Boston: The New Free Agent Hot Spot


Boston: The New Free Agent Hot Spot

It is said that perception is reality, but in the Celtics' case, reality has body-slammed conventional wisdom during the last several months.

Coach Doc Rivers and director of basketball operations Danny Ainge have noted with bemusement the fall of the once familiar notion that no one wants to play for the Celts. What began with Kevin Garnett last summer has continued with P.J. Brown coming aboard and Sam Cassell getting bought out of his Clippers contract to become a Celt. It even got to the point where the club was turning away players (Damon Stoudamire).

``It all comes down to one thing - winning,'' Rivers said.

``When you're bad, nobody wants to come. When you win, people start looking at you in a different way.''

It had to be hard for the coach to hear pundits picking on his team and saying free agents didn't want to come to a cold winter climate and such an allegedly tough media market.

``Our league's like that. Every league's like that.'' Rivers said. ``I don't know if people were running to the Patriots before they started winning, you know? Then Bill (Belichick) comes and everything changes.''

Ainge just shrugged.

``People always talk about the players just going for the money,'' he said. ``And I'm sure that's a big part of it. But guys want to win, too.''

Defensive priority

After giving up 124 and 119 points to open their western trip, respectively, the C's have surrendered an average of 89.7 in the six games since.

``When we play great defense, everything seems to come into place,'' Paul Pierce said.

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