|Asset Management: Brandon Bass’ Celtics future||10.28.14 at 4:09 pm ET|
I think we can all agree the Celtics won’t be raising banner 18 in the immediate future, and more likely than not the 2014-15 NBA season will result in another lottery pick come June, regardless of how ardently Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley & Co. argue the contrary. It’s been a year since Danny Ainge traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets, launching the process of stockpiling draft picks and cap-friendly contracts. Since the Celtics failed to cash in those commodities in exchange for fireworks this summer, this season’s preview will have a Wyc Grousbeck theme, focusing on the hodgepodge of C’s pieces in a series we’ll call Asset Management. Next up: Brandon Bass.
The Celtics shopped Bass at the trade deadline, and over the summer we learned from Grantland’s Zach Lowe that team president Danny Ainge has “tried like hell” to move the veteran forward. Yet, he remains in Boston. For now.
The Bass experience has been a strange one. He collected 20 points and 11 rebounds in his first game for the Celtics — on Christmas Day of the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season — and then came off the bench for a few months as he adjusted to Kevin Garnett‘s defensive demands. Doc Rivers finally inserted Bass into the starting lineup around the All-Star break, the C’s won 60 percent of their games down the stretch and they made a surprising run to the 2012 Eastern Conference finals, aided by 27 points from Bass in Game 5 against the 76ers.
Boston came to love Bass for his understated, undersized and — at the time — undervalued effort. The 6-foot-8, 240-pound brick quietly protected the paint defensively and knocked down mid-range jump shots at a remarkable rate (49 percent) offensively in 2011-12. He was an appropriate complement on a team that still required touches for Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo.
The ensuing summer, Bass signed a three-year, $19.35 million contract that seemed appropriate for a 27-year-old starting power forward on an Eastern Conference contender. And then everything went south.
|Rajon Rondo upgrades himself to having an 83 percent chance of playing Wednesday night||10.28.14 at 1:50 pm ET|
It’s clear that Rondo has been improving, but he still can’t resist poking some fun at the media in the process. At Monday’s practice, Rondo gave himself a 79 percent chance of playing against the Nets on Wednesday. Then on Tuesday according to reports, Rondo told Brad Stevens he had upgraded himself to having an 83 percent chance of playing.
Rondo went on to say that he doesn’t like being called a game-time decision and he will decide whether or not he plays just a few hours before the game begins when he wakes up from his nap around 4:30 on Wednesday.
Rondo has one more "imaging thing" after practice. He told Stevens to say he has an 83 percent chance to return.
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) October 28, 2014
— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) October 28, 2014
|Asset Management: Gerald Wallace’s Celtics future||10.27.14 at 11:04 pm ET|
I think we can all agree the Celtics won’t be raising banner 18 in the immediate future, and more likely than not the 2014-15 NBA season will result in another lottery pick come June, regardless of how ardently Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley & Co. argue the contrary. It’s been a year since Danny Ainge traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets, launching the process of stockpiling draft picks and cap-friendly contracts. Since the Celtics failed to cash in those commodities in exchange for fireworks this summer, this season’s preview will have a Wyc Grousbeck theme, focusing on the hodgepodge of C’s pieces in a series we’ll call Asset Management. Next up: Gerald Wallace.
There are 58 players who will earn eight-figure salaries in the NBA this season, and only three of them project to fall outside a team’s top-six rotation when healthy: Gerald Wallace, Amar’e Stoudemire and Javale McGee.
Unlike Stoudemire, Wallace has another year left on the four-year, $40 million deal he signed in 2012. The Knicks can either let Stoudemire walk at the end of the season or find another team looking to shed $23.4 million from its books next summer. Meanwhile, the Celtics would have to part with too many assets to have any hope of shipping Wallace in a package this winter. And unlike McGee, Wallace isn’t seven feet tall and 26 years old. He turned 32 over the summer and sits third on the wing depth chart behind Jeff Green and Evan Turner, taking minutes from James Young on a roster built to develop younger players.
Wallace averaged 5.1 points (54.3 true-shooting percentage), 3.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 24.4 minutes per game last season, submitting the worst player efficient rating (10.0) of his career. It felt like he missed more than a third of last season, but the veteran forward actually appeared in 58 games before undergoing season-ending surgeries on the torn left meniscus in his left knee and the bone spurs in his left ankle.
|Celtics keep Dwight Powell, finally trim roster to 15||10.27.14 at 5:10 pm ET|
The Celtics finalized their 15-man roster on Monday, waiving Will Bynum, Tim Frazier, Rodney McGruder, Erik Murphy, Christian Watford and Jarell Eddie. All six players were added to the roster over the summer, and their departures do not come as a surprise.
The Celtics recently acquired Bynum’s expiring $2.9 million contract in a trade that sent Joel Anthony‘s expiring $3.8 million deal to the Pistons. It’s not clear whether Bynum accepted a buyout for less than his full salary this season.
Murphy was guaranteed just $100,000, and the remaining group all entered training camp on non-guaranteed deals. The C’s can assign up to four players to their D-League affiliate in Maine, and all but Bynum are candidates for the Red Claws. Eddie, in particular, was recently claimed off waivers and seems destined for Crustacean Nation.
The news comes as a welcome sign for Dwight Powell, the Stanford forward who the Celtics acquired from the Cavaliers as part of a package of players that also included Murphy in return for Keith Bogans. The 6-foot-11, 240-pound Powell averaged 1.7 points and 1.2 rebounds in 9.0 minutes over six preseason games.
Here is the final 15-man roster, barring a last-minute trade before Wednesday’s opener.
