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Top Boston Sports Stories of 2013, No. 6: Celtics trade Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers 12.27.13 at 9:23 am ET
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Over the final days of the year, WEEI.com will count down the top 13 stories of 2013 in Boston sports. This is No. 16: Celtics trade Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers. To see the previous entries, click here.

The move seemed incomprehensible at first.

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in Brooklyn Nets jerseys? Impossible.

Sure, Pierce and Garnett’€™s best days clearly are behind them, but these men had led Boston to two NBA Finals and the organization’€™s first title since 1986.

But on June 27, Celtics€™ president of basketball operations Danny Ainge completed a trade that marked a changing of the guard. Boston traded Pierce, an revered 15-year Celtic who persevered through incredibly ugly times in Boston, and Garnett, the man perhaps most responsible for the franchise’s drastic turnaround, and began the inevitable rebuilding process for the Celtics.

The Nets also received Jason Terry, who disappointed in one season for the Celtics. His year in Boston will be remembered more for the posterizing dunk LeBron James laid on him than his contributions to the team.

“We would like to thank Paul, Kevin and Jason for everything that they have done for this franchise,”€ Ainge said. “€œWe would not have won Banner 17 without Paul and Kevin, and they will go down amongst the all-time great players to have ever worn a Celtics uniform.”

The Celtics garnered three first-round picks (2014, ‘€˜16, ‘€˜18) along with Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph, MarShon Brooks and Keith Bogans for the trio.

“We are excited to welcome Gerald, Kris, Keith, MarShon and Kris to the Celtics family. They bring a wealth of talent, experience, depth, and flexibility to our team,” Ainge said.

With Terry, Pierce and Garnett scheduled to make a combined $33.4 million in the 2013-14 season, and considering that the most appealing return Boston received was the three first-round picks, the move was widely viewed as a salary dump and the beginning of the Celtics’€™ rebuilding process.

The band began to break up earlier in the summer when Boston shipped coach Doc Rivers to the Clippers.

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Read More: Boston Sports Stories of the Year 2013, Danny Ainge, Gerald Wallace, Jason Terry
Top Boston Sports Stories of 2013, No. 11: Rajon Rondo suffers season-ending ACL injury 12.22.13 at 9:04 am ET
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Over the final days of the year, WEEI.com will count down the top 13 stories of 2013 in Boston sports. This is No.11: Rajon Rondo suffers season-ending ACL injury. To see the previous entries, click here.

When the Celtics fell to the Hawks, 123-111, in double-overtime on Jan. 25, 2013, it represented a heartbreaking loss for a team desperate for a victory. The loss dropped the C’s three games below .500 for the second time in the 2012-13 season, and it marked their sixth straight defeat, their longest losing streak since they lost 18 in a row during their horrendous 2007 campaign.

Unbeknownst to the C’s, they’€™d also lost arguably their best player, a loss that would set off a massive rebuilding process in Boston, and the eventual removal of their championship-winning coach. Rajon Rondo, a Celtic since 2007 and the starting point guard of the 2008 team that won the Larry O’€™Brien Trophy, suffered a torn ACL during the game, an injury that would force him to miss the rest of the 2012-13 season and at least the first two months of the 2013-14 campaign.

The severity of Rondo’€™s injury was revealed both to Boston’€™s players and a national audience in the middle of the team’€™s second straight double-overtime game, a 100-98 win over the Heat on Jan. 27.

“It was shocking, frustrating,” Rondo said. “I wanted to play against the Heat that day, Sunday, and I thought I was playing. But maybe 30 minutes on the clock I did my ritual, my routine, I got in the shower and something was telling me this just didn’t feel right.”

Before his injury, Rondo averaged career highs in points (13.7), rebounds (5.6) and minutes (37.4) and dished out 11.1 assists per game, which would have placed him second in the NBA in that stat.

“Obviously the Rondo news is tough,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said after the Miami game. “I knew before the game, but I didn’t tell anyone. Obviously it was pretty emotional.”

Forward Kevin Garnett, one of Rondo’€™s closest friends on the team, expressed his disappointment as well.

“It was a big blow to everybody in here, me included,” Garnett said. “Man, that hurt. It’s tough. We had a tough game, came in, and he told the whole team in the locker room. It’s tough, tough on everybody.

“[Rondo is] becoming the heart and soul of this team. He’s coming into his own. Had some bumps in the road, but we’re just trying to be supportive for him.”

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Read More: Boston Sports Stories of the Year 2013, Danny Ainge, doc rivers, kevin garnett
Top Stories of 2012, No. 7: Ray Allen leaves Celtics for South Beach 12.27.12 at 6:42 pm ET
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Over the final week of 2012, WEEI.com will count down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. This entry in the countdown is No. 7: Ray Allen’s departure from the Celtics.

Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: NHL lockout
No. 9: Wes Welker’s up-and-down year
No. 8: Bruins’ early playoff elimination

Heat owner Micky Arison first published the news of Ray Allen‘€™s departure from the Celtics on Twitter, signaling the official end of the Big Three era in Boston.

Its 2:30am in London and I was just woken up with great news.Welcome to the family #20!!

‘€” Micky Arison (@MickyArison) July 7, 2012

Allen made the choice to head south to Miami for around half the annual salary the Celtics were offering. In Miami, Allen would have the chance to play with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, while making a fresh start with a new team. Allen signed a three-year, $9.7 million deal in July.

Reports that Allen was unhappy in Boston began to surface. There was an apparent rift between Allen and mercurial point guard Rajon Rondo, and Allen was said to be unhappy with a lack of respect from management. A Yahoo! Sports report quoted a source as saying: “He felt he was getting respect [from the Heat] that he hadn’€™t gotten from [Celtics president] Danny [Ainge] and [coach] Doc [Rivers] anymore. ‘€¦ The [Heat] presentation was incredible.”

Ainge had placed Allen on the trading block in February in hopes that the C’€™s could get a younger player. And a deal with the Grizzlies for O.J. Mayo apparently was so close to being done that Rivers contacted Allen to let him know. That didn’t sit well with Allen.

Then Rivers inserted Avery Bradley, favoring his defensive tact over Allen’€™s 3-point shooting ability, into the starting lineup. Allen only started in the Eastern Conference finals because Bradley was out with a shoulder injury.

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Read More: 2012 Stories of the Year, Avery Bradley, Danny Ainge, doc rivers
Top Stories of 2011, No. 4: Celtics’ trade of Kendrick Perkins 12.28.11 at 12:15 pm ET
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For the final 10 days of 2011, WEEI.com will count down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. Our next entry in the countdown is No. 4: The Celtics‘ trade of Kendrick Perkins.

Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: NBA lockout
No. 9: NFL lockout
No. 8: Celtics’ playoff loss to Heat
No. 7: Patriots’ acquisitions of Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco
No. 6: Jacoby Ellsbury’s MVP-caliber season
No. 5: Patriots’ playoff loss to Jets

It happened without warning, although the signs were clear enough. With minutes to go before the end of the NBA’s trading deadline on Feb. 24, Celtics team president Danny Ainge sent Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to the Thunder for Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic and a first-round pick via the Clippers that carries a top-10 protection through the 2016 season.

While it was shocking at the time, the Celtics were concerned about their ability to retain Perkins long-term and the move allowed them to be significantly under the salary cap in the summer of 2012 when the contracts of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen expire. The Celtics had offered Perkins a four-year extension worth $22 million, the most they could have offered under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. With no such restrictions, the Thunder signed him to a four-year deal worth almost $35 million.

In his first interview following the trade, Ainge told WEEI that it was one of the hardest decisions he’s had to make.

“It’€™s not easy at all,” Ainge said. “We agonized over it. Both Doc [Rivers] and I agonized over it. We went back and forth. There were a few other types of things out there, and it was a very difficult decision to make, yet one that we thought was best for the team and where we’€™re headed.”

There were also questions about Perkins’ health after the center tore his ACL in Game 6 of the NBA finals against the Lakers and underwent knee surgery in the offseason. Perkins worked hard in his rehab and returned to the court ahead of schedule, but he suffered a setback before the trade deadline and missed almost a month of games before taking the court for Oklahoma City in mid-March. The Celtics were counting on the return of Shaquille O’Neal from an Achilles and calf injury, but he played only 18 minutes the rest of the season.

Without Perkins, the Celtics struggled down the stretch and lost in the second round of the playoffs to Miami. It was a bitter blow for a team that proudly stated it had never lost a playoff series when all five of its starters were healthy.

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Read More: Danny Ainge, Jeff Green, kendrick perkins, Nate Robinson
Top Stories of 2011, No. 10: NBA lockout 12.22.11 at 5:16 pm ET
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For the final 10 days of 2011, WEEI.com will count down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. Our first entry in the countdown is No. 10: The NBA lockout.

After a summer of doubt, NBA commissioner David Stern went from Grinch to Santa when he delivered the gift of a 2011-12 NBA season. Basketball fans worldwide can rejoice on Christmas Day when they get to see their beloved league back in action, even if the season is shortened.

The lockout started July 1, as owners and players disagreed on terms of a new collective bargaining agreement. Primarily, the disagreement centered on who would get the majority of the league’s income. There was more to the CBA than that, of course, but the fact that the owners wanted to recapture more of the income pie left the players up in arms.

Over the course of the summer, negotiations were held between the leagues executives and the NBA players union, led by Billy Hunter, who oversaw the union’s litigation against the league during the 1998 NBA lockout.

