Michael Holley

Celtics Talk Podcast: Ray Allen's number should not be retired by the Celtics, and here's why

Celtics Talk Podcast: Ray Allen's number should not be retired by the Celtics, and here's why

After the Boston Celtics announced they were sending Kevin Garnett's number to the rafters last week, a discussion about whether or not Ray Allen's number should be retired began.

While Paul Pierce's No. 34 already hangs over the TD Garden court, Garnett's No. 5 will join him -- two members of the 2007-08 Celtics team that won it's first NBA title in 22 years -- so why not Allen?

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Well, Michael Holley and our Celtics insider Chris Forsberg break down their thoughts on the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast -- and Holley had a tremendous point to make about Allen and Garnett's relationship.

Let's pretend that Ray Allen wanted to leave and he had the organization's blessing, and he left at the same time and Paul [Pierce] was like 'hey man, Ray [Allen] you have to do what you have to do even though you took less money from Miami,' and KG [Kevin Garnett] instead of ignoring him on opening night in Miami, gives him a big hug and says 'hey Ray, I love you.' I would still say no, because I would say if that whole group is here for six years like KG then everybody goes up. But, you kind of left at the midway point. And I'm not saying 'well you shouldn't have left' and 'how dare you leave.' It's just strange to be putting that number up after three years.

Holley and Forsberg later corrected themselves, noting Allen was in Boston for five years (not three), but that didn't change their stance on the situation.

"Well, first off, they put 20 back in circulation with Gordon Hayward obviously wearing it now," Forsberg said. "So, that to me was like the time they were like 'hey, this isn't happening.' You don't put that number back out there if you think it's ever going up. So I don't hold my breath on that. I do wonder what the benefit of time will do. Whether there will be a thawing eventually where more people within the Celtics organization are open-minded to the idea, and yet I can't get myself to the point where I say as relaxed as the Celtics have been about the criteria for sending someone up, maybe more so than other organizations, whether they would bring it to the point where they said 'alright, third best player on a championship team.'"

Allen averaged 16.7 points, 2.7 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game in his five years with the Celtics while shooting 47.2 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from three-point range. He was also a three-time All-Star with the Celtics, but that still wasn't enough to convince Holley and Forsberg that his number should be retired.

"I think he should be celebrated for his achievements when every time we talk about celebrating that 2007-08 team they kind of squeeze him out," Forsberg said. "I do feel some semblance of disappointment. Like, he was a big part of that team, and yet, he had some bad playoff games. He wasn't exactly like, especially in that 2010 year, you go back and he had a couple of 2-for-12 games... he had some rough nights. Everyone had their moments, but if Ray had played better, maybe they would have won."

While Allen did play a roll in the Celtics 2007-08 championship title, he didn't do nearly all Garnett did in his tenure with the organization. And leaving for the Miami Heat certainly shouldn't help his candidacy for number retirement.

For more of the Celtics thoughts including thoughts about Brad Stevens being less stressed this year than he was last year, check out the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast, available on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network and YouTube.

This Friday is Jayson Tatum Day here at NBC Sports Boston. Be sure to check out our exclusive content around Tatum throughout the day, both online and on the broadcast of Celtics-Timberwolves, which begins Friday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 8 p.m. You can also stream it on the MyTeams App.

 

 

Celtics Talk Podcast: Brad Stevens seems less stressed out this season

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Celtics Talk Podcast: Brad Stevens seems less stressed out this season

The Boston Celtics have had a much better season this year than they did last year. In 2018-19, the Celtics consistenly failed to live up to expectations, showed little to no chemistry, and made life difficult for Brad Stevens.

But this year, things have been a lot different. They've had better chemistry. Their young stars are growing.

And Stevens seems a lot less stressed than he did most of last season.

On the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast, Michael Holley joined Chris Forsberg to discuss some of the major differences between the two Celtics teams.

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And Holley's biggest note overall? Stevens seems "relaxed" and "happy".

He looks so relaxed, so happy. If you notice, Brad Stevens already looks young. [But] he looks 10, 15 years younger than he did last year, because -- now, I don't know if it's connected or not -- maybe he's just like everything's good. I'm in good shape, my family's good. I'm happy. Or, it could be the simple reasons. Players don't want to talk about it, we have to acknowledge it. When you've got a team and you're not permitted to coach the team the way you know it needs to be coached, it's stressful. It'll wear you out and I think he was worn out last year.

