|Irish Coffee: Rajon Rondo rumors, fact and fiction||11.30.11 at 9:14 am ET|
When rumors started flying that team president Danny Ainge has included Rondo in trade discussions, there was always only one player who could possibly be on the other end of that conversation: Chris Paul.
With nobody to take over the reins in Rondo’s absence, the Celtics would have to land another point guard in return for the two-time All-Star. And considering the attractiveness of Rondo’s contract (4 years, $44 million remaining), that floor general would have to be decidedly better than Rajon Rondo.
In my mind, that list includes two names: Derrick Rose and Paul. There is no way in hell the Bulls are trading the reigning NBA MVP, so that leaves Paul, whose impending free agency puts him on the bargaining table.
Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick confirmed that notion on Tuesday, citing numerous sources in claiming Ainge “is highly motivated” to land the 2005-06 NBA Rookie of the Year. Colleague Paul Flannery explained why the exchange makes painstaking sense but may require a third team to get done. And Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported the C’s have made calls to the Pacers for just that reason.
The 26-year-old Paul has averaged 18.7 points (47.1 FG%, 35.9 3P%, 85.3 FT%), 9.9 assists and 2.4 steals in six NBA seasons, decidedly better numbers than the 25-year-old Rondo (10.7 points, 48.6 FG%, 24.2 3P%, 62.2 FT%, 7.6 assists, 1.9 steals) on a decidedly worse team.
While Rondo is one of the five best point guards in the NBA, Paul is one of the five best players in the league. That’s why Ainge is exploring the trade. And if it falls through, as ESPN.com’s Ric Bucher suggested it would, there’s nobody more stubborn than Rondo to prove Ainge, me and everybody else wrong.
|Celtics free agent options at shooting guard redux||11.29.11 at 6:11 pm ET|
Just as the Celtics seemingly solidified the center position prior to the 2010-11 season, the same could be said for two-guards. They featured a Hall of Fame starter (Ray Allen) along with a tough combo guard (Delonte West), a lengthy swingman (Marquis Daniels) and a shoot-first scorer (Von Wafer). The latter three are unrestricted free agents this offseason, and there’s a chance any of the trio could return.
As we’ve noted before, the Celtics have six players under contract in 2011-12 for a combined $64.3 million (Kevin Garnett, $21.2; Paul Pierce, $15.33; Ray Allen, $10; Rajon Rondo, $10; Jermaine O’Neal, $6.23; Avery Bradley, $1.53), and Jeff Green is due at least another $5.91 million this offseason.
However, unlike the center situation, there will be a ton of quality available shooting guards. As a result, Celtics president Danny Ainge can more easily upgrade the team as a whole by dedicating what little money he’ll have available to a two-guard once the free agency frenzy opens on Dec. 9.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the options that should be available to the Celtics at shooting guard, separating the current free-agent players into four categories.
|Irish Coffee: Celtics Rumors 911 (Episode 2)||at 11:28 am ET|
It’s Episode 2 of a show we’ll call “Rumors 911” from here on out, as the water cooler boils over with scuttlebutt (Ok, that doesn’t sound right …) and nobody’s name is off limits in Boston — if only because Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge likes it that way.
Today’s Celtics-related topics of conversation: Mavericks free agent center Tyson Chandler (yes please!), Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (God no!) and Knicks free agent guard Roger Mason Jr. (so what!).
First, the longshot: Discussing high-profile free agents on NBA TV, NBA.com’s David Aldridge rather calmly slipped in this gem: “Boston is a team that has very few players under contract right now and desperately needs a center. They’re looking very hard at Tyson Chandler” (h/t Red’s Army).
The first two parts of that comment are entirely true, considering Jermaine O’Neal is the lone center on a C’s roster with just six players under contract enter the Dec. 9 free agency period. The latter portion of Aldridge’s statement are curious, if only for the obvious question: How?
- Option No. 1: A sign-and-trade deal with the Mavericks involving Chandler and Glen Davis. Of course, Mark Cuban would probably have to assume Jermaine O’Neal‘s $6.2 million expiring contract, Ainge would likely have to sweeten the deal with Avery Bradley and that still might not be the best offer Dallas receives.
|Celtics free agent options at center redux||11.28.11 at 4:00 pm ET|
Shortly after last season, we examined the free agent options that will be available to the Celtics at each position. The new (tentative) labor deal has changed the landscape a bit, and some previously available players either retired (Yao Ming), re-signed with their old teams (i.e., Nazr Mohammed and Greg Oden) or signed overseas (i.e., J.R. Smith, Wilson Chandler and Kenyon Martin), so it’s worthwhile to reexamine those options.
We’ll roll out one positional breakdown each day this week, starting with the C’s biggest need: Centers.
