The news out of Brooklyn this afternoon (via Adrian Wojnarowski's Twitter accountvia a multi-zillion dollar mansion in Moscow) is that the Nets have fired Avery Johnson.
Johnson becomes the second NBA coach to be fired this season (joining Mike Brown). He's also the second coach in three years whose firing has coincided with an unhappy Deron Williams (joining Jerry Sloan). In Johnson's absence, the Nets have named PJ Carliesimo the interim coach (all but eliminating any chance of them signing Latrell Sprewell), but like the Lakers did earlier this year, you can expect Brooklyn to do an extensive search for a more permanent head man and you can also expect to hear all the same names (Phil Jackson, Jerry Sloan, Mike Brown, Stan Van Gundy, Whoopi Goldberg) for a possible replacement.
So what does this mean for the Celtics? Well, one of their major rivals in the conference and (more importantly, for now) the division, is in flux. Even more so than they were during their recent stretch of mediocrity. With Johnson's firing, and the Sixers recent slide (although they have picked up two impressive wins recently against Memphis and Atlanta), the Celtics are suddenly the second most stable team in the Atlantic. And we'll see how the return of Amare Stoudemire and the loss of Raymond Felton affects the Knicks. Who knows? The Celtics might once again find themselves in the drivers seat and then mayb WOAH. OK, pump the brakes now. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. But let's take a moment and make note of the fact that the Celtics are suddenly trending upwards while the rest of the division's hit a speed bump.
We'll check back in after this west coast trip.
Rich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine
BRIGHTON, Mass. -- When it comes to finding ways to attract the best talent, colleges and universities often seek to upgrade their training facilities as an enticement to prospective players.
So why should it be any different at the pro level?
The Boston Celtics had a groundbreaking ceremony Monday morning for The Auerbach Center at New Balance Headquarters.
“When you think he was hired in 1966 and they’re still honoring him, it’s very humbling,” said Randy Auerbach, Red’s daughter.
New Balance officials echoed similar sentiments about the legendary Red Auerbach, the architect of arguably the greatest dynasty in professional basketball.
“Red Auerbach was a true entrepreneur whose passion for winning and dedication to the sport of basketball and the Boston Celtics was equally matched with his commitment to people and his local community,” said Jim Davis, Chairman and Owner at New Balance. “New Balance is extremely proud to join with the Boston Celtics in honoring his professional achievements and personal values through ‘Red’s House’ at our Boston world headquarters.”
Celtics president Rich Gotham cited several benefits to moving the team to a state-of-the-art practice facility closer to Boston.
Among the reasons given was the potential for the practice facility to be a potential enticement for free agents.
“Players spend more time in the practice facility than they do in the arena they play in certainly, and maybe more than they do at home,” Gotham said. “So having a place where they feel comfortable, a place where they want to spend time to improve themselves across the board … it’s all coming together in a pretty big way. The best players know it’s integral to their success that make sure that support is there, that infrastructure is there. So when we’re out talking to a player, we’re going to be talking about this practice facility we’re building. Because we do think it’s an important part of our story.”
Some of the features of the new practice facility will include:
· Two state-of-the-art parquet floor basketball courts where the team will practice
· Leading edge audio-visual technology throughout the facility
· Expanded strength and conditioning, training, and recovery facilities
· Best-in-class locker rooms and players’ lounge
· Physical therapy areas including hydrotherapy pools
· Sports science and nutrition facilities
· Expanded media work room, press conference and broadcast facilities
· A flexible hospitality area designed for community relations activities, partner gatherings and other guest events
· Work space for the team’s coaching and basketball front office staffs
While the facility will have all the bells and whistles you would come to expect in a new facility, Gotham said there will be a balance of sorts struck between that and the franchise’s longstanding history.
“What will be clear is it will be … at that intersection of, which is a strange intersection, of innovation but honoring our tradition,” Gotham said. “This will be a building that’s state-of-the-art, moving forward. But at the same time, I think one of the things we’re lucky to have is this treasure trove of great guys who came before us who left great wisdom and great quotes. You can see a lot of that built in. Coach Stevens is big on having motivational phrases around for the guys to see every single day when they come in for practice. If those come from Red Auerbach and Bill Russell, all the better. You’ll see us incorporating those kind of things.”
BOSTON – One way or another, R.J. Hunter or James Young was not going to be a Boston Celtic by the end of the day Monday.
The Celtics made their choice by waiving Hunter just hours before the NBA deadline to trim their roster down to 15 players.
Hunter began to show signs of coming around near the end of training camp, but his improved play would eventually be too little too late.
This is certainly good news for Young, who like Hunter, made it clear that he wanted to remain with the Celtics. But it by no means should be seen as a victory for Young who is entering his third NBA season.
The 21-year-old is now part of the 15-man roster, but it still doesn’t address the issue of him playing better to where the Celtics might actually use him with some degree of regularity.
If not for Kelly Olynyk’s shoulder injury, which will keep him out of action until next month, there was a decent chance that Young would begin the season on the inactive roster. But to Young’s credit, he showed a level of dedication to the game that the Celtics had not seen before. He spent most of this past summer in Boston working on his game, trying to get physically stronger. During the preseason, his level of commitment to improving was noticeable as well.
And when he did get a chance to play in the preseason, he did a lot of little things really well, showing the kind of improvement that ultimately put him a leg up on Hunter whom the Celtics drafted last year with the 28th overall pick.
If Hunter isn’t claimed, he becomes an unrestricted free agent who can then sign with any team of his choosing. Do not be surprised if Hunter is claimed off waivers by a team which then assigns him to their Development League affiliate, similar to what the Celtics did with Ryan Kelly over the weekend.