Posted on: December 23, 2009 4:57 pm
Kevin Garnett missed Tuesday night's game against Indiana with a thigh bruise. Pretty innocuous stuff. But on Wednesday came news that Paul Pierce underwent an arthroscopic irrigation on his right knee to clean an infection.
That doesn't sound good at all.
Pierce will miss the Celtics' four-game road trip, which begins with Friday's nationally televised Christmas Day game against Orlando. Though no structural damage was found in Pierce's knee, the Celtics say he could be sidelined up to two weeks.
The Celtics (22-5) have the best record in the East and second-best in the league after the Lakers (23-4). Friday's game could've been a chance to avenge a home loss to the Magic back in November. Instead, they find themselves limping toward 2010 with their fingers crossed.
Both KG and Pierce presumably will be fine. But it's worth remembering at this point that age and brittle bones are not the Celtics' friends. Among the elite teams, nobody relies more on aging veterans than the Celtics.
Pierce is 32 and has logged more than 31,000 minutes in the NBA. Garnett will turn 34 during the playoffs, and his odometer reads 40,000 and counting. Ray Allen is 34 and has launched more than 15,000 shots -- and that's not counting the tens of thousands in practice. Rasheed Wallace is 35 and has more than 1,000 NBA games in his rear-view mirror. And let's face it, Sheed isn't going to be signed as a pitchman for a longevity clinic any time soon.
I'm not suggesting that KG's bruise and Pierce's infected knee are cause for grave concern. I'm just noting that, you know, these guys are old.
Posted on: July 2, 2009 11:49 am
Edited on: July 2, 2009 5:39 pm
The Celtics' star-laden recruiting pitch for Rasheed Wallace is occurring Thursday afternoon in Detroit. CBSSports.com has learned that Celtics president Danny Ainge, apparently flanked by his Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce, will court the former Pistons forward in a matter of hours.
Boston is the first team Wallace will meet with as he weighs his free-agent options. The Celtics' contingent had expressed a desire to meet face-to-face with Wallace as soon as the free-agent negotiating period opened at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, but it was decided that the meeting would take place Thursday, a person with knowledge of the situation said. Celtics managing partner Wyc Grousbeck also is believed to be on the trip.
Wallace's camp has heard from eight or nine teams with interest in signing him, but Wallace will narrow the list down based on the teams' chances of making a deep playoff run and how he will fit in. The Celtics, Cavaliers, Spurs, and Lakers certainly fit those criteria and have interest. Houston initially was a team that intrigued Wallace, but that interest has waned with the news that Yao Ming could miss the entire 2009-10 season with a broken foot. Although Denver officials are big fans of Wallace -- GM Mark Warkentien and Wallace were together in Portland -- the Nuggets are not among the teams that have expressed interest.
UPDATE: The Celtics offered Wallace a contract at the anticipated mid-level exception after the three-hour meeting, according to the Boston Globe. The Big Three, Ainge, Grousbeck, and coach Doc Rivers attended the meeting.
Posted on: June 23, 2009 5:02 pm
Even when a reputable, tireless, connected NBA reporter comes out with a trade that was discussed -- and goes to great lengths to make it clear that it was discussed and went nowhere -- the story is met with derision.
This is why the trade deadline and the draft are my least favorite times of year. It's hard enough to separate the fact from the fiction. When facts get thrown in the paper-shredder with yesterday's mail, it becomes even more confusing.
Fact: The Pistons and Celtics discussed a trade whose primary pieces included Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen going to Detroit for Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to CBSSports.com. Also fact: It never got to the point of being discussed by the men who ultimately would've made the decision, Danny Ainge and Joe Dumars.
Also fact: This is the way it was reported by Yahoo! Sports Tuesday -- as a dead-end proposal that went nowhere. And yet everyone comes out of the woodwork now to say what a bad idea it would've been for both teams.
No kidding. That's why it didn't go anywhere.
"Very preliminary," was how my source described it.
But this is the world in which we live. It's great and thrilling and competitive, and it's also quite stupid sometimes.
But I digress.
The fact that the names Allen and Rondo would even be discussed in a Celtics trade scenario tells you something. For one, it tells you that teams are willing to discuss trading anybody, no matter what they say. Discussing and doing are two very different things. But it also tells you that the Celtics, who meandered through the wilderness for years before scoring Allen and Kevin Garnett in two perfect-storm trade scenarios, have no desire to get lost like that ever again. And when you look at some of the numbers on their books going forward -- Garnett and Paul Pierce owed more than $40 million in 2010-11 -- you can understand why they'd at least discuss a scenario that would soften the landing.
But when I see Stuckey's name in this scenario, I'm not so sure it was the Celtics who walked away before elevating the discussion to the top executives. The Pistons traded Chauncey Billups because A) It gave them massive amounts of cap space; and B) They had Stuckey. Can't see them trading him now.
For his part, Ainge met with the Boston area media at the Celtics' training facility in Waltham, Mass., Tuesday morning and got right to work debunking the Pistons trade talk.
"I've heard speculation we're dissatisfied with [Rondo]," Ainge said. "We're going to trade him because he was late for a playoff game? That's not true. The first criteria that any trade rumor has to pass: Is it going to help us win a championship this year?"
Ainge, who has the 58th pick in the draft, also said this, according to the Celtics' official Twitter page: "Most of the players in the first round I wouldn't trade for J.R. Giddens or Bill Walker."
Ouch. A lot of future D-League All-Stars and slam-dunk champions available, which explains why almost every team in the top 10 after the Clippers is looking to trade down.
