Celtics

A. Sherrod Blakely's Truth and Rumors

191544.jpg

A. Sherrod Blakely's Truth and Rumors

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

Having returned to the United States to have a growth removed from his right leg, there is a school of thought that says Allen Iverson may not return to play for Besiktas Cola in the Turkish league.

Yahoo! Sports reporter Adrian Wojnarowski had a Tweet earlier this week indicating that Besiktas attempted -- and failed -- to sign a potential replacement for him in Sundiata Gaines. They have since moved on and will sign former Celtics guard Oliver Lafayette.

Even if Iverson were to return, Besiktas is starting to realize what all 30 NBA teams realized this summer.

Iverson's game hasn't just slowed down.

It's come to a damn near screeching halt.

The idea that he might not return to Besiktas isn't all that surprising.

When he was traded from Denver to Detroit in 2008, he got hurt after struggling on the floor.

Near the end of the season, both sides decided that he would be best away from the team.

Iverson resurfaced in Memphis, and that didn't end any better.

The best thing for Iverson right now is figure out what his life after basketball will consist of.

The more you watch him, the more clear it becomes that his days as pro basketball player are numbered.

Perk technically OK for now
Only four games into his return to the lineup, and Kendrick Perkins has already picked up two technical fouls.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers isn't worried, because Perkins has a 43-game cushion.

While the technicals may not tally up to where he'll miss games, technicals in games by nature tend to make players try to be more under control emotionally.

Perkins?

Under control emotionally?

I don't like the way that guy plays, and neither will the Celtics.

Just like the rest of the Celtics had to work through the ''respect for the game'' edict handed down by the league this season, so does Perkins.

He'll get better.

Because if he doesn't, he won't be nearly as effective as he should be -- and the Celtics will suffer.

Rondo in a slump
We saw Rondo have back-to-back games with single-digit assists totals, and a third straight seemed in order after a one-assist total in Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Then halftime came, and Rondo was never the same as he ripped off 15 second-half assists.

Here's the thing about Rondo.

As much as we talk about him being the catalyst for this team, so much of his play is dictated by the play of those around him.

And we're not just talking about making shots, either.

Rondo is at his best when he has the ball in his hands, in transition.

The problem of late has been the Celtics big men either 1) not getting enough rebounds or 2) getting rebounds but not getting the ball in Rondo's hands quick enough.

That results in a lot of walking the ball up against set defenses, which, to some degree, takes a little bit away from what he does best.

Every now and then, the Celtics need a reminder of sorts as to what they do well, and how Rondo sets the tone for stellar play.

They got away from that a little bit at Portland, and a little bit more in Friday's loss at Phoenix.

We'll see if the win over the Lakers, and the way it came about with Rondo doing what Rondo does best, will be enough of a wake-up call for them moving forward.

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

Stevens knows hanging banners is ‘what it’s all about’ in Boston

Stevens knows hanging banners is ‘what it’s all about’ in Boston

BOSTON – When Brad Stevens took the Boston Celtics job in 2013, he knew what he was getting into.
 
Yes, the Celtics at that time were rebuilding which usually means years and years of slow but steady progress – if you’re lucky.
 
And then after maybe a few years of struggling to win games, a breakout season occurs and just like that – you’re back in the playoffs.

MORE:

 But here’s the thing with the Celtics.
 
While most rebuilding teams spend years working their way towards being competitive, Stevens hit the ground running and in just four years, he led the Celtics from being a 25-win team to one that was just three wins away from getting to the NBA Finals.
 
He has the kind of basketball resume that’s impressive on many levels.
 
But Stevens knows good isn’t good enough in this town.
 
“We’re here in Boston,” he said. “Winning is good, but hanging one of those (banners) up is what it’s all about. That’s what makes this such a special franchise.”
 
And for Stevens, a franchise where the expectations for success under his watch have never been greater than they are now.
 
Boston only returns one starter (Al Horford) from last year’s squad which advanced to the Eastern Conference finals after having won an East-best 53 games.
 
However, they added a pair of All-Stars in Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving to join Horford. In addition, they drafted Jayson Tatum with the third overall pick in last June’s NBA draft.
 
