|Chris Mannix on M&M: ‘More likely than not, the core of this [Celtics] team stays together’||02.20.13 at 1:48 pm ET|
Sports Illustrated NBA writer Chris Mannix joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday, one day before the NBA trade deadline, to discuss rumors surrounding the Celtics. Mannix said the Celtics would be wise to do the deal reportedly discussed with the Clippers, but he’s not expecting it to happen.
“Boston was making a lot of those calls about [Kevin] Garnett to the Clippers,” Mannix said. “And the interest in the Clippers, I can tell you, it’s divided out there among the organization. The coaching staff, they want Kevin Garnett, because they want to win now. ‘¦ Whereas the front office, I can tell you this, they’re not all that inclined to give up Eric Bledsoe, who is a potential 10-year starter in this league, and DeAndre Jordan, a sure-fire starter right now, for Kevin Garnett, who could potentially only be giving you a couple more months. Who knows what Kevin Garnett’s future is going to hold? To me, he’s always been on a series of one-year contracts.
“I think at the end of the day, when you throw in the no-trade clause that Kevin has, and you consider the fact that I have not heard a heck of a lot of significant interest surrounding Paul Pierce, I think more likely than not, the core of this team stays together.”
A report Tuesday night had the Clippers pulling out of trade talks. Mannix said he expects Celtics boss Danny Ainge would follow through if the deal is resuscitated.
“I think if the deal is there, he makes it,” Mannix said. “If he can get Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan for Kevin Garnett, you jump at it. I’ve heard some criticisms of this deal from the Boston side; I don’t get it. Has anyone not been watching Eric Bledsoe? As really the fourth guard on this Clippers team — third, I guess, when [Chauncey] Billups is injured — but really, he’s done a lot of things.”
Added Mannix: “You’re dealing with potential right now, because he hasn’t gotten the consistent minutes at the point guard spot because Chris Paul has been there for a couple of years now. But Eric Bledsoe is a guy that could potentially take over as a starting point guard for a team right away, and be an effective guy, be a guy that can score 15 points per game and give you seven, eight assists. Look at the way he’s played this year: He’s up to about 10 points per game. But more importantly, his field goal percentage is in the mid-40s right now, his 3-point percentage is in the low 30s. This is a guy that’s been improving every single year. So I think he’s a guy you would want to get.
“Same thing with DeAndre Jordan, who admittedly is a little bit overpaid, because Golden State threw that massive contract at him last year. But he’s someone that can be a starting center on your team for the next decade.
“And when you make a deal like that, all of a sudden there can be a domino effect. Now you can think about dealing Rajon Rondo next year, when he becomes healthy, because you have Eric Bledsoe already at the starter’s spot. You can trade Rondo for some starting quality pieces or some draft picks, and all of a sudden an old, aging team could suddenly be a fast, rebuilding team on the fly. I think that’s the way it would turn out.”
|Trade rumor: Celtics take Rajon Rondo off market||at 12:32 pm ET|
Despite ESPN.com senior writer Chris Broussard‘s insistence that Celtics president Danny Ainge has made injured point guard Rajon Rondo available on the trade market, Rondo’s agent Bill Duffy told USA Today’s Sam Amick that Ainge “assured him” on Wednesday that the four-time All-Star will not be dealt.
Meanwhile, CBSSports.com columnist Ken Berger reports Rondo would only be dealt for Dwight Howard, Chris Paul “or a massive haul of assets” similar to what the Nuggets received for Carmelo Anthony. As you might remember, Melo, Chauncey Billups and three low-level NBA talents returned Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, a first-round draft pick, two second-round picks and $3 million in cash from the Knicks in 2011.
Those scenarios are a pipe dream for Ainge, considering Rondo’s season-ending ACL surgery that leaves him rehabbing for training camp next season.
|Marc Spears on D&C: ‘I know the Clippers want to do this’ trade for Kevin Garnett||02.19.13 at 11:33 am ET|
Yahoo! Sports NBA writer Marc Spears checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday to discuss the rumors of a trade between the Celtics and Clippers, and the Celtics’ interest in Hawks forward Josh Smith.
