Green, Durant remain close friends

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Green, Durant remain close friends

BOSTON -- When Kendrick Perkins was traded by the Boston Celtics to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Jeff Green, his close friendship with Rajon Rondo became one of the major headlines following the deal. Their bond wasn't the only one impacted by the move, though.

Green shared a friendship just as strong with Kevin Durant, one that dated far beyond their days as teammates in the NBA. Like Perkins and Rondo, they have not let their professional separation change their relationship two years later.

Green first met Durant through mutual friends as teenagers in Maryland. They became friends quickly, sharing similar laidback personalities and the same fire to play pro ball.

"We're basically the same kind of person -- very humble, very respectful, good guys, and guys that just like to have fun," Green told CSNNE.com. "We don't stress over too much, we just like to chill, I think that's why we clicked so easily."

Green went off to college first at Georgetown University in 2004. Two years later, Durant headed to the University of Texas. Both entered the 2007 NBA Draft, wherein the Seattle SuperSonics selected Durant with the second overall pick. The Celtics drafted Green with the fifth pick and traded him to the Sonics in the Ray Allen deal. By the end of the night on June 28, Durant and Green were teammates.

"We were closer than friends," said Durant. "We did everything together."

The duo played their rookie seasons in Seattle and went through the transition together when the team re-located to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. They went through their ups and downs as they became acclimated to life in the NBA, spending time with one another both at home and on the road.

Green and Durant were together waiting for the team bus in San Antonio on February 24, 2011 when Green received the news he had been traded to the Celtics. The young friends were quickly reminded basketball is a business.

"I wouldn't say we cried, but it was sad because we came in together, everything we'd been through together, and us being from the same area, it was tough for us," said Green. "But it's the NBA. It's not like we can't see other in the summer or work out together."

Echoed Durant, "It was tough for us, but in this league anything can happen, so we've moved past it."

Months after the trade, Green was faced with another change in his basketball career. He was diagnosed with a cardiac condition that would require season-ending surgery, sidelining his second year with the Celtics before it even began.

When Green underwent the procedure last January, Durant was right there with him after Green returned home to Washington, D.C. The Thunder were in town to play the Washington Wizards that month, and Durant made visiting his friend a priority.

"He came to see me and we hung out for a couple hours," said Green. "He told me just to stay strong, keep my faith, and if I needed him to call him and talk. It's kind of a thing where he's there for me if I need him."

The two keep in touch weekly via text message, where the conversations have shifted from recoveries to comebacks. Green returned to the court this season after inking a four-year deal with the Celtics and is establishing himself as one of their key players in the second unit.

He faced off with Durant on Friday for the first time since the trade, scoring a season-high 17 points in the Celtics 108-100 win over the Thunder. Durant finished with a game-high 29 points.

"When we play against each other, we go at it," said Green. "We play hard because we want to see each other do well. That's my brother and I want the best for him."

Green and Durant will not play against each other again until March 10 when the Celtics travel to Thunder territory. They won't let four months get in the way, though.

"Even though he's not my teammate, he's still one of my best friends," said Durant. "He's a guy that's going to be that way forever."

Bill "Spaceman" Lee is running for governor in Vermont

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Bill "Spaceman" Lee is running for governor in Vermont

BURLINGTON, Vt. — A former Major League Baseball player is running for governor in Vermont as a member of the Liberty Union party, which bills itself as nonviolent and socialist.

Bill "Spaceman" Lee tells WCAX-TV voters will "need umbrellas" if he's elected, because "it's going to be raining dollars," referring to money trickling down from the wealthy.

Lee pitched for the Boston Red Sox from 1969 to 1978. He was inducted into the team's Hall of Fame in 2008.

Lee says he's a "pragmatic, conservative, forward thinker." He supports legalizing marijuana, a single-payer health care system and paid family leave.

Carrabis: Do you trust Dombrowski to find bullpen help?

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Carrabis: Do you trust Dombrowski to find bullpen help?

Jared Carrabis joins Sports Tonight to discuss the news that Carson Smith will undergo Tommy John surgery, and whether he has faith that Dombrowski will be able to find bullpen help.

Haggerty: Miller signing more of same head-scratching stuff from Bruins

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Haggerty: Miller signing more of same head-scratching stuff from Bruins

It’s more than a year into the Cam Neely/Don Sweeney partnership running hockey operations for the Boston Bruins, and it’s still incredibly difficult to decipher what their master plan is for turning around the downtrodden franchise.

