Archive for September, 2007

Io Amare Italia!!!!!
September 30, 2007

Breaking News: Redsarmy has learned the Celtics will play one of their exhibition games inside the Roman coloseum. Okay….that’s essere falso. Sorry, I just can’t help myself. I’m giddy with eccitazione. (It’s a good thing neither John nor I went to Europe to cover the Celtics. Think Chevy Chase in European vacation.)

Now let’s get down to azienda. The C’s will be in Europe for two weeks and my first question is, “Is this good or scarso?” Here’s Paul Pierce’s take:

It’s just going to be just us out there. We’re going to have to be together 24/7. It’s going to give us a chance to get to know one another and get a feel for one another on and off the court.”

Sold. The Spurs and Suns both took part in Europe exhibition games last season, and they turned out just fine. In other words, I’m not worried about the paparazzi catching Pierce and Garnett in a Greek bath house.

Sticking with the Roman theme, Caesers Palace has the Celtics at 6-to-1 odds to win the championship.

 “The Celtics are still a popular choice to win the NBA championship; they currently sit at 6-1 and are the fourth team behind the Spurs, Mavs, and Suns. They are the same as the Bulls at 6-1 and are co-favorites with the Bulls to win the East.”

Sold again. And here’s another interesting note from Peter May (he actually delivered a decent column this week.)

Doc Rivers refused to ID the player last year who, before the start of the season, predicted the Celtics would win the NBA title in a team meeting. “I will say this,” Rivers said. “He’s not here anymore.” . .

My guess is Delonte West. He was always an ottimista. Your guesses?

Other Celtics coverage: Mark Murphy talks with Doc | Bulpett on the trip

Fraud Day
September 29, 2007

Fraud Day – that’s how Celtics broadcaster Cedric Maxwell described Media day. He’s right….it’s just more corny pictures and fluff for the bandwagoners. Even Dan Shaughnessy was there. Are Garnett, Pierce and Allen joined at the hip? You’d think that was the case because once again, the team’s PR people, rolled them out as a group. We get it, there are three superstars. The new Big 3. Now stop ramming it down our throats like the Red Sox do. If Wyc rolls out a dating show or starts a Czar of Celtics Nation campaign I will start watching Bruins games. Seriously.

So I’m not going to bore you with all the meaningless quotes that we heard before from these guys. I’m going right to the important stuff. Like how Tony Allen is doing.

 On how Allen has looked in workouts, Rivers said, “When he’s on the floor by himself, he dunks and he’s the Tony Allen we know. But when he gets on the floor 5 on 5, he’s a shooter and he doesn’t want to dunk in traffic. It’s mental and it’s [tough] to get through.”

We know because we saw it two seasons ago following Tony’s first knee surgery. Like I said before, Allen won’t be Allen until February or so.

Here’s the coverage provided by the locals: Rondo is confident | Big Ticket’s winning number | C’s making noise | 3’s not a crowd | Media Day photo gallery  In other NBA news: No extension for Baron | Iggy might get his | Marion trade rumors | Juwan wants trade

The Celtics are headed for Europe today following a morning practice. As a treat to our loyal readers, I’m going to put to blog in Italian for the weekend. (You wouldn’t want me to waste everything I learned from my high school Italian teacher, would you?) Ciao for now!

And one final note, congrats to the Red Sox who clinched their first division title in 12 years.

Don’t Forget Ray-Ray
September 28, 2007

Rayl AllenRemember this guy? Yeah, Ray Allen. Seems like the quiet, unassuming assassin from beyond the arc has already slipped out of the spotlight. You can’t blame Celtics fans. We’re still all worked up about Kevin Garnett. And Paul Pierce has spoken out more this off-season. (Can you blame him? There’s finally interest in his team.) Our pal over at Hoopsworld want us to remember that Ray-Ray is still an integral part of this team.

So last week, Esteban Batista says the Celtics were out of the running for his services. His agent made it seem like other teams were stepping up to the plate. Now he signs a non-guaranteed deal with the C’s? Explain that one to me.

In a tell-me-something-I-don’t-know column, the Herald’s Steve Bulpett shows us how much money Pierce, Allen and Garnett have and reminds us of the only thing they don’t have; a championship. And we’re learning that the agent for Cavs forward Anderson Varejao wants $10 million per year. This for a dude who averaged 7 points and 7 rebounds last year? Call me crazy….

For those who care, Johnny K is on “vacation” for the next few days. He might look a bit refreshed, almost younger, when he returns.

