Gerald Wallace

Gerald Wallace: Celtics’ coaches didn’t like my criticism of team’s effort


It’s always risky when a player criticizes his teammates, but Gerald Wallace dug into the Celtics’ selfishness and lack of effort during the preseason. Wallace, a well-established veteran, had to play hard to find his way in the NBA, so he knows what it takes to succeed in the league. And when Boston wasn’t showing those traits early, he wanted to nip the problem in the bud.

Seems like a reasonable time for intra-team criticism.

But not everyone agreed, namely the Celtics’ coaches.

Wallace, via Mark Murphy / Boston Herald:

“I’m getting fussed at by the coaches every time,” said Wallace. “They’re trying to tell me to relax and ease up. But the main thing is I want the guys to compete. If we lose all 82 games, but we lose them going down fighting and competing hard. I can live with that. I can’t live with losing and we didn’t compete, we didn’t give our best effort and we just gave the game away. I don’t want that for these guys and this team.”

The biggest challenge Brad Stevens faces is earning the respect of his players. He’s never worked with professionals, or even big-time college recruits. It’s important for him to begin that process early and pay careful attention to it, because there will be bumps along the way.

It’s possible Stevens doesn’t mind the message, just the source. Even if Wallace is preaching values Stevens agrees with (selflessness, effort), it could harm Stevens if Wallace gains to large a voice in the locker room. Maybe next time Wallace will be rallying the troops against Stevens, and even if that’s unlikely, a preseason tongue lashing for a team headed to the lottery anyway isn’t worth the risk of Wallace gaining too much influence.

For Stevens to set a clear agenda, the simplest route is to get Rajon Rondo on his side. If those two are delivering the same message, everyone else will follow.

Wallace doesn’t factor into that arrangement. He’s in Boston only because his contract made the Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce-Jason Terry trade viable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement and clearly isn’t part of the Celtics’ long-term plans.

Maybe Wallace can impart some wisdom while he’s Boston, but Stevens will try to make sure that happens on his terms.

Sixers to retire Moses Malone’s number next season

Darryl Dawkins, Moses Malone

Kobe Bryant‘s pregame tribute video stole the show in Philadelphia, but Tuesday night was Moses Malone tribute night. The former league MVP and Hall of Famer passed away in September, and his legacy was honored by the Sixers during a halftime ceremony. During the festivities, Malone’s son announced that his No. 2 will be retired by the organization next season.

There’s no question that Malone, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, deserves to have his number retired. The only relevant question is: why didn’t this happen years ago? The ceremony next season should be good, but it would have been better if they had done it when Malone was alive to participate in it. No Sixers player has worn No. 2 since Malone anyway, but it’s been over 20 years since he last wore a Sixers jersey. Why couldn’t they have found some time in those two decades to have a ceremony and hang a banner?

LeBron James with two-handed halfcourt bounce pass for assist (VIDEO)

LeBron James
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Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:

Kobe gets great introduction, loud ovation in Philadelphia

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Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game —  but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.

In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.

Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.

That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.

Rumor: Nets testing trade waters for Bojan Bogdanovic

Bojan Bogdanovic, Otto Porter Jr.
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If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.

First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.

Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.

Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.

Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.