For Pavlovic, fond memories of Boston


For Pavlovic, fond memories of Boston

BOSTON -- Sasha Pavlovic was at his home in Montenegro this summer when he received the phone call informing him he had been traded from the Boston Celtics to the Portland Trail Blazers. He was one of many pieces involved in a three-team deal with the Houston Rockets that sent Courtney Lee to Beantown. Of the seven teams Sasha Pavlovic has played for over his 10-year NBA career, the two seasons he spent on the Boston Celtics stand out the most.

"I've been in the league for a long time," Pavlovic told "I know how it works. I didn't really think about (being traded in the offseason at the end of last season) at all. I liked it here. I really miss it. I miss everything."

Pavlovic played a total of 62 games for the Celtics after signing with the team as a free agent in March of 2011. He was a reserved figure in the locker room, always friendly and engaging but never one to seek out the spotlight. When he moved to Portland, he left behind interesting factoids tied to his time with the Celtics.

Neighborly Bond with Bradley: Pavlovic had two questions on his mind before Friday's game against the Celtics. "Where is Avery?" he asked excitedly during pregame warmups, followed by, "When will he be able to play?" When Avery Bradley passed by him on the Celtics bench, Pavlovic called out his name and the two shared a reunion on the court, a short distance away from where they formed a close bond as lockermates.

"He was a rookie when I got there and we sat next to each other in the locker room," said Pavlovic. "I tried to help him as much as I could because he's always asking questions and wanted to learn from everybody. I really like him. We texted right before the season started. I felt bad for him (with his double shoulder surgery) but I know he's a tough kid. He's going to come back stronger than before. I just hope it's sooner than later."

Insight into Darko: Pavlovic reached out to longtime friend Darko Milicic when he heard the big man signed with the Celtics this fall. Though not one to often show his emotions, Milicic expressed his excitement to play in Boston. Pavlovic reaffirmed his sentiment.

"We became friends a couple years before I got in the league," said Pavolvic. "I know he was working out really hard this summer. We talked to each other and he was excited to come here. I read in the interviews he said he was ready to kill if he had to kill somebody (laughs), so he was excited. He didn't really ask me for advice, but I told him that I liked it here and he was going to like it."

An Introduction to the NHL from One of Boston's Best: For his first season in Boston, Pavlovic didn't realize he was playing in the same city as another athlete with a Serbian heritage. When Celtics strength and conditioning coach Brian Doo told him about Boston Bruins Milan Lucic, whose parents grew up in Serbia, Pavlovic was eager to meet him. They were introduced to one another during the Cs first round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks.

"The first handshake, whoo," Pavlovic said last season. "Hes a good guy, a very good guy. Im impressed."

They planned to get together in the offseason, but Pavlovic's trade to Portland and the NHL lockout altered their arrangements.

"He texted me his new number this summer so we still kept in touch," said Pavlovic on Friday. "I never really watched hockey but I heard about him. He's a great guy, a great guy. It's good to know somebody from your country who's successful in that kind of sport here."

Pavlovic played just three minutes in the Trail Blazers 96-78 loss to the Celtics. His ultimate goal is to help his new team win, but there was still a good feeling for him being back at the TD Garden.

"To play for the Celtics is a little bit different than anywhere else because of what they did in the past and their big history," he said. "The last two seasons when I played I think I had the greatest teammates in the world. I really enjoyed being part of it."

Celtics pay tribute to Craig Sager in Tuesday's practice


Celtics pay tribute to Craig Sager in Tuesday's practice

The NBA is honoring longtime TNT broadcaster Craig Sager to begin the season, with teams wearing Sager-themed shirts across the league. 

Sager, 65, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2014, and it was announced in March that he had an expected three-to-six months to live. 

The Celtics celebrated Sager in full force at the end of Tuesday’s practice, changing into shirts with multi-colored flowers and clashing patterns in an ode to Sager’s signature style. The group gathered for pictures and shouted “Sager Strong,” a hashtag that’s circulated in support of the 65-year-old. 

After news emerged that his cancer had returned in March, TNT worked out a deal with ABC that allowed Sager to cover the NBA Finals for the first time in his 34-year career, leading to a memorable exchange with LeBron James after the Cavaliers won the NBA title. 

Brown releases statement: 'I never struck my wife, and never would'


Brown releases statement: 'I never struck my wife, and never would'

Giants kicker Josh Brown released a statement via ESPN on Thursday

Brown was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list last week after more information about his history of abusing women -- a history he admitted to in documents obtained by SNY -- came to light.

"I am sorry that my past has called into question the character or integrity of The New York Giants, Mr. Mara or any of those who have supported me along the way. I have taken measures to get help so that I may be the voice of change, not a statistic. It is important to share that I never struck my wife, and never would. Abuse takes many forms, and is not a gray area. Through the past several years I have worked to identify and rectify my own behaviors. The road to rehabilitation is a journey and a constant modification of a way of life. My journey will continue forever as a person determined to leave a positive legacy and I embrace the opportunities to show and speak about what has helped me to be that man. In the interim, I am cooperating with the Giants and the NFL. Thank you to everyone that has supported me, I will not let you down."

While Brown apologized to his team, Giants owner John Mara and those who've supported him, he did not apologize to his ex-wife, Molly, or any of the other women who he, in his own words, "objectified," according to an email turned over to police. 

While Brown wanted to make clear he did not strike his wife, he did not mention the toll taken on victims of emotional or psychological abuse -- both of which he has admitted to in journal entries.

While he released a statement, there's still plenty left unsaid.