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.
Minnesota forward Kevin Love, who can opt out of his contract following the 2015 season, said he is not as familiar with Boston as other road cities.
“I’ve never really spent much time in Boston. I don’t know it too well,” he said. “But I think as far as playing there, we love competing against those guys. I think they have a great coach and they have a ton of youngsters that are up-and-comers.
“Boston is a great city. I’m sure free agents would love to go there, especially with [Brad] Stevens as a coach. He’s a guy that can win basketball games. He gets guys to play for him. They’ve been having good success there, even in his first year, and he has a lot of young players. The coach has a lot to do with it, but yeah, Boston is a great place.”
Boston Globe - Boston on the list when free agents shop
We hear the narrative all the time that free agents, especially those of the superstar level variety won’t come to Boston. It’s always been a mystery to some, but when you really sit down and try to figure it out, it’s not that difficult to find the reasons why. One of the biggest reasons has always been the perception of Boston being a negative one for a variety of reasons. But it would appear that in addition to bringing banner 17 (and coming minutes away from banner 18), Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Doc Rivers and Rajon Rondo have done something more; they’ve sold Boston as a destination for star players.
The money quote from Kevin Love might have you dancing down Causeway St. but it still could be a while before we see any of these stars actually back up their kind words. Sure, any one of them could give stock answers and be polite, but in Gary Washburn’s piece linked above (as well as Steve Bulpett’s on Page 2 below) it’s incredibly encouraging.
Perhaps one of the most encouraging things is that so many of them have praise for Brad Stevens and the organization in general. Players do notice the video tributes and showers of love we give to guys when they come back here (ok maybe not Ray, but he’s sort of like a marriage gone bad but you still have a child with him, being banner 17 so there is still love there, it’s just easier to make snide remarks back and forth).
Even guys that C’s fans have openly and at times, proudly bashed, have great things to say about Boston. More, from Washburn’s piece:
Dwyane Wade - “It’s a sports town, when it comes to hard-core fans, when it comes to the sport that you love being the biggest thing about a city, it’s one of the main attractions from that standpoint,” Wade said of Boston. “And the rich history, obviously. I don’t think [location] matters. As you see with Ray and KG, it was the right time for them. They were there and did some amazing things, so you never know.
Rick Fox - “It’s a great city, man. It’s an amazing city. [People] have no idea and if I didn’t live there for six years and my son hadn’t grown up there, I wouldn’t have that experience myself, but I know it.”
Carmelo Anthony - “Nobody expected that move [the Big Three] to happen at that time,” Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony said. “Nobody expected Garnett to go there, Ray Allen to go there. I don’t think people expected Rondo to turn out the way he’s turned out.
“Boston had some down years, and somebody like Paul, I have to take my hat off to him because he dealt with it, stuck with it. And then they brought the conglomerate over there and you see what happened.”
Kevin Durant - “I was there when Perk [Kendrick Perkins] got his tribute and you can tell they love those guys much more than wins and losses,” Durant said. “As a player, you can definitely appreciate that.”
On Page 2, The C’s scare the (expletive) out of others
The fact the Celtics have given themselves so many options is a bit disconcerting to one ranking official from an opposing club who is used to seeing teams struggle for long periods of time hoping for a way out.
“Off the record?” he said. “They scare the (expletive) out of me. If things go right for them in the draft and they’re able to use some of those other picks to make a deal or two, they could be right back in this thing.
“And when you look at some of the teams in our league that have been stuck in the mud for years, it has to be hard for them to watch Boston set themselves up so fast.”
Boston Herald - Celts still get respect
Right now, for this team, this is what it’s about. They’re not contenders but the seeds are planted in the minds throughout the rest of the league. The last time this happened (the post Bird Era) this was not the case… for years. The Celtics were just another team, another stop on the NBA calendar, a once mighty team that is just a welcome doormat to the rest of the league. This time? This time, Ainge is doing his job. The perception is out there that they won’t be bad for long and that Ainge has armed them with assets and just needs to execute the plan accordingly. As mentioned above, players around the league have respect for the C’s and the quotes continue in Bulpett’s piece:
Kobe Bryant - “No matter what, Boston is always going to be Boston,” said Lakers star Kobe Bryant. “You don’t ever get the feeling they’re going to be bad for very long. They’re always going to find a way to get back into it. It’s the same with us. That’s what happens with the great organizations.
Dwight Howard - “Every team has an opportunity, especially a team like Boston who’s willing to do whatever it takes to win,” said Howard. “I think people will want to go play with the Celtics because of the history there. It’s going to take time, and, you know, a lot of people aren’t patient. They want things to happen right away. But you have to remember that everything takes time, It doesn’t happen overnight.
“I think Boston’s going to be right back. They had a couple of years before they got KG and Paul together where they were terrible and nobody wanted to be a Boston fan at that time. Then KG and Ray Allen come, and everything changes. They win and everybody’s happy. But it takes time.”
In addition to those guys, Avery Johnson had some great things to say about Boston but the All-Star Game coaches (Frank Vogel of Indiana and Scott Brooks of Oklahoma City) both praised Brad Stevens. Again, the perception is out there around the league. The C’s have a good base to start with and have provided us fans with at least the belief that it won’t take another 20 years to be a contender like last time. As a fan, all you can ask for is that they have direction and a logical plan.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston - C’s catch breather on a star-less weekend