OFFSEASON

Report: Frank is Pistons next head coach

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Report: Frank is Pistons next head coach

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn
BOSTON CSNNE.com has learned that Boston Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank will be the next head coach of the Detroit Pistons, with an announcement to be made within the next day or two.

The story was first reported by Yahoo! Sports.

Frank, who spent six-plus seasons as the head coach of the New Jersey Nets, has been in a two-man race for the Pistons job with ex-Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson who was an assistant on the Pistons' 2004 NBA championship team.

The job became available when the Pistons fired head coach, and former Celtics assistant, John Kuester.

With Frank becoming the next head coach of the Pistons, that creates another void on the coaching staff. Former Celtics coaching assistant Darren Erman accepted a similar coaching position with the Golden State Warriors earlier this month.

Of the two, filling the void left by Frank would be a greater priority.

The man the Celtics may turn to may very well be the man Frank beat out for the Pistons job.

Woodson has maintained that he wants back in as a head coach.

"I think I did enough during my first head coaching stint to deserve another shot at running a team," Woodson told CSNNE.com earlier.

After winning just 13 games during his first season in Atlanta, the Hawks improved their winning percentage every season afterward under Woodson which included three consecutive trips to the playoffs -- something no Atlanta coach had done since Lenny Wilkens, the all-time winningest coach in NBA history, in the mid-to-late 1990s.

But there's a reason why the Hawks didn't renew his contract. Woodson proved what he could do with a young, moldable group of players. But it was unclear if Woodson could take the Hawks beyond being a team that every now and then would get out of the first round, but go no further than that.

When you look at the Celtics moving forward, there's little doubt that they'll continue to get younger and more athletic.

They took steps in addressing that by drafting Purdue All-American Jajuan Johnson in the first round of last month's NBA draft.

One of Woodson's strengths, even dating back to his days as an assistant with Larry Brown in Philadelphia and later in Detroit, was his ability to help develop young players.

Joe Johnson is talented and showed flashes of that in Phoenix, but the former first round pick of the Celtics didn't become an all-star talent until he arrived in Atlanta. And Josh Smith, one of the most freakishly athletic players in the NBA, is still a work in progress.

But there's no denying he is a more complete player now in part because of the many run-ins he had with Woodson, who has never shied away from pushing a younger player if he sees more in them than they're showcasing.

Woodson actually spent some time in Boston this past season checking out a couple Celtics practices.

Doc Rivers has made a habit of inviting recently fired coaches to his practices during the season.

"I don't get to sit in anybody's veterans camp," Woodson told CSNNE.com. "To be invited in, get a chance to sit in and see what these other guys are doing, it's kind of nice. You're always competing on the sidelines against them during the season; just to watch them conduct practice and the various things they do. I take a few notes, and try to incorporate some things in what you do and move on."

Don't think for a minute it's a one-way street.

"It's just great to have a fresh set of eyes see your team, and give you feedback," Rivers told CSNNE.com earlier this past season. "They'll all say this helps them, but I get something out of it, too."

Rivers did the same thing with Frank when he was fired by the Nets a couple years ago.

While that didn't necessarily seal the deal for him coming to Boston, "it didn't hurt," Rivers said.

We'll see if a similar ending plays out with Woodson.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

OFFSEASON

Celtics are anything but "a middle of the road team"

Celtics are anything but "a middle of the road team"

Charles Barkley said Friday that the Boston Celtics are a "middle of the road team in no man's land." Kevin O'Connor joined Greg Dickerson on Sports Tonight and explained just how foolish of a statement that is.

Make sure you watch the video above, but here are some of the key stats O'Connor mentions regarding the state of the Celtics.

Competitive teams rarely select at the top of the draft, but the Celtics have already done it before and could again in 2017 and 2018. Over the last 40 years, only 10 teams have won at least 45 games and used a top five pick in the draft. Here’s the list:

PLAYER TEAM WINS YEAR PICK
Greg Ballard Washington 48 1977 4
Mychal Thompson Portland 58 1978 1
Magic Johnson LA Lakers 47 1979 1
Kevin McHale Boston 61 1980 3
James Worthy LA Lakers 57 1982 1
Charles Barkley Philadelphia 52 1984 5
Sam Bowie Portland 48 1984 2
Len Bias Boston 67 1986 2
Darko Milicic Detroit 50 2003 2
Jaylen Brown Boston 48 2016 3

Two of those teams won a single championship (Washington and Detroit). Two became dynasties (Boston and the Lakers). Four of the players are Hall of Famers (Johnson, McHale, Worthy, Barkley). You’ll also find Jaylen Brown, who could be a cornerstone even if we don’t know it yet.

If they play their cards right and the Nets struggle as much as everyone expects them to, they’ll be right back in the conversation for another star next season. Due to their tremendous flexibility, that could happen through the draft, the trade market, or free agency.

For more on this topic, click here.

OFFSEASON

Carroll: Crowder doesn't understand what it takes to win in playoffs

Carroll: Crowder doesn't understand what it takes to win in playoffs

Celtics forward Jae Crowder recently said, “Toronto is not a team we’re worried about,” and Raptors forward DeMarre Carroll thinks that's a silly comment to make.

“It’s a comment from a person who hasn’t really been in the playoffs that much. That’s how I reacted to that type of comment. When you haven’t been on that level and you don’t understand what it takes to get to that level. Myself going to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals, I understand what it takes,” Carroll said on SportsNet.ca. “It’s a comment from a guy who hasn’t been on that level, who hasn’t played on that level. It sounds like a young comment.”

The Raptors won 56 games last season and went all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals before falling in six games to the Cavaliers, so Carroll is right that he’s speaking from experience.

But you can understand the confidence Crowder has. After winning 48 games last season, the Celtics just landed Al Horford, and they have repeatedly said they’re not done making moves. So perhaps their roster will look even better on Opening Night than it does right now.

Carroll doesn’t care about that though.

“We’ll let Jae Crowder do all the talking,” Carroll said. “We’ll just fly under the radar and do what we’re supposed to do.”

The Celtics went 1-3 versus the Raptors last season. They better hope they perform better next season, or Carroll might be the one talking.

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics 'won't give up much' for Okafor

Report: Celtics 'won't give up much' for Okafor

Just recently, CSNNE.com's A. Sherrod Blakely laid out a compelling case why the Celtics are far more likely to trade for Jahlil Okafor than make a blockbuster for Russell Westbrook or Blake Griffin.

But, apparently, they're not willing to give up a whole lot to get him.

According to Keith Pompay of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Celtics have concerns about Okafor's off-court problems, including two incidents in Boston, and "will not give up much" to get him:

"[The Celtics] have concerns about his playing in the city after being involved in two street fights there in the early hours of Thanksgiving morning. Nor do they like the fact that the center saw a gun pointed at his head in Old City and that he was stopped for going 108 mph over the Ben Franklin Bridge."

Pompay reports the Sixers "are determined to receive equal value in any trade," which -- if the Celts actually are hesitant to bring Okafor on board -- would seem to make Okafor-to-Boston unlikely. Especially since, in the words of NBC's Pro Basketball Talk's Kurt Helin, "Okafor would fit with the Celtics -- the guy can score inside and rebound, valuable NBA skills -- but he’s not the game-changer they need. He’s okay. He’s not the answer."

Or perhaps the two sides using the media to lower/raise the price tag.

Stay tuned.