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Tuesday , Feb , 28 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Shaquille O’Neal: the Boston Celtics ‘miss me’

“It’s a different team,” said O’Neal, at All-Star weekend as part of the TNT broadcast. “They (the Boston Celtics) miss me.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Shaquille O’Neal will thrive as a broadcaster once he gets over his shyness.

O’Neal, the new darling of TNT’s Emmy-winning cast, is declaring that the Boston Celtics 'miss' him.

On the one hand, he’s right. O’Neal provided a post presence in limited minutes for the green-and-white.

On the other hand, he’s forgetting about Kendrick Perkins, the club's heart and soul.

O’Neal was signed, in large part, to fill in for Perkins who was out with knee troubles. The Celtics then dealt Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder at the deadline for Jeff Green because they believed O’Neal would be healthy.

Well, The Big Shamrock wasn’t healthy. He got hurt in February and never played again. So, the Celtics were without their heart-and-soul down-low, Perkins, and O’Neal in the playoffs. Not surprisingly, they lost in the second round.

And GM Danny Ainge hasn’t replaced either -even if Brandon Bass can score.

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Saturday , Dec , 17 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Celtics lose Jeff Green for season

A source close to Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green says the 6-foot-8 forward is expected to miss some games early on this season due to an undisclosed health condition that became apparent during his most recent physical.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Boston Celtics have had a mixed off-season.

First, they were unsuccessful in their attempts to send Rajon Rondo to New Orleans for Chris Paul, who has since been traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. Rondo is still upset with the Celtics trying to move him.

Second, they couldn’t put the final touches on a sign-and-trade for post David West, so their front line will be anchored by veterans Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O’Neal.

Third, Jeff Green is now out with a heart ailment. Green was acquired last year at the trade deadline in a controversial deal for Kendrick Perkins.

The green-and-white’s season immediately went down the toilet after the trade and now they’ll have little to show for dealing their defensive anchor.

Expect Celtics’ GM Danny Ainge to stay active in an attempt to give his aging Big Three a final chance at a championship.

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Saturday , Dec , 10 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Celtics get David West in sign-and-trade?

David West is close to a three-year sign-and-trade deal just under $30 million with the Celtics.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Boston Celtics have quickly rebuilt their front-court.

Earlier today Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis was sent to the Orlando Magic for Brandon Bass as part of a sign-and-trade, and now they’ve shipped Jermaine O’Neal to the New Orleans Hornets for David West in another sign-and-trade.

Bass, West, and three-man Jeff Green give coach Doc Rivers plenty of options to complement and eventually fill in for the aging Big Three of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce.

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Monday , Sep , 12 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Shaq: I told Danny Ainge not to trade Kendrick Perkins

I even told (Boston General Manager) Danny Ainge not to do the Kendrick Perkins deal with Oklahoma City. I told them I might not be ready, and I’m definitely not coming back. Those guys did what they’ve got to do. I wasn’t surprised; I’ve seen it before. They say all that blah, blah, but you know it’s always going to be something different.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: There’s a problem with Shaquille O’Neal taking the I-told-you-so approach with GM Danny Ainge about the Kendrick Perkins trade.

The Perkins deal wasn’t done for 2011. Ainge, for whatever reason, decided the Boston Celtics weren’t getting past the Miami Heat in the playoffs and traded his defensive post to the Oklahoma City Thunder for forward Jeff Green.

In time, Green will give the Celtics greater versatility and athleticism. He’ll be a large part of the rebuild whenever Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce call it a career.

Then there was Perkins. He was coming off a serious knee injury and demanded a big-ticket extension, something Ainge was weary of giving.

So Ainge cut ties. He got the best deal available, even if some felt it left the Celtics exposed down low and compromised what little chance they had of advancing deep in the playoffs last season.

And he was right to deal Perkins as it was in the best interests of the club -irrespective of Shaq’s health and commentary after the fact.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Sep , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Garnett: ‘I want to finish my career as a Celtic’

"I want to finish my career as a Celtic,” said Garnett, who joined Boston in a trade with Minnesota before the 2007-08 season. “This is it. I don’t plan on bouncing from team-to-team, that’s not really the plan. Hopefully God willing, I can finish my career out in the classy, elegant with a class-full organization as Boston. I don’t want to downgrade. I want to continue to be where I’m at. This is the first option and hopefully the only option.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Why would he leave?

