Hint: The chair wins. Celtics rookie center Fab Melo had a funny moment during the NBA's rookie photo shoot recently. Melo ended up on the floor, to the amusement of his fellow rookies.
During Celtics media day before the start of last season, Jeff Green acted like any other player as he got his picture taken, taped radio promos, and talked to reporters. A red flag had just come up in Green's physical, but the lanky forward cheerfully answered questions about it. The Celtics were holding Green off the floor for the first day of practice, but Green said he thought he'd be back soon. Nothing to worry about, he said.
A few days went by and Green still wasn't on the floor. On Dec. 18, the team announced that Green had an aortic aneurysm, a condition that required surgery. Green, a centerpiece of Boston's attempt to get younger and faster, would soon struggle to walk.
"So many things [were on my mind]," Green said Thursdsay in an interview with Celtics.com. "First family. My life. Basketball came last."
Green had surgery in January, and during his recovery basketball wasn't close to being an option. For a long time, he said he struggled to do even simple tasks.
"I view things differently now," said Green. "I don't take a lot of things for granted. After the procedure, just doing a situp was hard. Walking from door to door was hard. Catching my breath was hard. All the things that I do now were taken away from me. A procedure that only took a couple hours.
"It was hard. It was like starting from scratch."
While he couldn't play basketball, Green made good use of his time. He spent time with his family. He finished college, walking at Georgetown's graduation in May. Green said everybody he knew from school previously was gone.
"I felt a little old," he said.
As he got better, Green began to focus on basketball. He became a constant fixture at TD Garden, hanging out with his former teammates in the locker room and sitting near the Celtics bench during some games. On not being a part of the Celtics' surprising run to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Green said, "It was real frustrating."
Green said he supported the Celtics because of the support they gave him during his recovery.
"They helped me along my route," said Green. "It was a no-brainer for me to come back and support the fellas and the whole organization as a whole. They were there for me through my stress of going through the surgery. I did whatever I could to pay them back by being there to support those guys, trying to be a helping hand around the team.
"They searched high and low for the best doctor, for the best clinic to go to handle the procedure. Everything that I needed. I didn't want the surgery. I didn't want to have this, to have to miss the season. They made it easier every step of the way."
Green officially signed with the Celtics Wednesday, agreeing to a four-year deal worth $36 million. Hold-ups in getting the deal done included issues with the new collective bargaining agreement and insurance issues, sources told the Herald's Steve Bulpett. When the deal was done, Green tweeted, “FINALLY!!!” He later tweeted, "Been waiting to say this for a while... #iamaceltic”
Green projects as a backup to Paul Pierce at the small forward position this season. He'll also play some power forward when the Celtics go small. The size of his deal indicates that the Celtics expect him to be a starter a couple of years down the road.
Green told Celtics.com he didn't expect much would change in his game, but he did acknowledge he has a different approach.
"I'll still be the same player," said Green. "But I think the outlook on the time I have in this league, I think I have to be more aggressive in different areas. I have to change my outlook and my approach of the game. That time that I had off, I'm seeing certain spots on the floor that I can help."
Larranaga had been head coach of the Erie BayHawks in the NBA Development League, leading the team to playoff appearances in both of his seasons as coach. He is the son of Jim Larranaga, head men's basketball coach at the University of Miami.
The 37-year-old Larranaga joins Celtics assistants Armond Hill, Kevin Eastman, Tyronn Lue, Mike Longabardi, and Jamie Young.
It didn't take Jason Terry long to show off his Celtics pride.
The Celtics guard, acquired this offseason to fill the void left by Ray Allen's departure, tweeted a picture of his new tattoo over the weekend with the caption "GO GREEN".
Go GREEN mob.li/_nI26Q— Jason Terry (@jasonterry31) August 11, 2012
A bit extreme? Of course. But it should play well with Celtics diehards who expect players to literally bleed green.
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo is listed at 6-feet-1-inches tall. He's not known as a high-flyer, but he's been known to throw down a dunk now and then (poor Chris Bosh) and is clearly blessed with incredible athleticism.
A pure glimpse of that athleticism is on display in the video above, taken at the Celtics' practice facility in Waltham. Rondo is coaxed to jump onto the box by what sounds like Celtics strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo. After feeling it out, Rondo takes a step and hops right up. Pretty incredible.
The Celtics will open the preseason in Turkey, and also play a game in Italy before returning to the United States to finish preparing for the 2012-13 season.
The Celtics play Fenerbahce Ulker in Istanbul on Oct. 5, followed by a game vs. EA7 Emporio Armani Milano in Milan, Italy, on Oct. 7.
