Heinsohn Listened to Fans During Games

October 7, 2005

WALTHAM Before practice yesterday, none of the current Celtics knew about Larry Siegfried . But after a few stories from Tommy Heinsohn at the end of the workout, the players couldn't stop talking about Siegfried, who played seven seasons (1963-70) in Boston.

Siegfried was a central character in one of Heinsohn's anecdotes about Celtics history.

    During a game Heinsohn was coaching, a fan started shouting, "Put Siegi in, put Siegi in." After first dismissing the notion, Heinsohn thought about it and said to himself, "He's right." Heinsohn called for Siegfried to check into the game. The moral of the story was, Heinsohn said, "You never know where your next best idea is coming from."

The story had the team plus coach Doc Rivers and executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge laughing.

"What I tried to get over was that you've got to trust each other," said Heinsohn. "If you think you're that good that you can beat 12 guys all by yourself over 82 games, the more power to you. But after a while, you find out, you can't do it with two guys, you can't do it with three guys. Nobody's ever done that [brought back a group of former Celtics]. Red [ Auerbach ] created a feeling of loyalty with the [ Larry ] Bird teams because he would take guys from my generation down to the locker room and he'd make Larry go up and meet the guy, which was a measure of respect. There's a history that they have to live up to, which is both a blessing and a curse."

In an effort to educate today's players about the team's history and instill Celtic pride, Ainge and Rivers have invited a number of Celtics legends to address the team. Among those invited to the training camp are: Heinsohn, Robert Parish , Bill Russell, Bob Cousy , K.C. Jones , JoJo White , and John Havlicek . Rivers has also invited former Celtics to stop by any time, believing their presence will inspire the team.

"They deliver the message differently, but it's the same message," said Rivers. "They all talk about team, humility, the best players being almost more accountable in being leaders. They always talk about how each guy points the finger at himself, never at another teammate."

And what do the players think?

"The last story with Siegfried was the funniest," said Paul Pierce . "It's good that these guys are still able to do that [come in and talk to us] for the young players to see what the tradition is all about. They hear about it, but until you really come here and experience it yourself, you really don't understand."

Loud and clear

Pierce and Ricky Davis have been singled out for their vocal leadership at practice. Before camp, the veterans talked about taking more prominent roles in practice. "It starts with me and P," said Davis. "We can be more vocal and get guys into it, pick them up when they make mistakes and guide them through it. I think that makes stuff a lot smoother, a lot easier. On the court, I'm kind of outspoken, anyway. It's fun teaching the guys, leading them and showing them the right things so they won't make the different mistakes that you made a couple years ago. On this team, I feel like a real veteran." . . . While Rivers continued to compliment Kendrick Perkins , noting, "He has played as well or better than all our big players right now," the coach also commented that Raef LaFrentz played well in practice yesterday. "Raef wasn't great up until today, but today he was the old Raef, which was really nice," said Rivers . . . Jon Niednagel , a.k.a. the Brain Doctor, was at practice and will be with the team through Sunday . . . For NBATV's peek inside training camp, Pierce and Rivers wore microphones throughout practice. "I was just being myself," said Pierce. "At one point, I just forgot I had it on. I thought they might have to delete something." The inside look at the Celtics will air sometime next week on NBATV.


Justin Reed Defensive Specialist

October 7, 2005

WALTHAM Justin Reed loves to make people uncomfortable. Not the I-can't-believe-he-just-said-that kind of uncomfortable. But the stop-bothering-me, get-out-of-my-face, stay-away kind. Reed wants to provoke strong reactions with everything he does. He sees that as the most important part of his job. Such is the life of the Celtics' second-year defensive specialist.


Curtis Borchardt: You Can't Teach Size

October 6, 2005

He's someone for whom you can honestly and genuinely pull. Curtis Borchardt has been through enough in his three years in the NBA that you figure he's due, even overdue, for some good fortune.


