|A temporary sigh of relief for Ainge||06.26.09 at 2:09 am ET|
If it were up to Danny Ainge, he would have spent the past month quietly preparing for the NBA Draft. Instead, the Celtics GM has been battling questions, trade rumors and speculations.
After midnight on Friday morning, a weary Ainge addressed the media. It was more than just the end of Draft Night. For Ainge, it was a temporary sigh of relief.
‘I think there’s so much competition in the media for any new story and something exciting, and so it does get old from my perspective of having to answer so many [questions],’ he said via teleconference following the draft. ‘We’re just sitting in there doing very boring work, watching videotape all day, and everyone else is out there making up stories and making up rumors. We’re just trying to get ready to draft the 58th pick and get ready for all of the options that may come our way.’
Without a first-round pick in this year’s draft, talks had been centered around the possibility of trading up. Starters Ray Allen, Kendrick Perkins and Rajon Rondo had all been mentioned in rumors to snag a lottery pick. Many left Ainge baffled.
‘There was many rumors that had my head scratching a little bit,’ he said. ‘Most of them are either made up or completely distorted or three weeks late.’
As it turns out, the Celtics did not come close to trading up to the first round. While they had conversations about moving up in the second round, Ainge said he is ‘grateful’ Lester Hudson was still available at the 58th spot.
While tired of dispelling rumors, Ainge did address a hot topic of conversation — his recent interview on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Show in which he revealed the Celtics had fined Rondo for tardiness and said he did not believe the point guard is a max contract player right now. Those comments sparked further trade speculation.
“We’re not trading Rondo,” Ainge attested. “We love Rondo. We always have. We love him more today than the day we drafted him. He’s not perfect and he’s a young player that needs to get better. And we don’t like it when you’re late.”
Now that the draft is over and lottery pick rumors have been put to rest, Ainge can get back to business. Next up is free agency and building a team for the Orlando Summer League in July.
‘It’s good to be over and now I’m sure we’ll get questions and answers about all of the trades possibilities and free agents and all those kinds of rumors,’ Ainge said. ‘So that’s not a fun part of the job, but it’s part of the job.’
|Report: Suns agree to send Shaq to Cavs||06.25.09 at 12:39 am ET|
Yahoo! Sports reported the Cleveland Cavaliers have reached an agreement in principle to acquire Shaquille O’Neal from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Ben Wallace, Sasha Pavlovic, the 46th pick in Thursday’s draft, and cash. According to ESPN, the trade is awaiting final approval from the Cavs’ and Suns’ owners.
This move adds depth to the Cavaliers front court, which stands to lose Anderson Varejao to free agency this summer, and gives LeBron James protection in the paint. O’Neal has a career average of 25.4 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks in 35 games against the Celtics.
|Ainge: Celtics fined Rondo||06.24.09 at 9:56 am ET|
The Celtics may ‘love’ Rajon Rondo, but that does not mean he is immune from being held accountable. On Wednesday, Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge revealed on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Show Rondo had been fined for being late to games last season. Ainge deemed the tardiness ‘unacceptable.’
Rondo showed up an hour before gametime during the playoffs this season. He explained his late arrival last week on WEEI and chalked it up to a pregame routine.
‘People are going to make assumptions, everyone has opinions. I actually do try to come to games as late as possible because I don’t like to go in the locker room and talk and waste time…Different guys have different opinions on why they like to get to the game so early,’ he said. ‘Some people may look at it as late but I look at it as just coming to play.’
Regardless of his explanation, Ainge insists that team rules are rules.
“There was just a couple of situations where Rajon was late,” Ainge said. “I don’t know if he was sitting in his car, but he showed up late and the rest of the team was there, and he was late. There are team rules in place and he said he was in traffic. That was unacceptable.”
This offseason Rondo has been linked in nearly every Celtics trade rumor. The Celtics have until October to decide whether or not to extend his contract.
|Celtics Impact: Bucks-Spurs Trade||06.23.09 at 8:15 pm ET|
So what does this mean for the Boston Celtics?
The Spurs are back as a threat in the West.
After owning the Celtics for the majority of the Tim Duncan era, the Spurs have been susceptible to the Cs over the past three seasons. Now they have re-established themselves as legitimate title contenders in the Western Conference.