Basically, it is why every team is willing to explore anything over the next 48 hours.
"It could be crazy," one Eastern Conference GM said of the trades that could go down Thursday night.
One way or another, it always is.
Posted on: March 27, 2009 11:08 pm
ATLANTA -- After a brutal stretch of eight games in 13 days -- six of them on the road -- have the Celtics survived the brunt of their injury woes? Or is it just getting started again?
The Celtics' nightmare stretch -- they were 5-3, including Friday night's 99-93 victory over the Hawks -- ended on the same night Kevin Garnett's comeback from a sprained right knee was aborted. Doc Rivers said before the game Garnett's absence could be extensive, and nobody seems to be able to say where the tipping point is between getting healthy for the playoffs and not having enough time to get ready for them.
"I don't know what point that is," Rivers said. "It's just uncharted waters. We just don't know the right answer there. The great news for us is that we have a ton of practice days. And even if we make the decision to rest him longer, we can still use him in some of our skeleton offense and defensive stuff in practice to get him time, where before he couldn't even be on the floor. Coming back this time, he had no practice time, nothing. Coming back this way, if we did do that, at least he could come back with practice under his belt and timing under his belt."
With Rajon Rondo still limping with an ankle injury, Garnett out of the lineup again after a four-game cameo, and Leon Powe on the shelf with a sprained right knee, the only signs of optimism come from the schedule. The Celtics are straring at five straight home games and only two more road games -- and none until April 12.
"Hopefully, he can just be healthy for the playoffs," Paul Pierce said. "That's the main concern."
That's been easy to say for a while now, because the playoffs are far enough way. As they get closer, the concern heightens. If the champs are going to defend their title, they need to be whole.
"Honestly, I don't think that way," Ray Allen said. "Whoever lines up on the floor, that's who we have. ... I just want him to get healthy. When Kev gets back, that's when we'll focus on having him out there. But right now, we don't have him."
Posted on: March 18, 2009 6:39 pm
BOSTON -- I'm here in Beantown to witness the systematic destruction of the defending NBA champions.
First, the injury news: Leon Powe, Boston's best interior player in Kevin Garnett's absence, could miss "a couple of weeks" with a sprained right knee, coach Doc Rivers said Wednesday night before the Celtics' game against the Miami Heat. Ray Allen also is out with a hyperextended elbow. Glen "Big Baby" Davis returns to the starting lineup after missing the past three games with a sprained ankle. Rajon Rondo also is struggling with a sprained ankle, and will be doing so for the rest of the season.
And those weren't even the news flashes. Rivers seemed decidedly less optimistic that Garnett would return Friday at San Antonio or Saturday at Memphis. And he conceded the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference to Cleveland before the game, saying, "We're not gonna catch Cleveland."
Now the Celts have to put themselves back together in time to hold off Orlando for the second seed.
Oh, by the way: Dwyane Wade is out Wednesday night with a strained right hip flexor. This was the only piece of news that made Rivers smile.
"He should never play, ever again, against us," Rivers said. "It's a Marquette thing."
Shoot, at this point, Marquette could beat both the Celtics and the Heat.
I'm kidding, of course, but the race for the top three seeds in the East has turned into a contest to see which team can dress eight healthy players. Cleveland absorbed a blow, too, on Wednesday with news that Wally Szczerbiak will miss 2-3 weeks with a sprained left knee.
Anyone in favor of a shortened regular season?
Posted on: February 5, 2009 6:39 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2009 8:22 pm
LeBron James is not going to like this.
If you read this, you know where LeBron stands on this topic. Having one All-Star when the other elite teams have at least two each is a "smack in the face," he said.
Allen is very deserving. It's his ninth All-Star selection, and he's averaging 18.1 points, 2.8 assists, and is shooting 50 percent from the field and 41 percent from three. Mo Williams is averaging 17.1 points, 4.2 assists, and is shooting 46 percent from the field and 39 percent from three.
Mo has been a huge part of what's made the Cavs dominant this season. But I'm sorry, LeBron. This was the right choice. Regardless of how many All-Stars or perceived All-Stars are on each team, Allen deserves to be on.
I had Allen and Nelson on my All-Star reserves -- Nelson at guard and Allen at the wild-card spot with Devin Harris. So with Nelson hurt, I would've had a spot for Williams. If the coaches had voted like me and I were the commissioner, the choice would've been between Williams and David Lee. In that case, I probably would've chosen Williams.
Under the circumstances, Allen is the right choice. If LeBron wanted to play with a lot of All-Stars, he should've asked Leon Rose to get him traded to the Celtics.
Posted on: December 17, 2008 12:26 pm
You know something is up when a Hawks game is (almost) sold out.
The Celtics are in Atlanta Wednesday night for their first meeting with the Hawks since they needed Paul Pierce's dramatic fallaway jumper at the buzzer to secure a 103-102 victory on Nov. 12. Boston is riding a 15-game winning streak, but lost all three games in Atlanta during the playoffs last season. The Hawks have won seven straight at home and nine of 10, including a 97-92 victory over Cleveland Saturday night -- snapping the Cavs' 11-game winning streak.
SLAM opens the floor to debate as to whether you can call Celtics-Hawks a rivalry yet. A promo on the Hawks' website has caught the Celtics' attention, with Ray Allen saying, "The building is going to be a playoff atmosphere so we need to go down there with a different mindset."
(Here's the promo, which apparently provided the Celtics with a few laughs. It quoted Kevin Garnett saying, "I wouldn't call it a rivalry," and showed a highlight reel that makes it appear that the Hawks won the first-round series.)