The Celtics's first preseason game at TD Garden will be Oct. 16 vs. the Brooklyn Nets.
The full preseason schedule (all times Eastern):
Oct. 5: Fenerbahce Ulker at Ulker Sports Arena (Istanbul, Turkey), 2 p.m.
Oct. 7: A7 Emporio Armani Milano at Mediolanum Forum (Milan, Italy), 12 p.m.
Oct. 13: New York Knicks at XL Center (Hartford), 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 15: Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center (Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Oct. 16: Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 18: Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center (Brooklyn, NY), 8 p.m.
Oct. 20: New York Knicks at Times Union Center (Albany, NY), 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 21: Philadelphia 76ers at TD Garden (Boston, MA), 7:30 p.m.
Paul Pierce, after giving away awards and working with kids at his annual basketball camp at Basketball City near TD Garden, continued to discuss the Celtics and his personal future:
About how the '12 team fared despite injuries: "Definitely you think that (we were one of the best teams in the NBA). I mean that's all part of the optimists thinking when you moving forward. I think that was the reasoning for re-signing KG (Kevin Garnett) because I don't think you realize what you had until you get to the playoffs. We were a lot closer than we really thought we were. I think a lot of things didn't go our way, the lockout, no training camp, I'm hurt. First half of the season, we didn't look like a team that could probably win it based on our play. Now, we're confident that we can play with anybody in the NBA. Miami is the champs. We pushed them harder than anybody has never pushed them. But we got to expect them to be better next year, that's why why we have to be better. We feel like we're right there with them. We know them. We know their tendencies. Even the last two years we lost to them in the playoffs, we beat them six out of eight times (in the regular season). So we feel like we're an elite team still."
On the offseason moves: It's great for us because I don't have to carry such a load as I get older. That's good for KG as he gets older. Of course we're like 'wow' because I really did look this as our last run. I did. I really thought this was it. I thought we were going to not going to sign KG, maybe trade me. If not trade me, maybe (approach) mediocrity if I was going to stay here. I didn't think we would be right where we're at talking today about the opportunity to be a contender next year."
About his contract, which has a team option for 2013-14: "I think I am going to play this one out. I want to see what it feels like to be a free agent for once in my life. I think I am going to play this one out. A lot can change in two years. My body (may not) be where I want it to be, I could retire, a lot of things could happen. It's not about the money at this point. I love the game. I made as much money as I possibly can. It's about winning a championship and if I feel like it's the right thing to do, maybe so (come back) but I really don't know the specifics on the KG deal or Jason Terry's deal. If i solidify my third year, maybe they opt out, so it's about keeping your options open."
If he uncomfortable with the team option?: "Not at all. I mean if they don't want me back, I feel like I'm good enough and I'll be wanted by a lot of teams. I'm coming into this year and I just made another all-star team at 34. So I'm still feel like I'm playing at a great level."
Whether Ray Allen will get booed on his return to TD Garden: "If the crowd boos Ray then the (rivalry with the Heat) will be crazy. It's going to be crazier than it really it already. But I don't expect them to boo Ray for the time that he put in here, what he's accomplished, he'll get cheered. Maybe the first time (he comes to Boston)."
Paul Pierce had remained rather quiet this offseason despite the avalanche of change around him. The Celtics decided to retool instead of rebuild, allowing for the return of Kevin Garnett and several pieces from last season.
But one of those pieces who did not include Ray Allen, who bolted to the arch rival Miami Heat, revealing a rift between he and Rajon Rondo. The departure disappointed many in Celtics' organization, including Pierce, but that pain was soon soothed by the signings of Jason Terry, Jeff Green, Chris Wilcox and acquisition of Courtney Lee.
Pierce spoke to the Globe today following his basketball camp in Basketball City, touching on a variety of subjects, including his contract status. Pierce has one more year on his contract with a team option for 2013-14, something that could prove to be a major issues next summer approaches.
Here is Pierce on several subjects:
On Ray Allen: "I was a little disappointed, playing with Ray for five years. But at the end of the day, Ray has to make a decision that's best for him and his family. He's always going to be my brother. No hard feelings. There's never going to be any hard feelings there, regardless. I was able to win a championship with him, something you're going to be able to remember the rest of your life. We're going to be able to come back here years from now when we're all done. We're going to be standing together at halfcourt sometime in the Garden. He did what's best for him. He's a couple of years away from retirement and he just felt that was best for his family.
"He made all the money in the world that he could make, so I'm sure it probably wasn't about the money, even thought we (offered) him more money. So I'm sure that a few extra million dollars didn't sway him one way or the other. I think it was all about him personally."
On whether he tried to recruit Allen back to Boston: "I didn't really feel the need for that. Ray been here five years. Ain't like I don't know him and I'm trying to get him here. He knows everything that's going on. He knows what he wants. I don't think there's nothing I could have said, KG (Kevin Garnett), Doc (Rivers) or anybody could have said that could have changed his mind. I would love to have him back here. I thought it would have made our chances greater at getting to the Finals. At the end of the day you have to move on, but what we've done with the additions of our team, we did a great job at that and moving forward."
On whether he will talk to Rondo about dealing with perceptions that he chased Allen out of Boston: "I think at this point of Rajon's career, I think he's pretty much been through everything as far as the negativity off the court, what people have said to him. Even last year, preseason stuff, the things that were talked with him about in the locker room and on TV. He's been through that. Something else is probably going to come up in training camp when we start even later this summer or whenever he talks to somebody. And I think he's mature enough to deal with it now. He put the stuff from last year and the year before to come out this (past) season and have a great year and I think he's going to continue to get better and do the same thing.
"He is actually thriving on it. He went through the trade rumors and he got better. It was like he thrived on it."
On whether he saw any issues between Allen and Rondo: "You know what? There's a lot of stuff that goes on in NBA locker rooms that don't even get talked about. I had beef with a number of players that just don't get talked about. And the reason I say that is that it's nothing that's new. It's every year. Every year I'm almost getting into fights with some of the guys but you realize, I get in an (argument) with my wife. You're around each other all the time and sometime you have disagreements. That's just the nature of it sometimes when you got strong personalities in one locker room. You're going to have differences. You're around each other 24/7, bus, plane, lunch, dinner. Sometimes you have arguments. I didn't see nothing any different that went with on with Ray and Rondo that went on with me and KG or me and Brandon Bass or stuff that has been going on over the years."
On Garnett returning: "Well when he signed three-year contract that guaranteed me another two years with the Celtics (he laughs after statement). Truthfully. It looks like I am going to be here. There's a domino effect with everything in the league. If KG doesn't sign and Ray signs with Miami, (the Celtics) probably look to trade me. With KG re-signing that just said I am going to be here. That was just the first step. Now I know Danny (Ainge) was look, we're trying to reload and try to make another run at this. And that was the first step in it. Once we did that, everybody knew the Celtics are trying to compete for a championship again and not rebuild. I was very excited with that.
"With the pieces we added, we're putting more talent on the floor this year than we have in quite some time."
Doc Rivers took the blame Wednesday for the departure of Ray Allen to the Miami Heat, telling Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski that he had to make some tough decisions that likely hastened Allen's exit.
Rivers said it was his decision to empower Rajon Rondo as the team's floor leader in the last couple of seasons, a decision he knew Allen had issues with.
"Think about everything [Allen] said when he left," said Rivers. "'I want to be more of a part of the offense.' Everything was back at Rondo. And I look at that, and say, 'That's not Rondo's fault.' That's what I wanted Rondo to do, and that's what Rondo should've done. Because that's Rondo's ability. He's the best passer in the league. He has the best feel in the league. He's not a great shooter, so he needs the ball in his hands to be effective. And that bothered Ray."
Rivers took the blame, but he didn't dismiss the fact that there were real issues between Rondo and Allen.
"People can use all the Rondo stuff – and it was there, no doubt about that – but it was me more than Rondo," said Rivers, who is working as an NBC analyst during the Olympics. "I'm the guy who gave Rondo the ball. I'm the guy who decided that Rondo needed to be more of the leader of the team. That doesn't mean guys liked that – and Ray did not love that – because Rondo now had the ball all the time."
Rivers said he knew making Avery Bradley a starter over Allen would not sit well with Allen. He said he knew that, but he also understood the consequences of the decision and felt it was worth it to make the move and do what was best for the team. Rivers said he didn't agree with Allen's reasons for leaving, but that he didn't blame him for doing so.
"Ray's got to do what's best for Ray," Rivers said, "But having said that, he's not going to start in Miami. And I doubt he gets the ball more. But I do think, for a guy like Ray and Paul and Kevin and Kobe [Bryant], it's easier to go somewhere and do that than have it taken from you where you're at."
Allen turned down a two-year, $12 million offer from the Celtics to sign a two-year, $6 million offer with the Heat. Jason Terry and Courtney Lee will take over Allen's role for Boston.