Two days after reports that Kendrick Perkins routinely criticized teammate Russell Westbrook during the past season, reports from Oklahoma City described a mini training camp the Thunder held last week at the University of Texas. Two-thirds of the Thunder participated in the workouts, ten players. Nazr Mohammed called their games “the best pickup games in America,” and the Thunder used what could have been a wasted summer to step a little closer to an NBA championship.
All of which begs the question: should fans be concerned that the Boston Celtics haven’t met once this offseason?
Many teams have organized offseason workouts. Mike Conley brought the Grizzlies together. Amare Stoudemire rallied the Knicks. Durant rounded up the Thunder. But the Celtics have yet to gather in the same area.
Last week Kevin Garnett suggested he would plan a Celtics get-together soon, but his details were vague and the plan hardly seemed like one of his priorities. He said, “I’m going actually to the East Coast sometime soon and I am actually going to try to get everybody together just to be in the same area.” But when and where were not mentioned, and Garnett even admitted the workout likely would not consist of more than four or five players.
The problems are in geography and numbers. Garnett and Pierce live in California, and Pierce spent time barnstorming in China. Jermaine O’Neal and Avery Bradley work out in Las Vegas. Ray Allen was most recently spotted in Connecticut. E’Twaun Moore is playing professionally in Italy. JaJuan Johnson, based on his tweets, spends most of his time in Indiana. Rajon Rondo is working out at the University of Kentucky, sometimes with Lebron James. Glen Davis, Delonte West and Jeff Green aren’t officially Celtics. Neither are Nenad Krstic, Carlos Arroyo, Von Wafer, Sasha Pavlovic or Troy Murphy — Krstic left to Russia, Carlos Arrroyo competed with the Puerto Rican National Team this summer, and Wafer, Pavlovic and Murphy presumably are still picking splinters from their rumps and having nightmares of the end of Boston’s bench.
With only seven players under contract (eight if you include E’Twaun Moore, a second-round pick who does not have a guaranteed contract), the Celtics could not possibly host a ten-man mini training camp like the Thunder did. But meeting at least a few times, if only so JaJuan Johnson could have heard Kevin Garnett’s advice or Avery Bradley could have asked Rajon Rondo some questions about running a team, would have been beneficial. Instead, the Celtics — led by so many veterans, who we assumed would remain unfazed by the lockout, if only because the main Celtics already experienced one in 1998 and should have learned from it — have allowed the summer to disconnect them and leave them scattered across the country, working out (or not working out, you never know) mostly on their own.
It’s nothing to worry about, at least not yet, as the Celtics still have plentiful experience together and don’t necessarily need extra reps like the young Thunder or Grizzlies do. But you have to admit — you would have preferred that the Celtics spend at least a portion of this summer together as a team, working out, bonding, and pulling a successful season just a little bit closer to their embrace.