Tag:Ray Allen
Posted on: March 5, 2012 7:57 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 8:26 pm
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Reports: Clippers interested in Ray Allen trade?

Ray Allen could be on the move before the trade deadline. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

Talk about a dream trade, at least from one side.

Multiple reports indicate that the Los Angeles Clippers are interested in trading for Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen in advance of the Mar. 15 trade deadline.

CSNNE.com reports that the Clippers are one of a number of teams interested in the veteran sharp-shooter who is in the final year of a contract that pays him $10 million this season.
Among those believed to have some interest in Allen, are the Los Angeles Clippers. With the season-ending injury to Chauncey Billups, the Clippers have a huge void to fill at the shooting guard position.
SI.com also reports the Clippers' interest, but foresees difficulty making the deal.
Yet for all the talk of Boston point guard Rajon Rondo possibly being traded, some league executives have shooting guard and free-agent-to-be Ray Allen pegged as the most likely to be moved. Sources say the Clippers are interested, having lost Chauncey Billups to season-ending injury and lost out to New York in the J.R. Smith sweepstakes. But the price is likely too high, as Boston wants a package that includes a young talent and a draft pick.
So, yeah, talk about a dream scenario: championship contender fills biggest hole with best available player at that position without real assets to provide in return. Not super likely.

Boston would indeed do best to move Allen at the deadline for a young asset and pick rather than allow him to expire this summer. Allowing him to come off the books this summer is a nice back-up plan, but he still has significant value, especially to contenders, because of his proven playoff ability. The aging, inconsistent Celtics have no shot of making a substantive run through the East; cashing in on Allen would make the deadline a success.

Quickly, L.A.'s interest here is obvious. Allen fits a hole perfectly, stretches defenses to open the court for All-Star guard Chris Paul, can make teams pay for double-teaming on All-Star forward Blake Griffin and adds the postseason experience a newly-formed team can't get enough of.

The only real rule from Boston's side is that any future money they take back must be for a player they see as a long-term fit or for a talented youngster on a rookie deal who will have the opportunity to blossom. That's where it gets tricky to make a deal with the Clippers.

The best package they could create would be Mo Williams, Eric Bledsoe and a future, future pick. Williams would be needed to help match contracts with Allen, Bledsoe is L.A.'s one remaining tradeable young asset and the pick would have to be generated from another deal or pushed into the future because L.A. has already moved its 2012 first in a previous deal. Another version could include trading Randy Foye's expiring contract, Chauncey Billups' expiring deal and Bledsoe but that starts to create roster spot issues for Boston to accept back all those players in trade.

The biggest problem with either scenario is that Bledsoe does not play a position of need for Boston. At 22, he unquestionably possesses untapped upside and, other than injury insurance, he doesn't figure to see much time as long as All-Star Chris Paul is in town. He's played just 64 minutes all season with so many veterans competing for minutes for the Clippers and because he's dealt with some injuries. His external worth to a team without depth at the one is far greater than his internal worth, making him an obvious trade chip.

But Boston has its own incumbent All-Star in Rajon Rondo and a young prospect in training in Avery Bradley. Assuming Celtics GM Danny Ainge doesn't move Rondo in a blockbuster -- always a possibility -- the uber-talented point guard represents the one bit of certainty heading into the future, with Hall of Fame forward Kevin Garnett and Allen likely moving on. Even franchise forward Paul Pierce's future isn't guaranteed. Rondo can be the cornerstone centerpiece in any rebuilding or blow-it-up scenario. All deals are therefore assessed on whether the incoming pieces fit with him.

Taking back Williams, who is on the books through 2012-2013 assuming he picks up his player option, doesn't make a lot of sense in that framework. He's playing well this season, averaging 13.5 points per game and shooting nearly 40 percent from deep, but he's not a starting caliber backcourt complement to Rondo and a GM facing the challenges Ainge is facing would likely prefer cap flexibility to Williams' contract, given its $8.5 million price tag.