GUARDS: Rajon Rondo, Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Marcus Thornton, Phil Pressey
WINGS: Evan Turner, Jeff Green, Gerald Wallace, James Young
BIGS: Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, Tyler Zeller, Brandon Bass, Vitor Faverani, Powell
|Rajon Rondo gives himself 79 percent chance to play Wednesday||10.27.14 at 1:48 pm ET|
All preseason long Brad Stevens has been unwilling to place a percentage on the chances that his star point guard, Rajon Rondo, will be available on opening night. Rondo is just over four weeks into his recovery from surgery on a broken left hand, but he seems to be way ahead of schedule despite the coach’s hesitancy to announce his return.
“There’s a lot of ifs there,” Stevens said regarding Rondo’s status prior to Monday’s practice. “I’d still say he’s somewhere in the realm of questionable, but it certainly looks like all signs have been moving forward.”
If you know Rondo, then you know he is a much more of a precise type of guy.
So what percentage would Rondo place on himself to play on opening night? “Probably 79 [percent] right now,” he concluded Monday.
Obviously, Rondo was asked to expand on his answer: “I feel good, it’s just that contact is a completely different thing if I land on it.” Rondo went on to explain that he has only been through one practice with contact so far, but has not landed on or been hit on the hand. Rondo did admit that he had gotten it tangled up in a jersey, however, it caused him no pain or issues.
“He was good on Friday,” Stevens said of the lone contact practice that Rondo referred to. “He’ll go full again [on Monday], then I think he’s going to re-see the doctors [on Tuesday], maybe Wednesday morning.
“It’s going to be about how he feels,” Stevens ultimately offered. “So if he goes through the next couple of days without pain and feels really good and the doctors give him clearance, then he’ll be good to go.”
So what could Rondo’s minutes look like on Wednesday?
“If he were to play as early as this week then I would probably play him in shorter stints, but still play him quite a bit,” said Stevens. “Obviously you want him to get a flow and rhythm, but when we’re talking about five- or six-minute stints, that’s plenty of time.”
On Rondo’s overall minutes per game, Stevens said: “I think we’ll probably play it as is once he’s ready to play. Again, it has not been a conditioning issue because he’s been able to run the whole time.”
It’s still too early to jump to any conclusions and rule Rondo a go for Wednesday, but his status clearly looks much more optimistic than anticipated. The original prognosis of 6-8 weeks suggested that Rondo would miss between 4-10 regular-season games, so simply the fact that he has a chance of playing in the first game is impressive.
Seventy-nine percent is a high number, though — and it seems to be getting higher every day. Without being overly optimistic, it feels like there’s a great chance we hear Rondo’s name announced when it’s time for the starting lineups on Wednesday night.
Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow
|Celtics assistant coach Walter McCarty arraigned on larceny charges||10.23.14 at 2:45 pm ET|
According to WCVB, Celtics assistant coach Walter McCarty was arraigned in Framingham District Court on Thursday morning on a charge of larceny. The station said that the charge stemmed from accusations of repeatedly bouncing checks to a contractor who installed approximately $39,000 worth of cabinets in McCarty’s home.
“This matter stems from ordering some kitchen cabinets for a home that my family and I are building,” McCarty said in a team-issued press release. “We hope to resolve the matter soon, but I simply cannot comment further while the case is pending.”
McCarty pleaded not guilty and was released without bail, with a hearing date of Dec. 11. According to WCVB, a court document said that McCarty’s identity was stolen, playing a role in the bouncing of checks. McCarty spent 10 seasons in the NBA (eight with the Celtics). He’s in his second season as an assistant coach with the Celtics.
|Why you should care about Wednesday’s Celtics win: Marcus Smart had his best game, Jared Sullinger can rebound||10.22.14 at 10:09 pm ET|
The Celtics wrapped up the preseason with a 100-86 victory over the Nets at the TD Garden on Wednesday night (check out the box score here). Brooklyn rested its starters, while Rajon Rondo was out once again with a broken left hand for the Celtics.
Here are other reasons why you should have cared about the Celtics‘ preseason finale:
Marcus Smart had a very strong showing back in the starting point guard role
Smart opened up the game by swishing a 3-pointer out of the corner, which was nice for Celtics fans to see since shooting is one of his biggest weaknesses. However, Smart did a much better job of slashing through the lane than he has in previous games. He was able to connect on three layups in traffic, while also going 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Attacking the basket might be Smart’s biggest strength, so it was certainly positive to see him do so efficiently before the preseason came to an end.
Smart never saw the floor in the second half, but the damage was done. He racked up 16 points in just 15 minutes of action, adding four assists, a rebound and two steals. Perhaps most importantly, he did it on 5-for-8 shooting from the field — all three of his misses coming from downtown. Good things happen when Smart gets into the paint.
Jared Sullinger was a beast on the boards once again
Sullinger is a very good scorer, but he is a phenomenal rebounder. After ripping down 19 boards on Sunday, Sullinger grabbed 13 in the first half alone Wednesday. He finished the game with what is becoming a classic Sullinger stat line — 15 points and 17 rebounds. Sullinger did so while shooting 7-for-10 from the field in 26 minutes of action.
James Young returned from a hamstring injury
Young hurt his hamstring while warming up for the first preseason game, but kept that information to himself and ended up by playing in the game. Young posted 10 points in his debut, but then has missed each preseason contest since. He also didn’t play in a summer league game following a car crash.
The rookie wasted no time Wednesday, nailing a 3-pointer on his first possession in the game. He finished with just five points and four rebounds, but keep in mind it was just his second professional game. Young has plenty of room to grow this season.
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