|Yet another (possibly serious) Rajon Rondo trade rumor||07.14.13 at 12:34 pm ET|
Is Rajon Rondo again on the trading block?
According to Sunday’s Boston Globe, the Pistons are offering point guard Brandon Knight and an expiring contract for Rondo. Knight, a very talented 21-year-old point who was the eighth overall pick in the 2011 draft out of Kentucky, is due just $2.793 million this season and won’t be a restricted free agent until 2015-16. He has a team option next season of $3.553 million.
It is likely to take a lot more than that and Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge knows it.
Rondo is in the fourth year of a five-year contract that will pay him $11.945 million this coming season. Ainge signed Rondo to a very team-friendly five-year, $55 million rookie scale extension on Nov. 2, 2009. Rondo was rumored to be upset before the 2011-12 season because he was not getting the big money that guards like Chris Paul, who just signed a five-year, $107.3 million deal with the Clippers.
Rondo won’t be a free agent until after the 2014-15 season, during which he will make $12.9 million.
Also consider, the Pistons still need to pay Charlotte a first-round pick (Bobcats’ choice) sometime between now and 2016. Until that pick has been formally traded, the Pistons would be unable to offer a team like the Celtics any first-round pick, something Ainge is trying to stockpile as he rebuilds his roster with young talent.
And there’s this: Ainge insists he’s not looking to trade the oft-rumored malcontent. And, not surprisingly, new head coach Brad Stevens maintains there’s no doubt Rondo is his starting point guard.
But until the season begins, there will be speculation as to whether Rondo is the right man to lead this group forward. Sunday’s story is just another possible step in that direction.
|Celtics wrap up Summer League with a win and a seventh-place finish||07.12.13 at 6:39 pm ET|
Behind 14 points from Tony Mitchell and 12 apiece from Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson, the Celtics raced out to a 29-point lead and blew out the host Orlando Magic, 102-83, on Friday afternoon to capture the seventh-place game in the the Orlando Summer League series at Amway Center.
Olynyk, Boston’s first-round pick in this year’s draft, finished the week averaging 18.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, finishing as one of the most impressive young players in the tournament that features first and second-year talent and rookie free agents.
The Celtics, who finished their week in central Florida at 3-2, were blazing hot in the first half, scoring 61 points in the 20-minute first-half. The Celtics connected on 57.1 percent of its field goals and 58.3 percent of their 3-pointers in the first half.
Leading the way in the first half was Lawrence Hill, with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting. He hit three of his five 3-point attempts in the half. Olynyk and Omar Reed also chipped in 10 points apiece in the first half while Boston left Orlando in the dust.
Boston pulled ahead by as many as 29 points early in the third after a 7-0 run to start the second half. That spurt was highlighted by a nice and-one hook shot by Fab Melo, who finished the game with 11 points and five rebounds in less than 18 minutes of action.
Orlando trimmed Boston’s lead down to 81-69 with 7:47 remaining in the game. The Celtics, however, responded by scoring 14 of the game’s next 18 points, building their lead back to 95-74 with three minutes left.
Seven Celtics scored in double-figures. Mitchell led the team with 14 points, while Olynyk and Iverson each poured in 12. Phil Pressey was the only Boston starter who failed to score at least 10 points finishing with seven but earned his second straight game of double-digit assists with 10.
|Kelly Olynyk posts a double-double, but Celtics fall to Rockets in summer league||07.10.13 at 5:59 pm ET|
Kelly Olynyk scored a team-high 19 points and hauled in 10 rebounds in 28 minutes, but the Celtics had their two-game win streak snapped in an 85-78 loss to the Rockets on Wednesday afternoon in NBA Summer League play in Orlando. Olynyk did commit five turnovers and seven personal fouls in the loss. Summer league rules allow players to commit an unlimited number of fouls.
The Rockets, who recently signed free agent center Dwight Howard, jumped out to a quick start, leading 24-17 after one quarter.
The Celtics responded by outscoring the Rockets 23-19 in the second period and cut Houston’s lead to 43-40 at the half. But the Celtics offense went cold again in the third as Boston scored just 16 points and trailed 67-56 entering the final quarter.
Trailing 81-73 with 1:38 left in the game, the Celtics made one final push, cutting the lead to three, 81-78, on a Lawrence Hill 3-pointer with 26.9 seconds remaining. But those would be the final points of the day for the Celtics, who finished the scheduled portion of summer league at 2-2. They will have Thursday off before a playoff game on Friday.
