Ian Eagle on Boston radio: lack of leadership, toughness in Game 7 drove Celtic trade

Elsa

Ian Eagle admits to "spending a lot of time" thinking about the new Nets.  After all, this will be his 20th year calling Nets games and things have changed over the years.

"When you know going into a season that youre working with a team that's being competitive, the juices start flowing and the excitement level is very high, the anticipation level is very high as well." Eagle told Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell on WEEI Boston.

But most of all, Eagle talked about the last games he called, in the Bulls playoff series. It was that collapse against a depleted Bulls team that drove the Nets to make the big Celtic deal.

"When you think back to that series, there are two things that were clearly missing from the Nets," said Eagle. "They go to a seventh game and they get pushed around in their own building by Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer and Nate Robinson.

"So there's two things that stood out: a lack of leadership and that's unfortunate, but you never quite know until you're in those moments whether it was Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, they just weren't able to pull the team across the finish line and then a lack of toughness. And that's one thing I know the current upper management felt they had to address. They needed some players with an edge.

"And they get that. You guys know better than anybody what Kevin Garnett brings to a locker room, what he brings to team chemistry and what he does to other people on that roster. The fact that Brook Lopez now, on a daily basis, is going to hear from Kevin Garnett ... and not 'here are my thoughts.' I mean HEAR from him, in his ear pushing him. cajoling him, doing everything possible to get the most out of him.  Paul Pierce -- a guy late in games you can depend on, someone who has been through it; Jason Terry, lacking fear ... didn't have such a great season in Boston but now reunited with Jason Kidd.  They really did address what they thought were clear voids on the team in one fell swoop."

Eagle also admits that he never saw Kidd as a future coach, more someone in the front office, "a quiet behind the scenes presence."

"But something happened to him on his way to a championship and maybe it was him recognizing he wasn't going to be able to do this forever. A lot things that happened behind the scenes, that didn't happen out front -- him mentoring younger players, him really bonding with coaches and finding common ground -- I think that evolved over time ...

"Over the last four to five years of his career, his priorities shifted a bit and his love of the game started coming out in different form. I believe that's why he's a head coach now. And I believe this is the perfect story. He's not going to be the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. He's not going to be coaching the Sacramento Kings."

Eagle also spoke about the new Celtics. He said Gerald Wallace plays "ridiculously hard on every single play," but the "skill level did go down last year."  Eagle said the issue with MarShon Brooks is not his offense, but his defense and maturity ... and whether he "could he fit into a team concept or is he strictly an isolation player."

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