With the experienced Hunter at the helm and Lakers guard Derek Fisher in charge of the players, the NBA went into a stalemate all summer. With neither the owners nor players budging on their terms and the season right around the corner, Stern made the move on October to cancel the first two weeks of the season, a blow to revenue for players and owners alike.

Stern went on to cancel the first quarter of the season when the players union made its first major move of the lockout by filing two anti-trust lawsuits against the owners.

On Thanksgiving, the two sides finally broke down and agreed to a new deal. According to Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck, common sense prevailed.

“The general concept was this is regrettable to have this lockout,” he said during Wednesday’s appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show. “If there is a deal, we might as well just go ahead and get to it. If there isn’€™t, that would be very disappointing.”

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Read More: Danny Ainge, David Stern, Jeff Green, rajon rondo
Deutsche Bank Championship notebook: Defending champion Charley Hoffman looks to salvage season 09.01.11 at 9:31 pm ET
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NORTON — Defending Deutsche Bank champion Charley Hoffman is looking to salvage his season in this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship. Hoffman has struggled with his game much of the year, as he only has two top-25 finishes all year — a second-place tie at the Valero Texas Open in April and solo second at last week’s Barclays.

“Yeah, I wouldn’t say it’s over,” he said Thursday. “You can make a season. I would say last year I was hurt for a long time with a wrist injury, so I felt like I was doing all right, but I came into this event feeling good, sort of like I feel now. I feel like I’m feeling some confidence.”

Hoffman fired a nine-under 62 in the final round last year to blow away the rest of the field and win by five shots. He called it the best round of his career.

“I definitely have never had a better round than that, especially under the circumstances I was in.” he said. “I didn’t have anywhere to go besides up. Going into Sunday I was playing good, but I can’t say I saw 62 happening when I was warming up earlier in the week.

The defending champion is excited about returning to Boston and playing a course that he loves.

“Obviously it’s a good feeling coming back to Boston,” Hoffman said. “The last time I left the media center I was pretty happy. So I got here Saturday early and stayed downtown, the came out to the golf course on Tuesday and played nine.

“It was remarkable how good a shape it was with the hurricane that went through here, the tropical storm. I played 18 yesterday, and the course is in as good of shape as it’s ever been, and it’s nice to see the superintendent cleaned everything up after all the wind and rain that came through here.”

‘€¢ Phil Mickelson played Thursday’s pro-am round with a belly putter and will most likely be playing with it this week. “Probably, yeah, probably,” he said Thursday after completing his round. “I was a little shady with it on the front nine, but a little bit better with it on the back. Look, I’m willing to — I don’t mind trying new things. I’ve hit two drivers and no drivers in Opens, and I don’t mind trying something different. We’ll see.”

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Read More: Carlton Fisk, Charley Hoffman, Danny Ainge, Deutsche Bank Championship
Shaq says he’d like to fight Danny Ainge in MMA 08.12.11 at 11:38 am ET
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In an interview with Inside MMA on Friday, Shaquille O’Neal listed Danny Ainge among the five former players he would like to face in a hypothetical mixed martial fight.

“Danny Aigne one time bit [Wayne] “Tree” Rollins‘ finger almost off in a match,” O’Neal said. “That’s not a move you can do in MMA but … the grit, the ferocity, the tenacity.”

The other four players named were Xavier McDaniel, Charles Oakley, Karl Malone and Charles Barkley. All five played in the 1980s and 90s.

Of the current NBA players, O’Neal said,”Ron Artest, you know you could probably put in there. But other than that, I’m not sure.”

Read More: Charles Barkley, Charles Oakley, Danny Ainge, Karl Malone
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Jets QB Erik Ainge lives with uncle Danny Ainge after latest rehab stint 03.30.11 at 7:19 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY WEDNESDAY:
MLB Preseason: Red Sox at Astros, 8:05 p.m. (NESN)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Jets backup quarterback Erik Ainge has been living in Wellesley with his uncle, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, while trying to get a grip on his drug and alcohol addiction. Erik says he’s been clean and sober for eight months, the longest such stretch since he was 11 years old. He tells the details of his troubles in a piece at ESPN. Said Erik: “During my days of using, I was a really bad drug addict. I would’ve made Charlie Sheen look like Miss Daisy.”

‘™¦ ESPN basketball analyst Jalen Rose was arrested March 11 in Michigan on suspicion of drunken driving. Rose made news this month with his comments in an ESPN documentary about the University of Michigan’s Fab Five that he perceived Grant Hill as an “Uncle Tom” for attending Duke.

‘™¦ With the Final Four set to begin this week, NCAA president Mark Emmert says athletes will not get paid but perhaps their scholarships should be increased. “I will make clear that I want this to be a subject we explore” at the NCAA meetings in April, he said.

