Friday FT's: Why West Picked Pacers, Baby Out of KGs Shadow

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Friday FT's: Why West Picked Pacers, Baby Out of KGs Shadow

Welcome back to Friday Free Throws, a weekly recap of the most interesting news notes, and information that have not made the headlines, but are still worth a read.

Why West Picked the Pacers

Since the formation of the New Big Three in 2007, players have made Boston a destination of choice when deciding on a new team. Others have taken paycuts to stay part of the organization.

So when David West chose to sign with the Indiana Pacers, who have not won more than 40 games in a single regular season since 2006, over the Celtics, the decision raised eyebrows.

Including Ray Allens.

"Once it got down to the end, I think his ego kicked back in," Allen told ESPNBoston.coms Jackie MacMullan. "He wanted the dollars. I guess it comes down to 'What is a championship worth to you?'

"Think of all the guys who have made 20 million and could be considered one of the best ever, but they get chided because they never won. We the Big Three all had to do less when we won. We're still taking less to make it work. But it's worth it. No one can ever say to KG, Paul or me, 'You guys never got your ring.'"

Settling in with his new team, West responded to the comments.

"What they're dealing with up there is a lot deeper than David West," Conrad Brunner of Pacers.com reported West saying. When I was figuring out what I was going to do, everybody that knows me knows I'm a thought person. I don't rush to judgment and the decisions I make are well-thought-out. This was a well-thought-out decision on my part. There's a reason why I'm in Indiana and not anywhere else. This team is young and deep with some really good pieces. And it's deep."

Davis Out of KGs Shadows ... Seriously?

During the four years he spent in Boston, Glen Davis was a key member of the Celtics bench. He also stepped into the starting lineup in place of an injured Kevin Garnett. To many, he was seen as the Cs sixth man. But to Davis, he saw it as playing in the shadows.

Davis, who was traded to the Orlando Magic as part of the Brandon Bass deal, recently reflected on his time with the Celtics.

"My whole career, I was playing behind KG, and I don't think people really were able to see what I can do," he told FOX Sports Florida. "The times that I didn't have to play behind KG, I did a great job. Now, I'm (with the Magic), and I have an opportunity to be a starter, and I'm just embracing the moment."

A former role player saying he felt overshadowed by his All-Star veteran teammates? Hm, we've heard this before.

Former Celtics: One Out, One In for Lakers

Two former Celtics participated in the Los Angeles Lakers training camp this month. But when final cuts were made, only one was remained on the roster.

2005 Celtics first round draft pick Gerald Green was waived on Thursday, the Lakers announced on Twitter. Green was scoreless with two personal fouls in eight minutes in one preseason game.

Troy Murphy, who played 17 games for the Celtics last season, signed with the Lakers this week. He averaged 4.0 points and 3.5 rebounds in two preseason games with his new team.
Celtics Tweet of the Week

@unclejeffgreen: "Thank u everyone for ur thoughts and prayers...much appreciated love u all..and I'll be back soon stronger and better than ever I promise"

Celtics Birthdays of the Week

Joe Wolf, who played two games for the Celtics in the 1992-93 season, turned 47 on December 17. Former Celtics training camp invitee Stephane Lasme turned 29 on the same day. ... Hall of Famer Kevin McHale turned 54 on December 19. He is currently the head coach of the Houston Rockets. Tom Gugliotta celebrated his 42nd birthday that day as well.

This Week in Celtics History
On December 19, 1956, Bill Russell signed his first contract with the Boston Celtics. He made his debut for the C's three days later, recording 16 rebounds and six points against the St. Louis Hawks. On the same date in 1990, Kevin McHale scored his 15,000th career point in a win over the Philadelphia 76ers. ... On December 22, 1949, Tony Lavelli presented an accordion mini-concert to over 5,000 fans at the Boston Garden during halftime of their game against the Minneapolis Lakers.

Miller callup to Red Sox 'a dream come true' after remarkable journey

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Miller callup to Red Sox 'a dream come true' after remarkable journey

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - For any player, reaching the big leagues is an accomplishment in its own right. For infielder Mike Miller, summoned by the Red Sox from Pawtucket Monday, the callup couldn't be more improbable.

Start with the fact that Miller, listed officially five-foot-nine, is, in reality, five-foot-six - tops. Add in the fact that he was 11th round pick as a senior from Cal Poly Tech and you begin to understand how much of a longshot Miller is.

Then, add in the fact that injuries conspired to have him miss almost all of 2013 and half of 2014, and Miller's journey is truly a remarkable one.

All of which made it all the more difficult for Miller to keep his emotions under wraps late Sunday night. Miller was riding a bus outside Rochester, N.Y. with the rest of the Pawtucket Red Sox when manager Kevin Boles, sitting a few rows ahead of him on the bus, sent Miller an email informing him that he was going to the big leagues.

But the email contained a caveat from Boles.

"He didn't want to make a big commotion of it on the bus,'' said Miller, "so he told me to keep it quiet and don't show a lot of emotion, but congratulations. It was hard because you've got all your friends on the bus and you want to talk to them about it and share your excitement. But at the same time, you respect the manager's wishes, but there were (corresponding) moves to make and he didn't want it getting out because someone else might not know what's going on.

"It was hard (keep quiet), but you do what you're told.''