Jefferson Sprains Ankle

October 5, 2005
WALTHAM The first day of training camp also included the first injury of the season. Al Jefferson went down with a sprained left ankle near the end of the second session. The power forward had just run down the court and was preparing to pivot in the low post when he twisted the ankle. Although he did not collapse in pain, the second-year forward knew right away what had happened. He iced down the ankle immediately and will be evaluated today.

Last season, Jefferson sprained his right ankle in late January and missed almost three weeks of the season. Though this sprain does not seem nearly as severe, the Celtics will wait till the swelling goes down before setting any timetable for Jefferson's return.


Dickau a Good Fit

October 5, 2005

The deal came through late and it came through rather uneventfully, especially around here. But Dan Dickau is on the Celtics. Amid the annual September basketball doldrums and the frightening enormity of Hurricane Katrina, it is understandable a sign-and-trade deal involving a second-round pick wasn't going to ring newsroom bells in New Orleans. Or Boston.


Celtics Whittle Roster

October 4, 2005

The Celtics finally waived mid-summer trade acquisition Qyntel Woods yesterday, whittling the number of roster players with guaranteed contracts from 18 to 17. During training camp, executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge and coach Doc Rivers must cut two more players to reach the maximum of 15.


Blount Acknowledges Poor Play

October 4, 2005

WALTHAM About a week ago, Mark Blount and his agent Mark Bartelstein met with executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge and coach Doc Rivers . Both sides said it was a positive meeting, clearing the air and strengthening channels of communication after last season. One dividend of the get-together appears to be a more open Blount, one willing to acknowledge how poorly he played last season and the frustration with Ainge and Rivers that ensued.


Big Al Trying to Wake Up his Hand

August 28, 2005

Big Al Trying to Wake Up his Hand

The story is now the stuff of legend.


Done with Deals?

July 24, 2005
With the Brian Scalabrine signing and Ryan Gomes's pending agreement, the Celtics are down to around $2 million-$2.2 million in their midlevel exception. And their payroll (minus Antoine Walker and Gary Payton ) is now around $50 million, which represents a very safe figure for ownership. Is there anyone out there in free agency who might be lured by the remaining $2.2 million who is better than what they now have? Doubtful. You might be able to get Brevin Knight or someone of that ilk for that figure and Knight might be open to leaving Charlotte, where he has been told that he will be a mentor for Ray Felton if he decides to come back. But unless there's some financial wizardry involved, a more experienced point guard along the lines of Earl Watson , Marko Jaric , or even Jeff McInnis is not going to be tempted by that amount. 


Allen has Knee Surgery

September 15, 2005

 Celtics guard Tony Allen had arthroscopic surgery at New England Baptist Hospital Tuesday to repair torn cartilage in his right knee. The surgery was performed by team physician Brian McKeon .Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss said Allen will begin rehabilitation immediately but will probably miss training camp next month. Twiss said it's not clear if he'll be ready for the start of the regular season . . . The New Jersey Nets moved a step closer to a new home in Brooklyn when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted to sell an 8.3-acre railyard to team owner and real-estate developer Bruce Ratner . Ratner will pay $100 million for the downtown Brooklyn site . . . A judge in Breckenridge, Colo. signed an arrest warrant for former NBA star Dennis Rodman after he missed a court appearance on two alleged traffic violations . . . Temeka Johnson of the Washington Mystics was named the WNBA's Rookie of the Year. The speedy guard out of Louisiana State topped the rookie class in scoring (9.3 ppg), assists (177), and steals (1.29 pg). Johnson received 44 of a possible 50 votes from a national media panel. Joining her on the All-Rookie Team were San Antonio's Katie Feenstra , Indiana's Tan White , Sacramento's Chelsea Newton , and Detroit's Kara Braxton.


Rivers Talks Tony Allen

September 18, 2005

Coach Doc Rivers knows the Celtics have a lot of questions to answer entering this preseason. With Tony Allen undergoing arthroscopic right knee surgery last Tuesday night to repair torn cartilage, Rivers can add one more to the list.

