The Boston Celtics are showing some major respect to one of their biggest rivals of all-time.
Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe reported on Wednesday that the Celtics, who will be in Los Angeles to play the Lakers on Feb. 23, are delaying their team flight to allow players and staff to attend the Kobe Bryant memorial the next day. The memorial will be held at 10 AM on Feb. 24 at Staples Center, where the Celtics and Lakers are scheduled to play the day before at 12:30 PM.
Playing for the rival Lakers for his entire 20-year career and facing them in two separate NBA Finals in 2008 and 2010, Bryant was very much a thorn in Boston’s side as a player. But this gesture further speaks to the unparalleled level of admiration Bryant commanded around the league and the world.
Many of the Celtics’ youngsters also idolized Bryant, and it only feels right for them to be able to attend his memorial service to pay their respects.
As a Clint Capela trade appears to grow more likely, a new suitor has reportedly emerged.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Boston Celtics are engaged in trade talks with the Houston Rockets centering around Capela.
ESPN Sources: Another team engaged with the Houston Rockets in trade talks for center Clint Capela: The Boston Celtics.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 3, 2020
The Atlanta Hawks have also been named as a possible suitor for Capela. The Rockets are looking to trade the center in order to pick up assets to pursue a wing player with, with Robert Covington and Andre Iguodala named as potential options.
Sources: The Atlanta Hawks remain a possible landing spot for Capela too. Rockets are pursuing first-round picks to flip into a deal for a wing player and another center. Robert Covington and Andre Iguodala are among several Houston targets. https://t.co/uWXqPqEx6T
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 3, 2020
Despite their 31-18 record, the Rockets are trying to adjust on the fly while keeping costs down. Capela signed a five year, $90 million deal with Houston in 2018. Boston could use the frontcourt depth, and they’ve lacked a high-quality big man since Al Horford’s departure in free agency. A Capela deal would certainly make sense for them if the price was right.
Kendrick Perkins believes the Boston Celtics are a quality center away from being a legitimate championship contender, and it should come as no surprise that Enes Kanter (dis)respectfully disagrees.
Perkins tweeted on Thursday that the Celtics need a big man who can anchor their defense and suggested they try to trade for Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams. Kanter, who is averaging 18.5 minutes per game at center for Boston this season, took the advice personally.
Don’t do drugs kids! https://t.co/JUwOWiNoW0
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) January 23, 2020
The Celtics have gotten decent play at center this season from Kanter and Daniel Theis, with Theis being the better overall post defender. Kanter is a solid rebounder, but defense has never been his strong suit. He averages just 0.5 blocks per game for his career and is averaging 0.9 this season, which is not a great mark for a 6-foot-10, 250-pound player.
Perkins has a point, even if Kanter didn’t take it well. The Celtics will have a tough time matching up with a team like the Philadelphia 76ers in a seven-game series if all they have in the low post is Kanter and Theis. Kanter has had some nice games this season and was even drug tested earlier this month after a great performance, but he’s not going to slow down Joel Embiid. Adams may not be the answer, either, but Boston could certainly use a more physical big.
At 25-11, the Boston Celtics are well-positioned in the Eastern Conference, but it doesn’t appear that they’re willing to mortgage the future too much to increase their chances of winning now.
Celtics president Danny Ainge said Friday that he felt no “short-term urgency” to trade young players for veterans, but confirmed the team was exploring the market.
Danny Ainge to the Globe: “I don’t think I’m looking at any short-term urgency to trade away all my young assets to get some veteran player,” he said. “But we’re looking. We’ll have conversations before trade deadline like we do every year." #Celtics
— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) January 11, 2020
In other words, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are untouchable. It may be that Ainge and the Celtics look for more reasonably-priced veteran help, and they’ve been linked to players of that type already. It seems hard to believe the Celtics will be quiet at the deadline, but as has been the case for the last few years, it doesn’t sound like a blockbuster is coming.
The Boston Celtics nearly stood in the way of LeBron James winning his first NBA title back in 2012, and Kevin Garnett has not gotten over it more than seven years later.
Garnett and Adam Sandler were guests on “The Bill Simmons Podcast” this week to promote their upcoming movie “Uncut Gems,” and Simmons managed to steer the conversation away from Hollywood to bring out the competitive side of K.G. Simmons recalled how the Celtics got in LeBron James’ head during Game 5 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, and LeBron responded by dropping 45 points in Game 6 to even the series at 3-3. The Heat went on to win Game 7, and the rest is history.