Basketball fans should want Allen on the Clippers. It would transform L.A. into a team that could give both Oklahoma City and Miami a run for the title. But without the intervention of a third (or fourth) team or an extreme act of charity from Ainge, this one wouldn't seem to have real legs.
Posted on: March 2, 2012 12:59 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 1:04 pm
 

Celtics eyeing Josh Smith?

Could Smith be shipping up to Boston soon? (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

Any day now. Any day, we're going to all be talking about the big trade the Celtics just made. Because there's just too much smoke for there not to be a fire.

There's the Rajon Rondo stuff, which is complicated. But there's also been chatter about the Celtics shopping their other core members. Including this from the New York Daily News:
"Ainge is trying to land Atlanta's Josh Smith and other young studs, while offering up Kevin Garnett. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen can also be had, for young players and draft picks. Rajon Rondo might be leaving, too, with the Lakers and Utah seen as possible destinations."
Two deals there are interesting: 1) Rondo for Smith straight up. The Celtics get a younger player to be a cornerstone for the future inside, while the Hawks get what they desperately need, a point guard to orchestrate the offense.

And 2) Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen for Smith, Kirk Hinrich and Zaza Pachulia.  The Celtics cut ties with their core and bring in a completely capable power forward to replace Garnett, while the Hawks, a team stuck in neutral, get Garnett and Allen giving them the chance to maybe make an actual run for once. While at the same time opening up some cap flexibility in the future.

Did I just spend 20 minutes playing with the Trade Machine to come up with those? Yes, yes I did.

Point is, the Celtics are looking at maybe shaking everything up. It's hard to see them moving Paul Pierce as he's been a part of that organization for so long as still appears to have good years left, but it might be time to finally break away from Ubuntu and start making moves. Because this Celtics team isn't winning anything any time soon. Heck, it's a question as to if they're making the playoffs right now.

Ainge tried to get younger in acquiring Jeff Green lasts season, but obviously that backfired. And he's certainly looking at doing the same this year too. He doesn't want to go through a total rebuild, not after all these good years. He wants to restock and retool the team by grabbing some young talent. And the only way to do that is to rip the bandaid right off and make a tough call on your key players.

Posted on: February 9, 2012 4:30 pm
 

The Lakers, Celtics, and a window propped open

The Lakers and Celtics don't seem like contenders this year, but has their window really closed? (Getty Images)


By Matt Moore
 

Lakers vs. Celtics just doesn't have the same umph to it it usually does, does it?

I mean, it's not like we're talking about lottery squads. The Lakers are 14-11, the Celtics 14-10. Neither team is below .500 even if neither team is remarkably above. Kobe Bryant? Still walking into the Garden Thursday night. Same for Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Rajon Rondo. The only real players missing from their titanic clashes over the past four years are Kendrick Perkins, feuding with LeBron over someone else's dunk on him, and Lamar Odom, struggling to be the Lamar Odom he was with the Lakers without the Lakers, (or Phil Jackson). The cast of characters is essentially still in place.

But this feels more like a sideshow game, a "don't call it an old timer's game" than a showdown between contenders. Suddenly it's the Lakers and Celtics trying to prove that they can still do it, can still facedown the younger, hungrier teams and make a run at the title.

The Lakers are lethargic. Everything on offense seems so difficult. Kobe Bryant's brilliant scoring numbers are lauded by scribes who aren't bothering to check how many shots he's putting up. We've gotten to the point where Lakers fans are more consciously aware of where Bryant is at in his career than the scribes who are paid to watch on a nightly basis. Because "Kobe Bryant, once and always scoring king" is a better story. Let's not get this confused. Bryant's not Joe Johnson here. He's got a 23.4 PER. He's shooting 44 percent from the field. But the reality is that Bryant's forcing this, as much as he's ever forced it. Maybe he has to because of he offense, which seems to meander between helpless and workman-like. The Lakers are winning more games than they're losing. But they're also losing so many games they once dispatched with ease.