Kevin Garnett and the Boston Celtics seem a match made in heaven, and the future member of the Hall of Fame wants to finish his career with the storied green-and-white.

Garnett, who has a year left on his contract at $21 million, claims to have little interest in demeaning his legacy by bouncing from team-to-team, especially since he already won a championship.

Leaving is easier said than done. Garnett’s passion for basketball may keep him in an NBA uniform into his late thirties.

If so, it’s unlikely Garnett retires with the Celtics as GM Danny Ainge won't prolong rebuilding around Jeff Green and Rajon Rondo.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Aug , 24 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Jeff Green: Joining Celtics was ‘Tough’

“They’ve been together for a number of years,” Green said of the Celtics. “They’ve already won a championship, they’ve already have a system, they already have their chemistry and that bond on that team. “It was tough to go into that situation.”

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Three future members of the Hall of Fame. One All-Star point guard. One championship. One NBA Finals appearance. And a heap of pressure on a young forward to replace the team's heart-and-soul.

Welcome to Jeff Green's world last February.

The Boston Celtics acquired Green from the Oklahoma City Thunder at the trade deadline. The green-and-white gave up Kendrick Perkins, their burly center, in the deal. 

It didn't matter that Perkins was coming off knee surgery or that his contract demands were impossible to meet.

Trading Perk' didn't go over well. Kevin Garnett cried, Rajon Rondo went into a funk, and the team lost their tough, blue-collar identity.

Worst of all, fans and players felt GM Danny Ainge had given up on 2011 to prepare for the future.

All of this impacted Green, who came into an impossible situation. The expectations were sky-high, while fans and teammates were slow to embrace him.

The Celtics, however, will make every effort to re-sign Green, a restricted free agent. In time, this trade could work out.

After all, Green has talent. He can guard multiple positions, score, and stuffs the stat-sheet with the all-important little things.

For now, things are tough, though.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Jul , 26 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rajon Rondo: Celtics ‘affected’ by Kendrick Perkins trade

“It wasn’t like the man passed away or something,” Rondo said. “I think we put too much emphasis on it. It’s a business. He got traded. He’s very happy where he’s at. We still talk and I’m always going to have his back. It shouldn’t have affected us the way it affected us.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: For all intensive purposes, it ended the Boston Celtics’ season.

Last February, Celtics executive Danny Ainge sent center Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder for forward Jeff Green.

In theory, it made sense. Perkins was coming off a nasty knee injury. He wanted a multi-year, big-ticket contract. And Green, a talented player, would be around long after The Big Three retired.
 
The reality was different, though. Perkins, even when injured, formed a large part of the Celtics’ identity as a tough, defensive-minded club.

And Perk’ did the little things: he banged, he glared, he rebounded, he blocked shots, he sometimes delivered cheap-shots, and he intimidated. In short, he did what an aging Kevin Garnett is no longer capable of.

So it didn’t matter who Ainge was getting back. And it didn’t matter that the O’Neals, Jermaine and Shaquille, never got healthy.

Boston had lost their identity, their way. It was plying the middle for an upstart Oklahoma City club.

Ainge can do his part by acquiring a body to plug-the-hole down-low. The current crop of Celtics need to forget Perk' -if they want one final run at a championship.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , May , 17 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Doc Rivers didn’t like timing of Kendrick Perkins trade

“‘Well, it was more not that the trust went away, the know-how went away,” Rivers said. “The continuity went away. That’s what the trade affected more than anything. Obviously, Perk was great to our team and all that. But it was more that you have new guys playing different positions and you had a guy who could literally reach back into a playbook and throw out something that was three or four years old and they all knew it, when Perk was there. ‘I would wait until after the year is over. I’ll put it that way. I do think Jeff Green has a chance to be a starter for us in the future and a hell of a basketball player. And Krstic can help. But making that trade at the time we made that trade, that made it very tough for us. And not only that, we added other pieces as well that we tried to fit in.

