Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Now that the debris from Danny Ainge’s demolition project has settled, fences have to be mended. That even applies to members of the late, great 2008 NBA champions.
Doc Rivers is willing to mediate the fractured bond between Ray Allen and his basketball brothers who still refuse to talk to him, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
“The Ray/Paul/Kevin thing will be fixed,” Rivers told the Herald of his new lease on life after the Clippers finished their morning shootaround yesterday in Cleveland. “You forgive. Ray had to make a decision for himself. I was upset about it at the time, but he did so many good things for our team. So it will be fixed. If I have to get involved in it myself, I will, though I hope not.”
Rivers is trying hard to focus on the Clippers’ more immediate games, including Cleveland last night and Philadelphia on Monday.
But by Tuesday he’ll be in Boston. He’ll walk back onto the Garden floor Wednesday night, and for many in the crowd, repairs will be in order there, too.
Rivers still rejects the idea his reception will be mixed — that he will be playing the role of Allen to a resentful crowd of Pierces and Garnetts. He admits that it was time to move on, and that his mental health couldn’t have tolerated another rebuilding process.
But based on return trips to Boston prior to the start of the season, including a large charity event in the Garden last September, Rivers believes he will be accepted. People may express regret that he left, he says, but never with anger.
“For me it will be very emotional and very nice. To be honest, I don’t think it will be that big a deal,” he said. “I really don’t understand how you can look at it any other way. Did I commit a crime or something? When I was there I got good reactions from people. In LA, when I see a Boston fan, they come up and say thank you. Whatever happened, happened.”
Boston Herald – Doc Rivers coming back to visit family
The Celtics will play a matinée game at Madison Square Garden today against the Knicks, kicking off what is a reunion week for them. You’ve likely seen the quick promos on CSNNE during the C’s games about it. Even though the C’s and Knicks have a recent playoff rivalry, the real reunion doesn’t begin until they visit the Nets in Brooklyn on Tuesday night. Paul Pierce won’t play due to a broken hand and the next night, in Boston, former coach Doc Rivers brings his Clippers team to the Garden. It’s been well documented and discussed a ton, but Doc’s tenure and departure will no doubt be talked about again. And when it comes to talking, Doc is one of the best and he’s at it again with Mark Murphy of the Herald.
Doc really wants to mend the broken relationship between Ray Allen and KG/Pierce. That seems to be a top item on his agenda at some point. But the big topic here is how he feels about two things: 1) if he’ll get booed by the fans at the Garden and 2) his decision to leave a rebuilding C’s team. I’ll get to the second concern shortly, but as far as the first, well that is going to be interesting. I know I’ve gone back and forth on what I will do, and I can’t speak for other fans but just from random, general conversations I’ve had with other fans at the games this year, Doc could very well be in for a rude awakening. It’s interesting to me that he said most of the negative reaction has been from the media (AHEM, SIMMONS), but their job is to ask those questions. What does he expect after the soap opera he pulled on his way out? No wonder LA wanted him so badly, he’s great at the drama.
Look, Doc was a fantastic coach here and I loved him when he was here. He was a great manager of egos and did a lot of good for the team and the city. But I just don’t like that he preached “team,” togetherness,” “Ubuntu,” etc and then at the first sign of adversity (rebuilding) he forces his way out. Nobody wants to go through the pains of losing and rebuilding, especially when you’ve reached basketball nirvana by winning an NBA title. In Boston. For the Celtics. After a 22 year drought. After you went through a rebuilding period already. But Doc said it himself in Murphy’s piece that the rebuild wouldn’t be as bad this time around:
Rivers hasn’t watched the Celtics as much. Then again, they’re almost unrecognizable.
“It’s a different group of guys now,” he said. “They still have a ton of talent, especially when (Rajon) Rondo comes back. This is not a true rebuild. I think they’ll be able to turn things back around pretty quickly.”
Rivers’ impression of his replacement, Brad Stevens, is more rudimentary.
“He’ll be a good coach,” he said. “You take me and put me into a college program, and the learning curve would be just as steep.”
So if the Celtics still have “a ton of talent” and you think “they’ll be able to turn things back around pretty quickly” then why exactly would it have been so bad to stay? Especially now, how you see Pierce and KG struggling so much in Brooklyn and you got all of those picks in the future? Later on in the piece, he said the players just needed a new voice, etc. Hey I’m glad things worked out the way that they did because I’m already in basketball love with Brad Stevens. Doc thinks he’ll be a good coach, but he’s wrong, Stevens is already a good coach and is looking like he could be a great one with what’s he’s already done.
Be ready to be showered with all sorts of memories from the recent past this week of the New Big Three Era. It’s always emotional to look back but it’s good to know that things are already looking much better in terms of the rebuilding time than the last time it happened.
On Page 2, Paul Pierce has lost his passion
Those close to the Nets intimate that Pierce has lost his passion, still stunned from his departure from Boston and the only team he ever knew, while Garnett is no better than a backup at this stage of his career. Pierce won’t face the Celtics Tuesday night because of a fractured right hand and Terry remains out following offseason knee surgery, leaving Garnett on an island to determine the cause and the solution for the disastrous start.
While the Celtics allowed Garnett to go through his laborious postgame regimen of a deep massage and then get fully dressed before addressing the media, the Nets asked Garnett to speak just moments after another disheartening loss, seemingly the lone voice of reason.
During the demolition by the Knicks, Garnett was vastly outplayed by former Toronto Raptor Andrea Bargnani, who drew an ejection for trash talking Garnett following a jumper in his face. For years, Garnett was the vocal aggressor who backed up words with a smooth jumper. This season, he’s shooting a career-low 37 percent from the field.
Boston Globe – Losing battle so far for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett
All I can say to that is ouch. Just sad what has happened to P and KG in Brooklyn but it looks like Danny Ainge cashed in at the perfect time. Even though I’m sure Pierce would rather be in Boston, I find it very difficult to believe he’s lost his passion to play. Especially after watching him his entire career here, that was one thing about him that was evident every single day.
The rest of the links:
Boston Herald – The Big (bad) Apple
MassLive – Olynyk ruled out against New York Knicks