Trade rumors have surrounded Rondo for years, but for maybe the first time in his career, the Celtics‘ captain has said only the right things. Rondo claims to not only be happy in Boston, but also have complete trust in general manager Danny Ainge to put the Celtics back in contention.
In a day and age where stars seemingly text each other to come join the next super-team, shouldn’t we embrace a star that wants to remain in Boston?
It would be nice if we could. Unfortunately, the Celtics find themselves in no position to do so. Between today and the 2015 NBA trade deadline, Rondo must go, and here’s why.
It appears we can wave farewell to any hopes of Kevin Love landing in Boston. According to numerous reports, the Cavaliers are now not only the frontrunners for Love, but that a deal that would bring him to Cleveland is all but done. If that isn’t convincing enough for you, our own Ben Rohrbach has thrown in the towel himself, declaring Love will never be traded to the Celtics.
It comes down to the near fact that star player is going to come to Boston. No star wants to sign in Boston and there are none on the trading block to make come to Boston. Valiant effort Danny, but you’re out of luck.
Ainge is stockpiling assets, and doing a phenomenal job of it. Most have assumed the idea is that these assets be traded for talent (ideally to pair next to Rondo). They may have to come to the realization that the assets will be used to select and develop talent.
Which leaves them with Rondo, and frankly, he just doesn’t fit with what they are left with.
Everyone has their own theory as to how to handle Rondo’s situation. There are two questions worth asking yourself to come to an answer. Does Rondo fit with the current core? Are you prepared to let Rondo walk?
The answer to both questions is no.
Rondo is not the ideal player to have on the Celtics during an effort to develop guys like Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, Marcus Smart and James Young. That doesn’t mean he has to leave for nothing, though. Ainge might as well collect a return on Rondo, a return that would likely add to the young players and picks already in Boston’s possession. A return that would help build the team in the direction it’s currently trending towards ‘ the future.
The ironic part? If Rondo is so confident that Ainge will do the right thing, then he is counting on Ainge shipping him out of town while he still can.]]>
Four years after NBA experts argued whether Evan Turner or John Wall deserved the No. 1 overall selection in 2010, some of those same folks are debating Turner’s value in relation to undrafted free agent Chris Johnson.
After all, the former No. 2 pick’s agreement with the C’s likely signals the end for Johnson and fellow non-guaranteed signees Chris Babb and Keith Bogans.
Terms of the deal have not been made public, but the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett reports Turner will earn a portion of the team’s mid-level exception. Upon cutting Johnson, Babb and Bogans, the Celtics would fall $5.1 million below the luxury tax, opening the 15th and final roster spot for the 25-year-old. The non-taxpayer mid-level exception for the 2014-15 season is $5.3 million.
Most likely, Turner’s deal will expire in the next two years, allowing him to improve his value before the NBA’s new TV deal sends the salary cap soaring in 2016.
The Ohio State product’s value has never been lower. He only netted Danny Granger‘s expiring contract for the 76ers in February and didn’t warrant an $8.7 million qualifying offer from the Pacers this summer. Acquired to bolster Indiana’s hopes of an NBA Finals run, Turner ultimately lost his bench role to the immortal Rasual Butler in the Eastern Conference finals. No player who earned as many minutes as Turner (2,457) had a worse PER last season (12.4), and his true shooting percentage has never eclipsed 50 percent.
Turner isn’t a complete bust. Compiling respectable career averages of 11.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists, he started for a Sixers squad that nearly took out the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2012. He’s averaged 14.4 points (50.6 TS%), 5.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 14 career games against the C’s.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens lists Ohio State coach Thad Matta among his biggest influences, and Matta molded Turner into the unanimous college player of the year. Likewise, Turner calls fellow Buckeye Jared Sullinger “like family,” so perhaps that familiarity combined with Rajon Rondo‘s playmaking could help Turner reach his potential.
If that’s the case, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge will have added another asset to his closet full of them. If not, the risk in signing Turner at short money for the short term is minimal. However, the signing does create even more of a logjam at the wing, where first-round draft pick James Young may be the odd man out in the D-League. Turner will have to battle both Jeff Green and Gerald Wallace for small forward minutes and both Avery Bradley and Marcus Thornton for playing time at shooting guard, so a career revival is no guarantee.]]>
The Celtics are finalizing a deal for free agent Evan Turner, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.
Turner, the second overall pick in 2010, averaged a career high 14.0 points per game last season, but he averaged just 7.1 after getting traded from the 76ers to the Pacers in February.
Turner made headlines in late April when he and Lance Stephenson reportedly got into a fist fight in practice during the Pacers’ first-round series against the Hawks. Turner wound up playing just 12 minutes per game in the playoffs, as he floated in and out of the Pacers rotation.
Turner is a 6-foot-7 swingman and former Ohio State star.]]>
The best place for Celtics news these days seems to come from following the Red Sox. After running into Kris Humphries at the MLB All-Star Game, our own Rob Bradford bumped into C’s owner Wyc Grousbeck at Fenway Park.
Grousbeck, of course, provided the now infamous “fireworks” comment earlier this year, and he’s just as disappointed as most Celtics fans about the team’s failure to pair another star with Rajon Rondo so far this summer.
“We had definitely hoped to try to make bigger moves this offseason, to be honest,” he said. “Having said that, it takes two partners to make a trade, so we focused on longterm trying to build the club. We think we’re a better team now — positioned for the future, some new young talent and even more draft picks — but it’s been a patient summer so far, and I’m not always the most patient guy.”
Without saying as much, Grousbeck vaguely referenced the Kevin Love sweepstakes. As rumors link Love’s future with the Cavaliers, the C’s owner preferred instead to focus on his biggest positive of this summer: Brad Stevens.
“I don’t want to talk about anybody else’s player, but I would say this is Brad Stevens‘ first offseason,” added Grousbeck. “Actually, when I think about the offseason, I think about Brad evaluating our players and working with [Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge] to evaluate the college talent, and it’s actually meshed really well. They were very much in synch on draft night, so that’s a positive for me. Brad is so excited to be here and to be building this thing. He’s impatient as well, but his work ethic is extraordinary.”
Love joining the Cavs would be a disappointment for a Celtics front office hoping to make a splash this summer, but at least Grousbeck is pleased about one storyline you may have heard about in Cleveland.
“I’m really happy for LeBron [James], which is not something I ever thought I would say,” he said. “I’m happy for Cleveland, which is something I never really thought I would say. It makes me feel good about the NBA. The NBA is in a golden era right now, and LeBron has a lot to do with that. And this move just shows his quality.”
While Cleveland’s fortunes have reversed rather quickly, the Celtics continue to plod along what may prove to be a far longer road back to NBA championship contention than Grousbeck would have preferred.
“We’re lucky we got to the top of that mountain one time,” he told Bradford prior to Sunday’s Red Sox game. “It makes you all the hungrier to get back. Actually, now that we’re here at Fenway, I asked John Henry after his second what it was like, and he said it was better than the first, and I hope to have that feeling some day. We’ll see.”]]>
As expected, altering the draft lottery system has been a major topic of the NBA offseason. Zach Lowe, from Grantland.com, now is reporting that the league has officially submitted a proposal that would allow all 14 teams that miss the playoffs to have significantly more similar odds of taking home a high draft selection.
From Lowe: ‘Under the current system, the team with the worst record has a 25 percent chance of snagging the No. 1 pick, perhaps the most valuable asset in the entire NBA. The team with the second-worst record has a 19.9 percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick, and the third-worst team enters the lottery with a 15.6 percent chance of moving up to the top slot. The odds decline from there, with the final five teams in the lottery — the teams with the five best records — each having a 1.1 percent or worse chance of moving up to No. 1.
‘The league’s proposal gives at least the four worst teams the same chance at winning the No. 1 pick: approximately an identical 11 percent shot for each club. The odds decline slowly from there, with the team in the next spot holding a 10 percent chance. The lottery team with the best record will have a 2 percent chance of leaping to the No. 1 pick, up from the the minuscule 0.5 percent chance it has under the current system.’
Firstly, it’s pretty clear that there would be a shift in balance amongst the 14 teams eligible to win the lottery. All of them would have between an 11 percent and 2 percent chance at the No. 1 pick, while the worst four teams essentially would have the same odds to win it.
Secondly, rather than the lottery only awarding the top three picks, changes in this format would now allow the top six selections in the draft to be raffled off. This would provide teams with far less incentive to finish lower in the standings with so many picks now to be randomly determined. Imagine tanking to be the worst team and ending up with the No. 7 pick! That would not sit well with any fan base. Problem solved.
Of course, there is a potential issue with the format. It may sound silly, but there is concern that teams may purposely fall out of the 8 seed, opting to take their chances in a low lottery spot, rather than face off with a 1 seed in the playoffs.
When it comes down to it, it would be incredibly tough, not only for a team to lack the competitiveness to fight for a playoff run, but also for an owner to pass on the extra playoff revenue they would be choosing to skip out on. It just doesn’t make sense considering there would still be no guarantees in the lottery, simply a better chance.
To play devil’s advocate, if a deep, talented draft class (like 2014) came along, maybe a team believes the chance of winning a top-six pick gives it the player it needs to contend in the following season.
The Mavericks were the 8 seed in the ultracompetitive Western Conference last season, losing at the hands of the eventual champion Spurs in the first round. Would passing on that experience/revenue to try to even win the No. 6 pick (Marcus Smart) have been worth it for them? It would definitely make them a better team for the future.
Would Mark Cuban realistically go through with this? Doubtful.
The proposal is in the early stages, and could still involve tweaks, but we all expect to see something along these lines put in place over the next couple of years. No doubt, it is far better than the system currently in place — a win for the NBA.
Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow.]]>
UPDATE: Bill Russell collapsed while giving a speech in Lake Tahoe. #Celtics tell me he is doing OK and will likely fly out tonight #wcvb
— Scott Isaacs (@ScottIsaacs) July 17, 2014
Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins sat down with Grantland’s Bill Simmons to talk about a variety of topics, including his list of the top players in the league.
Cousins said Celtics star Rajon Rondo is the best point guard in the league, saying, “Absolutely” when questioned on it. He denied that his team’s feud with the Clippers and Chris Paul had any role in his thinking.
There have been rumors that the Kings were interested in trading for Rondo, although there hasn’t been much speculation lately.
Rondo and Cousins both went to Kentucky, although they were separated by three years.]]>
As the clock struck midnight, Phil Pressey joined a list of 14 Celtics under guaranteed contract, leaving only one roster spot for summer league standouts Chris Johnson, Chris Babb, Colton Iverson and Mike Moser.
Obviously, Danny Ainge could have a trade or 10 coming down the pike, but the Celtics president of basketball operations currently has more than enough players available to fill out another hodgepodge of a roster in 2014-15.
Barring another deal, here’s the current salary structure for the coming season.
Rajon Rondo: $12.9 million
Gerald Wallace: $10.1M
Jeff Green: $9.2M
Marcus Thornton: $8.6M
Avery Bradley: $7.2M
Brandon Bass: $6.9M
Keith Bogans: $5.3M (non-guaranteed)
Joel Anthony: $3.8M
Marcus Smart: $3.2M
Vitor Faverani: $2.1M
Kelly Olynyk: $2.1M
Tyler Zeller: $1.7M
James Young: $1.7M
Jared Sullinger: $1.4M
Chris Johnson: $0.9M (non-guaranteed)
Chris Babb: $0.8M (non-guaranteed)
Phil Pressey: $0.8M
TOTAL: $78.7M ($71.7M guaranteed)
While Ainge will do his darnedest to pair Kevin Love or another franchise-altering player with Rondo before conversely considering deals for his All-Star point guard, it becomes more likely with each passing week that the Celtics will enter the season with 15 of these 17 players under contract.
Even without the trio of Bogans, Johnson and Babb, the Celtics are $8.6 million over the salary cap and $5.1 million under the luxury tax level. (Ainge would love to deal Bogans’ attractive $5.3 million non-guaranteed contract before cutting ties with the veteran waste of cap space.) Unless the C’s somehow become playoff contenders, they’re not paying that tax, leaving only the mid-level exception, bi-annual exception or minimum contracts to add free agents.
Unless Ainge can work his magic on a sign-and-trade for Greg Monroe, the Celtics will whiff on the NBA’s impressive 2014 free agent class. That’s strike two after the lottery pick came up sixth in the equally remarkable 2014 draft class, by the way. The trade market is all that’s left before the C’s strike out looking this summer.
If all remains the same, however, here’s the most likely 2014-15 Celtics roster.
C: Tyler Zeller, Vitor Faverani, Joel Anthony
PF: Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, Brandon Bass
SF: Jeff Green, Gerald Wallace, Chris Johnson, James Young
SG: Avery Bradley, Marcus Thornton
PG: Rajon Rondo, Marcus Smart, Phil Pressey
Zeller’s presence combined with a presumably healthy Faverani and Anthony’s expiring $3.8 million contract leaves little room for Iverson, even among a shaky center corps. The trios of power forwards and point guards seem solid enough. The salaries alone for Green and Wallace demand minutes and Johnson has proven more deserving of a roster spot than Babb, leaving Young bouncing back and forth between Boston and Portland, Maine. Young could also earn some playing time at shooting guard, but Bradley and Thornton will divvy up most of those minutes.
Considering Cleveland has all but locked up a spot in the postseason, it’s hard to imagine the additions of Zeller and Thornton transforming a 25-win team into a playoff squad, even with a healthy Rondo for the entire season. Unless the Love boat pulls into Boston Harbor, it might be time to start thinking about the 2015-16 salary structure.
Gerald Wallace: $10.1M
Jeff Green: $9.2M (player option)
Avery Bradley: $7.7M
Keith Bogans: $5.5M (non-guaranteed)
Marcus Smart: $3.4M
Tyler Zeller: $2.6M (team option)
Jared Sullinger: $2.3M (team option)
Vitor Faverani: $2.2M (non-guaranteed)
Kelly Olynyk: $2.2M (team option)
James Young: $1.8M
Chris Johnson: $1.0M (non-guaranteed)
Chris Babb: $1.0M (non-guaranteed)
Phil Pressey: $1.0M (non-guaranteed)
TOTAL: $50.0M ($23.0M guaranteed)
I’m not sure I’ve stressed enough the importance of landing Love now to convince Rondo remaining on this roster is worth the added millions he could command by staying on the Celtics — especially considering another free agent class largely ignored Boston — but one more look at this projected lineup should explain all you need to know.]]>
According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, Pressey’s contract will be guaranteed next season after passing the midnight Tuesday deadline.
Barring late trade offer that forces Celts to use Pressey – and nothing’s in the works – his contract for next yr will be guaranteed.
‘ Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) July 15, 2014
President of basketball operations Danny Ainge last year signed the 5-foot-11 Pressey, Chris Johnson and Chris Babb to separate four-year non-guaranteed contracts. Under terms of the contracts, Pressey, Johnson and Babb will be paid under a million dollars annually through 2016-17. Pressey made approximately $490,000 last season, the rookie minimum.
After going undrafted in the 2013 NBA Draft, Pressey signed with the Celtics to play in the 2013 Orlando Summer League. He was no stranger to the Celtics. Pressey’s AAU team had practiced at the team facility in Waltham where the Celtics first had eyes on him. His performance in the Summer League led to Pressey signing a deal on July 22, 2013.
Pressey became valuable as the Celtics began the season without four-time All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, who was still rehabbing his ACL, torn in Jan. 2013. Pressey made his regular season debut in the 2013-14 Celtics season opener Oct. 30 at the Air Canada Centre against the Toronto. He did not play in the next three games, but after the Celtics got off to an 0-4 start, head coach Brad Stevens shuffled the lineup.
On Nov. 6, at home against the Utah Jazz, Pressey recorded the first three assists, first steal and first field goal of his career. On Jan. 22, with Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley and Jerryd Bayless all sitting out and Pressey making his second career start, Pressey scored a career-high 20 points against Washington before fouling out.
He posted a double-double on April 5 against the Detroit Pistons with 12 points and a career-high 11 assists. On April 11, he had another career high with 13 assists as part of a 10-point double double against the Charlotte Bobcats. He matched the 13 assists the following night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He finished the season averaging 2.8 points and 3.2 assists in 15.1 minutes in 75 games for the Celtics.
This month, Pressey traveled with the Celtics to Orlando for the 2014 NBA Summer League, where he averaged 10.6 points, 3.6 assists and 2.2 steals per game in five games.]]>
The Celtics confirmed Tuesday what had been known for over a week – Avery Bradley is coming back to Boston.
Before the Celtics headed to Florida to take part in the Orlando Summer League, the restricted free agent and the team came to terms on a four-year deal worth a reported $32 million. On Tuesday, the team made the signing official, but did not disclose the financial terms.
“We see Avery as a key part of our chase of Banner 18,” Danny Ainge, Celtics President of Basketball Operations, said in a statement. “He keeps getting better and is still far from reaching his ceiling. We’re ecstatic to have him back.”
The Philadelphia 76ers were among the teams rumored to be interested in the defensive shutdown specialist, likely driving up his price. The other factor that also figured in the $8 million per season pricetag was the uncertain future of Rajon Rondo with the Celtics. If the Celtics come to an agreement to deal Rondo, they did not want to be left without an established guard in the backcourt. Bradley and Rondo currently lead a backcourt group that also includes Marcus Smart, Phil Pressey, Chris Babb, Keith Bogans and Chris Johnson.
The Boston Herald reported that Bradley was in town Tuesday for his physical and to sign his new deal that begins with an annual salary just north of $7 million per season and escalates from there. The paper also reported that Bradley’s trip to town likely ends speculation that the Celtics were considering a sign-and-trade similar to the one that sent Kris Humphries to Washington this week.
The 6-foot-2 guard, considered the top defender on the team and one of the best defensive guards in the East, is coming off a breakout 2013-14 season where he recorded career-highs in points per game (14.9), rebounds per game (3.8), minutes (1855), field goals made (361), three-pointers made (79) and free throws made (90).
Bradley matched a career-high with 28 points against Brooklyn on March 21 and led the Celtics in scoring in 17 games and recorded 20 or more points in 16 contests. He recorded his first career double-double when he recorded 13 points and a career-high 10 rebounds against New York on Dec. 8.
Selected with the 19th overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft, Bradley recorded his 1,000th career point in the opening game of the season against Toronto on October 30.]]>