Simmons asked Garnett if the Celtics felt like they could break LeBron in Game 5, to which KG replied that they already “broke LeBron” in 2010, when the Celtics defeated his Cleveland Cavaliers in the postseason and LeBron went on to sign with the Heat. An irritated Garnett then said the Heat beat Boston in 2012 because the NBA had an “agenda” that the Celtics weren’t part of.
“We broke LeBron. So get your a** out of here with that.”
— The Ringer (@ringer) December 18, 2019
A lot of times athletes are competitors on the court and friends off of it, but Garnett says that is not the case with the members of the 2012 Celtics and Heat squads. He said there would still be tension if they were all in the same room together.
“A lot of people think that it’s just sports … if you had (Dwyane) Wade, (Chris) Bosh and LeBron over in this corner and me, (Tony Allen), maybe Paul (Pierce) and (Rajon) Rondo right here, it would cool and respect but it won’t be, like, fraternizing. It ain’t gonna be like, ‘Yo, how the family?’ It ain’t gonna be none of that,” Garnett said. “They don’t f— with us and we don’t f— with them.”
Some members of that Celtics team even have issues with one of their own former teammates, so it’s no surprise those feelings have lingered seven years later. That fierceness is what made Garnett one of the best players the NBA has ever seen, and clearly he can’t just turn it off now that he is done playing. Nor do we want him to.
The four major Boston-area sports teams have enjoyed tremendous success over the past two decades, but it was not always championship trophies and MVP awards for the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins. If you dig up an old newspaper from the turn of the century, you might find what many would consider a surreal reminder of that.
Darren Rovell tweeted a photo on Thursday that showed the cover of the sports section in The Patriot Ledger — a publication in Quincy, Mass. — from Dec. 12, 2000. It featured cartoon sketches of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, former Celtics coach Rick Pitino, former Bruins coach Mike Keenan and ex-Red Sox manager Jimy Williams. The headline read “Welcome to LOSERVILLE.”
Throwback Thursday: The cover of the Patriot Ledger, 19 years ago today in Boston.
Pats won in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2014, 2016 & 2018.
Red Sox won in 2004, 2007, 2013 & 2018.
Bruins won in 2011.
Celtics won in 2008. pic.twitter.com/62NMQVEqMe
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 12, 2019
As Rovell notes, things have changed quite dramatically since then. The teams have combined for 12 championships, with the Patriots winning six of those. The cartoon featured a bubble coming from Belichick that said, “I should have stayed with the Jets,” but something tells us the future Hall of Famer is happy with his decision (even if he is dealing with another annoying controvery).
At the time the paper was published, the Red Sox — still in a historic World Series drought — had missed the playoffs. The Bruins and Celtics were also on their way to missing the postseason, with the Celtics not having been to the playoffs in five years. The Patriots went 5-11 that season before winning their first title the following year.
Talk about your all-time turnarounds.
Late in the Boston Celtics’ loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday night, Marcus Smart toppled into the stands while attempting to save a loose ball, ultimately getting his foot caught in a chair.
As Smart struggled to free himself, he claims a bizarre and inappropriate conversation with a courtside fan unfolded.
"My foot got stuck in a chair and a fan told me, ‘That’s right, stay on the ground, get on your knees.’ Excuse me? I just told him, ‘Listen, just watch the game,’ because if … we were on the street, you probably wouldn’t say that." https://t.co/oBb0HHym1k
— Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) November 23, 2019
Smart says he ultimately walked away, but did point out the fan to arena security.
“They didn’t do anything about it. Just gotta move on. But that’s a problem in the league that we gotta fix because, if we retaliate to protect ourselves, we’re the ones getting in trouble, They’re not,” Smart said, via NBC Boston. “That’s not right. We got kids, some of us got our kids, their wives, girlfriends, parents watching this game and for you to talk like that, there’s just nowhere in this league for it. We out there playing and you guys are coming to watch it, we respect you guys, all we’re asking is to respect because, if we were on the street, it would be handled differently.”
The incident is just the latest in a string of recent run-ins between players and fans. The Utah Jazz banned two fans for life for shouting derogatory comments at players, while the Celtics recently banned a fan for two years after yelling racial slurs at DeMarcus Cousins.