On Tuesday’s edition of Comcast SportsNet’s Sports Tonight, ESPN Radio’s Ryen Russillo and Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix shed light on the Rajon Rondo trade rumors. Both pointed to same reason for Rondo’s inclusion in offseason talks: Money.
Russillo: Yeah I think there’s a bigger chance that they’d move him than maybe Boston fans would think. I think when it was originally rumored, whatever that Phoenix deal was with Amar’e Stoudemire, I heard a lot of people say oh the Celtics would never trade Rondo. But based on what I’ve heard the last couple days, I don’t think that’s true. Look, I don’t think they’re trying to move him, but I think they’re trying to throw some pieces around and let basketball people know that they’d move some of these guys to avoid maybe having to pay Rondo all the money they’ll have to pay and then pair him with guys that are going to be two years older than they are right now.
Mannix: Well they don’t like his contract demands first of all. Rondo’s not the kind of guy who’s going to take a hometown discount to stay in Boston. He’s going to sign with whoever offers him the most dollars at the end of his contract, whenever it’s up. He’s going to be a guy who’s going to go out there and try to get the most money.
While his name was being floated around in trade rumors, Rajon Rondo was overseas for Nike’s All Asia Camp in China. Rondo made the trip with another young point guard who turned heads in the posteason, Houston Rocket Aaron Brooks.
Rondo shared the details on his Yardbarker blog, including hitting the court with campers, immersing himself in a new culture, and dining with Yao Ming:
“Nihao. I just got back home from Beijing, China. I went over there for Nike’s All Asia Camp. Me and Aaron Brooks made the trip over there for Nike, and I have to admit that I was a little nervous about going because of the 13 hour flight. I don’t like to fly at all, so when I found out that the flight was 13 hours, I was a little hesitant. I’m really glad that I made the trip though-it turned out to be one of the best trips that I’ve ever taken. I got the chance to interact with the campers-I did drills, played some games, and coached the Asia Pacific team in the All-Star game (my team won). I also got to experience some of the city. I went shopping a couple of places, climbed the Great Wall, had an in store Nike appearance, and caught up with Yao for dinner one night.”
Last year the Boston Celtics were recognized at the White House for winning the NBA championship. This summer two of the Cs returned to Washington D.C., this time to recognize a group of students from the Harbor Middle School in Dorchester for their community service.
On Monday Celtics forwards Brian Scalabrine and Bill Walker toured the nation’s Capitol with approximately 15 students as part of the tenth annual ASSISTS Community Service Contest. Contest creators Southwest Airlines and the Boston Celtics flew the students for a field trip which also included a tour of other monuments and attractions in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area.
Scalabrine and Stephon Marbury teamed up with students from the Harbor Middle School in April to paint a mural for the 5th annual Southwest Airlines ASSISTS Clean-Up Day. The ASSISTS Community Service Contest was open to all eighth-grade students in the Boston Public Middle Schools.
Courtesy of Greg Cameron, here are some of the highlights of Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck’s Q-and-A with Dale & Holley this afternoon. (Click here for the audio.)
On if it was painful to see the Lakers win the title: “It was. Having had the trophy it’s always disappointing to see someone else win it. We’re going to try and knock them off their perch next year.” On Red Auerbach vs. Phil Jackson: “I stand with Red. He assembled and coached his teams. He would even arrange trips to Europe and Russia. Sometimes he’d even drive the bus. His fingerprints are on every single one of those banners.” On the Celtics’ chances of repeating had they stayed healthy: “I think that’s for losers to think that way. I don’t think that’s an out.” On Kevin Garnett’s rehab/recovery: “We are extremely excited. He’s been in the facility everyday, and most of the team’s been there as well.” Comparing Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce: “There are different ways to look at that.
You have to give [Kobe] his due. I like our team and will focus on helping Danny [Ainge] improve it for next year.” Addressing recently swirling trade rumors: “What not many people realize is how many calls are made and received throughout the league. We had a starting five that went a record 27-2. We can also offer someone a full max contract to someone next summer.” On his views of the NBA’s salary cap: “I didn’t really care about it as a fan. I wanted to put together an ownership group that would be able to put the best team on the floor and win. I’ll go find the money, and we’ll go in for another banner. The league has things in place to keep a lot of that from happening but we have a good revenue sharing system between the players and the owners in place. There’s a lot of sharing in between.” On the important free agency summer of 2010: “There is a scenario under which we could do that.” On the economy’s impact on the Celtics: “We start with the fans and thank them for their support. I think we have something like 110 sellouts in a row, and the stuck with us despite injuries. We’re lucky to have them. They help attract free agents who want to play in front of these fans. We don’t want to be smug about how well we’re doing; we just want to thank our fans. We’re fortunate to also have been able to keep season ticket prices the same for this year.” On NBA officiating: “I think they’re trying really hard. I can’t say it’s getting better. Each call and non-call gets looked at by the league and gets graded. Just by studying those figures, there’s no lack of effort, but it’s not getting better. Why don’t you worry about winning and the officiating last?” On how the NBA does business: “If there are issues, the league office will resolve it.” On how much stock the C’s put into a player’s character before signing: “It’s a big deal. It’s good to see the players we drafted out of high school like Kendrick Perkins go to a charity dinner and then later in the evening ask us if it’s okay to leave. We told him it was perfectly fine. He left this dinner to work out at 10:30 at night. We tell out players that they’re going to participate on and off the court. If not, they’re gone.” On guard Stephon Marbury: “He did his part character-wise. He lived up to his word that he wanted to be a good teammate. It didn’t entirely work out as we and he had hoped.” On the impending NBA Draft: “It won’t be a snooze with Danny at the helm. He’s made draft-day trades every year. He’s always working on deals that day, so we’ll see what happens.” On Danny Ainge: “We’re all on the same page. He’s a busy guy, a great GM. He was a great hire. We wanted Danny and we got him.” On the coach Doc Rivers’ anticipation for next season: “I received a text from Doc saying, ‘Let’s get back to the finals.”