‘™¦ Fiesta Bowl president and CEO John Junker was fired this week after allegedly conspiring to reimburse employees for political contributions and then cover up the scheme, along with some other accusations of misappropriated funds. The BCS said it will conduct its own investigation to determine if the Fiesta Bowl should remain a BCS bowl game. At CBSSports.com, Dennis Dodd ponders the future of the game.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 30, 1976, which Celtic became the third player in NBA history (joining Bill Russell and Bill Bridges) to record 10,000 rebounds before scoring 10,000 points?

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Read More: Danny Ainge, Erik Ainge, Jalen Rose, John Junker
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Browns fan sues NFL over lockout 03.25.11 at 7:40 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY FRIDAY:
NBA: Bobcats at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)
MLB Preseason: Blue Jays at Red Sox, 7:05 p.m. (NESN)

SATURDAY:
NHL: Rangers at Bruins, 1 p.m. (NESN)
MLB Preseason: Twins at Red Sox, 7:05 p.m. (NESN)

SUNDAY:
NBA: Celtics at Timberwolves, 7 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)
NHL: Bruins at Flyers, 7 p.m. (NESN)
MLB Preseason: Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 p.m. (NESN)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ A Cleveland businessman sued the Browns and the NFL’s 31 other teams Thursday, saying the lockout violates his private seat license contract with the club. Self-made millionaire Ken Lanci asked the court to prohibit the lockout. “What tipped the scale for me is the labor issue between millionaires and billionaires and the fact they can’t settle it when the country is in a recession,” he told The Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Worse yet, they have to rub this in our faces.”

‘™¦ Running back Danny Woodhead is the Patriots representative in a contest to select the cover for the Madden ’12 video game. However, the New York Post looks at the “Madden Curse,” in which players have suffered injuries or performed poorly after appearing on the cover.

‘™¦ According to The New York Times, the Mets lost almost $50 million last year, with attendance down 600,000 following the opening of Citi Field in 2009.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 25, 1978, which Red Sox pitcher was accidentally shot in his non-pitching arm by a neighbor at his spring training hotel in Winter Haven, Fla.?

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Read More: Danny Ainge, Danny Woodhead, Ken lanci,
National analysis of Thursday’s NBA trades 02.25.11 at 12:13 pm ET
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Although the Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams trades earlier this week made the biggest NBA headlines, Thursday, the day of the trade deadline, was the busiest day in terms of the number of deals.

The Thursday deal receiving the most attention, especially around here, is the Celtics‘ trade of Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to the Thunder for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.

Here at WEEI.com, Paul Flannery writes that the trade was a bold move that Danny Ainge agonized over before deciding to take the gamble. Flannery says the deal could turn out to be brilliant, or it could end up looking reckless.

Out in Oklahoma City, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman writes that Perkins gives the Thunder some much-needed toughness in the low post and that he should fit in perfectly with what the team is trying to do. Tramel says Green will be missed and other guys will have to step up to replace his scoring, but that the trade ultimately makes the Thunder better.

Also busy on Thursday were the Rockets, who sent Shane Battier and Ish Smith to the Grizzlies for Hasheem Thabeet, DeMarre Carroll and a first-round pick. Moisekapenda Bower of Fox Sports Houston writes that the Rockets are looking to the future with this deal and waving the white flag for this season. The Memphis Flyer’s Chris Herrington says Battier gives the Grizzlies a defensive boost and some depth while also ridding them of a “colossal bust” in Thabeet.

The Rockets also traded Aaron Brooks to the Suns for Goran Dragic and a first-round pick. Bower says acquiring Dragic and a first-round pick, along with the other first-round pick from the Battier deal, give the Rockets some solid building blocks for the future. In Phoenix, Suns president Lon Babby told Sports 620 KTAR that Brooks makes the team better this season, but that he doesn’t expect him to be Steve Nash‘s heir apparent at point guard.

Meanwhile, the Clippers dealt Baron Davis and a first-round pick to the Cavaliers in exchange for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon. Lisa Dillman and Baxter Holmes write in The Los Angeles Times that the move gives the Clippers future salary cap flexibility and officially makes Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon the leaders of the team. Rick Noland of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram says the trade brightens the Cavaliers’ future by giving them an unprotected first-round pick.

Finally, the Bobcats surprised everyone by sending franchise player Gerald Wallace to the Trail Blazers for Joel Przybilla, Dante Cunningham, Sean Marks and two first-round picks. John Canzano of The Oregonian writes that the deal gives the Trail Blazers something to celebrate and calls it a “slam-dunk trade.” Meanwhile, Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer says the move makes the Bobcats “terrible” and rids them of the only star they’ve ever had simply because they didn’t want to pay him.

Read More: Aaron Brooks, Baron Davis, Danny Ainge, Gerald Wallace