The Celtics are just sloppy. They're on a tear, a five-game winning streak, and have been pounding teams back into the dirt. But there are still long stretches where you can tell the Celtics just struggle with what to do. Paul Pierce has picked up his play, Ray Allen is still knocking down shots, and Kevin Garnett is still doing Kevin Garnett things. But there's a general lack of cohesion, a lack of precision, a failure to execute cleanly that we've seen in the past. This is still a very good team. But it doesn't feel like the Celtics of old.

So is Thursday night's game meaningless? Is the window closed?

Absolutely not. Bryant, in the L.A. Times:
Though they may falter on the road and remain in the middle of the playoff pack, Bryant didnt seem overly concerned looking ahead to May.

"I don't know too many people that are comfortable playing us, know what I mean?" he said, smiling.

He hoped the Lakers could snare some momentum over the next couple of months, gradually improving as the regular season winds down."If you figure things out going into the postseason and you get a good rhythm, that's what you want, especially in a short season," he said.
via Lakers FYI: Kobe Bryant says other teams are still worried about the Lakers - Los Angeles Times.

Bryant's on target here. Because the same thing that ensures neither team will be able to acquire a top-three seed in all likelihood is the very thing that ensures that trying to dig them out of the playoffs will be like getting shrapnel out of wood with a spoon.

Experience.

There's a not-so-secret adage that says that young teams don't win titles. Experienced teams do. The Spurs, the Celtics, the Lakers, the Mavericks. The Mavericks spoke very strongly last spring of the benefits of having players who knew how to respond, to keep their cool, to execute consistently. The Celtics and Lakers have precisely those teams.

This season is about survival, it's about simply managing to get through this brutal, compact season, avoid long-term injuries and make it into the dance, so to speak. Once that happens, the game changes. The pace slows down, where the Celtics are more comfortable. The Lakers' length and size become dramatically different in terms of impact. Kobe Bryant's efficiency becomes less important because all efficiency is impacted by the style of play. Pau Gasol's versatility becomes an asset. The Celtics' savvy in drawing and avoiding fouls frustrates teams. Does that mean that either will be representing their conference in the Finals? Not necessarily. But it does mean that dealing with them will not be easy. The Heat may have dismissed the Celtics last season, but there's no reason to think the Celtics can't turn a few more opportunities into wins. The Lakers were trounced by a Mavs team that no longer exists. In fact, the Lakers could very well be a different team in a matter of weeks. 

The Boston-L.A. rivalry resumes Thursday night, and it doesn't feel the same as it once did.

But maybe it will provide both with a reminder of how good they can be, and how very much they would like to see the other again sometime in June.
Posted on: January 26, 2012 11:56 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 1:03 am
 

Report Card: Magic make a lead disappear

The Magic blew a 27-point lead at home to the Celtics Thursday. (Getty Images)

Posted by Matt Moore

Your nightly report card wraps up the performances of the NBA night and provides grades on a curve. The Magic blew a 27-point lead to lose at home to the Boston Celtics, who were without Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen. The loss comes just days after the Magic only scored 56 points to the Celtics in Boston.

Boston Celtics

If the Celtics aren't back, they're doing an impressive job of faking it. The Magic had more to do with the collapse, but make no mistake, Boston earned this one after a terrible first half. Their second-half effort was dominant in classic Celtics style. They cut off all passing lanes, challenged each shot, and attacked the ball handler at every turn. E'Twuan Moore scored 16 points, while Kevin Garnett repeatedly found his 18 footer open and shut down Dwight Howard. The first half it looked like the Celtics were still the useless club they've been for much of this season. But these two performances against Orlando show they can still win a playoff series. Especially if it's against Orlando.

Stan Van Gundy

Surrendered a 27-point comeback at home to a conference rival that was without its starting backcourt and has struggled the entire season with age and speed. 


Dwight Howard

Surrendered a 27-point comeback at home to a conference rival that was without its starting backcourt and has struggled the entire season with age and speed. 


