Danny Ainge: Celtics ‘having a lot of discussions’ about trades

If you expected Danny Ainge to address the Rajon Rondo trade rumors directly in his Thursday radio appearance, well, you should have known better.
The Boston Celtics president of basketball operations did not comment on recent reports that the Dallas Mavericks are making a hard push for his star point guard, but he did note that the Celtics — like most NBA teams around this time of year — have been active in trade discussions.
“This is a hot rumor time, and there’s a hot rumor time that comes up in the middle of February,” Ainge told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich.” “But from the middle of December to the middle of February, there’s a lot of discussion amongst teams that are trying to tweak their teams in whatever direction they sort of feel their team needs to go. Yeah, we’re having a lot of discussions just like we do every year.”
Dec. 15 is the first day players signed during the previous offseason are eligible to be traded. Thus, it marks the unofficial start of NBA

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Watch Danny Green and Marc Gasol’s Back-to-Back Buzzer Beaters

Did that just happen?

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what happens when two of the best teams in the Western Conference (San Antonio and Memphis) face off: clutch shots for days.

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Coach’s Corner: 1-on-1 with WF’s Danny Manning

Manning was hired to revive a slumping Wake Forest program.



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Coach’s Corner: Wake Forest’s Danny Manning

Manning was hired to revive a slumping Wake Forest program.



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Is There Hope or Doubt for Danny Granger’s Season with Miami Heat?

Danny Granger has been forgotten about…marginalized…left for dead by the hoops punditry.

This is a typical way to lead into a story that purports to explain why we’re all wrong—that Granger was misguidedly downgraded, that he’s due for a comeback of grand proportions with the Miami Heat and that he’s about to make us all look foolish.

This isn’t that kind of story, though. In this case, Granger’s been written off largely because he’s been pretty lousy lately and is likely to stay that way. 

After missing all but five games in 2012-13 and not beginning his 2013-14 campaign until December due to patellar tendinosis, Granger was bad last season. He was roughly as bad as was reported—a report crystalized succinctly by SB Nation’s Satchel Price after the veteran was acquired and then promptly bought out, by the moribund Philadelphia 76ers at the trade deadline:

Playing 22.5 minutes per game, [Granger] seemed to struggle adapting to a different role [with the Indiana Pacers], averaging just 8.3 points per game on 36-percent shooting. He never seemed to fit with head coach Frank Vogel’s offensive schemes, and couldn’t possibly match his younger teammates on the defensive end.

Granger was scooped up by the Los Angeles Clippers after Philadelphia released him, after which he proceeded to do nothing of consequence in 12 regular-season appearances, before averaging 2.6 points a night in 10.3 minutes over the course of two playoff series.

He finished the 2013-14 regular season with 8.2 points on 37.8 percent shooting—both the lowest marks of his career outside of his five-game 2012-13 season. His win shares per 48 minutes, according to Basketball-Reference.com, was 0.073—27 percent below league average and, again, the lowest figure of his career, save the year that preceded it.

The facts of the matter were stark and plain. After two seasons effectively lost to injury, a formerly very good basketball player had collapsed into an aging, damaged mediocrity. It was clear Granger was on the way out.

So, of course, the Heat signed him to a two-year contract.

This, at the time, was more defensible than it seems now.

For starters, the Heat only committed $4.25 million to Granger over two seasons—not a substantial investment for a player with his resume.

Miami also came to verbal terms with Granger—and Josh McRoberts—before LeBron James decamped for his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. But while McRoberts is a rising player whose appeal to the Heat wasn’t entirely yoked to LeBron, that doesn’t seem to be the case with Granger.

With LeBron, Granger would have made some sense on the Heat roster: a buy-low investment who comes from a winning program and can shoot the basketball. The 6’8”, 225-pound small forward is a career 38 percent shooter from three-point range who finished in the top 10 in threes made each season between 2007-08 and 2011-12.

Perimeter players get good looks when LeBron is on the floor, tilting the defensive attention his way. Even with diminished athleticism, it figures Granger could have been an effective outside threat in a part-time role in a LeBron-led Heat attack. If the shots were open, he could knock them down.

It won’t be that easy in Miami this season, though. Not only will Granger now have the burden of creating shots—and it’s very doubtful he has the skip in his step to do this any longer—he’ll also likely be playing a larger role in the Miami offense.

It’s difficult to be too optimistic about Granger returning to his All-Star form. While he averaged 25.8 points a night as recently as 2008-09, on an efficient 58.4 true shooting percentage—per Basketball-Reference.com—the odds of him ever producing near that level again seem long.

Beyond just his problematic injury history, his age is a concern. According to research by Dave Berri of The Wages of Wins Journal, and replicated by others, NBA players peak around 25 or 26, dip a bit as they near 30 and then fall off precipitously at 32. Granger will turn 32 this season.

And his injuries aren’t fully behind him either. At the Heat’s media day, Granger told the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson that he had arthroscopic surgery in his knee during the offseason and still isn’t at full strength. The forward said he’s making progress, but he’s working his way back:

It’s making sure it’s there before I go out and try to make some move and my muscle is not strong enough and something happens to my knee. We don’t want to burn me out through training camp and the preseason.  I’m doing everything fully now. Every day I’m getting a little stronger.

Granger added that he nearly reconsidered his verbal agreement to join the Heat after LeBron left, but ultimately thought better of it. His reasons weren’t entirely basketball-related.

