|Brad Stevens addresses Rajon Rondo trade rumors||12.18.14 at 1:21 pm ET|
Following the Celtics‘ victory over the Magic on Wednesday night, Rajon Rondo spoke about the trade rumors surrounding him. Essentially, Rondo maintained the stance that he does not want to be traded, but that the rumors will continue to be part of life in the NBA.
“Obviously, we experienced it all the way through last year,” Stevens said. “From my standpoint, the most challenging thing of it is, number one is just coaching the group and making sure that everybody knows we’re focused on playing Minnesota [on Friday]. We’re focused on doing what we need to do to get everybody playing at the best level that they can.
“I think that a lot of these guys that are older have probably dealt with the talk throughout their years in the league, but I don’t know that it’s ever not unsettling. [My] door is open if anybody wants to talk about it and those type of things. I don’t talk a ton to Danny [Ainge] and his staff, they only say if there’s really something that I need to know. It’s one of those things you just try to do your job the best you can through all circumstances.”
So does Stevens expect to be a part of any trade discussions?
“My job is pretty well defined,” Stevens said. “And that is to coach, and to get our team ready to play and to play as well as we can. My expectations aren’t very big. I just want to be in the loop as [Ainge and his staff] deem appropriate. They’re good at their jobs and I’m hired to coach.”
Stevens went on to speak very highly of Rondo when asked how he thought his point guard was playing this season, but that’s to be expected whether Rondo remains the captain of the Celtics, or if the final rebuilding move is to ship him out.
We already know it isn’t Stevens’ call as to the future of Rondo, but the coach seems very set on sticking to what is asked of him and keeping faith in Ainge’s ability to build winning teams. Many of the trade rumors that have circulated so far don’t seem to accomplish that for the Celtics, so expect the rumors to drag on.
|5 things we learned in Celtics’ win over Magic||12.17.14 at 9:54 pm ET|
The home squad outscored Orlando 31-19 in the fourth quarter to close out the game, something the team has struggled with so far this season. Brandon Bass led the Celtics with 18 points off the bench, while Jared Sullinger and Jeff Green each had 16 points.
Here’s five things we learned in the win:
RAJON RONDO SHOT WELL IN A NEAR TRIPLE-DOUBLE EFFORT
On a night when trade rumors surrounding Rondo came to light, the point guard came to play. Rondo shot an efficient 6-for-12 from the field en route to 13 points, 15 assists and seven rebounds. Despite six turnovers, Rondo had fantastic command of the game. For one of the first times this season, it seemed he had control over both scoring the ball and getting his teammates involved — a great sign from Rondo.
THE BIGS GOT TO WORK EARLY
Tyler Zeller scored a quick four points for the Celtics on the first two possessions of the game, followed by nine straight Sullinger points. On the opposite side, Nikola Vucevic and Channing Frye combined for 13 of their own points, all before the halfway point of the first quarter.
After the centers scored the first 10 points of the game, Zeller put in another hoop for his sixth point of the quarter, but it was Vucevic who won the early battle. He finished the frame with 12 points and eights boards, putting on display why he is a candidate to make the All-Star team for the East.
|10 trades worth the Celtics’ while: Part 1||12.17.14 at 8:13 pm ET|
A major theme of the rebuilding Celtics has been that no player is safe from being traded for the betterment of the team – something Danny Ainge has shown the willingness to do throughout his career. The Celtics have been one of the most active teams pursuing trades of late, according to Yahoo Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski, who also reported the C’s have showed “renewed wiliness to trade Rajon Rondo.” While it’s just speculation at this point, we’ll be rolling out 10 trades that could make sense for the Celtics (in a 10-part series) — some involve moving Rondo, some building around Rondo and some just collect more assets as Ainge has been doing all along. Again, these specific trades are not rumors, simply ideas. This is Part 1.
With the Rondo news breaking Wednesday night — along with word Boston would prefer to send him West — let’s start this series on that theme. The Kings were a team we know had interest in Rondo, but talks in the past have fallen apart. Here’s a new proposal:
KINGS GET: Rajon Rondo
Ainge would likely demand Sacramento include a first-round pick as well, but the problem is the Kings can’t offer one until 2017. Rondo’s value certainly is not at it’s peak right now, so a package like this could realistically be one of the best Ainge sees.