   Rivers is unsure of the impact of Allen's absence; he could be sidelined into the regular season. But missing valuable practice time and exhibition games will set Allen back, especially since the coach expected the second-year player to have a breakthrough season.

    "By the time he gets there [back on the floor], we'll be pretty much set," said Rivers. "He'll have to break his way back into the rotation.

   "He's so young that every second on the floor is good for him. It will absolutely hurt his development as a player. I can't anticipate him being back for opening night, but I've learned not to underestimate young guys."

The timing is unfortunate, but the Celtics had no choice about the surgery.

"There was not really any decision to be made," said Rivers. "It wasn't where we were sitting around thinking, 'Should we not do it?' He had to have surgery."

Allen appeared to be the leading candidate to start at shooting guard. Now, Rivers will have more leeway to experiment with combinations. Rivers would actually like to see Paul Pierce at shooting guard if he can handle the assignment defensively. That leaves Ryan Gomes, Justin Reed , and Brian Scalabrine as possible starters at small forward.

   In addition to recovering and rehabbing from the surgery, Allen must also deal with legal troubles in Chicago stemming from a nightclub shooting.

"There's nothing I can do," said Rivers. "He's down in the dumps. He hasn't had a good two weeks. But at the end of the day, everything you learn from."

Big assists

Both Justin Reed and Al Jefferson rode out Hurricane Katrina with family in Mississippi, then returned to Boston. They went back to the hurricane-ravaged area this weekend as part of "Operation Rebound," a relief effort. Reed and Jefferson joined more than a dozen NBA and WNBA players who distributed 20 truckloads of supplies in Jackson, Hattiesburg, Biloxi, and Gulfport.

"I had to stay here until power came back on," said Reed as he made the trip from his hometown of South Jackson to Hattiesburg, close to where Jefferson grew up. "It was kind of crazy. I had never been in anything like that. We had a little minor damage [to the family home], but nothing to really worry about, minor stuff."

Reed and his family were without power and running water for five days. But as soon as a nearby Wal-Mart opened a few days after the storm, Reed purchased diapers, pillows, and blankets and delivered them to evacuees staying at Jackson Coliseum.

"It makes you very emotional because some people have lost everything they have," said Reed. "People are so excited to see people ready to help them."

   Said Jefferson, "I want to do everything I can to get Mississippi back on the right track. Hopefully, a lot of other guys from Mississippi feel the same way. I haven't thought about what yet, but I plan on doing something all year round."


   Red Auerbach continues to improve in a Washington hospital. No word on when he'll be released. His 88th birthday is Tuesday. . . In October, the Celtics will hold open tryouts for national anthem singers. Stay tuned for details . . .Just a reminder: Tickets for all Celtics games go on sale Saturday at the Garden box office.


Curtis Borchardt is Your Newest Celtic

Curtis Borchardt is Your Newest Celtic

August 14, 2005

New Celtic Curtis Borchardt spent less than 24 hours in Boston late last week, flying in from Los Angeles for a physical at New England Baptist Hospital. His medical records probably weighed more than his overnight bag.


Scalabrine Unfazed by Lack of Fan Interest

August 3, 2005

    Brian Scalabrine is used to being discounted as a basketball player. He was cut from his high school team as a freshman, drafted in the second round out of Southern Cal in 2001, and has spent most of his first four seasons in the NBA as a backup. So it won't bother Scalabrine, who was introduced as the newest Celtic at the HealthPoint practice facility in Waltham, that some may consider his signing insignificant. "Everywhere I've been, people have counted me out," said Scalabrine, who signed a five-year deal with Boston for a reported $15 million after spending the last four seasons with the Nets. "No one ever thought I'd be in the league for four years - some probably not even one year. I'm still trying to prove people wrong and I will continue to do that probably for the rest of my career." Scalabrine, a 6-foot-9-inch, 235-pound forward, averaged 6.3 points and 4.5 points last season for New Jersey.