The Celtics started the 2010-11 season with four centers on the roster (Kendrick Perkins, Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine O’Neal and Semih Erden) along with sometimes center Glen Davis. Now, a year later, only JO remains from that list. While Big Baby remains an option depending on his value on the open market, the C’s still need at least one if not two more guys who can play the five.
The Celtics have six players under contract in 2011-12 for a combined $64.3 million (Kevin Garnett, $21.2; Paul Pierce, $15.33; Ray Allen, $10; Rajon Rondo, $10; Jermaine O’Neal, $6.23; Avery Bradley, $1.53), and Jeff Green is due at least another $5.91 million this offseason. That leaves little wiggle room for Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.
As a result, don’t expect any big-name free agents. So, let’s start by crossing Nene, Tyson Chandler, Greg Oden ($8.8 million qualifying offer) and Marc Gasol ($4.5 million Q.O.) off the list of potential targets. While any of those three would be a fantastic fit on the 2011-12 Celtics, they’re all out of their league.
Without further ado, let’s take another look at the options that should be available to the Celtics at center, separating the current free-agent players into four categories.
|Irish Coffee: Celtics hope to sign-and-trade Big Baby?||at 12:35 pm ET|
With half the roster still to be filled, expect a whole lot of Celtics rumors to fly around the interwebs between now and Christmas Day — and here’s the first, courtesy of Sporting News NBA writer Sean Deveney’s Twitter account: “From what I’m told, the Celts are happy about the whole sign-and-trade issue for tax teams, because that’s the plan with Big Baby [Glen] Davis.”
At some point during the haze that was the NBA lockout, we discussed the realistic sign-and-trade options for Davis at length. Options included old friend Tony Allen, Warriors forward Dorell Wright, Kings center Jason Thompson and Bucks swingman Carlos Delfino, among others.
In an interview with the Boston Herald, Davis said he’ll have “a pen and pad and two phones up to my ears” as he listens to offers elsewhere, preferably for a starting position. He also expressed his interest (once again) in returning to the Celtics.
“I’ve been in the playoffs every year on that team — twice in the Finals,’ Davis told the Herald. “I think of the legacies that Kevin [Garnett] and Ray [Allen] have built here, and that’s the path you want to take. I’ll take a look at them first to see what we can do here, and then if I have to, I’ll look into where else I can go.”
|10 questions post-NBA lockout Celtics must answer||11.26.11 at 4:34 pm ET|
Now that the NBA lockout is all but over, we can talk actual basketball again. No more exhibition games. No more Paul Pierce sightings at the World Series of Poker. No more overseas discussions. Should lawyers on both sides approve the tentative agreement as expected in the next three days to a week, both training camp and free agency are scheduled to begin on Dec. 9, leading up to a Celtics at Knicks season opener on Christmas Day.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, head coach Doc Rivers and the rest of the C’s brass face a ton of questions over the next month. Here are 10 of the biggest ones they’ll have to answer.
10. How will the Celtics fill out the remainder of the roster?
The C’s currently have just six players under contract: The Big Four of Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen as well as center Jermaine O’Neal and second-year guard Avery Bradley. That leaves nine open spots on the 15-man roster.
Jeff Green has received a $5.9 million qualifying offer that makes him a restricted free agent, and the remaining eight players from the team that lost a five-game Eastern Conference semifinal series to the Heat are free agents. Only Nenad Krstic, who signed a two-year deal with CSKA Moscow that did not include an NBA out clause for this season, is off limits.
First-round draft pick JaJuan Johnson is a lock to land one of those nine open slots, while second-round selection E’Twaun Moore is a strong candidate to make the roster. Johnson has been working out in his hometown of Indianapolis during the offseason, and Moore has averaged 9.5 points in six appearances for Italy’s Benetton Treviso over the past two months.
Prior to the lockout, undrafted Pitt swingman Gilbert Brown was on the team’s radar, so he has a chance to join the Purdue pair on the bench as well.
Assuming Green remains in Boston, Ainge will at the very least have to find veteran players capable of playing significant backup minutes at center, power forward and the two guard positions. Re-signing combo guard Delonte West would go a long way in cementing the latter, and we’ll be examining the free-agent options at each position throughout this week.
9. Is the annual mid-level exception still available to the Celtics? Read the rest of this entry »
|They’re back! Players, owners end NBA lockout||at 10:56 am ET|
As first reported by CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger, the NBA lockout is over, pending the approval of lawyers on both sides (and lawyers never ruin anything, right?). A 66-game season will reportedly debut with a rematch of the first-round playoff matchup between the Celtics and Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Christmas Day (ESPN, noon) — followed by Heat-Mavericks and Bulls-Lakers. Good times.
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