Before shaking your head at the move, remember all three of the players the C’s would be getting in return are top-eight picks in the draft (Williams No. 2 in 2011, McLemore No. 7 in 2013 and Stauskas No. 8 in 2014). Although it is probably time to put the “bust” label on Williams, his $6.3 million would come off the books at the end of the season.
What the Celtics really get in return is two young, promising wing prospects in McLemore and Stauskas. McLemore is averaging 11.6 points in his second year in the league since departing Kansas following his freshman campaign. Stauskas is averaging just 3.6 points so far in his rookie season, but is doing so while playing only 14 minutes per game.
Stauskas was labeled as one of the best shooters in this past draft when he left Michigan as a sophomore. It’s still very early in his career, but if he were to improve, Boston could get a much needed shooter in the young Stauskas. McLemore is a good shooter in his own right, but also has the all-around potential to be a great scorer from all areas of the court. He was selected in a weak draft class, but many had him penciled in as the No.1 overall selection at the time.
The trade would likely hinge on Sacramento’s willingness to include a future first-rounder — something Ainge presumably will require no matter how many prospects he is receiving in exchange for his point guard. The Kings would then have their own Big Three of sorts, built around Rondo, Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins. Boston would get their wish of keeping Rondo out of the East, while adding three quality assets including the draft pick. A move like this would undoubtedly put C’s rebuild in full tilt.
|Report: Carmelo Anthony would consider a trade 24 games into $124M contract||12.12.14 at 1:44 pm ET|
Well, this didn’t take long.
Marc Berman of the New York Post is reporting that Carmelo Anthony would consider waiving his no-trade clause (for the right situation) just 24 games into his five-year $124 million contract. Of course, many reporters who cover the Knicks have come out to dispute this report. It is a bit ridiculous that Melo would give up on New York this early, but let’s roll with Berman’s story for argument’s sake.
Is Anthony a player worth pursuing if you’re Danny Ainge?
Strong arguments can be made for both sides.
WHY A CELTICS-KNICKS TRADE FOR ANTHONY MAKES SENSE
Ainge has been waiting for a big name to be made available, and Anthony would be the only one with trade speculation swirling around him … well, outside of Boston’s own Rajon Rondo. The Celtics are at a crossroads when it comes to the direction of the team. Ainge has been stockpiling assets for a youthful rebuild, but it has always been on his mind that he could turn those assets into win-now players if the opportunity presented itself, much like it did in the summer of 2007.
Boston would provide Anthony with a significantly better supporting cast than he has been given in New York, specifically Rondo. Ainge runs one of the only franchises with the combination of draft picks and expiring contracts to land Anthony, as well as persuade the star that the Celtics are a team worth his while.
Here’s an idea of what the Celtics could offer the Knicks: Jeff Green ($9.2M player option next season), Marcus Thornton ($8.6M expiring), Brandon Bass ($6.9M expiring) and a first-round pick in each of the next three drafts. Normally teams can’t trade picks in back-to-back drafts (let alone three in a row), but thanks to the C’s situation, they could offer their own picks in 2015 and 2017 (and the Knicks would have the right to swap picks with the Nets in 2017 if their pick ends up a better one than Boston’s) and the Nets‘ pick in 2016.
|Marcus Thornton needs to get minutes in crunch time||12.11.14 at 9:05 pm ET|
The Celtics‘ primary struggles have been well documented to this point. They are very, very bad when it comes to late game execution. One of the players most people look to in those situations — including his teammates — is Rajon Rondo. But, Rondo has preformed poorly in those scenarios so far this season, something he hasn’t lost any sleep over.
Realistically, crunch time scoring is not Rondo’s forte. That’s not his fault. He’s a brilliant passer that is trying to find his young teammates who are attempting to learn on the fly while under pressure.
Another seemingly strong option late in games should be Jeff Green, who has hit some game-winners before. Green is having the career-year many have been looking for from him, at least in terms on consistency and aggressiveness, but even he hasn’t done enough to keep the Celtics from throwing away games in fourth quarters.
Here’s an idea: Give Marcus Thornton a try.
