Krstic 'grateful' to join the Celtics


Krstic 'grateful' to join the Celtics

By RichLevine

LOS ANGELES Hes the lesser known part of the Celtics massive trade deadline move, but seven-foot Serbain center Nenad Krstic is still just as eager to get started on his Boston Celtics career, and more than thankful for the opportunity hell have for the rest of the season with Cs.

Im really grateful to be part of the Boston Celtics, Krstic said on Saturday after the teams morning shoot around at UCLA. I was shocked for like three days. I didnt expect any trades. This is the first time in my life Ive been traded, so Im still in a little shock but Im very happy to be here to be with this team and this organization.

Krstic wont have the luxury to remain in shock much longer, though. With Shaquille ONeal and Jermaine ONeal still recovering from injury, and Semih Erden now with the Cavaliers, Krstic is the Celtics lone healthy center, and until Shaq returns sometime in the next week or so, hell serve as the Celtics starting center. Eventually, his role will figure more prominently with the second unit, but until then, Krstic is ready for whatever Doc Rivers asks him to do.

I didnt even talk to the coach about that yet, Krstic said about his role. This is the first time Ive met all these guys. Whatever my role is, Im great with that. I dont really care about he minutes or anything because Im really happy to be here.

While he hasnt had much time with Rivers, Krstic does have a history with another Celtics coach. He played for four years in New Jersey under then head coach Lawrence Frank, who now serves as Bostons assistant. Krstic believes that time with Frank will be important as he adjusts to life in Green.

It helps a lot, he said of Frank. I played with him four years in Jersey and we really had a good time there. Hes really going to help me a lot.

What will also help him is the invaluable experience of his All-Star teammates. Obviously, hes yet to spend much time with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo, but after one practice, Krstic is already excited about all that the other Celtics have to offer.

It was amazing, he said. Those guys are all All -Stars. Theyve been in the league so many years, and theyre just trying to help me with the offensive sets. Defensively too, and its great. Im looking forward to playing with these. Im really happy. This is just my first impression but this is going to be fun.

But he also knows that in Boston, unlike any other situation hes been in during his career, that fun can only be had if they win the title. And while, especially coming off an upstart situation in Oklahoma City, that might take some adjustment, Krstic is ecstatic over the opportunity to play with so much on the line.

This is my first time with a team like this, he said, where they want to win right now. Its going to be a great experience, just to learn so much from these guys. Hopefully were going to win the championship and Ill go back to Serbia with a ring.

RichLevine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Rich can be reached at Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics will be a bit shorthanded for the first few games of the season with Marcus Smart being out with a left ankle sprain injury.
The Celtics were holding out slim hope that it would heal in time for tomorrow’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Smart confirmed a report shortly after the injury on October 19 that it would likely be at least a couple weeks before he returned to action.
Following Tuesday’s practice, one in which Smart watched from the sidelines, he gave an update on his ankle injury which occurred in the Celtics’ last preseason game, a 121-96 loss to the New York Knicks.
“A couple weeks, that’s the projection (of a return) they gave me,” Smart said. “They want to make sure we can limit this from happening again.”
Smart said the two-week timetable began from the time of his injury, which means it’s likely that he will miss the Celtics’ first four games of the season.
That’s a much rosier timetable than the left ankle sprain injury Smart suffered as a rookie which kept him sidelined for several weeks afterwards.
“It shouldn’t be too long,” Smart said. “Better safe than sorry.”
His absence will certainly have an impact on a Celtics defense that ranked among the NBA’s best a year ago, and has only gotten stronger with the addition of Al Horford.
But the Celtics have been a "next man up" team for since Stevens has been the head coach. With Smart out, that’s not going to change.
“That’ll be a great opportunity for someone else to step up in his place,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Boston guard Isaiah Thomas echoed similar thoughts.
“When somebody’s hurt, the next man has to step up,” Thomas said. “Guys have to take advantage of these opportunities.”
And for Smart, it’ll mean displaying his leadership skills from the sideline.
He’s totally comfortable taking on that role right now.
For his teammates, it might take a little bit of getting used to. Smart has been very loquacious on the Celtics sideline since suffering the injury.
“These last four days, he has been yelling … I told him to shut up a few times,” quipped Isaiah Thomas. “That’s just him, especially when he’s not playing. He’s very vocal.”
Terry Rozier, the likely benefactor in terms of minutes played due to Smart’s injury, agreed.
“He’s been sitting right there in that seat,” said Rozier, adding, “and he hasn’t shut up yet. It’s good; you’re going to need a guy like that who is going to talk to you. It’s like a guy, he says things … it’s like he’s been in the league 10 years. He knows his stuff.”
Smart’s knowledge bank includes understanding that his current injury will probably happen again at some point. The key isn’t dealing with the injury, but how you move forward from it.
“This isn’t my first ankle sprain and I know it won’t be my last,” Smart said. “I just have to let it heal on its own and let your body do what it does.”