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: Most of the time, Doc Rivers is a straight shooter.

So it`s hardly a surprise the Boston Celtics` sideline boss -fresh off signing a five-year, $35 million extension- publicly expressed frustration at the timing of the Kendrick Perkins trade.

For those living in a cave: the green-and-white sent Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder for combo forward Jeff Green during last February`s trade deadline.

Back then, the Celtics thought they made the right move. Perkins was often injured. His contract was expiring, so he`d be due a lucrative extension.

Meanwhile, Green could defend LeBron James in the playoffs. The idea was he`d contribute a little now, and his role would expand once The Big Three retired.

Sounds good, right? Well, wrong.

Perkins was the heart-and-soul of the Celtics. His rebounding and interior defence defined those great teams.

Opponents hated Perkins with a passion. They hated his scowl. They hated his knees. They hated his elbows.

Today, Rivers didn`t tell the whole truth, though. The whole truth would`ve been admitting it wasn`t just the timing that stunk -but the trade itself.

Frankly, it was a trade Ainge and the Celtics shouldn`t have made.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , May , 14 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

What does Doc Rivers’ 5-yr, $35 million deal mean for Boston Celtics?

“Doc Rivers has agreed to a five-year, $35 million contract extension to remain coach of the Boston Celtics, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: You don’t need to be a Johnny Kemp fan to know Doc Rivers ‘just got paid’

Instead of cashing a two-week cheque for minimum wage, the personable sideline boss is getting $35 million over five years to coach the Boston Celtics.

There are several storylines worth noting with this development:

First, Rivers had always taken the summer to decide whether he wanted to continue coaching. It was a year-by-year process. And the Celtic faithful were on pins-and-needles/shamrocks-and-clovers to know if he was staying.

Well, no more uncertainty. Rivers is the Celtics’ man for the long-term, and vice-versa.

Remember, the team is on the hook for the full $35 million if they fire Rivers. And Rivers is giving up the chance to be a basketball dad and watch son Austin start his college career.

Second, many thought Rivers’ future was tied to The Big Three. He would leave the Celtics, or perhaps coaching, when Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce called it a day.

The term of this deal means he’ll stick around long after Allen, Garnett, and Pierce retire. He’ll be part of the rebuilding process and clearly likes the chips he already has in Jeff Green and Rajon Rondo.

Third, Rivers must be comfortable with current Celtics GM Danny Ainge. And he must be convinced Ainge will be in the front office for a while.

After all, Rivers is Ainge’s guy. Always has been, too. Even when the Celtics were a perpetual lottery team and Rivers was seen as a guy who struggled with ‘Xs’ and ‘Os’.

So Rivers is staying. He’ll be the constant for the green-and-white. Expect the Celtics to shake-up their core and make changes after falling to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Apr , 16 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

No excuses: Paul Pierce tells Celtics to forget Kendrick Perkins

"It was even worse last year when we went through our struggle," Pierce said. "Definitely Kendrick had his impact, but you’ve got to remember he missed a big portion of the season and, during that portion, we were able to beat a lot of the good teams also.

"I think that’s just an excuse at this point. I think that it’s time for us to move on from that. It hurts when you lose a teammate … but at the end of the day, the guys that are in this locker room are the guys you’ve got to go to war with." Pierce said a healthy Shaquille O’Neal is capable of filling the void on both ends.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Leave it to The Truth to speak The Truth -at least, as he sees it.

Paul Pierce, the captain and star swing of the Boston Celtics, feels his club is using the Kendrick Perkins trade as an excuse not to play their best. And he’s right.

Sure, Perkins, not Kevin Garnett, was their defensive anchor. And sure, Perkins was great on the defensive and offensive glass, getting points through tips and effort.

However, Perk’s contract was up at season’s end and his knees are wonky, so GM Danny Ainge swapped him for Jeff Green to better match up against LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the playoffs.

Now Pierce may be frustrated. With Perkins, he won a championship and advanced to two NBA Finals. Yet the Celtics still changed a winning formula at mid-season.

What’s done is done, though. Pierce is keeping his thoughts private and challenging teammates to play better, especially if Shaquille O’Neal gets healthy.

Perhaps O’Neal comes to the rescue. If fit and healthy –these are big ifs- the legendary five could theoretically turn back the clock and hold his own over a seven-game series.

This may be wishful thinking, as O’Neal has missed three months. His conditioning will be suspect, and he’ll struggle to defend pick-and-rolls.

Just don’t tell Pierce. He’s having none of it. No excuses.

--Oly Sandor

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Wednesday , Apr , 06 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Doc Rivers on Jeff Green: ‘I think he’s too nice’

Celtics coach Doc Rivers offered an interesting criticism of Jeff Green following Sunday’s 101-90 victory over the Detroit Pistons. ‘I think he’s too nice,’ Rivers said. ‘He’s trying to please the other guys on the floor. I’ve always thought playing with us is difficult, when you’re new, because you’re playing with Paul [Pierce] and Ray [Allen] and Kevin [Garnett] and [Rajon] Rondo and you almost don’t think like you deserve to be an aggressive offensive player or you should be, and I think he does that way too much.’

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call:  You know where nice guys finish, right?

It’s hardly surprising Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers wants Jeff Green to stop deferring to future Hall of Famers Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce and headstrong All-Star Rajon Rondo.

Of course, it can’t be easy for Green, who was acquired at the trade deadline from the Oklahoma City Thunder for Kendrick Perkins.

He doesn’t have the luxury of training camp, the regular season, or practices. He must learn on the fly. The playoffs are fast approaching.

Green’s best strategy is to use his athleticism and size on both ends of the floor to be an effort player. In time, he’ll get comfortable with the team’s half-court sets. Then, he’ll become more assertive.

For now, the Celtics have to settle for a nice guy.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Apr , 05 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

What does Shaq’s latest injury mean for struggling Celtics?

O'Neal missed 27 games with foot and Achilles' tendon injuries and was making his first appearance since Feb. 1. "The update is that it's not the same injury," Rivers said. "Had nothing to do with the Achilles; it's a calf strain. It's not a bad strain, but it's a strain. So similar to the one Von [Wafer] had but not even close to the severity. Well, 'I don't know [when he will be back]' is the answer."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Just when you thought 'The Big Shamrock' was back, he’s out –again.

Shaquille O’Neal finally returned to the Boston Celtics’ line-up yesterday after missing 27 games with an Achilles injury. His good health appears short-lived, though.

O’Neal left in the second quarter of last night’s game with a calf injury. He did not return.

While the injury isn’t serious, the fact O’Neal has missed months of action is. The future Hall of Fame center has never been known for fitness, and this is magnified by his age.

Here’s the question: what can O’Neal provide the green-and-white in the playoffs?

Well, nobody knows. But O’Neal must perform because the Celtics’ other fives like Jermaine O’Neal and Nenad Krstic are hurt. And there’s no Kendrick Perkins, who was sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder for combo forward Jeff Green at the trade deadline.

Shaq’, when he returns, needs to anchor the middle, allowing Kevin Garnett to play the majority of his minutes at power forward. It wouldn’t hurt if he provided a target for point guard Rajon Rondo, too.

Bottom line: the sliding Celtics need O’Neal. A return to the NBA Finals is unlikely without him holding his own down low. 

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Apr , 01 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Celtics need Shaq, Jermaine O’Neal, and Krstic healthy to win NBA Title?

Krstic left with 2:18 left in the first half of Thursday's game after landing awkwardly on his right leg. His knee became bent out of shape and he immediately felt the pain. With the help of Celtics trainer Ed Lacerte, Krstic limped off the floor. Krstic will return home to Boston where he will undergo an MRI on Friday.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call:  Suddenly, the Boston Celtics are thin at center.
 
Remember, the green-and-white signed the two O’Neals, Jermaine and Shaquille this summer. Depth was one reason executive Danny Ainge felt comfortable sending interior defender Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder for forward Jeff Green at the trade deadline.