Thornton was an afterthought entering the season. He’s in Boston because his expiring contract was included in a trade that Danny Ainge used to add Tyler Zeller and a first-round pick to the tall-standing pile of assets the Celtics have collected. Thornton, a streaky bench scorer, has kept his team in games a few times this season, but even more so recently.
In Sunday’s win over the Wizards, Thornton scored 21 points in just 17 minutes off the bench. 11 of those points were during a run that broke the game open for the C’s in the second quarter, and then he added another eight points to keep the Celtics on top in the fourth quarter after the Wizards were threatening to steal the win.
|Celtics practice notes: Rajon Rondo not feeling pressure, Jeff Green’s special gloves||12.11.14 at 4:18 pm ET|
The Celtics returned home from an unsuccessful two-game road trip and got right back to practice on Thursday. They were a unique couple of games in the sense that the starters didn’t see many minutes during crunch time in Monday’s loss to the Wizards, but then were unable to keep up with the Hornets’ starters on Wednesday when they were on the floor late in the game.
There was a lot of speculation surrounding Rajon Rondo being benched for the fourth quarter and both overtimes in Washington. Many expected him to bounce back strong in Wednesday’s game, but instead he committed three late-game turnovers that potentially cost the C’s the game. Rondo seems to be putting his mishaps in the past.
“It’s not weighing on me at all,” Rondo said of his team’s struggles.
Does he feel like he’s getting too much of the blame?
“It doesn’t matter to me,” Rondo replied. “I’ve been here the longest. I’m the team captain and I’m the point guard. Just like in football, in the beginning they blamed [Tom] Brady a lot. It’s just part of it. It’s not weighing on me at all.”
Rondo doesn’t put much emphasis on trying to improve on things that went wrong after having a bad game — instead he looks forward.
“You let it go,” Rondo said of his fourth quarter in Charlotte. “I’ve been playing this game for nine years. I’m one of the best at what I do. I’m human, I make mistakes. I own up to my mistakes, this is part of the game.”
Rondo’s coach understands where is he coming from.
“I think he has an idea that as a leader and an older guy you have to be accountable,” Brad Stevens said. “At the same time, if he says, ‘Hey, this one’s on me,’ or he says something to that extent, none of us think that. We all were accountable for all the different things that went wrong in a loss or a win.”
“I think as a teammate, and as a person on the team, you appreciate that accountability, but you certainly don’t think that [Rondo is the one to blame], but it’s part of being a leader,” Stevens added.
|5 things we learned in Celtics’ crazy 2OT loss to Wizards||12.08.14 at 10:58 pm ET|
Where to even start with this game?
After collecting their best win of the season on Sunday, the Celtics almost did the same on Monday on the tail end of a back-to-back with the Wizards. Paul Pierce and company were looking for revenge against Boston, a team they felt they shouldn’t have lost to on Sunday, but Washington was in for more than it expected before finally coming out on top, 133-132, in a wild double-overtime affair in Washington. (Click here for the full box score)
The Wizards came out hot and opened up a lead as large as 23 points. This didn’t phase the Celtics, as their bench completely turned the game around (much, much more on this later) along with Jeff Green. Boston cut the lead down and needed an Evan Turner 3-pointer with just 0.6 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime tied at 110.
The C’s dominated the early part of the overtime, led by Green, Kelly Olynyk and Marcus Smart. But, the Wizards came back from down seven points to tie it at 121 with under a minute left thanks to a huge 3-pointer, by who else but Pierce. After Brandon Bass missed a potential game-winner on a breakaway, the game went into double-overtime.
The second overtime was almost identical. It started with a 3-pointer by Smart, like the first one did, and Boston continued to open up another seven-point lead. The Wizards fought back again, though. John Wall gave them a one-point lead with 44 seconds left on a 3-point play that put his athleticism and speed on display. It ended up being the final score of the game, as Turner was unable to connect on an isolation play and Smart couldn’t convert on a put-back attempt at the buzzer.
Pierce was huge in the win scoring 28 points on 9-for-12 shooting, while Wall was able to score 26 to go with 17 assists and seven rebounds (although he did have nine turnovers). Green led the Celtics with 28 points, but the rest of the damage in the near upset was done by the bench.
Here’s five things we learned in the epic loss:
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