Boston also has a slimmed-down Marcus Smart (he lost 20 pounds from a year ago) as well Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier who will both benefit from having another NBA season under their belts.
 
And while it’s a small sample size and consists of just two teams (Philadelphia and Charlotte), the Celtics breezed their way through the preseason with a flawless 4-0 record which included at least one game in which they did not play their usual starters which shows how impactful their depth may be this season.
 
That success can only help, especially with a challenging schedule that includes seven of their first 11 games being on the road. 
 
Still, the potential of this Celtics team has never been greater than it is right now since Stevens took over in 2013.
 
And just like the increased expectations of the team, the same can be said for Stevens who is considered one of the better coaches in the NBA.
 
Marcus Morris will begin his first season with the Celtics, but had a lot of respect for Stevens well before he was traded to Boston from Detroit this summer.
 
“You hear a lot of good things about him from other players,” Morris told NBC Sports Boston. “And once you get in here and start working with him and seeing what he does every day, you see what they’re talking about. He’s a good coach, man.”
 
This team’s success will hinge on how the players perform, but there’s an added element of pressure on Stevens to find the right combinations that will position the Celtics for success.
 
“We have a lot more guys who can do a lot more things on the court, so it will be a little more challenging for us to figure out how to best play with each other, and for Brad to figure out which combinations are the best ones,” Al Horford told NBC Sports Boston. “But we’ll figure it out. Brad’s a really good coach, a really smart coach. And on our team, we have a lot of players who are smart, high basketball I.Q. guys. We’ll be OK.”
 
Basketball smarts aside, the Celtics’ success will hinge heavily on how quickly they can bring a roster with 10 new players up to speed quickly.
 
It’s still early, but players like what they’ve seen from the collective body in terms of team chemistry.
 
“I think that’s the beauty of a lot of guys on the team,” said Gordon Hayward. “It’ll be different each night with some of the different roles we play.”
 
Which is why the Celtics, while lacking experience as a team because of so many new faces, are still seen as capable of winning because they have a number of players who can impact the game in many ways.
 
But as good as they are, it still comes back to Stevens doing a good job of putting them in the best positions to find success individually as well as for the Celtics team.
 
When you look at how time with Stevens jumpstarted Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder’s careers, or how it helped revitalize the career of Evan Turner, it’s obvious that he has the Midas touch when it comes to getting the most out of players.
 
For Boston to have the kind of success they believe they are due for, it’s going to take the contributions of many.
 
And even that might not be enough.
 
But having the path being bumpier than expected is something Stevens embraces.
 
“Here in this league,” he said, “you have to love challenges.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Smart 'not worried' about lack of contract extension with Celtics

Smart 'not worried' about lack of contract extension with Celtics

CLEVELAND – For the third year in a row, a first-round pick of the Boston Celtics is unable to come to terms on a contract extension prior to the deadline.

That means Marcus Smart will become a restricted free agent this summer. Last year it was Kelly Olynyk (now with the Miami Heat) and in 2015 it was Jared Sullinger (now with Shenzhen Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association).

Both the Celtics and Smart's camp intensified their discussions in recent days as the October 16th 6 p.m. EST deadline drew near.

MORE:

While there was progress made, there wasn’t enough to get a deal done.

Smart has repeatedly indicated that he wants to re-sign a long-term deal to stay in Boston.

And the market for the 6-foot-4 guard became clearer based on the contracts that some of his fellow rookie class of 2014, were receiving.

Denver’s Gary Harris agreed to a four-year, $84 million contract after establishing himself as one of the better young two-way talents in the NBA last season. And at the other end of the financial spectrum, you would have to look at Phoenix’s T.J. Warren who signed a four-year, $50 million contract.

More than likely, Smart’s deal next summer will fall somewhere between the deals those two players received.

As much as Smart would have preferred to get a deal done heading into the season, it’s not something that he’s going to cause him to lose any sleep.

“Get it done now, or get it done in six months, I’m OK either way,” he told NBC Sports Boston. “I’m not worried about it.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE