Celtics' 'Cold War' reaches breaking point
The relationship between Celtics C Mark Blount and coach Doc Rivers--or as SG Paul Pierce refers to it, "the Cold War"--has reached the point of no return. Blount, who grabbed 60 rebounds--4.3 per game--in his first 14 games--complained about not getting enough touches. To which Rivers responded, "The next time someone asks for touches, tell him to go get a freakin' rebound." So Kendrick Perkins is the new starting center, and Blount will be shipped out at the earliest opportunity--just another guy who flopped after getting paid his $42 million. . . .
Remember Jonathan Bender? Seven-footer, nice skill set, 3-point range? He's hard to remember because he has averaged only 39 games a year for six years and now probably has run out of games. He and his doctors will huddle this week, then let the Pacers know whether he'll retire. Though he's only 24, his left knee is 84. . . .
Yet another stress crack in the Pacers' always-shaky foundation: PF Jermaine O'Neal and SG Stephen Jackson had a very public spat during a timeout huddle in Atlanta, and teammates had to intervene. Coach Rick Carlisle called it a "disagreement that manifested itself probably a little bit too much." This comes two weeks after SF Austin Croshere questioned J.O.'s leadership to reporters. . . .
Further proof that rich people are really weird sometimes: Heat PG Gary Payton sold one of his Bentleys on eBay last week and didn't know which one it was. He was asked about it by the Miami Herald. "What did it look like?" he said. "Was it brown?" G.P. added that he has "four or five of them" and that he gave the OK to sell one because it was purchased way back in 2000. . . .
Suddenly, everything is breaking right for the Clips: Second-year PG Shaun Livingston started conditioning drills last Friday. The stress fracture in his back has healed, and last April's Rookie of the Month is about a week away from playing. . . .
About the Internet report that Bulls SG Ben Gordon is unhappy with his job: "I don't know what that was," the league's reigning top sixth man says. "It didn't come from me. I know nothing about it." . . .
Despite Latrell Sprewell's being unemployed, the Mavs filled their vacant backup swingman spot with Adrian Griffin. Still, most G.M.s expect Sprewell to be picked up by a contender in the next few months, as long as he'll settle for a one-year deal. . . .
The Nuggets and Heat discussed a SG Voshon Lenard-C Michael Doleac swap, but Denver was reluctant to take on the extra years that come with Doleac's contract. The Bucks also have inquired about Lenard, who really wants out of Denver, judging by the fact he refused to enter a game last week. Yes, he was suspended. . . .
Meanwhile, Trail Blazers SF Ruben Patterson is back from his lengthy suspension for being, well, Ruben. There is no shortage of suitors for Patterson (New York, Denver, et al.), but Portland doesn't want to take back long-term contracts. Patterson has a $6.4 million salary this season and is owed $6.8 million next season, the final one of his deal. . . .
Former Hornets PG Baron Davis obviously still hates New Orleans. He showed that again last week, contributing $500 per point for Hurricane Katrina relief in the Warriors' game against the Hornets (total: $8,500) on top of the $72,000 he already had given through various charities.