The news that the Celtics had deals in place to trade both Ray Allen and Paul Pierce at the deadline can't be surprising . . . but the reasons they fell apart might be.
Celtics analyst, and ex-UConn and NBA star, Donny Marshall said O.J. Mayo, who was coming to Boston in the Allen trade (the proposal was Mayo and a draft choice for Allen), scuttled things by making it clear Boston held no appeal to him.
"On the Memphis side, O.J. Mayo was the guy who pretty much said, 'It really doesn't interest me to be a Boston Celtic,' " Marshall told Carolyn Manno on Wednesday night's 'Sports Net Central'. "I think what he was told was, 'Think about the banners. Think about the history of this team,the legacy.' And O.J. Mayo basically said, 'I don't care about banners.'
"And that's how the players think today. It's not about the banners; it's about 'Where can I win? Where can I get paid the most?' "
As for the Nets deal -- Pierce for Mehmet Okur and a lottery pick -- Marshall said it was a proposal pushed by the Celtics but rejected by New Jersey.
"On the other side, the GM for the New Jersey Nets, from what I was told, said, 'I can't take Paul Pierce in this deal,' " said Maarshall. "That deal -- at least from the people I talked to with the Nets organization -- was a move from our side, from the Celtics side, that kind of was pushing that movement along to get Paul Pierce there . . . " But Marshall said the notion of acquiring a Celtics legend made the Nets uneasy, and they backed off.
The Bruins will once again be taking things outdoors and participating in their third Winter Classic in franchise history, but for the first time they won’t be hosting the NHL’s centerpiece event. The B’s announced on Saturday afternoon that they’ll be facing off against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2019 Winter Classic that will be played at iconic Notre Dame Stadium. Both the Bruins and Blackhawks aren’t exactly strangers to the outdoor showcase, and per usual the Black and Gold are happy to be part of a big deal event for the league.
“The Boston Bruins are excited to be playing in the 2019 Bridgestone Winter Classic against another storied Original Six franchise, the Chicago Blackhawks,” said Bruins President Cam Neely, in a press release. “The rich history of Notre Dame Stadium is well documented, and our team looks forward to playing at such an iconic venue. We hope that by participating in these large scale and unique NHL events we can bring Bruins fans new hockey experiences, and that we can use these opportunities to help grow our great game and attract new fans.”
There will be some natural storylines for the game including the rematch of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final participants, and a return to Notre Dame for Fighting Irish forward Anders Bjork after playing three seasons in South Bend. The Bruins/Blackhawks Winter Classic matchup was first reported by Barstool Sports almost two weeks ago, but it wasn’t until Saturday that any of the officials involved were ready to confirm the game.
The Bruins will be in their third Winter Classic after hosting the Jan. 1 outdoor game at Fenway Park in 2010 in an overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers, and at Gillette Stadium in 2016 in a blowout loss to the Montreal Canadiens. It is a league-most fourth Winter Classic appearance for the Blackhawks, who hosted the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field in 2009, took on the Washington Capitals at Nationals Park in 2015, and most recently played the St. Louis Blues at Busch Stadium in 2017.
You know who else - besides Charles Barkley - isn't impressed by the Celtics' 14-game winning streak?
At the shootaround in Atlanta before the Celtics attempt to make it 15 in a row tonight against the Hawks, Brad Stevens told reporters, including ESPN's Chris Forsberg, that his team hasn't played well enough to make the streak "valid."
“We haven’t played well enough to consider this win streak to be valid in my opinion,” Stevens said."We’ve figured out ways to win games. We gotta play a lot better.”
The Celtics have come back from double-digit deficits a number of times in the streak. Stevens said they're fortunate those rallies have kept the streak going.
"We've got to be better, and we know that," Stevens said. "We can't get so caught up in the results of all these games and ride that emotion. We've been fortunate to win a lot of the games in this streak, including Thursday night [92-88 over the defending champion Golden State Warriors]. If we dig ourselves a 17-point hole every other game, it's not going to be as much fun as we've had recently."