Bostradamus by Bent
After recent developments, optimism reigns throughout Celtic Nation, but (as always) it seems too good to be true. With that in mind, I thought I would try and predict what will happen over the next twelve months. (Feel free to e-mail these to your friends for practical joke purposes)...
As the free agency negotiation period begins, Celtics Executive Director of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge has set his sights on an unexpected free agent target. He is expected to travel to Karl Malone's Utah ranch to meet with the former Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers forward, with a view to signing him to a mid-level contract.
The Celtics, still in the market for a veteran big man to mentor the likes of Kendrick Perkins [news] and Al Jefferson [news], are thought to be sweetening the pot with the promise of a lucrative assistant coaching role for Malone once his stint with the team has ended.
Malone retired last season, following a disappointing 2003/04 season with the Lakers and remains just 1,459 points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the NBA record of points scored in an NBA career. At the time, he said "You will not see me play again. That is a promise." but is rumoured to have softened his stance and is said to be in good shape, having had a year off from the rigours of the professional game.
When the Celtics take the floor next season, whilst many of the faces on show will be familiar, you can anticipate the employment of a new secret weapon. The three point shot, a staple of the Celtics 2002 playoff run, is back - but from the unlikeliest of sources.
Mark Blount [news], disgruntled with losing his starting job following the re-acquisition of Antoine Walker [news] and the resultant fall in minutes during the postseason, has spent his off-season working on extending his shooting range, with a view to increasing his versatility. Blount, already an accomplished mid-range shooter, has been focusing particularly on the three point shot and has privately been extolling the virtues of having a big man that can spread the floor by drawing his man away from the basket.
Expect Blount, who has allegedly been working out this off-season with former team-mates J.R. Bremer and Rodney Rogers, to fire away at will next year. He has only attempted one, unsuccessful, three point shot in his NBA career. Blount was unavailable for comment yesterday. (Actually, he dropped the microphone and then stormed off in a mood).
With only six weeks to go until the start of the 2005/2006 NBA season, at least one member of the Atlantic Division champions has completely re-invented himself. Sixth man Ricky Davis [news] turned up at training camp yesterday barely recognisable. With his head shaved bald, facial hair gone and new shoes sporting the legend "Get Buddies", Davis arrived determined to cast aside the "punk" image that has blighted his first two seasons with the club.
It is understood that Davis has also requested that everyone refer to him as Richard Davis from now on and he has also announced that he will no longer dunk the ball if he gets on a breakaway.
Coaches are concerned that the new Davis may be taking his new, friendly image a bit too far, especially after he was heard to mutter the phrases "No, after you - I insist" and "Sorry, did I get in your way there?" whilst trying to play defense.
Sorry, we're too busy covering the Red Sox to give you any information about the Celtics. Check back in a few weeks time. You might get the occasional box score if you're lucky.
In front of a sell-out crowd at the newly renamed TD Bankhouse Shawmut Centerbank Fleetgarden Arena, the Boston Celtics got their season off to an inauspicious start last night against the New York Knicks.
Despite winning by 50 points and completely dominating their opponents from start to finish, the Celtics did not seem to demonstrate enough chemistry and are clearly lacking some locker-room guys. Also, by building a lead so big that none of them needed to play in the fourth quarter, the Celtics' veterans once again proved that they are not battle-tested.
Ricky Davis [news], who after the game announced that he does want to be called Ricky after all, scored 26 points to lead the Celtics, including 12 straight dunks, after the crowd booed him for converting a lay-up on a first-minute breakaway. Meanwhile, Mark Blount [news] had a career high 6 assists in just ten minutes - all of which came on what appeared to be errant three point attempts that Davis was able to catch and dunk.
The Celtics organization was thrown into chaos yesterday by the surprise resignation of their Executive Director of Basketball Operations, Danny Ainge. No specific reason was given for Ainge's departure, but it is thought that he may have lost patience with the acute scrutinization of his various moves by the local and national media. Owner Wyc Grousbeck is said to be devastated and the team has already announced that the search for Ainge's replacement will be "long-winded and thorough".