The Bruins are badly in need of something special to sell to their fan base, and a four-year contract for Kevan Miller is most definitely not “It.”

The latest chapter in the sagging saga of the Black and Gold is the aforementioned four-year, $10 million contract extension for Kevan Miller signed on Tuesday with little clear reason for the urgency to get something done with the soon-to-be 29-year-old defenseman. There’s no doubt the Bruins will say Miller could have pulled that kind of contract offer had he gone to the open market, and Sweeney should have let him walk –and let another team overpay for him -- had that happened.

One also can’t blame the hard-working, no-nonsense Miller for being pumped about the contract that fell into his lap.

“It’s the team I started with, whether it was in Providence and then back to Boston, the organization I started with. I couldn’t be happier with how things have gone,” said Miller. “That was one of the big key factors of me making my decision is I really love the city. I love the fans. Like I said in my statement, we have the best fans in the league and they’re great to play for. The whole experience so far has just been great. I’m looking forward to four more years of that for sure.”

The immediate negatives are there for Miller after signing the deal: he’s been injury-prone throughout his NHL career, he really hasn’t proven he can be consistently effective against the other team’s best players and he does very little to solve Boston’s puck-moving problems.

There’s a lot of redundancy with Adam McQuaid on a number of different fronts when it comes to Miller and an alarming lack of proven puck-moving defenseman in general beyond Krug at the top of the B’s priority list.

If the undrafted former UVM standout can hold it together as a top-4 defenseman then the Bruins will have decent value for a limited player in Miller, but he could just as quickly, and perhaps even more quickly, develop into another overpaid member of the B’s if he settles into the bottom-pairing role that seems to be his NHL future.

The deal leaves the Bruins with Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Miller and Adam McQuaid as the four defensemen signed through the next two seasons, and features a pair of bottom-pairing D-men in Miller and McQuaid taking up a combined $5.25 million in salary cap space over the next three seasons. That means the Bruins have to move somebody from their aforementioned quarter of signed blueliners, and the Miller contract already has the Bruins backed into a corner before Don Sweeney and Co. even line up their other moves.

That’s the exact same problem that cropped up at the draft in Florida last summer when Sweeney executed a flurry of eyebrow-raising moves to ship Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic out, and then failed to execute when trying to move up for Noah Hanifin as Hamilton’s replacement. It would be an epic Black and Gold trainwreck if Sweeney makes the same mistake two years in a row in failing to land the big move, but it would be of Boston’s own doing.

It’s Roster-Building 101 in the NHL that a team takes care of their big ticket items first during the season, and then moves on to the complimentary and secondary pieces that backfill the roster. Sweeney is doing just the opposite here after tying up $2.5 million per year on Miller, and doing so before he’s even secured a top pairing defenseman or top line right wing on their summer shopping list.

It’s the same kind of thing departed GM Peter Chiarelli did for years in Boston after winning the Stanley Cup, and the very issue that Cam Neely, Charlie Jacobs and Jeremy Jacobs threw their old GM under the bus for during last month’s end-of-season press conference. The multi-year contracts for Jimmy Hayes, McQuaid and Miller over the last two seasons are overly generous deals with too much term for limited players easily replaced by young, cheap players on entry level deals.

There's really no difference between them, and the contracts of Chris Kelly and Dennis Seidenberg that were previously cited so consistently as cap-busting deals. 

It also leaves the Bruins in a tough position with restricted free agent Torey Krug, who they’re going to have to now pay double what they gave to Miller ($5 million per season) if they hope to actually re-sign last year’s No. 2 defenseman. The bigger problem: retaining all these back end players after the B's finished 19th in the league in defense last season is asking, or more accurately begging, for more of the same problems that pushed Boston out of the playoff picture two years running.

It’s too bad the Miller contract has drawn a firestorm of Bruins criticism this week: the rugged blueiner is a good, tough competitor that’s developed into a responsible young leader on the team, and he can make opponents pay a physical price when healthy.

Miller has also been an impressive plus-55 over his three NHL seasons in Boston while at least becoming respectable in the offensive zone, and posted a career-best five goals and 18 points with the B’s last season.

This example of contractual largesse to a low-ceiling player in Miller, however, is exactly the kind of thing that landed the Bruins in cap jail in the first place, and also the very thing Neely and Jacobs claimed they were getting away from after firing Chiarelli a little over a year ago.

It sure feels like it’s the same old gaffes over and over again rather than some fancy new Black and Gold plan to reinvigorate things on Causeway Street, doesn’t it?