It’s This… Or Higher Ticket Prices
September 27, 2007

Paul Pierce is brought to you by...We all have a very visceral reaction to commercialism in sports.  To put it more plainly… a lot of us f’in hate it.  We’re all sick of Corporate Name Ballpark and Financial Institution Stadium.  But it’s here to stay… and it’s getting worse.  The Celtics are shopping their SEASON around… looking for “presenting sponsors”

The deal, should one come, would be more costly for the company that gets involved than any other Celtics sponsorship. The sponsor’s logo would be splashed on everything from game tickets to Celtics’ e-mails and letterhead. The team won’t disclose how much it is seeking from a season sponsor but said it would likely cost in the millions.

Is it annoying?  Yes.  But this is the world in which we live.  And if this is what we need to endure to avoid higher ticket prices, then I’m all for it.  The Celtics could be like the Red Sox… and they could try to fleece fans for every cent by raising ticket prices every year… AND sponsoring every aspect of their team. 

panathanaikos jerseyAnd here’s the funny thing.  In the most capitalistic country in the world… US sports are the last bastion of NON-Commercialism.  I mean, take a look at this basketball jersey from the Greek professional team, Panathanaikos.  The team’s logo is that little thing on the top right.  The biggest thing on the jersey is the Nokia logo.  That’s how it is all over the world.  English Premier League soccer might be the biggest, most well known league in the world… and their jerseys are all billboards (like this one, or this one… Hell… even the LEAGUE is sponsored).  The point is… I know a lot of people are going to be outraged over the Celtics selling a season sponsorship.  But we shouldn’t be.  Have the Patriots been cheapened at all because their stadium is sponsored?  Did anyone notice that when the Red Sox played the White Sox in Chicago, their games started at 7:11 because Seven11 sponsored the start time? 

If someone wants to pay to sponsor the C’s season… then go for it.  As long as the money from those sponsorships means regular people aren’t further priced out of NBA games, then I’m happy.  If these sponsorships are followed with ticket price increases, the these owners need to be bashed unmercifully.

Globe: More on ESTEBAN! and Jones signings  | Herald: Ainge’s plan takes flight  |  Celtics give fans hope  |  C’s close to selling out home games  |  Doc Rivers was hanging out with Jerry Seinfeld  |  New Big 3 were shooting an Ad in NYC  |  True Hoop’s Henry Abbot says the ads will look good  |  Paul Pierce’s conference call  |  Hey… Charley Rosen is handing out awards (he’s already won our award for “favorite nudist douchebag”)

ESTEBAN!
September 26, 2007

Stephen Colbert is.... ESTEBAN!

The Celtics signed ESTEBAN! to a non-guaranteed contract today.  It means they’ll bring 17 players to Europe when they start camp.   Oh… and they signed Dahntay Jones too. 

Over on GotGarnett… Matty G is comparing Randy Moss and Kevin Garnett.  Considering the way Randy Moss is bitch slapping the NFL… that’s a comparison I like.  Did you know that Tom Brady has thrown to Moss 23 times?  Did you know he’s caught 22 of those passes?  Yeah.  Wow.

Paul Learns A Lesson
September 26, 2007

paul pierce

You  know… it’s easy to sit there and say “I want to be the man.”  All these NBA players come into the league thinking they’re going to be the one person to turn around a team.  But they rarely ever do. 

Tell me… who alone has carried their team to great success?  I’ll start:  LeBron James.  I’ll even give you Tim Duncan… but only to a degree… because he had a hall of famer in David Robinson to help him.  Kobe had Shaq… and his team hasn’t done squat since Shaq left. 

So it’s no wonder Paul Pierce came to a “stunning” realization last season:  “I can’t do it alone”

“I got to that point (last) season,” he said of life before the acquisitions of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. “I didn’t know which direction my career would go in. I definitely felt like I had been left on an island, especially when I got hurt.

“I didn’t realize how much I meant to our club until then, and that was way too much of a burden to take on when it was time to look ahead.”

But now the burden has been lifted.  KG and Ray Allen are here… and Paul is ready to give up the big individual act.  It starts with looking forward to the trip to Europe.  It will be a good chance for the team to jell.

Hey… the KG might not be the last blockbuster trade out there.  Shawn Marion is sick of hearing his name in trade rumors… so now he says he wants out.  I’ll bet Jen over at Jen’s Free Throws is distraught over this. 

Are We Really Signing Someone Else?
September 24, 2007

eric williamsIf you’re a member of the Celtics without a guaranteed contract… this item might worry you.  The Celtics are working out big men… including former fave Eric Williams… and… ESTEBAN! (I refuse to use his last name from now on… I like it better this way)

Former Celtic Eric Williams, journeymen big men Kelvin Cato and Linton Johnson, and Esteban Batista, the first Uruguayan to ever play in the NBA, all worked out for the Celtics yesterday.

All are expected to continue their workouts today, with coach Doc Rivers and his staff expected to invite at least one and quite possibly two to training camp.