With Thursday’s trade deadline fast approaching, rumors continue to swirl that the Celtics and Clippers are discussing a deal that would send Kevin Garnett to Los Angeles for DeAndre Jordan and Eric Bledsoe.
“I think the Clippers want it done more so than Boston,” Spears said. “This is the first time we’ve ever talked about the Clippers having a championship shot. I think they realize that they’re missing just a little something to get them over that hump with Oklahoma City and with San Antonio. And who better to get them there than Kevin Garnett?
“I was there [at All-Star Weekend] when Kevin said no, no circumstance, nothing. But I really believe if Danny [Ainge] came up to him and said, ‘Hey, this is something we would like to do; this is better for our future,’ knowing Garnett’s pride, I think he would probably change his mind. I know he doesn’t want to be somewhere where they’d rather have something else.”
Jordan is having a solid fourth season (9.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and Bledsoe, while not a starter, also is having a good year (9.6 ppg, 3.3 apg).
“DeAndre Jordan I think is a better center than [he’s] getting credit for,” Spears said. “He’s really really retooled his offensive game, gotten better in the post, but the problem is everybody on the Clippers likes to shoot. … I think he could be one of the NBA’s elite centers, he’s just not given a chance.
“Bledsoe is very very talented, very athletic. I don’t know that acquiring him certainly means that [Rajon] Rondo is gone. He and Chris Paul play a lot together, so I can’t see why him and Rondo can’t play a lot together. But I know Bledsoe is at a point in his career, too, where he wants to start, so that’s where I think it gets kind of tricky.”
It appears that the trade could benefit both clubs. It would give the Celtics a quality starting center and a young point guard, while the Clippers would get a player with championship experience who still is playing good basketball at the age of 36. KG has stated numerous times, though, that he wants to finish his career with the Celtics.
‘I know the Clippers want to do this, I know they want to,” Spears said, adding: “This is an opportunity for the Clippers to finally get something. The window with Garnett obviously is about two years, but they’ve never been here and I think their owner might be in the mentality now of just ‘Let’s go for it. I’ve saved money for all these years with these bad teams, I might as well do something for once.’ So I think they’re open to doing something big.’
|Trade rumor: Celtics, Lakers discuss Rajon Rondo for Dwight Howard||02.15.13 at 10:04 pm ET|
The Celtics and Lakers “have engaged in preliminary trade discussions” about a deal that would send Rajon Rondo to Los Angeles and bring Dwight Howard to Boston, according to CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger.
Since Rondo makes $11 million in salary and Howard makes $19.5 million, the Celtics would have to include more pieces to make such a blockbuster deal work. Still, the Lakers are hesitant to deal the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, and the Celtics would need assurance that Howard would re-sign in Boston this summer, according to the report. Those obstacles — and so many more — make the trade a long shot.
Still, the C’s and Lakers could table what little discussion has actually taken place until the offseason, when Rondo’s recovery from ACL surgery has progressed and Howard becomes a sign-and-trade possibility, Berger said.
Just imagine how Rondo would perform on national TV against the Celtics.
UPDATE: The Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy confirmed Berger’s report, citing that the “unlikely” trade talks occurred prior to Rondo’s injury. That piece of information seems fairly significant. And then there’s this.