Heat Deal Cool with Him

Heat Deal Cool with Him

August 5, 2005

When reached by telephone yesterday after his introductory press conference at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Antoine Walker had Boston on his mind. While Walker may differ with Celtics executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge when it comes to talent evaluation, the versatile power forward with an unapologetic fondness for the perimeter knows how to credit an assist.


Will Walker Walk?

July 31, 2005
Antoine Walker visited Miami last week as the one-month anniversary of his free agency status approached. It hasn't been the hottest of markets for Walker, who has watched guys such as Dan Gadzuric and Samuel Dalembert get deals while he still is on the outside looking in. If anything percolates with Miami, the Heat might be able to start Walker at a deal around the $5.7 million mark by offering Michael Doleac and a trade exception (which can be combined) in a deal to Boston. The Celticsare disinclined to make any sign-and-trade unless it upgrades their team, and it's hard to see how Doleac does that. The Celtics' position on Walker is to let him see what's out there and how cold it is. Then, by Labor Day, if he hasn't gone anywhere, he can come back to Boston at a midlevel exception number (which is about what he's worth in today's open market). Then again, it only takes one team to blow the whole thing wide open. 

   Eyeing up-and-comers


Employee #8 Scheduled to Meet with Riles

July 30, 2005
Antoine Walker might not be getting blown away by offers, but he got a face-to-face this week with the face of the Miami Heat team president Pat Riley.

Walker, a free agent, met with Riley Thursday in what was described by both sides as a feeling-out session. Miami, like most teams, would have to execute a sign-and-trade with the Celtics to give Walker the money he wants.

        That presumes the Heat have someone on their roster the Celtics might like not named Shaquille O'Neal or Dwyane Wade. Walker's agent, Mark Bartelstein, told the Sun-Sentinel of South Florida there will be "ongoing conversations" between the Heat and Employee No. 8.

Walker has been a three-time All-Star, but has been unable to land a job. As far as resumes go, he remains one of the more attractive free agents.


Ainge Gets to the Point

August 27, 2005

While you've been busy worrying about Curt Schilling, Keith Foulke, new outfield sod, Tom Brady's arm, Tom Brady's GQ picture holding the goat, and if you'll ever be able to drive underneath downtown Boston without worrying about drowning, Danny Ainge has been busy, too.


Green Signs

July 4, 2005
The Celtics wasted no time by signing first-round pick Gerald Green yesterday. Then again, both the team and Green's agent, Andy Vye, want the 19-year-old in the mix as soon as possible. Under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, Green signed a contract with two years guaranteed and a team option for a third. Although the new rookie salary scale will not be set until July 22, Green should make approximately $2 million over the next two seasons based on what previous No. 18 picks earned.

More important, Green will get his first taste of the NBA and the Celtics' system tomorrow when summer league practice starts in Las Vegas. Boston will start to find out what it has in the youngster, and Green will start to see how the 33 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 assists he averaged as a senior at Gulf Shores Academy translates to the professional level. The Celtics hope Green follows a trajectory similar to that of Al Jefferson, but if he doesn't, executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge has said a carefully supervised stint in the developmental league could be an option.


Celtics Ink Bynum

August 20, 2005

   The signings keep coming for the Celtics. Yesterday, Boston welcomed undrafted free agent Will Bynum to the team. The Georgia Tech point guard impressed the Boston brass with his performance at the Las Vegas summer league and earned a two-year deal worth potentially $1 million. "It's a great opportunity," said Bynum . . . Swingman Doug Christie signed with Dallas as the Mavericks try to replace the recently released Michael Finley . . . Seimone Augustus of LSU scored 18 points to lead the US women's team to the gold medal at the University Games in Izmir, Turkey, with a 79-53 victory over Serbia-Montenegro. The American men advanced to the title game tomorrow against Ukraine, getting 20 points each from Villanova's Randy Foye and Duke's Shelden Williams in a 120-80 rout of Russia . . . Diana Taurasi scored all 16 of her points in the first half, and host Phoenix routed San Antonio Silver Stars, 91-57.


