Hornets' Williams, Rivers have similar styles

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Hornets' Williams, Rivers have similar styles

If the Rajon Rondo-for-Chris Paul trade rumors ever materialize into a done deal, there will be an adjustment period for both players.

But they each may find their new head coach isn't all that different than the old one.

New Orleans head coach Monty Williams has never been an assistant on Doc Rivers' bench in Orlando or here in Boston. But make no mistake about it. He is a Rivers' disciple.

"To say he's just been a big brother, would be understating it," Williams said.

And you can bet that relationship has given both a clearer understanding of exactly what they would be getting at the point guard position if the Rondo-for-Paul trade comes to fruition.

Rivers and Williams' relationship dates back to when Rivers was nearing the end of his career with the New York Knicks, and Williams was a promising first-round pick out of Notre Dame.

"Monty is one of my favorite people in the world; he literally is," Rivers said.

Williams' athleticism was among his strongest traits at the time, and he wasn't coy about putting it on display. But Rivers had seen enough athletes in his career who didn't improve in other facets of their game. He didn't want to see Williams suffer a similar fate.

"All the young guys, all these silly dunks. You're never going to get that in a game," Rivers said. "Work on your jump-shot, work on your skill stuff. I believe that to this day, with everybody."

But Williams recalls when Rivers' brotherly advice took on a much harsher tone than he expected.

It was shortly after warm-ups during his rookie season. A teammate asked him to dunk the ball, so Williams responded with a windmill jam. Someone asked him to do another dunk, so he did it.

"He (Rivers) pulled me to the side one day and just ripped me," Williams recalled. "'Stop dunking the ball work on your game. You're going to be out of this league in two to three years if you don't work on your game.' And he walked away from me."

The words weren't what Williams wanted to hear, obviously.

"From that point on, I was mad and embarrassed," Williams said. "But I understood he was trying to look out for my career."

It is that kind of tough love that at times has made Rivers' relationship with Rondo a bit bumpy. And Williams, who just finished his first season as the Hornet's head coach, has also had some ups and downs with Paul.

That comes with the territory of being an NBA head coach in the mold of Rivers.

"He's been willing to risk our relationship to tell me the truth," Williams said. "I find myself doing that. I will tell players the truth. I get a lot of that from Doc."

Said Rivers: "You have to be honest. If telling someone the truth ruins your relationship, I always believe that there is no relationship."

Lowe: Wouldn't be shocked if C's move Bradley

Lowe: Wouldn't be shocked if C's move Bradley

Zach Lowe’s most recent podcast is worth a listen, as it features plenty of talk about what the Celtics may or may not due ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. 

Lowe brought up the possibility of the Celtics top-1 or top-2-protecting Brooklyn’s first-round pick and including it in a deal for Butler. He surmises that the inclusion of the Brooklyn pick -- protected or not -- might not come until the final minutes. 

“Look, if Butler gets traded or if Paul George gets traded, that’s when it’s going to happen,” Marc Stein responded. “It’s going to happen in the last five to 10 minutes, so Boston has to make a decision, and let's see if they’re doing the math that they’ve had these assets for a while and it is time to do something bold and the time is now. Really, I think Boston will do it. The question is what will Chicago or Indiana do? And those are two hard reads.” 

Stein spoke to the Celtics’ lack of activity at certain points, but he said that if the C’s do fail to come away with a star player Thursday, it won’t be for lack of aggressiveness. 

MORE TRADE TALK

“I think the Celtics are taking criticism for waiting, and they’ve had all these assets they haven’t moved yet, but I think the record shows that Danny Ainge in general, in total, is very aggressive, not afraid to roll the dice, not afraid to make the aggressive move,” Stein said. “So I have less doubt about Boston saying, ‘Let’s just do it.’ I have far more questions about what Chicago and/or Indiana would do.” 

Lowe said that he imagines the Bulls would “think about” trading the C's Butler if Boston threw in the Nets’ pick unprotected, but added that Chicago would demand to also take two players out of Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown. 

“I think that will be the offer and they’ll get there and Chicago will either have a moment where they say, ‘We walk away or we’ll do it.’ And Boston’s not going to throw in the other Nets pick,” Lowe said. “That’s just not going to happen.”

Rating the aforementioned foursome in terms of trade value, Lowe said that Crowder is the best piece because of his “ridiculously good” contract, followed by Brown, Smart and Bradley. 

Lowe added that he considers Bradley one of the “sneaky interesting pieces at this trade deadline” because his contract is up after next season, which is the same time that Isaiah Thomas’ contract expires. Lowe says that given the uncertainty of his future in Boston, he wouldn’t be overly surprised if Bradley is moved at the deadline. 

Report: Ainge wouldn't trade Nets pick for Butler, but would for George

Report: Ainge wouldn't trade Nets pick for Butler, but would for George

Will the Celtics part with the right to Brooklyn’s 2017 first-round pick in order to get a star before Thursday’s trade deadline? 

MORE TRADE TALK

Citing a pair of NBA executives, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News wrote this week that Danny Ainge’s willingness to trade the pick should be in doubt.

Sola named Chicago’s Jimmy Butler and Paul George as potential targets, adding that the C’s might include the latter.   

Wrote Isola: 

Two executives doubt that Ainge, who historically plays it close to the vest, would give up the Nets pick in a deal for Butler. However, Ainge might consider it in a trade for George, the Pacers-free agent-to-be who has expressed doubts over re-signing with the Pacers.

‘With Danny, no one ever knows what he might do,' said the executive. ‘He's one of the best. If he thinks he can make a run at the Cavs this season, considering all the injuries Cleveland has had, I can see him making a move.

‘Everyone is talking about Butler to Boston but Danny and Larry Bird go way back. Paul George could be the sleeper.’

This season, the 26-year-old George is averaging 22.3 points 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game.