Celtics

Ryan: Simmons 'too emotionally involved' in his takedown of Ainge

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Ryan: Simmons 'too emotionally involved' in his takedown of Ainge

Celtics Nation -- indeed, New England Sports Nation -- is still buzzing over Bill Simmons' takedown of Danny Ainge (and Glenn Ordway, and Kevin McHale, and Tommy Heinsohn, and many others) on grantland.com Thursday.

The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan is friendly with Simmons; he even announced his retirement on Simmons' podcast a few weeks back. And he made clear that "I do not wish to get into a public hissing contest with a man, against whom I could not possibly win due to his enormous following. Okay?"

But on Uno's Sports Tonight Thursday, Ryan took issue with Simmons for one fundamental reason:

"Here's . . . the difference between what Bill Simmons does, and who he is, and what reporters for media outlets do. Though he's bombarding us with a tremendous amount of data, at core, he's emotional. He is a Celtic fan. Self-proclaimed, there's no ambiguity, he never denies it. He's writing from the standpoint of a jilted-lover fan. An angry fan who, in my opinion, is unrealistically greedy."

And he's unrealistically greedy . . . because?

"This is the fifth year of a three-year plan," said Ryan, referring to the fact that the Paul PierceKevin GarnettRay Allen core was supposed to have a three-year run when it was assembled in 2007-08. "We've already gotten one extra year that produced . . . a playoff run in 2010-11.

"And the third year, two years ago, came within 94 seconds, four possessions . . . of winning the championship, okay? Ninety-four seconds. Are we having this conversation if those 94 seconds had been altered to a degree that the Celtics could have won that game? The answer is no."

Ryan admits that many of Simmons' points about bad trades and botched signings are legitimate -- though "he omits the Brandon Bass trade for Glen Davis, which I think was a good one. . . and Mickael Pietrus is a good signing, contingent on health, I grant you that" -- but doesn't want to hear the complaints about passing over certain players in the draft.

"There's a million of those stories," said Ryan. "Those things happen all the time. We can site that for every team. For every guy who went in the second round or late in the first, all these teams passed them in every draft, in every sport, every year . . . You can play that game with everybody! That's not a fair game!"

Ryan's conclusion?

"It's a vicious attack that is very humorous . . . Simmons works hard at this stuff. But . . . it's still written from the viewpoint of somebody who is too emotionally involved, in my opinion."

Now, it gets real for revamped Celtics

Now, it gets real for revamped Celtics

CLEVELAND – For the Celtics, the preseason went about as well as expected.
 
No serious, long-term injuries.

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They won every preseason game, even one in which the team’s second unit played the role of starters.
 
And the chemistry concerns with so many new players, while very real, didn’t seem to be that big an issue.
 
Still, as good as the Celtics may feel about where they stand, they know it means absolutely nothing unless they get it done against elite, NBA-caliber competition.
 
The Cleveland Cavaliers.
 
Opening night.
 
It doesn’t get much more challenging than that.
 
And for the Celtics, win or lose, this is going to be a game for them to build upon going forward this season.
 
“I’m just ready to get going,” said Gordon Hayward. “A lot of things have happened this summer, a lot of buildup. I’m ready to get to the game. It’s going to be a fun matchup, for sure.”
 
Among the summer happenings was Boston and Cleveland pulling off one of the biggest blockbuster deals of the offseason with the Cavs trading Kyrie Irving to the Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic while also conveying Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick and Miami’s 2020 second-round pick to complete the deal.
 
Having spent his first six seasons with the Cavaliers, there’s a certain amount of corporate knowledge that the 25-year-old Irving brings to tonight’s matchup.
 
“I know a lot about them, they know a lot about me,” Irving said. “There’s plenty of film on all of us, but specifically going back and understanding the way we played last year when I played with them and now how they’re playing with the new guys, understanding how to implement themselves into their new system plus me implementing myself into this system...There’s definitely some benefits on our end, there are some benefits on their end. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
 
Part of the challenge for the Celtics will be developing the kind of on-court cohesion to be successful, which is easier said than done when you’re talking about getting nearly a dozen players on the same page in just a few weeks.
 
“We have good chemistry as a group,” said Al Horford. “We still have a ways to go as far as keep getting comfortable with each other and keep figuring out our spots. But we feel good with what we have. Our young guys, it’s been remarkable how quickly they’ve been able to come along and be up to date with everything. And our new guys as well. They’re up to date, they know what we need to do. They understand the game plan. It’s been good.”
 
Players aren’t the only ones eager to get to tonight’s game.
 
“To have to go into Cleveland with that level of intensity, with that level of attention, distraction, etc. is great,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “It’s great to experience that in game one, a tremendous learning experience for our group, so we’re preparing to play as well as we can. And we know that they’re really, really good. But this is..I’m looking forward to it because I want to find out where we are.”
 

'People took it the wrong way,' Isaiah says of his Ainge comments

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'People took it the wrong way,' Isaiah says of his Ainge comments

Isaiah Thomas told Sports Illustrated last week that he "might never talk to Danny [Ainge] again." And he sounded pretty bitter about his trade from the Celtics to the Cavs.

Now, on the "Road Trippin" podcast with new teammate Channing Frye and ex-Cav Richard Jefferson, Thomas, who is out until at least January with a hip injury, said those comments were misunderstood.

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“People took it the wrong way,” Thomas said. “I understand the business, I understand that we’re in position to get traded and sent to other teams and things like that. It’s just how it went down that I didn’t respect. As a man, I feel like if you respected me as much as you say you did, you would have at least informed me about what was going on before it happened. And that’s all I was talking about.

“I’m not tripping off the trade like I got traded to the Cavs and we’re going to win a championship. And at the end of the day, I’m going to be fine with that,” Thomas said. “[Ainge] sent me to an even better situation with a bigger platform. I’m blessed to be in the position, I’m grateful and I’m excited.”

The Cavs host the Celtics tonight in the season opener. 

Jae Crowder, who came to Cleveland from Boston, was also on the podcast and when Frye talked with him about players deserving communication from the front office, Thomas could be heard in the background, saying, “That’s what I’m talking about.”

“I already said what I’m doing," Thomas told Crowder about what he'll do should he run into Ainge. "I’m going to keep it pushing like he kept pushing when he traded me, I’m not going to disrespect him. He’s a man and I’m a man, too. Like, I’m going to go my way. I play for the Cavaliers and that’s what it is.”