On Thursday Celtics head coach Doc Rivers dropped in on ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” to talk NBA Finals, Kevin Garnett, and the possibility of trades looking ahead to next season.
PTI:You were in the same situation last year that the Lakers are now. Up 2-1 and you won Game 4 and won the series, so how important is this game to the Lakers?
Rivers: Well it’s important to the Lakers. I think it’s more important to the Magic, obviously. You know the Lakers are looking at this, they would clearly like to win the next two games, but they’re thinking if they win one, they go back home with six and seven to win one, so for them that’s the way they’re thinking. Obviously for Orlando, they just have to try to hold serve at home. I’ve always thought, and I still believe, it’s a disadvantage they have three games in a row at home because when teams are evenly matched, it’s tough to win three games in a row anywhere. And so I do think it’s tougher on Orlando in that way.
PTI:Alright Doc, when all is said and done who do you think is going to win this series and the NBA Championship?
Rivers: You know, I hope neither one wins. I would just like to table it for next year. (Smiles) But now that I know that that can’t happen, I think being in the East, you’re always cheering for the East Coast teams. You don’t want the West to win anything. Having said that, I think the Lakers are the favorite. I just think they’re just so talented and they’ve been there before, so you’ve got to make them the favorite in this series.
PTI: Now let me ask you the hypothetical question that maybe you just alluded to with the beginning of that answer. If Kevin Garnett had not gotten injured, did you like your chances to repeat this year?
Rivers: Yeah I did, but he was and that’s part of the game and so I accept that. There’s times when you watch and you wish you could have had the opportunity to compete with a healthy basketball team. But guys, as you know in sports, injuries are absolutely part of the season and it happens and unfortunately it happens for us. And so to me the two best teams right now are Orlando and the Lakers and they deserve to be there. Next year we hope that’s a different story.
PTI: Doc, Kevin Garnett just had successful surgery and I know you’re hoping he’s going to be back for at least 75 or more games next year. But how did you feel about this guarantee that he was going to be able to lead the Celtics to another title. Is that a check you guys can cash?
Rivers: I love it. (Laughs) I love it. I hope he’s right. I hope it’s not a Patrick Ewing guarantee – I lived through those. No, I love it. I love when players are confident. I think Kevin believes that, he wants that to happen, and so do we. And to me it’s good. I like when players start guaranteeing things. I like it more when they back it up and I’m hoping Kevin can do that.
PTI: I’m just thinking about two summers ago when you guys had the blockbuster move that kept talk radio and our show going for weeks. Are you and Danny (Ainge) plotting anything like that this summer? Do you see your personnel needing to be shuffled in that way?
Rivers: No I don’t, but we’ve got a huge trade we’re going to announce. I’m just joking. There’s no trade coming. (Laughs) No, no we’re good. I like who we are. I think we do have to add some length to our basketball team as well, especially with Leon Powe maybe not coming back for at least til midseason or later. We’ve got to add one more big to our team. Other than that, I love our basketball team, I love our guys, and I think we’ll be in great shape next year.
Boston Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau withdrew his name from the Sacramento Kings head coaching search, Cs head coach Doc Rivers told the Boston Globe. Thibodeau had been in the running for the position with Paul Westphal and Kurt Rambis, but was not considered to be a front runner. According to the Globe, Thibodeau is expected to work with the Celtics again next season.
Update: The Sacramento Bee has reported the Kings will hire former Boston Celtic Paul Westphal as their new head coach.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal has reported the Boston Celtics have expressed interest in acquiring the second pick in the 2009 NBA Draft from the Memphis Grizzlies. No word on what, if anything, had been offered in exchange. The Houston Rockets and New York Knicks have also approached the Grizzlies regarding the pick, according to the report.
Spanish guard Ricky Rubio is the projected second pick behind Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin. Once the Grizzlies drew their pick in the Draft Lottery, buzz began surrounding Rubio’s disinterest in playing in Memphis. However Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace met with Rubio’s agent, Dan Fegan, and had a “cordial meeting,” according to the Commercial Appeal.
Rubio is not the guaranteed second pick, though. To start, the Grizzlies already have a young point guard in Mike Conley Jr. and have not committed to drafting Rubio. Secondly, Rubio still has to pay a multi-million dollar buyout from DVK Joventut before he plays anywhere in the NBA. And there are still other attractive prospects out there. According to several mock drafts, center Hasheem Thabeet (UConn), guard James Harden (Arizona State), and forward Jordan Hill (Arizona) round out the top five projected picks.