Lots of news and notes to go through this evening, before the new-look Celtics make their debut tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers. Let’s get to work.
SAY HELLO TO JEFF GREEN AND NENAD KRSTIC
Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com is follow the team on its trip out west and has our first look at new pickups, Green and Krstic at Boston’s shootaround earlier today in LA. A few key quotes from the new blood:
“It’s an honor,” said Green. “There’s a lot of history behind the name that’s on this jersey. I’m proud to be a Celtic. I’m coming here to do the best I can, try to help this team out and win a championship.”
Added Krstic: “It’s going to be a great experience for me. I can learn so much from these guys. Hopefully we’ll win a championship this year and I can go back to Serbia with a ring.”
“They accepted me well,” said Green. “I can already tell the tight bond, these are guys you go to battle with. It’s important to have that relationship with each other and they welcomed me and Nenad with open arms.”
Krstic will start tonight at center for Boston and will continue to do until Shaquille O’Neal returns from his Achilles’ injury. Also in case anyone is wondering, Krstic will wear the number 4 and Green will mark the return of a new employee number 8 to the Boston roster. The team will have 11 players in uniform tonight in the Staples Center against the Clippers who are coming off a loss last night to their crosstown rivals.
Speaking of Shaq, Doc had an update on the latest with his rehab before the shootaround:
“We talked and we want him to keep working out,” said Rivers. “He’s doing great. We told him, ‘Stay where you’re at. Keep working out.’ He’ll meet us back — when we get back to Boston, he’ll be in Boston and we’ll go form there.”
Pressed on his return to game action, Rivers noted, “He may try to play when we get back.” (ESPNBoston)
It’s safe to say that the team will be playing it extremely safe with the 38-year-old center given the departure of the team’s number one center. Still, nice to know that the possibility of a return next week is in the cards.
That departed center (Kendrick Perkins) will also reportedly miss the next two-three weeks for the Oklahoma City, as he recovers from a sprained left MCL suffered Tuesday night in Oklahoma City. That lengthy absence (up from a reported one week by various reporters in Boston) is yet another reason (albeit small) that Ainge was willing to deal his stud big man for Green and Krstic.
The C’s roster is so beat up right now, healthy bodies are important and very necessary if it is determined to stay on top of the Eastern Conference. With Perk, Shaq and JO sidelined, along with Semih Erden laboring with various injuries on Wednesday, it’s clear something had to give. Doesn’t mean the situation made him deal Perk, but it also probably factored slightly into the equation. Going with KG, Baby, Erden and Harangody probably wasn’t going to cut it for the next couple weeks.
A few words from Perk in his first meetings with the OKC media: (Associated Press)
“I hope I can be here. I want to be here,” Perkins said of Oklahoma City. “I couldn’t find a better situation for myself. I really want to be here and this is just a great organization, just learning every day, just being around, it’s overwhelming.
“I do want to be here and hopefully we can work something out. They are the first option, the first team on my plate with free agency coming up or whatever it may be. I just know Oklahoma City will be my first option.”
“I’m just here for the long haul,” Perkins said. “As long as I can get me some good games in in the regular season, get a good push going into the playoffs, I think I’m going to be all right.”
“Now I feel like I’ve got to come in and be better than ever as far as being a defensive-minded player and bring in a defensive mentality to this team,” Perkins said. “I know they’ve already got it. I’m just trying to be a positive piece added onto it.
“The sky’s the limit here, so we’ve just got to put it together. We look good on paper but I think we’ve got to put the work in and put it on the court.”
Known for a menacing scowl that reflects his tough-guy demeanor in the lane, Perkins said one task in getting to know his new teammates is “showing them that I’m not this mean guy that they think I am.”
“I won’t call myself a soft teddy bear because it might mess up my image,” he said, “but I am a great guy.”
Man, I’m going to miss that guy. And as much as it hurts to lose Perk, we can at least take solace he was dealt into a great situation, with the team ultimately that had the best chance of signing him this offseason anyway if Danny let him go.
Also lost amongst the craziness of the best couple days, is Doc Rivers returning to join the team today, after spending the past couple days in Chicago with his ill mother. Here’s hoping her health improves.
Finally, Jermaine O’Neal announced via his twitter account that he will be back before the playoffs. Can’t wait to actually see that, as this team needs him now more than ever.
Ryan will be back in an hour or two with a full preview.