Doc Rivers talks more about Ray Allen. Lord make it stop.

23 Comments

It’s becoming a close contest, what do I want to hear least: Another Obama/Romney attack ad or more back and forth between Ray Allen and the Celtics.

Ray has consistently said that basically he didn’t feel wanted by the Celtics — they had him coming off the bench (which is he doing in Miami anyway), he called the contract an insult (it was twice what he took in Miami) and he was tired of feeling like he was on the trade block (Boston offered him a no-trade clause in the new contract). Boston made its offer but by that time the bridges had been burned. He didn’t feel the love and Miami was courting him with all Pat Riley’s charm. So now he plays for the Heat.

Anyway, Doc Rivers was on The Felger and Mazz Show in Boston (video below courtesy CSNNE.com) and talked plenty more about Allen and his split with the Celtics.

“Ray was great here, and he made the choice to leave. And that’s where he should leave it and we should leave it. It’s like I said today, when we play them on Tuesday we’re not going to be trying to stop Ray. We are, but we better focus on LeBron and Wade and I hope this game doesn’t become a Celtics vs. Ray, because if our guys think that way we won’t win, I can guarantee you that. But I am disappointed (about the talk back and forth) and he made a choice. Do I think it was the wrong choice? I absolutely do. I think at times he feels that way himself. That’s the way I’d like him to think at least. But at the end of the day I want him to do well I just don’t want him to do well against us.”

On his relationship with Ray Allen:

“I didn’t think it was bad, but maybe I’m the last to know. It didn’t help when I decided to start Avery (Bradley), obviously. But as a coach you make choices. You worry about people’s feelings but you worry more about the team. If anything, Ray probably didn’t like that. I’ll probably always look at myself first. Ray wanted the ball more, things like that. It’s like I tell my guys ever year, ‘If you’re here for me to run stuff for you look good then you are in the wrong place.’”

Rivers said he and GM Danny Ainge tried to call Allen during free agency but their calls weren’t being returned.

“Listen, if you’ve been with my team, with me for five years, or four years, and I gotta be here every 10 seconds in free agency then you probably don’t want to be here.”

I wish Rivers would have gone with his first thought and just left it there after one sentence. Make this stop.

Deron Williams and Jerry Sloan finally buried the hatchet

Getty
1 Comment

Deron Williams or Chris Paul? That was the conversation in the NBA just a decade ago, a conversation that now seems practically ridiculous. I never personally thought it was very close between the two, being an adamant Paul supporter. Now, CP3 is with the Houston Rockets and Williams is out of the league, despite Paul being just 200 days younger than the former Utah Jazz star (but having played more games).

Williams was part of a two-man attack, along with Carlos Boozer, that helped fuel the Jazz during the first decade of this century as they churned through the Western Conference. But Williams played just five-and-a-half seasons in Salt Lake City, traded after a blow-up with former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan.

Things were unsteady between the two during the 2010-11 season, and Sloan famously decided to retire after a game in February of 2011 in which the Jazz lost to the Chicago Bulls. During halftime of that game, there was a disagreement between Sloan and Williams that apparently pushed the legendary head coach to his tipping point.

Sloan retired and Williams was traded on February 23rd.

Now, it appears that the two have at least made amends. In a story of appearing on UtahJazz.com, Williams recently went to Sloan’s house to talk about the divide between the two and what happened some seven years ago.

Via UtahJazz.com:

“He doesn’t forget a lot of things, instances where I pissed him off, things I did to upset him,” Williams said. “He definitely told me about that—and rightfully so. He was great about some other things. It was kind of typical Coach Sloan, really. If you know him, he’s never been one to shy away from telling you the truth and how he feels.”

“Eventually, I think Jerry came around,” [Jazz CEO Greg] Miller said. “He never really said, ‘Let’s put it behind us’ or anything, but maybe in Sloan speak he did.”

“Two strong men said what they needed to say, shook hands and are now moving forward,” [Jazz president Steve] Starks said.

Sloan, 76, is living with Parkinson’s and reportedly not in the best of health. It’s good to hear that Williams was remorseful about how he acted, and that the two great sportsmen were able to come together and at least see each other’s point of view as a sort of armistice.

Masai Ujiri on Kawhi Leonard: ‘He is happy. There is no maintenance with him’

AP
2 Comments

No doubt there are big expectations for the Toronto Raptors this year after trading franchise cornerstone DeMar DeRozan for disgruntled San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard. Ever an enigma (and coming off of one of the worst-managed exits from a team in recent memory) Leonard has fans in Ontario biting their nails about whether he will return healthy this season, and happy for the next.

According to Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri, Leonard is giving them every indication that he is ready to go heading into the 2018-19 NBA season. Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Ujiri said that Leonard is happy.

Via Sportsnet:

“He is happy. From what everybody has told me he is healthy. He spends a lot of time with our coaches,” said Ujiri. “He went to L.A. to meet our guys out there. He will be here shortly.”

“He is just quiet … that’s his nature. We can’t all be the same kind of people. But he is as engaging as he would want to be and he’s very interesting. There is no maintenance with him. There’s nothing. It’s remarkable … His (focus) is on basketball which is what you want. He is a basketball junkie … once you just start to talk about basketball his eyes change.”

We have heard rumors that Leonard has purchased a home in Toronto instead of merely renting. We’ve also seen photos of Leonard happy and working out with players like Kobe Bryant, nearly even smiling. And Ujiri is doing his part here, trying to ease any sentiment around Leonard.

The PR machine is in sixth gear in Toronto, but you can’t really blame them. It’s the first good public relations move we’ve seen from Leonard’s enclave in more than a year, and it helps bolster the team if things go south.

Do I believe anything that is reported about Leonard anymore? No. Not after last season. Unfortunately, the issue with Leonard remains the fact that we will have to simply sit to wait and see what he chooses to do next year.

Raptors fans, who are dedicated and passionate, should be hoping that they finally make a Finals run this year. Just in case.

Report: 76ers rookie Zhaire Smith expected to return around Christmas

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
2 Comments

76ers first-rounder Zhaire Smith suffered a Jones fracture in his left foot last month, leaving plenty of uncertainty about when he’d return.

Keith Pompey of The Inquirer:

The 76ers expect injured rookie Zhaire Smith to be available to play in a game around Christmas, league sources say.

A rookie on a team with legitimate aspirations of deep-playoff advancement, Smith was already unlikely to crack Philadelphia’s rotation this season. All this lost developmental time makes it even less likely.

But the sooner Smith returns, the better for him and Philadelphia. The No. 16 pick impresses with his athleticism and motor, but he needs time to develop his perimeter skills.

Kevin Love launches “Love Fund” to bring more focus to mental health issues

Getty Images
1 Comment

The NBA is not shying away from the issue of the mental health of its players.

In the wake of All-Stars DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love coming forward about their mental health challenges, the league and the players’ union combined to tell players to speak out on the issue and take advantage of the services offered.

Kevin Love is doing more than just that, he has formed the Kevin Love Fund to help change the stigma around mental health issues. The fund has partners such as Headspace, with the focus being on prioritizing mental health awareness. He went on the Today Show on NBC to talk about it.

Love has become a leader and spokesman around the issue. Love came forward near the end of last season to talk about his battles with anxiety and depression. That opened the door for others around the NBA to step forward as well, such as Kelly Oubre and Paul Pierce.