Dan Dickau is a Celtic

 Friday, August 26, 2005

   Celtics executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge confirmed last night that the team has agreed in principle to a sign-and-trade deal with New Orleans that would land point guard Dan Dickau in Boston with a three-year contract worth an average of $2.5 million per year.

   Ainge said some details of the deal still must be negotiated, including what the Celtics will give to the Hornets. New Orleans will receive a trade exception in the process.

        Dickau, who is 6 feet, 190 pounds, visited Boston yesterday for a physical and chatted with members of the Celtics staff.

"He had a really great day," said Dickau's agent, Mark Bartelstein.

   As a Celtic, Dickau will join a number of point guards (Delonte West, Marcus Banks, Orien Greene, Will Bynum) expected to compete for the starting job.

   Dickau has three years [SEE ATTACHED CORRECTION] of NBA experience, with three teams: Atlanta, Portland, and New Orleans. As a starter for the Hornets for more than half of last season (46 games), he averaged 13.2 points and 5.2 assists in 31.0 minutes.


Taylor Coppenrath is in the House

July 3, 2005
Taylor Coppenrath will be on the Celtics' summer league team in Las Vegas and here's hoping that whoever coaches the team gives him some significant playing time.

Coppenrath's college coach, Tom Brennan , reports the ex-Vermont star was somewhat disappointed not to have been picked in the draft. "What frustrates me," the ever-quotable Brennan said, "is that this is a league where people pay $90 million to Allan Houston and then don't see what this kid did. If you pay attention and watch how he's grown, to me, it was a shock he wasn't drafted. But my heart is firmly on my sleeve. I really thought the Celtics would take him at 50 or 53."

    It may benefit Coppenrath more not to have been drafted, in that he'll be on display for everyone in summer league and is a free agent. And, if that doesn't work, there are some attractive offers in Europe, where his kind of game (low-post scoring) might be appreciated.

As for Coppenrath's buddy, T. J. Sorrentine , Brennan said the guard has drawn a lot of interest from Miami and plans to play on the Heat's summer league team. Sorrentine also has options across the pond, Brennan said.


Scalabrine Excited

July 28, 2005
Camp started early for new Celtic Brian Scalabrine. The forward, who agreed to a five-year, $15 million deal with Boston two weeks ago, spent Tuesday conducting a basketball clinic at the Seeds of Peace International camp in Otisfield, Maine. The three-week retreat for teenagers from the Middle East teaches the importance of coexistence among people of different races and religions. Scalabrine has visited the camp for the last three summers, well before his professional allegiances connected him to New England.


Celtics Sign Free Agent Scalabrine

July 8, 2005
LAS VEGAS The Celtics agreed to terms with free agent forward Brian Scalabrine, two Eastern Conference sources and a source close to the forward confirmed yesterday.

   Under terms of the deal, Scalabrine will earn $15 million over the next five years. While teams could begin free agent negotiations July 1, they cannot officially sign players until July 22. For that reason, executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge and Scalabrine's agent, Bob Myers, declined to discuss Scalabrine joining the Celtics.

        Ainge should be more familiar with Scalabrine than other available free agents since both share an interest in brain typing and regularly consult Jon Niednagel, a.k.a. the Brain Doctor. The 6-foot-9-inch, 235-pound Scalabrine credits Niednagel with guiding him to the 10 best performances of his career. The most memorable came in the Game 5 of the 2004 Eastern Conference semifinals against Detroit. In the Nets' triple-overtime victory, Scalabrine set career playoff highs for points (17), 3-pointers made and attempted (4 for 4), and field goals made and attempted (6 for 7). Undoubtedly, Ainge's belief in brain typing and Niednagel's involvement with the franchise were part of the attraction for Scalabrine.

   According to one source, Scalabrine also thought the Celtics would be a good fit because of the role he envisioned playing. Scalabrine should earn minutes as a backup power forward. Last season, he averaged 6.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in 21.6 minutes per game. Over his four-year career since being drafted 35th overall out of Southern Cal, Scalabrine has averaged 3.9 points and 2.9 rebounds in 14.8 minutes per contest.