Next up for Ainge, who was drafted by the Kansas City Royals before becoming a professional basketball player, may be a surprising return to baseball, as George Steinbrenner is rumoured to have been impressed with Ainge's business acumen and is expected to hire him as the Executive Director of Baseball Operations for the struggling New York Yankees organisation.
With no players appearing in the main event, the struggling Boston Celtics gave their fans something to cheer at the 2006 all-star weekend in Houston, as three of their stars ended up competing against one another for the Slam Dunk Competition. Gerald Green [news], Ricky Davis [news] and Tony Allen [news] went toe-to-toe for over two and a half hours, with event organisers eventually ruling the contest a three-way tie.
After eliminating Nate Robinson, reigning champion Josh Smith and Chris Anderson, (who eventually collapsed suffering from heat exhaustion after missing thirty consecutive attempts) in the first round, the Celtics trio battled to a sudden death dunk-off, with each competitor scoring a perfect 50 over and over again until the judges decided to share the spoils.
Highlights of the contest included Green hanging from the top of the backboard with one hand, whilst dunking the ball with the other, Allen puncturing the ball with a pin and then dunking it with his teeth and Davis performing an elaborate 13 minute floor gymnastics routine to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" before slamming the ball through the hoop on his "dismount".
The three contestants agreed to donate their combined $37,500 prize money to Green's local church, on the condition that Allen gets to keep the trophy and Davis got to stand in the middle in the media photograph.
Mark Blount [news] was eliminated in the first round of the three point shootout.
The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers last night completed arguably the biggest blockbuster trade in NBA history, in an unfathomable 25-player deal. Thirteen Clippers, plus the draft rights to one more, were traded to the Celtics for twelve players. The only two players on either team's active roster that were not traded were Paul Pierce [news] and Corey Maggette. The Celtics also received a conditional 2006 second round pick in the deal.
Reaction around the league was widespread incredulity. "Wouldn't it have been easier to send Pierce to Los Angeles with a box of green shirts and just relocate the franchises?" one NBA executive remarked. Despite this move, there are still thousands of trade scenarios involving Pierce all over the internet. ESPN's "Sports Guy" Bill Simmons was quoted as being "particularly confused".
The trade was the first one made by the Celtics since the position of Executive Director of Basketball Operations was filled by former Boston Globe journalist Peter May following Danny Ainge's shock resignation in December.
Sorry, it's Spring Training now. The only basketball coverage you're likely to get this month is from the NCAA tournament.
Two words. NFL Draft. Come back in a few weeks and we'll be more than happy to report on the team's slide out of playoff contention (not that we've been watching).
The Boston Celtics last night fired their Executive Director of Basketball Operations, Peter May, following a disastrous five month reign at the helm. May, having inherited control of a first place team from Danny Ainge, following Ainge's resignation in December made several controversial moves, including an immediate shift of emphasis from winning to grittiness and character, culminating with the ill-fated Clippers trade, just weeks before the February trade deadline.
Owner Wyc Grousbeck announced yesterday morning that the search for a replacement would be "quick and painless", and then announced later that afternoon, that the position would be filled by a committee of message board posters.
The Celtics have fallen out of playoff contention and are now in last place. They have not won a game since January, when May brought in British tennis player Tim Henman to give a seminar on "How to Lose with Dignity".
The Boston Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Clippers last night to win the franchise's seventeenth championship. However, unlike the other sixteen championships, this was not an NBA championship, but an NBDL championship, following David Stern's surprise decision last month to "relegate" the league's two worst teams to the minor leagues.
Now Celtics fans do not even have the draft to look forward to following the decision of former Executive Director of Basketball Operations Peter May to trade the rights to every Celtics pick next year for Eric Williams at the trade deadline.