“We have a dock behind our house,” he told reporters. “[I] can go fishing with my son.”

If Granger sounds like a player who’s thinking as much about retirement as he is during the 2014-15 season, that’s probably because he is.

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Danny Ainge: Ray Allen Might Wait Until All-Star Break Before Signing

It seems like a foregone conclusion to many that free agent Ray Allen will inevitably end joining LeBron James in Cleveland. Allen’s former boss, however, expects the former Boston Celtics star to do his due diligence before signing anywhere. “He may wait until All-Star break or January even,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Thursday on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich.” “And just see what teams are playing well, which teams are the healthiest and which team that he thinks that he might fit in, just in the style of play. With new coaches at some different places, he may just want to see how it unfolds before he makes a decision.” Things can change quickly over the course of a season, but the most obvious landing spot for Allen is the new Land of LeBron, where he would be able to rejoin James on a revamped Cavaliers squad that also added All-Star big man Kevin Love over the summer. “It wouldn’t surprise me (if Allen signs with the Cavs),” Ainge sai

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Danny Green visits Holocaust Memorial, makes bad decision

The San Antonio Spurs are currently roaming Germany during a team bonding trip in which… Article found on: Next Impulse Sports

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Danny Ainge: Larry Bird Used To Trash-Talk ‘Out Of Boredom’

The NBA regular season is long.
So long, that Boston Celtics great Larry Bird talked trash during the regular season to keep his mind in the game.
Celtics president of basketball operations and former teammate Danny Ainge was on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” on Thursday and said Bird would trash-talk during games because he was bored.
“I always thought he did it to keep himself interested,” Ainge said. “He didn’t usually trash-talk when we were in the NBA Finals or big playoff games. It was mostly during the regular season games.”
With 82 games, and some of them against inferior opponents, it’s no surprise that Bird needed some extra motivation to stay focused.
All of the trash-talk helped generate some awesome NBA moments, though, such as when Bird dropped 42 points on the Philadelphia 76ers on Nov. 9, 1984, and told Julius Erving to retire. The quip angered Dr. J enough to start a full-on brawl.
Photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports ImagesFiled under: Andre Khatchatu

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Heat Injury Update: Danny Granger reveals he had knee surgery months ago

Newly acquired Miami Heat forward Danny Granger revealed at Heat media day on Friday that he had knee surgery two months ago. Granger will be on a “maintenance program” similar to Dwyane Wade was last season, but will likely play in the second half of back-to-backs. He expects to be ready for the regular season. Getty ImagesDanny Granger reveals he had knee surgery 2 months ago but will be ready for reg season opener— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) September 26, 2014Granger has been plagued by numerous knee injuries, and has not played a full season in three years. As a result, he has predictably struggled, and has not been the 20 point per game scorer he once was. Granger was able to contribute at the end of last season however, helping the Los Angeles Clippers in their playoff run with solid defense and 35% shooting from deep.The 31-year-old forward is expected to play a significant role for the Heat this upcoming season, presumably as a sixth man. The Heat signed Grange…

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Luol Deng Reiterates: ‘I Don’t Think Danny Ferry Is Racist’

Luol Deng, the subject of the much-publicized racist comments uttered by Hawks general manager Danny Ferry this offseason, revealed at the Miami Heat‘s media-day festivities that he did not believe Ferry was racist:

Beyond that, he explicitly stated that he forgave the GM who is currently taking a leave of absence and ceding control of personnel decisions to head coach Mike Budenholzer

It’s not the first time we’ve heard of Deng’s willingness to forgive and forget, though this is the first time the words have come directly from him without a secondhand source delivering them. On Sep. 12, Hawks swingman and noted sharpshooter Kyle Korver spoke with Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, revealing the following about his former teammate: 

Yeah we did speak. Luol is such a good guy. And he’s been through so much in life that I don’t really think this has really even phased him. He told me that he didn’t think that Danny or anyone with the Hawks was racist. He said he was shocked when he heard what was said, but that sometimes things just slip out. It was pretty amazing, really. He just wants everything to move on. He wants to get back to basketball.

It was professional of Korver to even comment on the difficult subject right now, and it’s unfortunate that all of the Hawks players are going to be stuck in the middle of this,” James Herbert wrote for CBS Sports shortly after Korver’s remarks were made public. “Korver had nothing to do with the scouting report [...] and he will surely be asked many more questions about it all when training camp begins.”

At this point, that’s the key behind the whole story. 

The Hawks management remains in a state of flux, with majority owner Bruce Levenson still preparing to sell the team once a suitable and financially able buyer emerges. Ferry’s fate is unknown, as there’s no telling how much credibility he’ll maintain when and if he returns from his indefinite leave of absence. Atlanta is presumably taking a hit as a free-agency landing spot as well, though it’s not as though the city was ever a major draw for prominent players on the open markets. 

[There] ain’t nobody [who] would want to go there,” Carmelo Anthony said at the Citi Carmelo Anthony Basketball camp shortly after Ferry’s remarks leaked, per ESPN.com’s Ian Begley. “At the end of the day, Atlanta, I think it puts Atlanta back even further now, from that standpoint.”

Deng’s Heat will face the Hawks for the first time in the preseason on Oct. 14, and it appears the small forward will be focused on his game, not the news stories that have surrounded his name in the offseason.

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