Tony Parker inked a three-year contract extension with the Spurs for an estimated $43.3 million, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, but does it have any bearing on Rajon Rondo‘s current status with the Celtics?
In roughly the same salary situation — Parker will make $12.5 million to Rondo’s $12.9 million this season — the former chose the max extension available to him right now, a presumed 7.5 percent annual increase averaging $14.3 million from 2016-18.
Rondo can accept a similar deal now or wait until next summer, when he could max out at an estimated $20.9 million annually from 2015-20. It’s easy to see why Rondo has stated his intention to fulfill the final year of his deal and become a free agent in 2015.
Parker, 32, is four years older than Rondo and will have already made $107.5 million when his extension kicks in next year. He’s also quite comfortable in San Antonio, where he has won four NBA titles and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has created an atmosphere that keeps stars coming back for below market value.
Of course, Rondo also inked a team-friendly deal when the Celtics were winning, signing a five-year extension worth $55 million in 2009, but he doesn’t quite have that same motivation to stay in Boston now.
Even if he won’t consider an extension now, one reason Rondo should at least think about it is his ability to play his way into another big payday at age 32 — as the Spurs point guard just did. In 2018, Rondo would be eligible to receive as much as a third of the salary cap two years after the new TV deal sends the league’s figure soaring. If he signs a four- or five-year deal next summer, he’ll be pushing 34 after the deal and more likely facing a pay cut.
There’s also an argument that Rondo won’t fetch a max contract next summer. Only Chris Paul ($20.1 million), Deron Williams ($19.8M) and Derrick Rose ($18.9M) will make more this season than the $18.2 million Rondo is expected to seek in 2015-16. If his agent believes he won’t fetch more than $15 million annually on the open market, Rondo might be wise to accept a Parker-esque extension now. Unless, of course, he plans to obliterate the league in his first full season since ACL surgery and vault himself back into conversations that include Paul and Rose.]]>
Jerryd Bayless, who spend the second half of last season with the Celtics, signed as a free agent with the Bucks, the team announced Thursday.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 9.3 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 72 games with the Grizzlies and Celtics. He had some memorable games in Boston, recording a season-high 29 points in a game against the Hawks on Feb. 26 and dishing out a season-high nine assists vs. the Spurs on Feb. 12.
In Milwaukee, Bayless will play for Jason Kidd, who left the Nets after one season to become coach of the Bucks.
“The thing that was most intriguing was Kidd,” Bayless told reporters Thursday at the Bucks’ training facility. “He can help me in a variety of different ways. There aren’t a lot of guys like him that come around.”
Bayless, 25, was the 11th pick in the 2008 draft by the Pacers, who traded him to the Trail Blazers before he played a game. He has played with Portland, New Orleans, Toronto, Memphis in Boston in his six-year career, averaging 8.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists.]]>
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo and trade target Kevin Love arguably comprise the two top free agents on the NBA market next summer. While the possibility of Love coming to Boston has faded, the C’s front office continues to pursue a second star to pair with Rondo.
A look at the remaining talent in the 2015 free agent class may offer a clue about who Celtics president Danny Ainge & Co. consider a potential Garfunkel to Rondo’s Simon. The C’s have the salary cap space to target anyone on the list, and stars signed beyond the coming year are rarely traded during the season.
Let’s start by crossing off the list LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng — all of whom have player options for 2015-16 and never looked Boston’s way this summer. Now, let’s sort the cream of the crop into four tiers.
LaMarcus Aldridge: Possibly the best player available in 2015, the 29-year-old big already vowed to sign a five-year, $108 million max extension with the Trail Blazers next summer. Given the team’s improvement this past season, there’s no reason for him to leave Portland.
Brook Lopez (player option): After playing all 82 games in each of his first three NBA seasons, Lopez missed a combined 134 over the last three years, twice breaking the fifth metatarsal in his right foot. If he returns to form as the 19-7-4 center who made his first All-Star appearance in 2013, the 26-year-old may also command max dollars on the open market. Still, the Nets have deep pockets and would be first in line to retain his services.
Marc Gasol: Once the other brother in the 2008 trade that sent Pau Gasol to the Lakers, Marc submitted his first All-Star season in 2012 and a Defensive Player of the Year campaign a year later before a knee injury kept him from 23 games this past season. If the Grizzlies take another step back this year, he could be ripe for the picking.
Roy Hibbert (player option): Slated to make $14.3 million this season, the 7-foot-2 center regressed over the past year, submitting the worst player efficiency rating of his career and a second straight sub-50.0 true shooting percentage in 2013-14. Still, his relationship with fellow Georgetown product Jeff Green could be a recruiting tool.
Paul Millsap: The Celtics aren’t necessarily in the market for another undersized big, but they sure could use Millsap’s effort on the block. Since 2010, the 6-foot-8 power forward has produced averages of 16.6 points, 8.0 boards, 2.6 assists, 1.5 assists and one block, missing only a handful of games each season.
Tony Parker: We can argue Parker vs. Rondo all day long, but a player of Parker’s caliber rarely escapes Gregg Popovich‘s Jedi mind trickery. Besides, Rondo is four years younger and more easily retained in Boston.
David West (player option): Still a productive player, West snubbed the Celtics in 2011, when they still had championship aspirations, so it’s hard to imagine him joining the rebuilding project at 33 years old.
(Note: Every player on this tier is a restricted free agent in 2015 and therefore as difficult to pry from their teams as Gordon Hayward was from Utah. But, hey, there could always be a Chandler Parsons offer out there.)
Kenneth Faried: Another undersized banger on the block, Faried has steadily progressed in Denver, compiling an impressive 19.7 PER and 58.1 true shooting percentage over his first three seasons. While he too has been the subject of trade rumors this summer, the Nuggets won’t part with the 24-year-old easily.
Enes Kanter: As his playing time has increased, Kanter continues averaging a double-double per 36 minutes – a positive sign, particularly for a 22-year-old center. Should he enjoy a breakout year and warrant big money, Kanter may be available, especially with Utah already committing max money to Hayward.
Brandon Knight: Twice named the national prep player of the year and an NCAA Tournament star at Kentucky, Knight hasn’t enjoyed the same success in the NBA yet, but the excitement surrounding Jabari Parker‘s arrival in Milwaukee could rekindle the fire. The Bucks will face a difficult decision if another team offers Knight a hefty raise.
Kawhi Leonard: The heir apparent to San Antonio’s ageless Big 3, Leonard submitted career highs for PER (19.4) and true shooting (60.2%) this past season. Like Parker, though, he’s a student of Pop culture and won’t soon be willing to leave the organization that developed him into an NBA Finals MVP at the ripe old age of 22.
Klay Thompson: Even if the praise for Thompson has gone overboard on occasion , he’s still an impressive 24-year-old shooting guard shooting 41.0 percent from 3-point range for his career. But if the Warriors aren’t willing to part with him in a deal for Love, as has been suggested, surely they won’t be letting him walk next summer.
Tristan Thompson: Playing all 82 games each of the past two seasons, Thompson has averaged 13.4 points and 10.7 rebounds per 36 minutes, and his production should only improve with the arrival of LeBron James in Cleveland. However, if the Cavs land another power forward whose name rhymes with Dove, he could be available.
Nikola Vucevic: A 23-year-old center, Vucevic has produced 13.6 points and 11.5 boards per game the past two years despite ankle and Achilles injuries that hobbled him during his third season in Orlando. The Magic have a boatload of cap space next summer, so don’t expect the 7-foot Montenegrin to change uniforms anytime soon.
Arron Afflalo (player option): An argument could be made Afflalo deserved an All-Star bid last season, when he averaged 18.2 points (57.4 TS%), 3.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists in Orlando, but the Magic seemed oddly willing to deal him to Denver for Evan Fournier and Roy Devyn Marble on draft day. Should Afflalo submit another All-Star worthy campaign out West, he could be looking for a big payday come 2015.
Monta Ellis (player option): Still only 28 years old, Ellis would certainly give the Celtics some much needed scoring punch, even if he hasn’t always be efficient. Over the past eight seasons, the lightning quick shooting guard has averaged 20.5 points on 52.8 true shooting with a 17.0 PER ‘ all respectable numbers, particularly at his current salary of $8 million. Should he opt out next summer, he’d obviously be looking for a raise.
Goran Dragic (player option): The league’s Most Improved Player and a Third Team All-NBA selection this past season, Dragic’s 21.4 PER and 60.4 true shooting far exceed his $7.5 million salary for the Suns. Another season at that level would make Dragic one of the most sought after free agents in next year’s class.
Rudy Gay: The 27-year-old UConn product is still a 20-point scorer; he’s just an overpaid one ($17.9 million in 2014-15), given his porous defense. Twice traded since January 2013, Gay could be had in a deal again. As a free agent next summer, he’ll take a pay cut, and his friendship with Rondo could lure him to Boston.
Al Jefferson (player option): Big Al has always had an affection for Boston, even after he was dealt to Minnesota for Kevin Garnett. Now in Charlotte via Utah, the 29-year-old Jefferson is underpaid at $13.5 million based upon his production this past season (21.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.1 bpg, 53.2 TS%, 22.7 PER). Jefferson’s improved defense anchored a surprising run to the playoffs by one of the league’s best units on that side of the ball, and believe it or not Charlotte might be a better situation for him than Boston moving forward.
DeAndre Jordan: While the declaration that Jordan could win Defensive Player of the Year seemed like just another absurd preseason promise from Doc Rivers, the 26-year-old center finished third in the voting while leading the league in both rebounding (13.6 rpg) and field goal percentage (67.6). Ainge could exact some payback by swiping Jordan next summer, but Donald Sterling‘s replacement will have pockets deep enough to keep him in L.A.
Ricky Rubio (restricted): If the C’s can’t land Love and lose Rondo, then perhaps they can still score a talented Timberwolf. Coming off an ACL injury, Rubio played all 82 games and averaged a career-high 8.6 assists while submitting staunch defense. While his sub-50 true shooting remains a concern, he’s still only 23 years old.
Jimmy Butler (restricted): Another promising prospect linked to Love in trade talks, the 24-year-old needs polish offensively, but he’s already a Second Team All-Defensive wing. The Bulls are looking to bolster their roster, perhaps making Butler expendable, and Boston could benefit from the pursuit in a three-team deal or in free agency.
Tobias Harris (restricted): Albeit on another terrible team, Harris has proven rather productive, averaging 15 and seven as Orlando’s 22-year-old starting stretch 4. With Vucevic also a restricted free agent next summer, another step forward from Harris could put the small market Magic in a bind.
Wesley Matthews: A solid defender who shot nearly 40 percent on 6.2 3-point attempts per game, Matthews started for a team that won 54 games in the Western Conference last season. His 6-foot-5 frame makes him a more natural fit at shooting guard than Avery Bradley, but he may not be enough of an upgrade.
Iman Shumpert (retricted): The Knicks have seemingly shopped Shumpert to anyone willing to listen, which should tell us all we need to know about his plummeting value. His defensive reputation has declined since his ACL surgery, and his shooting has similarly fallen back to earth after shooting 40 percent from 3 in 2012-13.
Kemba Walker (restricted): Another poor shooting point guard, Walker still averaged 18 points, six assists and four rebounds for a playoff team, even if his PER (16.8) and true shooting (49.9%) suffered since 2012-13. Like Jefferson, his defense improved under coach Steve Clifford and he may be better suited staying in Charlotte.
Thaddeus Young (early termination option): Signed for $8.6 million this season, Young submitted another impressive season in Philadelphia (17.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.3 apg, 2.1 spg, 51.2 TS%, 16.6 PER). Yet, the 26-year-old found himself the subject of trade rumors once again, a sign he may be seeking a hefty raise come free agency.
Even if the Celtics had the pick of this litter, it’s hard to imagine them contending for a title in 2014-15. As much fun as it might be to imagine Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marc Gasol all surrounding Rondo in the future, the likelihood of any of the above mentioned players landing in Boston in 2015 is roughly the same as the C’s signing LeBron and Carmelo Anthony this summer. Maybe the odds are a little better, considering their salary cap structure, but their history of attracting star players on the open market is not kind.
Still, don’t rule out the arrival of players on this list altogether. Perhaps Memphis falls off the NBA map and the Grizzlies start shopping Gasol or Tristan Thompson becomes available to a third team willing to facilitate a Love deal. These are the conversations Ainge must engage in now that Love isn’t walking through that door.]]>
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 to have complete trust in general manager Danny Ainge to put the Celtics back in contention.
In a day and age when stars seemingly text each other to join the next super team, shouldn’t we embrace a star who 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 not only the frontrunners for Love, but a deal that would send 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 fact that no 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 will 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 likely would 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 toward — 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.]]>