Tag:Paul Pierce
Posted on: January 19, 2012 11:31 am
Edited on: January 19, 2012 1:17 pm

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3

 Danny Ainge says he'll consider "blowing up" the Big 3 of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore

In comments which should surprise absolutely no one, Danny Ainge told the Boston Globe Thursday that he's prepared to blow up the Big 3 of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce if they could find a deal which will help them transition into the next era of contention through younger players. The Celtics, who have yet to defeat a team over .500 and who snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over Toronto Wednesday night, have looked well past their prime. The team continues to insist it's a matter of conditioning and not necessarily age. But Ainge's comments clearly indicate that he's not willing to hold out until the Celtics' door has been slammed completely shut. From the Boston Globe:
Ainge said he would consider trades if they would net younger talent. He has maintained he does not want the franchise to go through a 10-year span of insignificance as it did following the departures of the previous Big Three of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish, who remained with the team past their primes.

"First of all it’s a different era," Ainge told the Globe. "I sat with Red (Auerbach) during a Christmas party (in the 1990s). Red was talking to Larry, Kevin, and myself and there was a lot of trade discussion at the time and Red actually shared some of the trade discussions. And I told Red what are you doing? Why are you waiting?

"He had a chance to trade Larry (to Indiana) for Chuck Person and Herb Williams and (Steve) Stipanovich and he had a chance to trade Kevin (to Dallas) for Detlef Schrempf and Sam Perkins. I was like are you kidding? I mean I feel that way now. If I were presented with those kind of deals for our aging veterans, it’s a done deal to continue the success."
via Ainge would consider Big Three trade - Boston.com

If you want to take anything of real note from these comments, it's that Ainge no longer has confidence and faith that this core can contend for a championship. That doesn't mean he's ruled it out, but it means that he's not completely comfortable with the core formed four years ago that sought multiple titles to the most storied franchise in the league (with apologies to the mighty Lakers), and to date have only brought one. That's one more than most players or franchises have ever obtained, but that's not the standard in Boston.

Paul Pierce seems to have very little lift or stamina, as evidenced by a pair of ugly missed layup attempts against the Raptors Wednesday night when Pierce was blocked by the rim. Pierce finished with eight points but did have seven assists vs. the Raptors. Meanwhile, Kevin Garnett has very little lift and is struggling for the first time in the are he has for so long dominated, defense. Ray Allen is still knocking down threes but even he of the ridiculous conditioning has shown the effects of age. It's hard to see this team improving on last year's progress which ended in a quick five games against the Miami Heat

Ainge is faced with tearing down the most successful team of his tenure, and trading multiple Hall of Famers who teams know have eroding abilities and who will likely not have the same motivation outside the warm, family environment of the Boston green, for young players and picks with which to build a new nucleus around Rajon Rondo with. Jeff Green was projected to be a part of that foundation, but his heart condition has left his career up in the air for the foreseeable future, and the Celtics have no other young assets. 

But that's not the only reason Ainge may not be able to get a deal done. The odds are strong the Celtics will go on a tear this season. They'll start playing better, get into better condition, start showing flashes of the old intensity on both sides of the ball. A few significant wins against top teams will create the urge for Aine to stay his hand. The problem is that defeating teams which may not honestly take them very seriously at this point in the regular season is drastically different from the playoffs, and after the brutal intensity of this compacted regular season, the Celtics simply may not have enough left in what is already a depleted tank to make a push once they get to the playoffs, having burned so much fuel just to reach the planet Postseason. 

It's an interesting question to ponder, if the Big 3 are broken up: did they fail? On the one hand, they validated all three of their Hall of Fame entry tickets with a championship, and in the age of free agency, one ring is rarer than ever. But this team had lofty expectations of a dynasty, and instead may walk away with just the one. How can you win a championship with a core, and make another Finals trip, and be considered a failure? The answer to that question lies with the legacy of the name of the front of their uniforms, and though history will judge them individually as giants among mortals, if this is the Big 3's last year together their legacy will be significantly less in stature than what we assumed it would be when confetti rained on them in 2008. 

(HT: SLAM Online)

Posted on: January 17, 2012 11:05 pm

Report: Teams inquiring about Paul Pierce?

By Matt Moore

The Celtics are in a free fall. They're not concerned, but maybe they should be. They have four wins against the following teams: Washingtong, Detroit, and New Jersey, teams which are a combined 7-33. Their eight losses encapsulate dominant playoff teams, solid middle-seed playoff teams, a struggling Dallas team, and the New Orleans Hornets. In short, the captain's saying not to panic, but he's also putting all his silverware in a bag. 

And the vultures are circling. Yahoo reports that teams have begun calling to inquire about the captain, the franchise, Paul Pierce:  
As Kevin Garnett and Allen become free agents this summer, money will peel away from the salary cap. Between then and now, the bigger question promises to be: Does ownership and general manager Danny Ainge go for the complete rebuild and trade Pierce before the March 15 deadline? Several contending teams have inquired about Pierce’s availability. As one Eastern Conference official said, there are “lots of calls asking if [Boston] will blow it up.”
via Celtics headed for rebuild, maybe sooner than later - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.

