OFFSEASON

Shaq wanted to punch Big Baby in the face

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Shaq wanted to punch Big Baby in the face

Shaquille O'Neal's new book, Shaq Uncut: My Story, digs up a little dirt on teammates from the multiple franchises that dotted his career. And though The Diesel only spent one year in Boston, he had enough ammo to sully some of his old Celtics 'mates, too.

One particularly entertaining excerpt explains how Shaq and fellow Louisiana State product Glen Davis had it out in the middle of huddles because Big Baby didn't like to pass:

Big Baby Davis kept looking me off and taking it himself. Doc is shouting at him to go inside, but he wont. So Doc calls timeout and draws up a play for me. I go out there, and I back Andrew Bynum way under the rim. Im loose, Im ready. Ive got Bynum under the basket and again, Baby wont give me the ball. So I go up to him and say, If you ever miss me again Im going to punch you in the face. I was hot.

Two nights later were playing in Sacramento and here we go again. I take three shots the entire game and again Ive got my man isolated underneath the basket, and Baby ignores me and takes a jump shot. So the next time were in the huddle I let Baby have it.

I tell him, Pass the expletive ball inside. He comes back at me a little bit and now Im really heated. All hell is breaking loose. Were going back and forth. Doc is standing there and hes not saying a word. The message is pretty clear: Work this out yourselves. I tell Baby, Youre a selfish player. Everyone on this team knows it. Hey, all the fans knew it. He takes shots when he shouldn't."

Davis will be a free agent if and when the NBA offseason comes back from its lockout and the free agency period officially begins.

Other highlights from Shaq's book include the time President Barack Obama dissed Rajon Rondo's free-throw shooting ability and sent the point guard into a tailspin. . .

Remember that stretch right after Perk got traded and Rondo was struggling so badly? He definitely was nicked up and fighting some injuries, but something else happened that I think affected him. In early March some of the guys went to the Museum of Fine Arts for a fundraiser and got to hang out with President Barack Obama. Everyone was a little bit in awe. The president turns to Ray, points to Rondo and says, Hey Ray, why dont you teach this kid how to shoot. Everyone starts laughing, and Rays says, Nah, thats why hes got to give the ball to me. Ill take care of the shooting.

KG told me he saw the look on Rondos face and the kid was devastated, embarrassed. Dissed by the president, even though Im sure Obama didnt mean any harm. Rondo smiled and went along with all of it, but KG told me he could sit it in his eyes. It bothered Rondo. It killed him.

. . . and why Nate Robinson was traded:

I wasnt surprised at all when he got traded. Nate was always trying to get noticed by the public. He was always tweeting videos of himself punking his teammates ... Some people are a little too focused on Twitter and Nate was one of them. He was too worried about how many followers he had. He kept saying, Shaq, I need more people. Help me out.

Celtics fans looking for a little more reason to hate Kobe Bryant and LeBron James can revel in some of Shaq's other anecdotes. He said he wanted to kill Bryant over an interview with Jim Gray, and explained that LeBron James basically got away with whatever he wanted in Cleveland.

OFFSEASON

Celtics take two in international players in record breaking NBA Draft

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Celtics take two in international players in record breaking NBA Draft

BOSTON –  The Boston Celtics turned quite a few heads when they used two of their three, first-round picks on International players.

They were part of a record-setting night for international players, with 15 being selected in the first round – the most ever in NBA history.

But like many international draft picks, it is far from a given that you’ll see either of Boston’s international first rounder picks Guershon Yabusele and Ante Zizic who were selected with the 16th and 23rd picks, respectively.

While it’s not uncommon for teams to draft international players in the first round and do so with the plan being to keep them overseas for another year or two, the potential hold-up for Boston’s two international picks has more to do with coming to terms on a buyout amount with their current teams.

“We’ve had initial discussions with their representatives,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, when I asked him about it during the team’s press conference to introduce the newest Celtics on Friday. “We have not concluded anything yet. We’re still in that discussion. And I’m not sure about summer (league).”

