Broussard on D&H: C’s ‘did what they had to do’
|07.27.10 at 3:25 pm ET|
Dale & Holley welcomed ESPN NBA insider Chris Broussard Tuesday afternoon to talk about all things basketball this offseason, including the topics of LeBron James, the Celtics‘ offseason pickups and re-signings and Doc Rivers possibly returning for more than one season.
‘If they have a great season, maybe win the championship, I do think that there would be a lot of pull to return to the franchise,’ Broussard said of the coach. ‘I think he’s doing the right thing, I think it’s a fluid situation and he’s leaving his options open, so I’m not too surprised to hear Doc say that.’
Below are highlights. To listen to the full interview click on the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
On when he figured out that LeBron James would be leaving Cleveland:
It’s interesting, because throughout that whole process there were a lot of people close to LeBron who wanted him to stay in Cleveland, and it’s not a smokescreen, to my knowledge. I would have believed he was trying to get Chris Bosh to go there. Toronto agreed to do a sign and trade, LeBron was trying to sell Bosh on coming to Cleveland and being his second guy. If he was able to do that, then I think LeBron would have stayed in Cleveland.
And then of course, LeBron was also trying to talk to Chris Paul. They were trying to figure out a way Chris Paul could be traded to Cleveland. If one of those two things happened, then I think LeBron would have stayed because there was a part him that wanted to stay, that understood legacy. [Michael] Jordan turned a terrible franchise into a champion, Isiah Thomas did it. You hear it, even in the criticism about LeBron’s decision, that the great ones always stay with one team.
He understood that and wanted to stay, a part of him did, but when he realized they couldn’t get that second guy, and then you looked down the road [he asked] ‘Would I be able to ever get that second guy here? It’s been seven years and it hasn’t happened.’ That’s when he really had to say, ‘You know what? I may have to go.’
Now, Chicago was always very strong in consideration and Miami with their situation was always right there too, but I really think he gave Cleveland a legitimate shot. Finally, when Bosh made it clear that [he] was going to Miami with [Dwyane] Wade, that’s when LeBron realized he wasn’t going to be able to get anybody [in Cleveland]. Can [he] get through Boston what they’re going to do in Miami, Chicago and the Lakers, other teams, like Orlando, without that second guy. He had to go make sure that he had a couple of star teammates.
On the Celtics’ offseason strategy of re-signing their veterans:
I think they’ve done well. The Jermaine O’Neal move was a good one. I know they hate to lose Tony Allen, his defense was critical down the stretch, but I think they should move on without him. I’ve got to admit, I was among the surprised when they played so well in the playoffs, so I do wonder if they’ve got enough left to reach the finals again next year.
I was just talking about with age and things like that. You wonder two years from now, they’re going to be old and pretty much done with that. With [Rajon] Rondo, who’s developing into an All-Star and they’ve got a few other young guys, but that’s my only worry, I think they did what they had to do. I think it’s the right thing to go ahead and try to take one more shot at it. My pick is Miami in the East, but I think the Celtics will be right there.
On Doc Rivers maybe coming back for more than just one year:
Well, remember that a big part of his leaving would have been his family and his son’s last year of high school. He just wanted to watch him play [before he goes to] college next year. If they have a great season, maybe win the championship, I do think that there would be a lot of pull to return to the franchise. I think he’s doing the right thing, I think it’s a fluid situation and he’s leaving his options open so I’m not too surprised to hear Doc say that.
On any remaining free agents that the Celtics should look into:
I know the Celtics had at least a fleeting interest in Shaq [O'Neal]. I don’t know how much of a fit that is, but Shaq is out there and don’t forget, Shaq can guard Dwight Howard. He can have some value, but he does want more money than teams are willing to give him. There are many role players here and there, but most of the guys, obviously, don’t have a major impact. Even on the Kyle Korver, Anthony Marrow, Travis Outlaw-type level. Most of them are tied up and most of them are signed now.
On Rajon Rondo coming into his own this summer at the World Championships:
I still would put Deron Williams, Chris Paul, even Derrick Rose, I would put those guys ahead of him. Steve Nash doesn’t defend really as well as Rajon, but obviously does some things better. I think Rajon has definitely gotten to the level where he is a perennial All-Star. It would be shocking if somebody played his normal game and he didn’t make the All-Star team this year, but I also think Rajon is really unique. You look at the other top point guards in the league, they all score. Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, John Wall ‘ he looks like he’ll be a scorer. Those guys will give you 20 points a game and still give you the 10-11 assists.
Rajon doesn’t score as much, but he’s a great rebounder. He’s the best defender of these point guards and some of it may be the system he’s in. He’s not going to score as much because he’s with the Big Three and I do think that while it’s helped him, they’ve got a great team with him and he’s been able to play deep into the playoffs, two trips to the finals.
I also think to a small degree it may hurt him in terms of perception because as long as he’s with those three guys, some people will feel like, ‘Let me see what he can do if he didn’t have those three around him.’ Who knows? Maybe he’d average 18-19 points a game, maybe he would still play the same way he does, but a lot of it is seeing once those guys are done and those guys are old, does Rajon become the guy in terms of scoring and flirting with the triple-doubles as he has done on occasion and in the playoffs. I think people want to see what he will do without those guys because all those other guys have not had the benefit of playing with a Big Three as talented as he has.