The acquisition of Jefferson gives the Spurs an offensive weapon on the perimeter to compliment the frontcourt/backcourt tandem of Duncan and Tony Parker. Last season Michael Finley started at the small forward position in two games against the Celtics, in which he averaged just seven points (23% FG). Read the rest of this entry »
|Report: Celtics offered Allen, Rondo to Pistons||at 12:51 am ET|
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has reported the Boston Celtics offered Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo to the Detroit Pistons in a package deal that included Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and Rodney Stuckey. According to Wojnarowski, the deal was proposed by a lower-level Celtics executive last weekend and was rejected by the Pistons before the conversations escalated to a discussion between general managers Danny Ainge and Joe Dumars.
“This isn’t an uncommon occurrence for a GM like Ainge to dispatch an underling to make that kind of a call, if for no other reason to give the top executive some level of deniability that he’s shopping his stars,” Wojnarowski wrote.
Both Allen and Rondo have been mentioned in nearly every Celtics trade rumor this offseason, largely because of their contracts. Allen is entering the final season of his deal while the Cs have to decide whether or not to extend Rondo’s contract by this October. Rondo recently told WEEI he does not expect to be traded this summer.
|Vin Baker attempts comeback in Venezuela||06.22.09 at 11:34 pm ET|
It has been five years since the Vin Baker saga ended in Boston. Now the 37-year-old is trying to restart his basketball career in South America.
According to several reports, Baker has signed with the Marinos de AnzoÃ¡tegui of the LPB (Liga Profesional de Baloncesto) in Venezuela. However it is unclear how much the 6-11 forward will play. The Marinos are already competing in their postseason and Baker is not listed on the roster on their official website.
Baker was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the eighth overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft. He joined the Celtics in 2002, but his career in Boston was overshadowed by alcohol problems. Baker was suspended in February of 2003 and received treatment for alcoholism, only to be suspended indefinitely by the Celtics the following season for violating his aftercare program. He was released in February of 2004 with $35 million remaining on his contract and filed a grievance with the NBA player’s union. Baker and the Celtics reached a financial settlement that April.
This isn’t the first time Baker has attempted a comeback. His NBA career ended six games into the 2006-2007 season when he was released by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He was arrested seven months later for drunk driving in June of 2007. Baker tried to resurrect his career in late 2008 with Liaoning Hunters in China. He was cut after just two days for poor conditioning.
Marca.com reported Baker has ‘serious economic problems.’ His former home in Durham, Connecticut was foreclosed last year.
|Rondo does not expect to be traded||06.19.09 at 12:45 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo has been one of the most highly discussed players in NBA as trade rumors begin to heat up. From the Phoenix Suns to the Memphis Grizzlies to the Sacramento Kings, several organizations have reportedly expressed interest in the young point guard. Rondo, however, doesn’t think he is going anywhere.
‘I don’t think much of it,’ he said on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show on Friday. ‘I’ve been in the gym everyday with the Celtics this off-season and I’m looking forward to doing great things next year, and hopefully trying to win a championship. If the trade happens, it happens. But I think we have a championship team here, and I don’t think [a trade] will happen.’
For now Rondo is focusing on what he does have control over ‘ ‘I want to be the best point guard in the league next season,” he said. He paid close attention to the NBA playoffs to prepare for next season and recently returned from China as part of the Nike All Asia Basketball Camp.
‘Danny [Ainge] was talking to me and he said, ‘You see what happens when you rise above your game in the playoffs. Trade rumors start to happen,’ Rondo said. ‘It happened years ago with Paul [Pierce], so you never know until it actually goes through.’
Aside from postseason performances, Rondo’s attitude has been a hot topic of conversation amid the trade rumors. In addition to his alleged stubbornness, his arrival to the Garden an hour before a playoff game raised eyebrows. Rondo shrugs it all off.
“People are going to make assumptions, everyone has opinions. I actually do try to come to games as late as possible because I don’t like to go in the locker room and talk and waste time’¦Different guys have different opinions on why they like to get to the game so early,” he said. “Some people may look at it as late but I look at it as just coming to play.’
He added, ‘As far as attitude-wise, I think I can be stubborn which is a great trademark for me because I love to compete so much, I love to win. I’m always studying the game and I’m a student of the game. At the end of the day (Celtics head coach) Doc (Rivers) and I do have a strong enough relationship where we can talk to each other on and off the court.’
Rondo noted that he would be disappointed if he did not return to the Celtics next season. But the 23-year-old has been around long enough to know the realities of the league. He will be involved “a little bit” in upcoming contract talks and will leave the rest up to his agent and the Celtics.
‘You can’t guarantee anything in this game I talked to Danny and he can’t guarantee that he’s not going to trade me, but he said that we have a championship team here,’ Rondo said, adding, ‘This is a business so you never know what happens in this game. All great players become traded one day.’
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