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.
But Boston Celtics’ wing Courtney Lee was more upset than usual … and it was about more than just the game.
He was angry at head coach Brad Stevens’ decision to not play him in the second half of Saturday’s 106-99 loss to Washington – something that had not happened to Lee in a single game all season.
But as angry as he is about the matter, Lee said he will not make any trade demands.
“Nah. I been through worst (expletive) in life than basketball,” he told CSNNE.com. “I don’t give up on nothing that easy. It’s never going to get to that point. No one man can make me want to walk away from a situation. Now if I get traded, I get traded. That’s one thing. But I’ll never ask for a trade.”
Lee said he was given no explanation for why he didn’t play in the second half of Saturday’s loss.
“I can’t … I can’t figure it out other than I missed a couple shots,” said Lee who was 0-for-3 shooting in seven minutes, 40 seconds of court time. “That could be the only reason why he didn’t play me.”
Well that didn’t take long. After just the second game following the trade rumors that surrounded him and Brandon Bass for Omer Asik, Courtney Lee went public with his frustrations. Obviously I’m jumping to conclusions and making the assumption that the trade rumor was part of what him express his lack-of-playing-time frustration, but he’s human and it’s understandable. The Celtics were fresh off blowing another huge lead at home, and it was one in which Lee didn’t see any time in the second half.
Part of that reason was because Avery Bradley was NBA Jam on fire in the second half, drilling shots all over the court. For some reason, head Coach Brad Stevens played the starters heavy minutes (likely due to Washington making the comeback) so that’s also part of it. But later on in the CSNNE piece, Lee discussed the issue with Stevens and what jumped out at me was his quotes from that:
“Are you going to be consistent with what you do? If you’re gonna stick to a time subbing pattern that you make before the game and not go off how the game’s going? Or are you going to go off of how the game is going? I don’t know.”
Lee said he has talked with Stevens about the situation, but didn’t sound overly optimistic that things will be resolved to his satisfaction.
“We talked,” Lee acknowledged. “Of course it’s always going to be everything said that I want to hear. But I mean, you see that’s not the case when I’m out there.”
Boom. One of Red Auerbach’s biggest rules when he coached was to never bring your issues public with the media. If you had issues with him or anything else, keep it behind closed doors, but those doors were always open to the players. It was a major issue with JoJo White late in his career. Now, Lee is no JoJo but the theme remains the same. The fact that he just brushed off Stevens as if to say “Yeah, yeah… blah, blah… I don’t care what you say just play me” is not a good sign. It would be unfair to criticize Lee too much here. Just think about how aggravated we as fans get when we constantly hear rumors about our team’s players when all we’d prefer to do is watch them play. It can only be 100 times worse if you’re that player.
This is an early test for Stevens at the pro level, his first go around at dealing with rumors and keeping his team together. The chemistry has been great for the most part and Lee has had a fantastic season in the limited minutes he’s played. It will only be more difficult to give all those guards satisfactory run when Rajon Rondo returns. He won’t be playing 40, 30 or even maybe 20 MPG when he first returns, but once he gets back into his usual flow, well then a few guys will be riding more pine because of simple math. Keep an eye on the situation, but after tonight, the C’s have 5 straight days to regroup and get their heads straightened out.
The rest of the links:
Boston Globe - Celtics squander another lead, lose to Wizards | A more mature Jordan Crawford shines for Celtics vs. former team, the Wizards | Celtics can’t keep giving up late leads if they’re to be taken seriously | Brad Stevens’ stock on the rise as he returns to Indiana | Brandon Jennings enjoying fresh start in Detroit (Sunday Notes)
CSSNE - In the bonus: Sullinger continues scoring | Celtics disappear in 106-99 loss to Wizards | Good, Bad & The Ugly: Troublesome 3rd Quarter | By the numbers: disappearing act | Crawford struggles against former teammates
JCOnline - Compliments roll in for Brad Stevens