  With Scalabrine in the fold, the Celtics' free agent picture becomes significantly clearer. Scalabrine will use up $3 million of the Celtics' midlevel exception, leaving them with approximately $2 million to sign another player.

   In other free agency news, according to a pair of Eastern Conference sources, the Celtics offered point guard Sarunas Jasikevicius $1.6 million for next season as part of a three-year deal. Those same sources said the offer was turned down.

  Since the Celtics are intent on developing Al Jefferson and now have a backup power forward in Scalabrine, Antoine Walker appears on his way to another team. Look for the Celtics to try to execute a sign-and-trade with Walker as they fill out their roster for next season.


Ray Allen Signs $85 Million Dollar Extension

July 6, 2005

      All-Star guard Ray Allen agreed to a five-year, $85 million contract extension with the Seattle SuperSonics, his agent said. The former University of Connecticut star, who averaged a career-high 23.9 points last season, cannot sign the deal until the free agent signing period begins July 22, but Lon Babby said Allen plans on signing the contract at the first available moment. The contract includes $80 million in salary and $5 million in bonuses, although terms of the bonuses and the yearly breakdown of salary hasn't been determined. Seattle spokesman Marc Moquin said the team couldn't comment. 

Larry Brown's agent and Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars spoke about the coach's future with the team, but did not reach a resolution. Brown has said that if doctors deem him healthy enough, he wants to return next season with the Pistons and he insists he will not coach another NBA team . . . The trial of Celtics guard Gary Payton and two of his former Milwaukee Bucks teammates, Sam Cassell and Jason Caffey , began yesterday in Toronto. The three were arrested in April of 2003 after an altercation outside a strip club and charged with aggravated assault . . . Point guard Orien Greene, theCeltics' second-round pick (53d overall) in last month's draft, had surgery to repair a fracture in his left foot . . . The Denver Nuggets signed first-round picks Julius Hodge (20th) and Linas Kleiza (27th).


Wyc Gives Danny Green Light

June 5, 2005

Celtics principal owner Wyc Grousbeck said via e-mail last week that he has given Danny Ainge the green light to use whatever becomes of the mid-level exception in the next collective bargaining agreement. (There is one rumor that it will be divided into two exceptions, with the total being the same, around $5 million-$5.5 million.     "If there is a mid-level exception or similar way to spend money on a veteran, Danny is authorized and encouraged to use it," wrote Grousbeck. "He has a current confidential plan to use it, in fact."


Ainge Promises to be Active in Free Agency

July 1, 2005
For the record, Celtics executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge discussed the impending start of free agent negotiations as he traveled around the Boston area yesterday. He was not headed for Logan Airport for a late flight to some undisclosed location to woo an available big-name player such as Ray Allen or Michael Redd or Donyell Marshall or Stromile Swift.


Ainge Tells Tony Allen he was Dealt for #2 Pick

June 29, 2005
WALTHAM The Celtics hosted their now traditional draft party last night at the Sports Authority training center. The festivities officially started when executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge stepped to the podium for a draft preview. Ainge silenced the crowd by joking he had traded Tony Allen for the No. 2 pick. Allen wasn't sure what to make of the announcement. After a couple of moments, Ainge finally said, "I'm just messing with you. Sometimes our guys get too full of themselves."


Ryan Gomes: Long Wait for Short Drive

June 29, 2005
WALTHAM Ryan Gomes's agent thought his former Providence star might go at 18. Celtics boss Danny Ainge considered picking him there.

   But not with Gerald Green still on the board.

        So when Gomes was still around for the Celtics to select at the 50th pick of last night's NBA Draft, the choice . . .? Well, there really was no choice.


The Orien and Gerald Party

June 29, 2005
WALTHAM By the time the Celtics took Orien Greene as the 53d pick in the NBA Draft last night, there was no champagne popping at the Celtics training facility. The draft party had long departed, most leaving after Boston's first-round pick earlier in the evening.

   In fact, much of the reaction came in question form:


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