Kevin McHale Rumors
When asked about his firing, which came after the Rockets started the season 4-7 after last year’s trip to the Western Conference Finals, McHale said it “really, really suprised me. I never had a team as a coach that I wasn’t able to motivate. It was so short – 11 games. We won 56 games the year before and got to the Western Conference Finals with that exact same team, for the most part.”
McHale was then asked about the recent wave of coach firings – Brooklyn’s Lionel Hollins, Cleveland’s David Blatt, Phoenix’s Jeff Hornacek and New York’s Derek Fisher have all been sacked in the past month. “If your name’s not Gregg Popovich – rent, don’t buy,” said McHale, referring to the longtime Spurs coach. “There are so many players with so much pull inside the league … It’s just rough right now in the coaching profession.”
Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations, spoke about the importance of trust in what was the biggest trade he has pulled off to date – landing Kevin Garnett from Minnesota in 2007. “The biggest trade we made was with my best friend in the business, Kevin McHale,” Ainge said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich Show. At the time, McHale was the General Manager of the Minnesota Timberwolves. “It wouldn’t have gotten done if not for Kevin and I, because there had to be so much trust going back and forth,” Ainge said.
Both members of that starting backcourt — Dennis Johnson and Danny Ainge — suffered heart attacks. Ainge had his at age 50 and survived; DJ, at age 52, did not. Add Kevin McHale’s now permanently impaired foot and Bird’s and Walton’s struggles, and the nucleus of one of the greatest teams of all time is, 30 years later, deeply damaged goods.’ Bird, who turned 59 in December, says more research is clearly needed. “I have my own philosophies on that,” Bird says. “Guys that played the hardest in the league — big guys who ran their asses off — they are the ones in the most danger, I feel. Moses was one of those competitors. We build our hearts up when we are playing and then we quit performing at a high level, and our hearts just sit there. I don’t work out like I used to. I can’t. I can’t go out and run. I jog and have a little sauna, that’s about it. My body won’t let me do more than that.”
Below are leftovers from the interview with Morey, who believes the Rockets could click in the second half and will be a tough out for any team in the playoffs. Morey on looking back at McHale’s firing: “Yes. That’s how you learn. … You learn from looking back at that decision and thinking through what’s right, what’s wrong. I feel confident we made the right choice. But I also understand that reasonable people tend to look at it other ways.”