Injuries, pending free agency, and a plethora of posts, made Perk’ expendable. Or, so the Celtics thought.

Jermaine O’Neal isn’t healthy. He hasn’t been all year. Shaquille O’Neal’s Achilles has kept him out of the line-up for some time. Whenever he returns, fitness will be an issue.

Knowing this, Ainge prudently acquired Nenad Krstic from Oklahoma City as part of the Green deal. Now Krstic is out for the foreseeable future with his own knee troubles.

Well, what does this mean?

Suppose the Celtics advance to the NBA Finals. They’ll need size at center to counter, say, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Andrew Bynum, the Dallas Mavericks’ Tyson Chandler, or the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan.
 
Some combination of the O'Neals and Krstic must be available to log heavy minutes. And Garnett must be free to roam and help on defence. He does this best when playing power forward.

Sliding The Big Ticket to center makes the defending Eastern Conference champs smaller and limits Garnett's effectiveness.

Hopefully, the Celtics get healthy down low. Returning to the Finals and having any chance at beating the Lakers, or any other western foe, depends on it.  

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Mar , 02 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

A Thunderous Deal: Why Perkins is worth $35 million extension

The Oklahoma City Thunder have signed center Kendrick Perkins to a multi-year contract extension, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. Per team policy, the terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but Yahoo! Sports reports that it will pay Perkins $34.8 million over four years.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: They got their man at the trade deadline. Now they’ll keep him for a while.

Once again, the Oklahoma City Thunder has scored a victory, extending newly acquired Kendrick Perkins to a very reasonable four-year, $35 million contract.

The Perkins-for-Jeff Green trade between the Boston Celtics and Thunder was controversial, but there’s little doubt the massive five-man can help Sam Presti’s club.

Consider the following facts:

First, Perkins’ size and toughness will help a Thunder club that was deemed too soft in the paint to challenge the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in a seven-game series.

Second, Perkins can serve as a defensive anchor. This will appeal to coach Scott Brooks, who implores his young Thunder to get stops.

Third, Perkins has attitude –lots of it, in fact. Whether glaring at refs, opponents, or occasionally teammates, Perkins accepts nothing less than winning.

Finally, Perkins acquisition could be a case of addition by subtraction. Green, a talented forward, wasn’t fitting in with the Thunder. Trading him solidifies the team’s core.

There is much discussion about Perkins’ worth. Some of these comments are fair; some of these comments are unfair.

When healthy, Perkins is a top defensive center, and this is exactly what the Thunder needed.

--Oly Sandor.


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Losing Kendrick Perkins Doesn’t Matter
Sunday , Feb , 27 , 2011 Paul Eide

Losing Kendrick Perkins Doesn’t Matter

 

Even with Carmelo Anthony finally going to the Knicks and Deron Williams sudden trade to the Nets, the most talked about trade completed before Thursday’s deadline was the trade between the Celtics and Thunder. Boston sent Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.
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Friday , Feb , 25 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

A win-win: Celtics, Thunder swap Perkins for Green

The Celtics have agreed to send Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder in exchange for a package built around Jeff Green. Green and Perkins will both be free agents this offseason, while the former will be restricted. Nenad Krstic and Nate Robinson will also be included in the deal.Boston will also receive the 2012 first round pick of the Clippers from Oklahoma City.

 
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: It's a win-win for the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder.

The green-and-white either couldn't afford or wouldn't foot the bill to keep center Kendrick Perkins in Beantown. In Green, they get a swing that can play now and assume a greater role when Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce retire.

Meanwhile, Green wasn't a fit for the Thunder, so dealing him for Perkins made sense. The rugged rebounder will anchor Coach Scott Brooks' defence and assist Serge Illbaka in the middle.

Of course, with any trade there's risk. For instance, Green will be a restricted free agent in July. Getting his name on a long-term extension may not be easy.

Perkins will be an unrestricted free agent and could walk on the Thunder at season's end. For instance, there are rumblings he'll pair with current Celtics coach Doc Rivers down in Miami.

That, however, is for tomorrow. Today, the Celtics and Thunder should celebrate a mutually beneficial trade.

--Oly Sandor.
 
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