal (Jermaine) to bolster their frontcourt, needed another experienced big man to help them navigate the early part of the regular season while Kendrick Perkins recovers from a knee injury sustained in the Finals against the Lakers.

Shaq had significant talks with the Hawks about bolstering their young roster with his experience, but the Celtics are a better fit. The no-nonsense, winning culture that Doc Rivers has created will be the perfect environment for Shaq to thrive with whatever abilities he has left in the tank. Based on his increased production in the playoffs, it appeared to me that Shaq had more to offer last season than former Cavs coach Mike Brown was willing to give him a chance to provide. Rivers, however, will have to wrestle with the glaring deficiency in Shaq's game at this stage of his career -- the same issue that caused Brown to skimp on his minutes last season: Shaq's defensive abilities have declined far more than his offensive talents.

Rivers will have to figure out a way to incorporate Shaq into the Celtics' team defensive concepts, a task that won't be easy with the departure of associate head coach Tom Thibodeau, architect of Boston's defense during the Big Three era. But once Perkins is back, Shaq's presence will give Rivers more flexibility with his front line in the playoffs than he's had in recent years. When he needs a basket on the block, he can go to Shaq. When the situation calls for a defensive presence, he can go with Perkins.

When he needs a free throw from either one, forget it -- but hey, nobody has a perfect plan for next season other than the Miami Heat. At least Shaq didn't wind up there.

In all seriousness, O'Neal's presence in Boston could represent the Big Antidote to Miami's Big Three of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The only glaring weakness in the Heat's rotation is at the center position, so Shaq-to-Boston makes even more sense when you consider that. And we won't have long to wait to see it happen, with the Heat and Celtics reportedly opening the 2010-11 regular season on Oct. 26 in Boston.






Posted on: July 5, 2010 3:28 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2010 7:04 pm
 

Free-Agent Buzz (UPDATE)

Ray Allen will give the Celtics “every chance of re-signing him,” but has been in contact with the top-tier free agents and wants to wait until they choose a team before making a decision, a person with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com Monday.

Allen’s conversations with Celtics brass have been “productive and cordial,” the person said. But Allen, like other free agents, can’t have a complete picture of his value or the best situation for him until the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh decide where to sign. It is not clear whether Allen, 34, has spoken with those players, but a person close to one high-profile free agent said Allen has been in contact via text message as the Big Three try to assemble a supporting cast for next season and beyond.

“I don’t think Player X has asked him, ‘If I sign here, will you come with me?’” the person said. “It hasn’t been in any formal way, but they’ve been in contact.”

Allen also has received “general inquiries” from several teams, including those with significant cap space, including the Heat, Bulls, Knicks and Nets, one of the sources said. The Celtics have been informed that Allen would prefer not to make a decision until the so-called cap-room teams find out which players they’ll be able to attract.

With Doc Rivers back for one more season and Paul Pierce returning on a four-year, $61 million deal, Allen will feel tremendous pull from within the Celtics’ organization to re-up for one more championship run. But Allen is seeking a three-year deal, and could be presented with some intriguing options once James and Wade decide where to play. According to people familiar with their strategies, both players have prioritized recruiting a low-post scorer and 3-point shooter as they decide whether to stay with their existing teams or venture elsewhere.

__

Now that the Knicks have agreed to terms with free-agent power forward Amar'e Stoudemire, the process of surrounding him with talent capable of winning a championship begins.

"The Knicks are back," Stoudemire told the assembled media at Madison Square Garden Monday after agreeing in principle to a five-year, $99.8 million deal.

Stoudemire also said that he'd be reaching out to LeBron James with a recruiting pitch. If that doesn't work, what are the Knicks' other options? Sources confirmed Monday that the primary target would be Carmelo Anthony, who'd be an unrestricted free agent next summer -- or available at the February trade deadline -- if he doesn't accept the Nuggets' three-year, $65 million extension offer. CBSSports.com first reported Saturday that there's "zero chance" Denver officials will agree to trade Anthony this summer.

In the meantime, the Knicks will continue searching for a pick-and-roll partner for Stoudemire to operate with -- and if it isn't James, free-agent point guard Raymond Felton will be a primary target. The Knicks have had discussions about a sign-and-trade for Felton that would involve their own free-agent power forward, David Lee, a person with knowledge of the talks said Monday. But the Bobcats are lukewarm on such a proposal for the same reason they've had zero conversations with Felton's agent, Tony Dutt, about re-signing him -- the luxury-tax implications. But don't rule out such a scenario yet; a person with close ties to Felton said Monday that the Bobcats point guard is intrigued by the possibility of pairing with Stoudemire in coach Mike D'Antoni's triple-threat, pick-and-roll offense.

__

Bobcats coach Larry Brown was not with the organization's summer-league team Monday when play opened in Orlando. But don't draw any conspiratorial conclusions. A person close to Brown told CBSSports.com that the coach is on a previously planned family vacation and that the team is proceeding under the assumption that Brown will return to coach the team next season.

