DALLAS -- It seems impossible that anyone can have a bigger impact on All-Star Weekend 2010 than Mother Nature, especially after parts of North Texas received record snowfall Thursday, with accumulations ranging up over a foot in some regions.
Needless to say, you expect a foot of snow in Arlington, Mass. You don't expect a foot of snow in Arlington, Texas.
Flight cancellations from Thursday led to a second nightmarish day of travel for those trying to commute to Dallas on Friday, including your humble servant. Ironically, my flight from Boston was deterred by a mechanical failure, and the delay forced me to miss my connecting flight in Chicago. Long story short, I spent the day with 75 of my closest friends on standby at O'Hare International, wondering if I was going to be reassigned to cover a Blackhawks game at ESPN Chicago if I missed another flight.
But I'm in Dallas now, and that's all that matters.
Starting Saturday, we'll have all the sights and sounds as All-Star weekend cranks into high gear. For now, here's a quick rundown on Friday's Celtics-related activities, thanks in large part to the ESPN film crews that captured bits from media access.
Trade chatter surrounds C's
The latest trade rumor to swirl through Boston suggested that the Celtics were in discussions about a blockbuster deal that would send Ray Allen to Washington as part of a package of expiring contracts that landed Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Boston Globe there was no truth to the Yahoo! Sports report. But that didn't stop Boston's All-Stars from fielding a deluge of questions on potential roster moves.
"When you start struggling, you hear rumors," said Celtics captain Paul Pierce. "The deadline is a week away and hopefully it comes and goes... You definitely hear the names and, any time you come into one of these media sessions, they talk about [potential trades]. It's part of the business. You have to go out there and do your job. You can't let it affect you."
Added Kevin Garnett: "Trade rumors are part of the game. Anybody that’s been in the league for a decade or more knows it is what it is. It's part of the business. You're going to travel a lot and you can be traded at any point for any player."
For his part, Allen, who was vacationing in the Bahamas, wrote on his Twitter account, "I have no control over trade rumors people. Let's just focus on being positive. I am a Celtic. Green all day."
The second topic du jour centered around the health of Boston's roster entering the second half of the season. Garnett quickly assured the national reporters that he's fine.
"I'm speaking one time about my health: I'm great and I'm happy to be here, playing in this game," said Garnett. "Nothing more, noting less than that. My leg, my health -- whatever -- I'm here to enjoy the break. I've got two guys here with me. I'm rooting for [Pierce] in the 3-point contest and I look forward to this weekend and enjoying it all."
Added Pierce: "I’ve dealt with injuries my whole career, it's always frustrating, because you get to a certain point, and you're playing well, but then you have a setback.
"We definitely have to find [a groove] right away. After the All-Star break, we have a big road trip. The key for us is we finally have our whole roster -- that's the first time we've had that all season now that Marquis Daniels is back. But we gotta start turning it up, because we can't just turn it on once the playoffs start."
Rondo spent an extended period of his Q&A playfully telling a reporter he had a rap album coming out -- one that was six years in the making, no less. ... Boston's three stars participated in the NBA Cares All-Star day of service Friday, visiting a pair of local schools to rebuild and refurbish homes and playgrounds in those neighborhoods ... Pierce on his poor 3-point showing from 2002: "I hope I have a better showing this year. They didn't invite me for seven years, but now I'm back." ... Will the Celtics' make a move before Thursday's trade deadline? Pierce likes what's been assembled so far. "I like our guys in [the locker room]. I think the guys we have in there can win a championship."