OFFSEASON

Garnett responds to Hawks owner on and off court

760078.jpg

Garnett responds to Hawks owner on and off court

BOSTON Kevin Garnett is pretty self-motivated, but any edge he can find in that category he will greatly accept.

He found one heading into Thursday's Game 6 matchup with the Atlanta Hawks, a game in which one of the Hawks co-owners, Michael Gearon, Jr., delivered just the kind of verbal ammo that has a tendency to charge up the NBA veteran.

Thursday's game was no exception, as Garnett tallied 28 points and 14 rebounds in leading the C's to an 83-80 game.

Boston had squandered a nine-point lead in the fourth, ultimately falling behind before - who else? - Garnett came to the rescue with a 13-footer in the lane with 30 seconds to play.

The C's never trailed afterward.

And while there were plenty of folks Garnett could have thanked for Thursday's win, there was only one person on his mind initially - Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. who made a number of disparaging comments about Garnett, including that all-time classic that you hear time and time again - he's a dirty player.

"First off, I want to say thank you to their owner for giving me some extra gas tonight," Garnett said. "My only advice to him is next time he opens his mouth, actually know what he's talking about.

Garnett added, "we're not dirty; we're firm, we play aggressive. We're not dirty. Ya know you have to understand the word dirty in this game is very defined. Going under guys, trying to hurt guys, ill intent, it's not the way we play basketball. I just found that comment to be a little rude and a little out of hand and I wanted to address it. Just because you got a bunch of money don't mean you can open your mouth."

Gearon's comments made the rounds in the C's locker room, with a number of players well aware that such talk can only help the Celtics.

"From the All-Star break, there hasn't been any young player at the 4 (power forward) or 5 (center) position that's been better than him," said Celtics guard Keyon Dooling. "I guess he's putting to rest, 'he's got older legs.' He's not aging, he's aged."

While there's no question Gearon's comments were a factor in Garnett's monster game, teammates understand that's not the only thing that drives him.

"His motivation is all about winning," Pietrus said. "He's dedicated to win. That's why one brain fits all the brains in this locker room. That's why I love KG; we love KG. Even in practice, he comes to practice everyday I understand every player wants to be a Kobe or a LeBron, but watch KG, you're going to learn from him."

His teammates learn about his work ethic and commitment to his craft, which is to be the best basketball player, the best teammate he can possibly be.

For those on the outside like Hawks co-owner Michael Gearson Jr., you learn that the soon-to-be-36 year old Garnett still has a lot of basketball left in him.

And if that's questioned, Garnett will respond in a way that serves as a reminder of sorts that when properly motivated (like calling him old, washed up or a dirty player), he can still dominate games in a way so few players in the league can do now.

OFFSEASON

Turner on Instagram: Leaving Celtics ‘one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made’

slide_7_evan_turner.jpg

Turner on Instagram: Leaving Celtics ‘one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made’

On Instagram and on Twitter, Evan Turner thanks the Boston fans after he leaves the Celtics for a four-year, $70 million free agent deal with the Portland Trail Blazers. 

OFFSEASON

Celtics’ Young has seen first-hand the work Durant puts in

Celtics’ Young has seen first-hand the work Durant puts in

BOSTON – We have all seen what Kevin Durant can do in games. He’s a near 7-footer with lethal shooting range who, on most nights, makes the game look so easy.
 
Still, he is often praised for his work ethic in practice and offseason workouts, something Celtics guard/forward James Young knows from first-hand experience.
 
Last summer, Young spent time working out in the summer with Durant, who, like Young, is represented by Rich Kleiman of Roc Nation Sports.
 
Durant, the top free agent on the market this summer, has narrowed his list of potential teams to play for next season to six.
 
The Celtics made the cut and will get a face-to-face meeting with Durant this weekend.
 
You can add Young to the list of Celtics who would love to call Durant a teammate.
 
“He would mean a lot to the team,” Young said. “He would help the team out.”
 
The in-game production generated by Durant speaks for itself.
 
In nine NBA seasons, he has career averages of 27.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocked shots per game.
 
But just as impressive is what the 6-foot-11 forward does out of season.
 
“He was focused the whole time; 110 percent,” said Young, referring to working out with Durant last summer. “I try to do that in my workouts and just go from there.”
 
Durant, who is expected to meet with the Celtics on Saturday, will reportedly make a decision on July 4.  

OFFSEASON

Evan Turner agrees to 4-year, $70M deal with Trail Blazers

celtics-turner-knicks.jpg

Evan Turner agrees to 4-year, $70M deal with Trail Blazers

BOSTON — We have heard how good a coach Brad Stevens has been for the Celtics.

And then Evan Turner goes out and lands a four-year, $70 million deal from the Portland Trail Blazers, which says more about Stevens than the crazy NBA free agency market.

Remember, it was just two years ago that Turner was a player that hardly anyone wanted.

Sure, he put up big numbers in his final season in Philadelphia before they traded him, but the Sixers were still a bad team.

And when he arrived in Indiana, the Pacers seemed to regress which on the eve of free agency, led to Turner’s stock taking an Enron-like plunge.

So, in came the Celtics, offering him two-year, $6.9 million contract and with it a chance to change the narrative of him as being a lottery pick bust.

Instead of being a bust, Turner blossomed into a reliable, jack-of-all-trades who could impact the game positively off the bench or in the starting lineup.

And while Turner certainly deserves a lot of credit for turning his basketball career around, it’s also yet another testament to what Stevens can do for veterans in need of a image makeover (read: Dwight Howard).

Kris Humphries was on the Celtics’ 2013-2014 squad which was Stevens’ first season as an NBA coach.

Humphries was part of the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade with Brooklyn, a player whose contract was viewed as being as valuable as he was as a player.

There were rumors all the way up to the trade deadline that Boston would move him and his expiring contract.

Instead, they kept him around and gradually Stevens found ways to get him in the game, allow him to do some things on the floor that he had not done before.

So, rather than having to settle for a veteran’s minimum contract which seemed to be in his future, his play under Stevens led to a three-year, $13 million deal with Washington.

Humphries credits Stevens’ system as being one of the keys to his success and ability to land a decent, multi-year contract following a season in which Boston won just 25 games and he shot a career-best 50.1 percent from the field.

“If you look at a lot of guys, they have a lot of versatility in their game,” Humphries told CSNNE.com in April. “They’re able to handle the ball more than they have throughout their careers, show they can do more in terms of being an overall player. That helps guys with the NBA today, 1 [point guard] through 5 [center] has to be able to make plays. Brad’s system lets you do that.”

Especially for players like Humphries and Turner, who parlayed success under Stevens into a huge payday.