"We're looking at it as status quo," the person said.
Posted on: July 3, 2010 11:45 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2010 12:02 am
 

Pierce, Celts finalize 4-year, $61 million deal


Paul Pierce is officially staying in green-and-white, finalizing his four-year, $61 million contract with the Celtics Saturday night, a person with knowledge of the agreement told CBSSports.com.

Pierce had opted out of the final year of his contract, which would've paid him $21.5 million, in part to give the Celtics flexibility to retain free agent Ray Allen and make a run at another championship with coach Doc Rivers, who announced this week he was returning for the final year of his contract. Pierce, 32, accepted less than the maximum the Celtics could have paid him as a 10-plus-year veteran, which was $96 million over four years. But a person familiar with the situation said the fourth year was fully guaranteed, which had been a sticking point in the negotiations.

Now, the Celtics will focus on retaining Allen, a move that would keep the Big Three -- and point guard Rajon Rondo -- intact for a run at the franchise's 18th championship. Also Saturday night, NBA.com's David Aldridge reported that forward Rasheed Wallace -- who informed the team after the NBA Finals that he planned to retire -- is possibly reconsidering that decision.

Posted on: July 1, 2010 8:33 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2010 9:35 am
 

Pierce, Celtics close to deal (UPDATE)

Paul Pierce, who opted out of the final year of his contract and walked away for $21.5 million, is close to agreeing to a new four-year, $61 million contract, a person familiar with the deal told CBSSports.com.
 
Two sources cautioned that there's still work to be done on details, but the framework of the deal has been agreed to and is expected to be completed by Saturday.

Pierce, 32, has been negotiating exclusively with the Celtics and was motivated by Doc Rivers’ return to the sideline and his desire to make one more championship run with the core group that has been together since Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett were acquired in blockbuster trades this time of year in 2007. The challenge for Pierce and Allen, both free agents, is that both will have to give up some money to fit into the Celtics’ financial plans.

“Guys are going to have to decide, ‘Do you want to chase every last dollar, or do you want to be a Celtic?’” a person familiar with the team’s strategy said.

The question for Pierce was whether to push for a four-year deal or accept a more realistic three-year deal. One of the key issues still to be resolved is the guaranteed amount in the fourth year, sources said. Pierce will turn 37 in the fourth year of the deal.

Nonetheless, it was sensible for Pierce to opt out for several reasons. For one, he wants to help keep Boston’s core together, and a longer-term deal would give him more money in the long run while giving the Celtics more flexibility. Like other free agents, he’s facing uncertainty about a collective bargaining agreement that will be more punitive towards the players next summer. If negotiations with the Celtics had broken down, Pierce would've had no trouble getting a commitment from teams unable to satisfy their needs in the current chase for free agents.

Though he’ll turn 33 next season, Pierce is still capable of being the primary scorer on a winning team and probably could put up better numbers on a team without as many offensive options as the Celtics have.

Posted on: July 1, 2010 6:34 pm
 

Free-agent acquisiiton of day: Phil Jackson


Nobody was staking out Phil Jackson's ranch in Montana Thursday. There were no banners, no protests, no fleets of Mercedes, no fancy presentations, and certainly no Gulfstream jets. Depending on what happens with all this LeBron-o-mania in Cleveland, the most impactful transaction of this crazy NBA summer may very well have happened somewhere far, far away.

Phil Jackson is coming back.

For days, a person with close ties to Jackson was saying that all signs pointed to Jackson coming back. There were no early signals from his season-ending physical exam that indicated his health would be the factor preventing him from returning. Once Jackson got the green light from doctors to coach one more season, the only other question was money. That, evidently, was handled, too.

How could it not be?

"The money will be there," the person with ties to Jackson said.

Jackson, 64, follows Doc Rivers from the precipice of vacation/semi-retirement and comes back for one more run at one more title. Rivers may have a few left him, though only one with the current core in Boston -- assuming that core stays together. For Jackson, this will be it.

"It'll be the last stand for me," he said in a statement released by the Lakers, "and I hope a grand one."

There was little doubt that Jackson would be back, barring any physical reasons preventing it. But with Jackson, with the drama-prone Lakers, you never know until the i's are dotted and t's crossed. The financial arrangement tied to Jackson's return was still being finalized Thursday, according to a source. But the bottom line is that the Lakers -- in the face of the possible pie-in-the-sky creation of some dream team in Miami, or other bizarre, free-agent creations -- will be back to forcefully defend their title.

All that is left to do, aside from exploring sign-and-trade creations of their own, is to re-sign Derek Fisher, who will do what I expect Paul Pierce and probably Ray Allen to do in Boston: Follow the best chance for another ring. That chance rests with Rivers in Boston and with Jackson in L.A.
 
As if there was ever any doubt.


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