While it remains an option, a league source told CSNNE.com that it’s unlikely that either player will participate in either of Boston’s summer league squads which will play in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.

Ainge agrees that there are a number of positives one can take from drafting an overseas player in the first round.

But the decision by Boston to draft Yabusele and Zizic in the first round had a lot to do with one thing – talent.

“The reason that these two guys are here, … is because they’re good players,” Ainge said. “The fact that they have people that want them on their teams on the International top level competition, tells you how good players they are. They could easily find jobs overseas at the top level. They’ve earned that reputation. They’re both very productive. Guerson very productive and Ante very good rebounding … now we’re trying to figure out the best way they can help us for their development. We’re working with their representatives on that plan.”

Yabusele, a 6-8, 275-pound power forward, averaged 11.5 points, 6.8 rebounds in 28.7 minutes with Rouen Metropole Basket in the LNB Pro A league in France. While appearing in 34 games last season, he grabbed 10 or more rebounds 11 times while tallying eight double-doubles.

Zizic, a 6-11, 250-pound center, distinguished himself as one of the better players in the Adriatic League this past season. He was voted by fans, media and coaches as the Adriatic League’s Top Prospect after averaging 12.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game in 24.8 minutes while shooting an impressive 60.7 percent from the field.

OFFSEASON

If not this year for Durant-to-Celtics, then next?

If not this year for Durant-to-Celtics, then next?

BOSTON – The Celtics are considered long shots at landing Kevin Durant during free agency, which begins next week.

Still, if they come up short this summer, league sources tell CSNNE.com that the Celtics will be on a “watch list” of sorts by Durant’s camp when the former league MVP is expected to hit the free agent market once again in the summer of 2017.
 
The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Durant will have teams meet with him in New York beginning next week. In addition to the Celtics, his current team Oklahoma City will sit down with him, as well as Golden State, the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs.
 
Durant can re-sign with the Thunder for as many as five years with the total value of his contract worth slightly more than $150 million.
 
However, by signing a one-year deal or a two-year pact with a player option for the second season, Durant would make a projected $25.9 million for the 2016-2017 season and can then hit the free agent market again in 2017 when the salary cap is expected to cross the nine-figure threshold.
 
And at that time, if he decides to stay with the Thunder, he can ink a five-year deal that, when combined with his salary in 2016-2017, would be more than $230 million over six years – that’s about $80 million more than he would get by re-signing a long-term deal with the Thunder now, and would more than double what he would make by signing a maximum-salaried four-year deal with another team.
 
That’s why it makes a lot of sense for him to sign a short-term deal now and better position himself for a bigger payday the following summer when his starting salary will likely be on the north side of $35 million.
 
For the Celtics, Durant going through free agency back-to-back years affords coach Brad Stevens and the Celtics one more opportunity to continue their ascension up the Eastern Conference standings while still being a team that’s clearly in need of adding at least one additional All-Star talent to play with Isaiah Thomas.

In his three seasons as the Celtics coach, Stevens has improved the team’s win total each season.
 
However, they have failed to win a playoff series after having been knocked out in the first round each of the past two seasons.
 
While Durant is the team’s No. 1 priority on the free agent market, the Celtics will quickly pivot their attentions to other highly-regarded players as well with Atlanta’s Al Horford being among their targets.

Depending on how quickly Durant’s free agency gets taken care of, the Celtics might be able to turn their attention towards potentially re-signing Evan Turner, who was sixth in the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year voting last season.

OFFSEASON

Celtics' Isaiah Thomas continues recruitment of Durant with tweet

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Celtics' Isaiah Thomas continues recruitment of Durant with tweet

With the Celtics reportedly in the running in the Kevin Durant Derby, C's guard Isaiah Thomas is continuing his recruiting pitch with this playful tweet.

Thomas said in a radio interview earlier this week that the Celtics "definitely have a shot" at landing Durant and a few months ago, Thomas' essay in the Players Tribune is perhaps his best sales job of all.