The C’s have 15 players under contract… which is the maximum.  I’m not going to begrudge them for doing their due dilligence and bringing in more potential talent.  This could get interesting.  To the best of my knowledge… Glen Davis, Gabe Pruitt and Jackie Manuel are not guaranteed.  Brandon Wallace is partially guaranteed.  If the C’s do bring in a big… and ESTEBAN! is looking for a guaranteed deal… I’m guessing it’s Manuel who is the odd-man out.  I just guessing here… but I think Manuel was brought in as Tony Allen insurance… and if TA is really progressing like we think… and with the arrival of James Posey… Manuel is expendable.  I’m also going to assume this cut will be made early… in order to give Manuel the courtesy of having time to sign with someone else.

— Morning Update —

Just a few links to cap off this post:

On GotGarnett:  One Week Away

Herald: C’s check out Williams  |  Globe: C’s still looking to fill big shoes  |  Loy’s Place:  Celtics Pride is back  |  WBZ TV Video:  Pierce and KG at the Pats game (Pierce has a crappy arm.  Sorry Paul)

It’s Good To Be Chuck
September 24, 2007

chuck posterIt is such a good time to be Chuck McKenney.  They made a movie about his marriage to Jessica Alba (I mean… that was a wild 3 weeks)… and gave the lead to the moderately funny Dane Cook…. which is perfect because Chuck is occasionally humorous.

NBC also picked up the sit com about his zany current life as the leader of the Geek Squad/Reluctant Spy who saves the world with a hot blond.  Here’s a little background:  in real life, the blonde is a guy in drag.  It didn’t have to be… but Chuck specifically asked for it.

What does this have to do with anything?  Absolutely nada.  I didn’t feel like writing chuck showanything in particular about the Celtics… and there’s no real C’s news right now.  I noticed all this Chuck stuff and the jealousy humor just hit me.  To borrow from VH1… Chuck is having the Best Week Ever.

Hey… Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were at the Pats game yesterday… showing everyone why they play basketball

Big Al Opens Up
September 23, 2007

We all loved Al Jefferson, but the break-up was relatively pain free. When your team acquires two future Hall of Famers and becomes instant title contenders, it’s hard (and foolish) to hold onto the past. Big Al shares a piece of his mind in an interview with the Herald’s Mark Murphy. We learn how he’s absorbing low-post advice from the master, Kevin McHale. Al also gives Danny Ainge credit for giving him a heads-up on the Garnett trade. But the tabloid-lovin’, gossip-queen part of me wants to hear what Al has to say about Mark Blount. Because when Blount’s dead weight was shipped out of Boston, Jefferson said he was happy to be free of the overpaid center’s negative influence. So what is Al saying now, since he has to play next to that bag of crap?

“From my point of view Blount is cool,” he said. “Actually, he was one of the guys I looked up to as a rookie. It’s about getting together now.

“That whole situation was a big misunderstanding,” said Jefferson. “I didn’t say those things that were in that story. At the end of the day, I look forward to getting back on the court with all of these guys.

When athletes are backed into a corner, the easy way out is to blame the media. It must be in the rookie handbook or something. Al is the star of that team now. He should confront Blount and say, “That sh*t you pulled in Boston won’t fly here anymore. This is my team. Get on board or get out.”

Hoopworld’s Librado (what a name!) Wright tries to convince us that Paul Pierce will still be “the guy” even though Kevin Garnett is around. I love Paul but I’m really not sure about this. It will be interesting to see how this plays out during the first close game. Let us know what you think.

In other news: Esteban Batista’s agent now says the Celtics are back in the mix (I’m guessing this has something to do with the fact Phoenix is dragging their feet on a deal) | KG loves soccer and boxing | Baron Davis wants an extension (and a whole bunch of useless info, courtesy of Peter May

Larry Brown Says No Thanks
September 22, 2007

larry brownWe’re learning that Doc Rivers offered Larry “I can never finish what I started” Brown a job as an assistant coach on his staff. Say what?

“The way we left it, I told Doc I was 90 percent sure I was coming,” says Brown. But Brown changed his mind after discussing the Boston offer with 76ers owner Ed Snider, who convinced Brown to remain as executive VP in charge of basketball.

And for that, I say thank you to Ed Snider. Doc basically offered the job to the man who might have replaced him had the team struggled this season. Look, Larry Brown is a great  coach (click for resume) who won a championship with the Pistons in 2004. But there’s always a sh*t-storm of controversy surrounding this guy. In my expert opinion, he’s not worth the trouble.

In other news, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chauncey Billups, Michael Redd and Jason Kidd on the newly-improved Celtics and who’s the favorite in the East | ESPN ranks best moves of summer | Troy Hudson finds work |