Holley would go on to talk about players that were a nuisance to the team (he specifically mentioned Kyrie Irving and Terrry Rozier) and spoke of the great chemistry this squad has. He also brought up another issue that Stevens was facing that didn't draw a lot of consideration.

I pity coaches in this position, when you've got a guy in his contract year and on one hand, you wanna coach him. On the other hand, you wanna do what's best for the organization and retain him. And who knows, in today's NBA, if you have one practice that you shouldn't have, one more shootaround that the player didn't like, you say one thing to a guy that he didn't like, that's the decision that he's going to make. I'm out of here. So you've gotta be mindful of things that really shouldn't be on a coach's plate.

Certainly, that had to weigh on Stevens last year, especially when he also faced the prospect of Al Horford opting out and being unable to land a true replacement for Irving.

Yet the Celtics were able to move some pieces around to free up the room for Kemba Walker. And while Horford left, the team has gotten better-than-expected production out of Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter. So, they definitely seem to be better off comparatively to last year, especially from a chemistry standpoint.

For more of the Celtics thoughts including discussion about the C's retiring Kevin Garnett's number and whether or not Ray Allen should get that honor as well, check out the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast, available on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network and YouTube.

This Friday is Jayson Tatum Day here at NBC Sports Boston. Be sure to check out our exclusive content around Tatum throughout the day, both online and on the broadcast of Celtics-Timberwolves, which begins Friday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 8 p.m. You can also stream it on the MyTeams App.

The Michael Holley Podcast: Bruce Arena on why he nearly turned down Revolution job

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The Michael Holley Podcast: Bruce Arena on why he nearly turned down Revolution job

Bruce Arena led the New England Revolution to their first playoff appearance since 2015 after taking over a team that had the worst record in MLS when he was hired in May. 

That turnaround under Arena nearly didn't happen because, as the former US men's national team and veteran MLS coach told Michael Holley on the latest edition of The Michael Holley Podcast, he was initially reluctant to take the job.

"Believe it or not, I wasn't going to take the job here," Arena told Holley. "The Krafts just convinced me. To me, it was an interesting project, it was a unique opportunity. 

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"I said, 'The New England Revolution? What have they done lately? Are they really committed to winning? I said [to team owners Robert and Jonathan Kraft], 'If you're committed to winning, I'm willing to listen. I listened a little bit but didn't listen that well...They kept coming back and over a couple of days I was persuaded to come here."

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Arena said the Krafts' commitment to the Revs that convinced him to come to New England has him hopeful for sustained success here. 

"I've had a lot of situations where I had teams near the top and they're demanding to win championships right away. I thought this would be a great challenge to build a team toward a championship," Arena said. "The Krafts have been great for me. They're building a great training facility. We're eventually going to have a [soccer-only] stadium in the city [of Boston]. They convinced me that they were going to support this team and we were going to make it happen in Boston."

Arena said the key to the turnaround last season was building confidence in his players and the playoff appearance has raised the stakes for this season. 

"Certainly, we had to get confidence back in the players. I felt in a short period of time, I thought the talent level was better than most people thought...I think we're putting together a good team, both on and off the field. We're going to turn up the expectations this year and try and be a better team than what we were last year."

And bout that stadium, Arena said, "I think it's going to happen during my tenure. I'm that confident about it. My wife and I are going to be moving to a condominium in the seaport. So, I'm hopeful that one day, I'm going to say, maybe I'll kiss my wife goodbye and I'm going to travel real quickly to the stadium for our match...I know it's a personal goal for Robert and Jonathan Kraft and they're working real hard to get that done." 

"I think in the near future we can get some news about the potential for a stadium here."

Arena also touches on his friendship with Patriots receiver Julian Edelman and ex-Pats receiver Danny Amendola, his New York roots and fandom of a certain baseball team to the south being put the test, the changing impact of MLS and soccer in the US, his passion for coaching and more in this edition of the podcast, presented by Night Shift Brewing.