NBA Sunday: End of Boston’s Big 3?
The End of Boston’s Big Three?
While Miami has taken over the “Big Three” moniker for their trio of superstars, the phrase really found its way into everyday basketball conversation when the Boston Celtics added Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to Paul Pierce in the summer of 2007. Those guys all won their first championships together back in 2008, but even then we knew the window was small for those guys to get many more.
The fact that they were still seriously competitive five years later is, admittedly, a little surprising. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge kept the team together two years ago, re-signing Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, but doing the same thing again this summer now that Allen and Garnett face expiring contracts would be considered by some a mistake.
Only Pierce, Rondo, and Avery Bradley are definitely under contract next season (Brandon Bass has a $4 million player option), which means this could be a great opportunity for Boston to start rebuilding around Rondo, Bradley, and two first-round draft picks, with a couple more years of Pierce splashed in to smooth the transition.
It’s not crazy to think they’d bring Allen and Garnett back for two more years to coincide with the end of Pierce’s deal in 2014, but only if they did so at a major discount.
However Allen, for starters, should have no shortage of suitors this summer. SI’s Chris Mannix is predicting Allen leaves, with New York and Miami reportedly atop Allen’s list of potential suitors. However, Memphis tried to trade for Allen at the deadline and may not be able to afford an extension for O.J. Mayo. That could mean they would still be interested in Allen at the right price as well, and there should be a number of other contenders looking for an experienced scoring punch and deep threat this summer. Allen could be a great bargain, even if it’s not for Boston.
Garnett’s situation is a little different. There have been whispers about him possibly considering retirement, and with 17 years and almost 1,400 career games under his belt, that wouldn’t come as too big a surprise. Teams will come calling, particularly after the season and postseason he had this last year, but you have to wonder how much KG really has left in the tank. Teams probably won’t be offering long deals at big money. He could re-sign in Boston for a couple more seasons, retire, or find his way to a new team.
If both Allen and Garnett fail to return to the team next season, however, expect the Paul Pierce trade talk to pick up considerably. Those two leaving signals the start of a new era in Boston, and as much as fans would love to see Pierce retire in green, he could have more value to them as a trade chip.
All we can say for sure right now is that Ainge and his veteran players have some decisions to make about the organization’s future. A perfectly acceptable argument could be made that two more years of this core wouldn’t be a bad thing, because there’s a lot better chance that group would be more competitive than a stripped-down reboot built from Rondo and a bunch of young’ns. Or, they look at it as an appropriate time to move on to the next phase in the franchise’s history.
Either way, it certainly does look like the Boston Celtics five-year run has come to a close. They got the one ring out of it, which doesn’t seem like much until you weigh it against the number of rings that other Big Three has earned so far.
Of course, that could change in just a couple of weeks, but that’s a whole other story.
Royce White Fending Off Flight Anxiety Criticism
Iowa State power forward Royce White is coming into this draft projected as a late first-round pick, and seeing the guy in person (he’s one of the stronger kids in the class) and speaking with him (he’s extremely likeable, mature, and calm), it’s easy to see why a first-round team would take a gamble on him.
But despite all of his positive qualities, a gamble he could very well be, particularly because of his documented fear of the flying process. White, however, is being very upfront about his problems flying as he interviews with NBA teams.
“They’ve asked about that,” White told HOOPSWORLD at the Chicago Draft Combine earlier this week. “It’s all on the table, and I’m just trying to be as honest as possible. I’ve found that for me, especially having anxiety, that honesty always helps keep my stress down. Keeping up with lies is very difficult.”
White has had anxiety in some form since he was a child, and it was bad enough in 2010 to derail a potential transfer to Kentucky. His anxiety acted up badly enough to force him to miss a flight to Lexington.
Things have gotten somewhat better since then, but it’s certainly something teams will want to inquire about as they decide whether or not he’s worth a first-round pick.
“It wasn’t really bad for me flying this past season,” White said. “I was with my teammates and my coaches, so it kind of came a habitual thing. I don’t really remember it being a problem at all this season.”
But it could be a problem when he’s flying several times a week. That’s the question White is likely to be asked over and over again in team interviews the next couple of weeks.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” White said about the high volume of flights he’ll have to take as an NBA player. “I’m sure I’ll need a lot of support, but I’m not really as scared of flying as I am the preparation to fly. All the time before my flight is when I exert a lot of energy being worried.”
Whatever it is about flying that gets White fired up, he certainly seems to have come a long way since his troubles as a freshman at Minnesota what seems like ages ago. He’s ready to contribute to a pro team right away, and he’s been grateful so far to have been given the opportunity to explain himself in person.
“It’s good to be able to sit down and talk with them face-to-face because they’re human beings, and we all get caught up in media. It’s the nature of the world we live in, so it’s definitely nice to meet them in person and kind of give them a different look.
“I always tell people that I’m still learning about it,” he added. “The whole world’s still learning about it, the illness of anxiety, so I can tell you that as much as I know, I don’t know anything.”
Indiana and Miami have both met with White so far, with several more teams on deck in the coming weeks. Expect White to be a first round pick in the 22-28 range, despite his issues. Kids that strong and that talented who have been through as much as he has deserve the shot he’s about to get.
Dispelling Myths About “The Kobe Treatment”
Because Kobe Bryant has seen what we now have to consider undeniable success from the Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy he is supposed to have received in Germany last summer, more and more fans are working under the assumption that such a treatment could do wonders for other players, too.
The problem is that PRP isn’t as effective as Kobe Bryant’s success has led us to believe, particularly because Bryant didn’t actually get PRP Therapy.
PRP itself is nothing particularly new. Shaun Livingston had PRP Therapy seven times, and Brandon Roy also went through the process several times himself. Both players did more with their careers than they likely would have twenty years ago, but PRP didn’t exactly breathe new life into knees that were clearly beyond saving.
That procedure itself draws out your own blood, then removes the red blood cells in a centrifuge so they can be injected back into the trouble area to stimulate healing and cell regeneration. What Kobe got done in Germany wasn’t exactly PRP, as Lakers trainer Gary Vitti has explained. That treatment is something slightly different known as Orthokine or Regonokine.
“In PRP, they take the platelets out and then inject them back into the site you’re having an issue with, which causes a therapeutic effect. Orthokine/Regonokine are different in that they take your blood, they spin it down, and instead of the platelets, there is a protein that is called interleukin which causes the inflammatory process,” Vitti explained.
“So when they spin the blood down, they take the antagonist of interleukin and make a serum out of the antagonist of the interleukin and then they inject that back into you. So if interleukin is the bad thing, they take the antagonist of it and then they inject it to stop the inflammatory process that the interleukin is causing. In addition, there are some stem cell things they are doing that are individual to the person, and that’s the Regenokine part.”
To clarify, PRP is helpful for the healing process, but it’s not what rejuvenated Bryant’s knees for another high-mileage season. It’s easy to call for these treatments as miracle knee-savers, but they don’t always work that way. Just ask Livingston and Roy.