The Celtics, who entered the day in third place in the standings, earned two points in the loss by winning the second and fourth quarters. They have 14 points, tying them with the idle Heat for third place. The Heat play Thursday. The Celtics are likely to play in either the third-place or fifth-place game on Friday.
The Rockets are a perfect 3-0, with their final scheduled game set for Thursday. The Rockets are second in the standings now with 16 points after earning five on Wednesday. Oklahoma City leads the group with 20 points after earning six on Wednesday in a win over the 76ers.
Tim Abromaitis (14) and Courtney Fells (10) were the only other Celtics scoring in double figures. Phil Pressey got the start again at point guard for the Celtics. He had an up-and-down game, dishing out a game-high 10 assists but committing four turnovers and making just 2-of-9 field goal attempts.
At halftime, new Celtics coach Brad Stevens spoke to NBA TV. Stevens said he’s not worried about next season’s record as much as he is about the overall approach his new team takes to playing.
“I’ve been a lot less concerned about results [this summer] than playing to a standard. That’s going to be a major emphasis,” Stevens told Nick Cellini and Kendall Gill.
Stevens was also asked about Rajon Rondo and whether he’s reached out to his All-Star point guard.
“From everything I’ve been told, his rehab has been going well,” Stevens said. “Shared quite a few texts, talked on phone. Will talk to him soon.”
|Armond Hill, Kevin Eastman, Tyronn Lue join Doc Rivers in Los Angeles||07.08.13 at 9:28 pm ET|
Armond Hill, Kevin Eastman and Tyronn Lue will be migrating west with Rivers as assistants on the Clippers staff. A close friend of Rivers – Alvin Gentry – was also named associate head coach on Monday.
Rivers was named the head coach and senior vice president of the basketball operations of the Clippers in mid-June and has been working on completing his staff since leaving Boston for LA.
Also leaving Boston is JP Clark, who will serve as the assistant players skills coach. The Clippers confirmed the hires on their Twitter page on Monday afternoon.
Clippers name Alvin Gentry Associate Head Coach & add Armond Hill, Kevin Eastman and Tyronn Lue as assistant coaches. http://t.co/L0hAgigOf4
‘ Los Angeles Clippers (@LAClippers) July 8, 2013
Gentry returns to Los Angeles for his third stint with the Clippers after serving as both head coach (2000-2003) and assistant coach (1990-1991).
Hill was one of Rivers’ main assistants in Boston over the past nine seasons. Before joining the Celtics, Hill was an assistant for the Atlanta Hawks during the 2003-04 season.Eastman joined the Celtics staff in Rivers’ second season in Boston and remained in Boston ever since.
Lue, who played in Los Angeles with the Lakers and won NBA titles in 2000 and 2001, spent the past four seasons on the Celtics bench, including the last two as an assistant coach. Lue will serve as the head coach for the Clippers summer league team in Las Vegas.
Clark spent last season with the Celtics in their player development department and also served as an assistant coach for the Celtics’ D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.
|Larry Bird: ‘Believe me, Danny Ainge knows what he’s doing’||07.08.13 at 6:29 pm ET|
One of the greatest Celtics in franchise history believes the team’s intensely loyal fan base should trust in Danny Ainge.
Larry Bird, speaking to reporters Monday at the Orlando summer league games, said he understands why his former teammate and current president of basketball operations of the Celtics traded heart-and-soul pieces Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett last week to the Brooklyn Nets.
“Believe me, Danny Ainge knows what he’s doing,” Bird said. “He won a championship. I never doubt Danny Ainge. Danny does a good job. You know, you do get older. You can’t beat Father Time, and I’m sure things will work out.”
Pierce will be 36 next season while Garnett will be 37 when he suits up with Brooklyn. Both, Bird said Monday can be productive with the Nets.
“I think they’ve both been pretty healthy throughout their careers,” Bird said Monday. “They haven’t had the major, major injuries that I had. I think they got plenty left. The way they will be coached and the bench that they have. Yeah — they’ll pick their spots, but when the time comes, they’ll be there.”
Bird, who serves as Ainge’s counterpart with the Pacers, acknowledged it’s disappointing to see Pierce, the second-leading scorer in Celtics franchise history, not be able to do what he did and finish his career playing only for the Celtics.
“I would have loved to see it,” Bird said. “I got a lot of respect for Paul and what he has accomplished. But who says he’s not going to play another four years? It’s a tough situation.”
Pierce, who turns 36 Oct. 13, averaged 18.6 points per game this past season and, with 24,021 points, trails only John Havlicek on Boston’s all-time scoring list.