Jameer Nelson

Surrendered a 27-point comeback at home to a conference rival that was without its starting backcourt and has struggled the entire season with age and speed. 


Jason Richardson

Surrendered a 27-point comeback at home to a conference rival that was without its starting backcourt and has struggled the entire season with age and speed. 


Hedo Turkoglu

Surrendered a 27-point comeback at home to a conference rival that was without its starting backcourt and has struggled the entire season with age and speed. 


Ryan Anderson

Surrendered a 27-point comeback at home to a conference rival that was without its starting backcourt and has struggled the entire season with age and speed. 


Glen Davis

Surrendered a 27-point comeback at home to a conference rival that was without its starting backcourt and has struggled the entire season with age and speed. 


J.J. Redick

Surrendered a 27-point comeback at home to a conference rival that was without its starting backcourt and has struggled the entire season with age and speed. 


Chris Duhon

Surrendered a 27-point comeback at home to a conference rival that was without its starting backcourt and has struggled the entire season with age and speed. 


Quentin Richardson

Surrendered a 27-point comeback at home to a conference rival that was without its starting backcourt and has struggled the entire season with age and speed. 


Earl Clark

Surrendered a 27-point comeback at home to a conference rival that was without its starting backcourt and has struggled the entire season with age and speed.  


Posted on: January 26, 2012 7:03 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 7:59 pm
 

Allen, Rondo out vs. Magic

By Matt Moore

Rajan Rondo and Ray Allen will miss Thurday night's game against the Orlando Magic, via the Boston Globe. Allen and Rondo have missed several games. Allen is struggling with an ankle, while Rondo has missed several games with a sprained wrist. The Celtics were missing both players earlier this week when the Celtics dismantled the Magic, holding them to just 56 points. 

Avery Bradley and Mickael Pietrus will start for Rondo and Allen respectively. Bradley in particular wreaked havoc on Jameer Nelson in their last matchup, pressuring him full-court and taking him completely out of rhythm.
Posted on: January 26, 2012 12:10 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 12:11 pm
 

Howard would listen to offer from Celtics

Howard says he would consider playing for Boston. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore


OK, so now all of a sudden Dwight's OK with Boston. This is getting hard to keep track of. For months, it's been assumed that Howard would not consider Boston on his list of teams to go to. Multiple reports have indicated he's expressed that he will not re-sign there if traded to the Green Team. But now there's different information... from Howard's own mouth.  
And if Howard is still available — if the Magic don’t blink and move him before the March deadline — C’s president Danny Ainge will undoubtedly put in a call to Team Dwight.

The question is whether he’ll answer.

“Always. Always,” Howard told the Herald. “I’d always listen to a team like that.

“My thing is I want to win. It’s not something like I’m doing this for money. I win. I want to do it my way.”

There may be two problems for the Celtics in that last paragraph. Howard may question whether the club can win with him, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, a collection of minimum salary veterans and a few children. And his “way” likely means a bigger stage.
via Dwight Howard to Hub? - BostonHerald.com.

This does not mean that Boston is at the top of, or near the top of the list for Howard. He's made his choices pretty clear. But Boston has continually dogged him in the playoffs. Joining them would be joining an organization all about winning, who he knows will be able to build around him. He'd likely have Rajon Rondo as well, since the trade package would probably include the Big 3. The Magic have reportedly been looking for veteran players who can help them win now instead of younger players. If they want old guys, Boston's got them.

(Side note: Please try and imagine Rajon Rondo's surliness next to Dwight Howard's effusive jolliness. Unintentionally funniest duo ever.)

But Howard hasn't been all about winning. He's not targeting Chicago, which gives him the best chance to win a title. He clearly wants the money and fame that comes with Los Angeles or New York. If winning is what matters, you don't put the Nets at the top, no matter how good Deron Williams is. The Celtics are a long shot, but Howard would listen to the offer. From there it would come down to Danny Ainge and if he could pull off the sales job of his life.

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