Trade Paul Pierce? Paul Pierce? The Paul Pierce? The Captain? The man that's been with the franchise since he was drafted, the icon of the team since the turn of the century? It seems incomprehensible. But of the players the Celtics have left, Pierce may have the best overall value. He has two more years left instead of the expiring contracts for the other members of the Big 3, but his game is also less effected by age. 

But what teams would be interested in Pierce? You're clearly looking for contenders, both because of his age and because you need a team he'll want to play for. These are hypothetical, but surveying the list of possible teams leaves few real possibilities. The Bulls have Luol Deng. The Heat have LeBron James. The Sixers wouldn't want to move anyone they have for Pierce who couldn't get them to the next level. The Pacers have Danny Granger. The Hawks don't need more salary. The Clippers have Caron Butler. The Spurs will get Manu Ginobili back. The Lakers... no. Don't even think about it. Too weird.

So it's unlikely Pierce goes anywhere. The Celtics can either amnesty Pierce this summer or just live with him on the books. They're clearing enough space to pull in a marquee free agent. They have room to rebuild. And you can't trade Pierce. You just don't do that.

Do you? 
Posted on: January 16, 2012 11:21 am

Perkins says playing Celtics will still be hard

By Matt Moore

The Kendrick Perkins trade is winding up like that break-up that people never recover from for both the Celtics and Perkins. This is like "The Notebook" at this point, and Ryan Gosling is Perkins. Enjoy that image. The truth is, both the Celtics and Perkins continue to seem hurt by how the entire thing went down last February when Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers decided that Perkins' price tag in free agency would have been too high and elected to move him for Jeff Green. The move broke up a team that famously had never lost a playoff series with the starting lineup of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Perkins healthy and active. 

And from a feature Sports Illustrated did with Perkins on his return to Beantown Monday, you can tell that the whole experience still sticks with Perkins, despite the fact that he played in the Western Conference Playoffs with the Thunder last year.  
"I'm kind of nervous," Perkins said. "I don't know what to expect. It's not like I have been around the league. I came there as an 18-year-old out of high school and was a Celtic for eight years. We went through the good times, the bad times, and the city really embraced me. I got close to a lot of people in that city and it was really hard to leave.

"Going back for the first time, I don't know what to expect. My approach is I want to win the game, but at the same time it is kind of hard with so many friends on the other side. Can I really be Perk out there? Can I really play my style? [Kevin Garnett] is my mentor. Ray [Allen] and Paul [Pierce] are my friends. Doc, we have a father-son relationship. [Rajon] Rondo, we talk every day. It's going to be hard."
via Thunder center Kendrick Perkins nervously awaits return to Boston - Chris Mannix - SI.com.

It's got to be hard. Leaving people you care about is always hard. 

But... Perkins is with the Thunder now. He's got a legitimate shot at a championship. And if that happens, it should be just as special as it would have been with the Celtics (not as special as the first one he won, nothing's as special as the first). Perkins needs to let Boston go. He's likely going to play for more teams in his career and he may never get back to Boston. It was special, something to remember, to treasure. His relationship with those guys goes beyond basketball and in the offseason he can hang out with them as much as he wants. 

But Monday, it's time to block all that out and go hard. He has a professional obligation to the Thunder. His teammates are counting on him. There's a point where he just has to put his personal feelings aside and go compete. Kevin Garnett went after the Timberwolves in his first trip back as hard as you'll ever see him, popping his jersey and jawing at the same teammates who he played alongside for years. That's the reality of professional sports, as hard as that is. 

The Celtics' run with Perkins is very much over. But the Thunder believe in him. It's time he gave them the same committment mentally... and emotionally. 
Posted on: December 30, 2011 1:02 pm

Paul Pierce to return Friday?

By Matt Moore

Paul Pierce has missed the Celtics first three games, all losses, with a bruised heel. But he could be headed back for Boston's season opener Friday night. 

Pierce tweeted on Thursday: "I'm close very very close very."

If we examine Pierce's statement on the Very Scale, we see that he is very close. The Celtics have listed him as day-to-day Friday and he'll likely be a game-time decision. 

The Celtics badly need Pierce back, not just for scoring, but as an offensive creator outside of Rondo. The Celtics were down by 20-plus to Miami before a late rally fell short, then were obliterated the following neight in New Orleans against a Hornets team without Eric Gordon. The Celtics can survive an early slump, but not an abject disaster.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com says that Pierce coming back will be when we can really evaluate whether the Celtics are in trouble or not. 
You can't fully evaluate the Celtics until they get Paul Pierce back. Even then, it's going to be a bit of a horror show at times for Boston, with old bodies stressed by the schedule and not enough depth to cover it up. In a shortened season, three- and four-game losing streaks certainly are magnified. But as long as Boston's core remains healthy and gets them through the season, they'll be there at the end.
via Friday 5 with KB: (Too) Early returns - CBSSports.com.

The Pistons are winless this season. 
Posted on: December 27, 2011 1:02 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2011 1:02 pm

Pierce doubtful against Heat Tuesday

Posted by Royce Young

Paul Pierce has already missed one game because of a bruised heel and it's sounding like he'll miss a second, this one against the Heat. Celtics coach Doc Rivers told reporters Tuesday at Boston's shootaround he didn't believe Pierce would be ready to go.

