Dan Feldman

Isaiah Thomas: Rajon Rondo brought up tribute video before ejections

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Rajon Rondo slamming the idea of Isaiah Thomas‘ tribute video a month ago – “What has he done?” Rondo asked of the other former Celtics point guard – wasn’t just the silent undercurrent of Rondo’s and Thomas’ ejections last night.

No, no, no. Rondo actually brought up the tribute video during the Pelicans’ win over the Lakers.

Thomas, via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN:

“Whatever reason, he’s an upset guy about me,” Thomas said after Wednesday’s game. “I don’t know what it is, but it’s fine. He kept bringing the tribute up, when I was the one that shut the tribute down. I’m far past that. … For me to be ejected was uncalled for.”

Asked if he has had any other history with Rondo, Thomas said he didn’t know.

“I mean, my team beat his team in the playoffs last year,” Thomas said, referring to the Celtics beating the Chicago Bulls 4-2 in the first round last postseason. “Maybe that is what’s wrong. I don’t know. There’s nothing. Nothing should’ve made that escalate like it did. He already had his agenda written down right when I checked into the game. It was obvious. He picked me up full court, trying to be physical.

“I don’t know what was going on with him. I don’t know why I got thrown out. I don’t want to comment too much on it. … It was obvious what was going on. He was being too aggressive for whatever reason, and he also hit me in the face three times. At some point, as a human, if no one is going to protect me, I got to protect myself, and that is when I spoke up and got upset. I hope the NBA figures something out with that, because it was wrong for me to be ejected.”

You must give Rondo this: He’ll say it to your face. He might bring it up at an inappropriate time, but he’ll say it to your face. Thomas can’t accuse Rondo of degrading him only through the media. This attitude has gotten Rondo in trouble at times over the years, but the stubborn insistence he’s right and his desire to tell you about it is also part of what made him such a good player.

For his part, Thomas did tell the Celtics to skip the tribute. But maybe that was only after he got wind Paul Pierce told them not show it, and the video clearly meant something to Thomas. Rondo knew that trash talk could get under Thomas’ skin.

Will Thomas’ retort get under Rondo’s? Rondo might point out his Bulls were up 2-0 and Boston won four straight only after he got hurt.

And if Rondo wants to make that point, he’ll probably tell Thomas directly when he next sees him.

Kyrie Irving won’t answer Celtics’ fun question for in-game video

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
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Kyrie Irving – in a moment I found quite telling, considering Irving’s trade request from the Cavaliers – was once asked how LeBron James is a father figure to him.

“I have one father,” Irving said. “That’s my dad, Drederick Irving.”

After getting over his befuddlement, Irving didn’t want to accept the reporter’s premise. He doesn’t want to play the Celtics’ family games, either.

In a run-of-the-mill, fun video teams sometimes run at games, Boston players answered which TV family they’d most want to join:

Kyrie having his own mind about things apparently never ends. Not even for a harmless video.

Steve Kerr says he might let Warriors players run huddles again

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
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Steve Kerr allowing Warriors players to run huddles during a win over the Suns was more nontroversy than controversy.

Was anyone actually upset with Kerr besides Phoenix guard Troy Daniels, who clearly directed his dismay at Kerr (and seems to look for chips to stack on his shoulder)? Even Suns forward Jared Dudley, who called the tactic disrespectful, acknowledged the problem was Phoenix might not deserve respect.

It seems people just assumed other people somewhere would be bothered by Kerr’s plan. That alone was enough to make it a heavily discussed storyline.

Some coaches would just want to stay clear of the noise. Not Kerr, though.

Kerr on 95.7 The Game:

I’ve been quickly reminded today of what an insane world we live in and how everything now is just a story and constantly judged and picked apart. And this really isn’t that big of a deal. It’s a basketball game. We have a veteran team. You turn over the timeout huddle to the players so that they can discuss strategy on their own.

I don’t think it’s like earth-shattering news. I really don’t. And I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I just think it’s a good coaching tactic to try to change things up but it’s the world we live in. So, everyone’s going to debate it. Whether it’s a controversy or not, it has to become one, I guess.

I don’t think it’s something we would do often, but I think it’s a good exercise. I think there’s a lot of things that coaches can do that are sort of outside the box that can be very positive, and I think it’s good to experiment with them.

This is every single day for seven, eight, nine months depending on how your team does. And so everything gets pretty monotonous. I think you’ve got to do your best in the NBA to try to keep things light and loose and occasionally throw the team a curveball. So I can see doing it again one time, a couple times. We’ll see.

Kerr did this to motivate his players. The Warriors are too good, and they’ve gotten bored by winning. They probably correctly believe they can just turn it on when it counts. But Kerr wants to safeguard against bad habits creeping in, so he found a way to engage his players.

And it seemed to work. Why would Kerr shelve a successful strategy? Protecting opponents’ feelings – if any of them were actually besides Daniels’ – isn’t a good enough reason.

Former Celtics PGs Isaiah Thomas and Rajon Rondo ejected for tangling (video)

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Former Celtic Rajon Rondo, now with the Pelicans, slammed the idea of Boston showing a video tribute for Isaiah Thomas – an honor Thomas seemed to care about.

Rondo and Thomas – since traded by the Cavaliers to the Lakers – met tonight, and the former Celtics point guards got into it.

Both Rondo and Thomas are proud, stubborn and tough. It’s probably not a coincidence Danny Ainge acquired both. Nor is it surprising neither Rondo nor Thomas gave an inch tonight.

But it surprising this resulted in both getting tossed. Those were pretty quick ejections.

Paul Pierce: ‘Without a doubt,’ Celtics will next retire Kevin Garnett’s number

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
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Kevin Garnett wants nothing to do with the Timberwolves retiring his number. Presumably, he’d be far more open to receiving the honor from the Celtics.

But will Boston actually retire his number?

Paul Pierce, who just had his number retired by the Celtics, sounds certain.

Pierce, via Chris Forsberg of ESPN:

“Without a doubt, KG’s number will be [the next one] retired in Boston,” said Pierce. “It’s going to happen.”

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said the team has had informal discussions about retiring Garnett’s number, but that a final decision would come from ownership.

Maybe Pierce knows something. He obviously has access to Celtics management. But maybe he’s just projecting wishful thinking for a friend and former teammate.

Garnett played just six seasons in Boston. Of the 21 players the Celtics have honored in the rafters, none have played fewer seasons for the team:

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Ed Macauley and Reggie Lewis also played six seasons for Boston then had their number retired. Lewis’ number retirement was more about his untimely death than his on-court accomplishments, not really relevant here. Macauley and Bob Cousy were the Celtics’ first retired numbers (on the same day in 1963). Boston’s unprecedented success since puts Macauley into a context unavailable at the time.

Garnett had an excellent run with the Celtics. He put them over-the-top for the 2008 title, breaking their longest championship drought. He remained an All-Star four of the next five years. Maybe he even gets extra credit for waiving his no-trade clause, allowing Boston to trade him to the Nets for a ridiculous haul and potentially setting up its next window of title contention.

But Garnett approved that trade because he thought Brooklyn was better than the Celtics, not because he wanted to set up his soon-to-be-former team for future success. And he didn’t make another All-NBA team in Boston after his first season there. He just wasn’t quite the elite player he was in Minnesota, though he was close enough for the monumental highs of the 2008 season.

For most teams, retiring Garnett’s number would be a no-brainer. Considering the Celtics’ storied history, it’s a tougher call.

Ultimately, I believe Pierce will be right, though – in part because of the implicit pressure he’s applying.