“[Pierce] is one of the better ones to ever come through there, he really is,” Bird insisted.
|Big games from Kelly Olynyk, Darius Johnson-Odom lead Celtics over Pistons in summer league||07.08.13 at 5:05 pm ET|
Guard Darius Johnson-Odom scored a game-high 22 points over the bench while Celtics first-round pick Kelly Olynyk added 13 points, six rebounds and five steals as Boston beat Detroit, 93-63, in a summer league blowout in Orlando.
“It’s an asset if you can go inside-out,” Olynyk told NBA TV after Boston’s first win of summer league. After scoring 25 points in Sunday’s first game, Olynyk added an all-around game on Monday, chipping in with three assists and a blocked shot.
The Celtics were in complete control of the game, jumping out to a 30-9 lead after one quarter. The Celtics benefitted from balanced scoring as 12 of 13 players on the roster scored.
It was just the sixth 30-point decision in the history of summer league play in Orlando.
Phil Pressey was on the only other Celtics player in double figures, scoring 12 points.
While the Celtics improved to 1-1 in summer league, the Pistons, coached by Rasheed Wallace, suffered their first loss and evened their record at 1-1.
|Danny Ainge: ‘We don’t feel any urgency’ to find the next coach as part of busy offseason||06.25.13 at 11:10 pm ET|
But deep down the president of basketball operations of the Celtics knows that next month will be a challenging one for him and his staff as they try to juggle finding the right coach with the NBA draft on Thursday with free agency, the Paul Pierce question, the Kevin Garnett dilemma and the Rajon Rondo factor.
That’s a lot for general manager who hasn’t had to search for a head coach in nine seasons.
‘I do watch coaches often as I travel around and scout NBA games and college games and so forth, so I do have some people in mind,’ Ainge told reporters Tuesday. ‘But because I haven’t had any contact or really had any consulting with my staff on all of this, I’m not really prepared at this time to address any of those questions.
‘The only wrinkle [to our off-season] now is that we need to get a new coaching staff, and we don’t feel any urgency with that. We don’t need a coach before the draft, we don’t need a coach before summer league. We don’t need that to happen fast, so we’ll take our time and look, unless our No. 1 choice makes a quick choice.’
Ainge needs to decide by next Monday if he is going to try and trade Pierce, buy out his $5 million option or have him stay.
Ainge is also reportedly busy consummating a sign-and-trade for Atlanta’s talented but sometimes inconsistent forward Josh Smith.
There’s the question of what to do with Garnett and Rondo. Does Garnett want to even be around in Boston without Rivers and with the franchise facing a rebuild? How will Rondo work out with the next head coach? Are they really pieces Ainge wants to build the future of the team around?
So many questions to be answered in the next several weeks.
One thing Ainge has going for him is a growing supply of picks. The trade of Doc Rivers to the Clippers gives the Celtics an unprotected first-round pick in 2015.
‘It’s an unprotected pick. You never know what can happen,’ Ainge told the media. ‘There’s been all sorts of circumstances that have happened in our league. To get an unprotected pick is very difficult to get in our league.’ ‘It’s an unprotected pick. You never know what can happen,’ Ainge told the media. ‘There’s been all sorts of circumstances that have happened in our league. To get an unprotected pick is very difficult to get in our league.’
The Celtics now have eight former first-round draft picks under contract for next season who are all under the age of 28.
And with the Clippers’ first-round pick in the 2015 draft, Boston now has 13 picks over the next five NBA drafts. Six of those picks (their own five, plus L.A.’s) will be in the first round. The C’s also possess two second-round picks in the 2014, 2015 and 2017 NBA Drafts, as well as one second-rounder in 2016. All in all, the Celtics, according to NetsDaily.com, are one of seven NBA teams to own all of their first-round picks in the next six drafts.
So, Ainge has plenty of reason to be grateful to Rivers, one NBA title, another Eastern Conference championship, an appearance in the Eastern finals in 2012 and now an unprotected first-round pick.
Rivers leaves as the third-winningest coach in Celtics history, with 416 regular-season victories. Only Red Auerbach (910-450) and Tommy Heinsohn (427-263) have more wins. Rivers also compiled a 58-46 record in the playoffs.
‘We don’t have a championship without Doc Rivers coaching,’ said Ainge. ‘He did an unbelievable job. He has a long history of success with us in the last nine years, and we wish him the best in Los Angeles.
‘I don’t think there should be resentment,’ Ainge proclaimed. ‘I know how Boston fans are and all that, but I really don’t feel like there should be resentment. This may be good for everybody. This may be a win-win. Time will tell.’
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