"He worked out (Monday), went pretty well," Rivers said. "He didn't get as sore, so that's a good sign. He's not going to play tonight -- I doubt it, at least."

Pierce sat out Sunday's opener against the Knicks. He did participate in Boston's shootaround though and is just listed as doubtful.

If Pierce doesn't play, Sasha Pavlovic is again expected to start in his place. In Sunday's game versus the Knicks, Pavlovic went scoreless.
Posted on: December 25, 2011 5:19 pm
Edited on: December 25, 2011 9:41 pm

Theory and Proof: Knicks beat Celts with defense

By Matt Moore

Carmelo AnthonyTheory: The Knicks are still learning defense but they have a path to it.

Proof: For a quarter it certainly looked like the Knicks were the same team they always have been under Mike D'Antoni. But excepting the third quarter 35-17 meltdown by the New York Knicks, the home team put in the effort and technique on the defensive end, and that's what led to their two-point win over the same team who swept them in last year's playoffs, the Boston Celtics. Well, that and Carmelo Anthony.

But outside of that horrific run to start the second half, the Knicks showed what you want to see if you're a New York fan. They were active defensively, especially when Tyson Chandler was in the game. They repeatedly attacked the Celtics at the rim (11 blocked shots). They held a huge advanteage on the offensive glass until the third quarter which accounts for a signifianct portion of Boston's advantage on the glass.

There was a different feel for the Knicks, who wound up winning the game by defending a Kevin Garnett fadeaway jumper well enough. The Knicks also flashed a new attitude, repeatedly standing up to Boston's bullying approach, concluding with Bill Walker getting in Garnett's grill after his miss, then taking a shot to the throat from Garnett. This is an ugly, tense, rivalry that gets nastier with every game.

And for once, it looks like the Knicks are ready to bow up to the bullies. Throw in the best scoring frontcourt in the league and the Knicks have their season off to the start they wanted. Even despite that third quarter.
Posted on: December 24, 2011 4:41 pm
Edited on: December 25, 2011 11:44 am

Paul Pierce out for Christmas opener at Knicks

By Matt Moore and Ben Golliver.

Update (Christmas morning)
: Boston.com reports that Celtics forward Paul Pierce has been ruled "out" for the Christmas Day season opener against the New York Knicks because of the heel injury. Celtics forward Sasha Pavlovic will get the start.

Original post: Maybe Paul Pierce, who has missed Celtics workouts because of a bruised heel, is just being a good teammate. Maybe he's just doing it for moral support. But given his history of saying he's out and then suddenly appearing on the floor, this news has to give the Knicks and all Celtics fans pause. 

The Celtics' twitter account posted Saturday that Pierce will join the team in New York for its opener Sunday against the Knicks. Doc Rivers had said Pierce was listed as "doubtful" for the game earlier this week. 

Pierce's absence would be devastating for the Celtics who are thin at small forward anyway, particularly after Jeff Green's heart condition was revealed to force him into missing the season. Carmelo Anthony has to be not only accounted for defensively, but matched in terms of scoring output, since the odds of shutting down Anthony are slim. The Celtics will miss Pierce on multiple levels if out, however.

The Celtics have been known in the past to say a player is out before they decide to take the floor. But the Celtics might choose to be cautious considering the strain the upcoming shortened season may have on Pierce and the other starters. The objective is to make the playoffs. The big picture has to come first for a team this thin and with this much age on its stars.
Posted on: December 21, 2011 1:32 pm

Kris Humphries voted NBA's most disliked player

Posted by Royce Young

Celebrate Kris Humphries, you just beat out LeBron James for something. Well, maybe you should check what that something is first.

According to Forbes, via a poll conducted Nielsen and E-Poll Market Research, Humphries was voted the NBA's most disliked player. Fifty percent voted to dislike Humphries while No. 2, LeBron, picked up 48 percent. I guess people either were really mad about the 72-day Kim Kardashian marriage or there are a lot of sympathetic people towards Kim K. I have a feeling it's not the latter.

“He’s been on five magazine covers, all in a negative light,” Stephen Master, VP at Nielsen Sports, which helped run the survey, told Forbes.  “It’s all so recent, he’s gotten all this publicity for something other than basketball talent.”

It is surprising that a little reality show and Hollywood marriage would bump Humphries all the way up this list topping people like LeBron, Carmelo Anthony, Tony Parker (who divorced from actress Eva Longoria with reports of cheating), Kobe Bryant (who is getting divorced) and Chris Bosh.

I'm noticing a theme though: NBA fans don't like divorce, I guess.

Here's the full top 10:

1. Kris Humphries (50 percent dislike)
2. LeBron James (48 percent)
3. Kobe Bryant (45 percent)
4. Tony Parker (37 percent)
5. Metta World Peace (36 percent)
6. Chris Bosh (34 percent)
7. Carmelo Anthony (27 percent)
8. Paul Pierce (25 percent)
9. Dwyane Wade (23 percent)
10. Lamar Odom (21 percent)

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