Between making phone calls to family members and friends and the natural excitement he felt, Miller got virtually no sleep before a 4:30 a.m. trip to the airport. But sleep could wait on a night like that.

"It's a dream come true,'' said Miller. "I wasn't expecting it -- at all. So to get the opportunity to come up here and play at the highest level is a dream come true. I started my Red Sox career with Mookie Betts in Lowell, so it's cool to catch up to some of those guys and see them a few years later. I'm just really happy and excited to be here.''

Miller's numbers aren't eye-popping at the minor league level. He was .256 with seven doubles in 46 games, and he's not likely to stay with the team past Friday, when the Sox are expecting Brock Holt to return.

But the Sox needed another infielder to get back to a four-man bench, and Miller was the consensus choice. For however long his callup lasts, he'll enjoy it, especially considering what he's overcome.

"You're not a bonus baby,'' he said. "But at the same time, you just go out and compete. When you're on the field, you don't think anybody is better than you. It doesn't matter what round they were (selected) or whether they're a high school guy or (drafted as a) junior or senior. So when you put the cleats on, you play to the best of your ability and see where that takes you.''

The injuries in 2013 (torn quad) and 2014 (broken hammate bone) only fueled his desire.

"There were some tough moments, some frustration over not being able to play,'' he said. "Not being able to control things (was tough). But it also teaches you some things about patience and there's that appreciation that when you are healthy, make sure you go out and play hard every day. If you take the right mindset, you learn from it and get better.''

Miller can play all over the infield. He played shortstop in college, but has mostly played third and second in the minors.

"I've been acclimated to all three,'' said Miller. "I work hard with our instructors to understand all the nuances of all the positions, so I'm comfortable at any of them. Wherever I get the chance to play, I just want to help the team win that night.''

For however long it lasts, Miller will savor it.

"I couldn't ask for a better feeling,'' said Miller. "There are some odds against you -- senior, smaller guy, not a big-time college program. So I've had kind of fight my whole career to keep moving, keep moving. To get here is a really good feeling.''

 

Holt (concussion) still not symptom-free, target weekend series vs. Angels

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Holt (concussion) still not symptom-free, target weekend series vs. Angels

ST. PETERSBURG, FL. - Brock Holt's return to the Red Sox is going to have to wait a little longer.

The Sox had held out some hope that Holt might be ready to rejoin the club here for the start of a three-game series. But Holt, who is recovering from a concussion suffered in early May, is still not symptom-free while on a rehab assignment at Triple A Pawtucket.

The target now is for Holt to return Friday when the Red Sox begin a homestand that will take them up to the All-Star break.

"He'll come off and hopefully join us for the weekend series with the Angels,'' said John Farrell. "(He had a) good day (Sunday), but just didn't feel like he's ready to take that next step, so we have to respect that. He'll get full number of at-bats (Tuesday) and Wednesday, before we get back home.''

Farrell said Holt is still experiencing some post-concussion symptoms as he plays in games.

"This is a very unique (case),'' said Farrell. "We've talked a lot about his form of a concussion and we felt like the best way for him to be capable of being back with us is to push forward and stress the intensity, the level of play. Because the symptoms aren't going to go away just by sitting around. This is a matter of being active and being aggressive with it, so hopefully everything calibrates within his system. That's the recommendation of the medical staff.''

Farrell said Holt continues to feel some imbalance and light dizziness.

"There are those slight, disoriented feelings that's we working through,'' Farrell said. ''We're talking about the inner ear speaking to the brain and that's only going to continue to improve but stressing it -- not by sitting back. The fact that he was set out on a rehab assignment with some of those symptoms was part of overall recommendation.

"I wish we could say this is a straight-line end result from a timing standpoint, but we're seeing that it's not.''

 

Bruins choose not to tender qualifying offers to Connolly, Ferraro

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Bruins choose not to tender qualifying offers to Connolly, Ferraro

The Bruins had to have qualifying offers in by 5 p.m. Monday on their restricted free agents in order to retain them as RFA’s, and they didn’t sent out qualifying offers to Landon Ferraro, Brett Connolly and Ben Sexton. The Bruins can still sign each of these players to reduced deals prior to July 1, but after that they become unrestricted free agents.The Bruins did send out qualifying offers to Brian Ferlin, Chris Casto, Alex Khokhlachev, Torey Krug, Joe Morrow and Colin Miller in order to retain their RFA rights, and protect themselves from other NHL teams attempting to poach them with offer sheets. While the Sexton move isn’t surprising, given that he was a bottom-six forward at the AHL level, it’s a bit of an eyebrow-raiser that neither Ferraro nor Connolly were tendered. Ferraro was a nice waiver pickup, posting 5 goals and 10 points in 68 games along with a minus-11 rating last season. He was a speedy presence on the fourth line with occasional splashes of offense, and had also worked his way into the penalty-kill group. Connolly, 24, finished with 9 goals and 25 points in 71 games along with a minus-1 rating. He struggled to produce offense even though he spent long stretches playing with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand last season. Still, he was the sixth overall pick in the 2010 draft and the Bruins gave up two second-round picks to Tampa Bay for him less than two years ago, so the move is somewhat unexpected.The door may not be closed on either Ferraro or Connolly returning to Boston, but it certainly doesn’t feel like they’re coming back after Monday afternoon’s appearance on the NHL transaction list.