Source who would definitely know re: reported Rondo/Howard talks: “nothing. Zero. Nada. Niente. Clear?” So, there’s that.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) February 16, 2013
|Doc Rivers: ‘We are really right at the threshold’||02.13.13 at 9:31 pm ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers touched on just about every issue facing his team — and there are many — prior to his team’s final game before the NBA All-Star break: 1) the season-ending ACL injury suffered by Leandro Barbosa (who he “absolutely” wants back next season); 2) the search for a point guard (or any warm body, for that matter); 3) losing Barbosa, Jared Sullinger and Rajon Rondo in the locker room (a bigger deal than people think); 4) his depleted roster (“We are really right at the threshold”); 5) whether we’ll see more Fab Melo (we won’t); 6) similarities between Rondo and reigning NFL MVP Adrian Peterson (few beyond the ACL tear); 7) Michael Jordan‘s 50th birthday (“I wish they were all like that”), he hit them all. Here goes:
On Leandro Barbosa’s absence: “You don’t know a player or a coach or anybody until you actually coach with them or play with them, and he’s one of those guys you just like in your locker room — forget the basketball part. His spirit has been really good for us, and losing that, that’s big. And then he was our wild card. It’s good to have a wild card. When you throw him in, it could go either way, but you knew he was going to be aggressive.”
On point guard prospects: “In the last 48 hours, [Celtics president] Danny [Ainge] and I have probably covered every human being that’s breathing and can dribble and shoot. We’re just going to take our time. At the end of the day today, that’s basically what we came to. You don’t want to rush anything. We don’t have a lot of flexibility cap-wise. We’re just going to wait. If somebody shakes loose or you can get somebody, we will, but until then we’re stretched at the guard spot.”
|The cold truth: Paul Pierce leads Celtics to 7th straight in epic fashion||02.10.13 at 9:15 pm ET|
The two hottest teams in the NBA rewarded hearty New England basketball fans with the game of the year in professional basketball. In a game with countless ebbs and flows, the Celtics outlasted the Nuggets, 118-114, in triple overtime Sunday night at TD Garden, earning their season-high seventh straight win in the process. The Celtics also ended Denver’s nine-game win streak, with Rajon Rondo in attendance.
In 54 spectacular minutes, Paul Pierce finished with a triple double, scoring 27 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and dishing 14 assists. But with a chance to tie the game, his second free throw rattled in and out with 32.5 seconds left in double overtime. Ty Lawson hit jumper to put Denver up three. Pierce came down and drained a 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left to send the game into triple overtime.
After missing six straight 3-pointers, Jason Terry drilled a straightaway trey with 1:33 left in triple OT to put the Celtics up 116-113. Terry finished with 26 points off the bench. Sunday marked Boston’s ninth overtime game this season, matching a franchise record for a season (1950-51 and 1953-54). Kevin Garnett was big on the boards in 47 minutes, hauling in 18 rebounds to go with 20 points.
The Celtics were 3.6 seconds from their seventh straight win when the officials overturned a Nuggets turnover out of bounds under the Celtics basket. Given a second chance, Lawson hit the game-tying layup off the glass to send the game into overtime.
There were very few empty seats in TD Garden as Celtics fans braved the elements and lack of public transportation to get to the game just 24 hours after a state of emergency was lifted in the wake of the “Nemo” blizzard.
The Nuggets entered the game with an NBA-best nine-game winning streak, beating the Cavaliers Saturday night. The Nuggets (104.8) entered the game as the third-highest-scoring team in the NBA, with only the Thunder (106.6) and Rockets (106.0) scoring more per game.
|Donny Marshall on M&M: Celtics ‘more mentally healthy’ without Rajon Rondo||02.08.13 at 12:35 pm ET|
Marshall said he thought the third quarter of the Celtics’ win over the Lakers on Thursday night was the best he’s seen the C’s play in a long time.
“They looked perfect,” Marshall said. “It was one of those situations, at least in my opinion, where it wasn’t just the bad Lakers, but it was the great Celtics. We’ve seen this team play really well, but the other teams are just so horrendous that me, you and Lou could get out there and play with them ‘¦ Last night I really think it was the product of the Celtics playing great.”
Marshall said he doesn’t think the Celtics are a better team overall without Rondo, but that his absence is allowing them a change of perspective that’s helped them.
“It seems like they needed to be more mentally healthy, and it looks like that’s what they are right now,” Marshall said. “I don’t want to make it sound like Rondo is ‘¦ by no means is he a Dwight Howard that’s going to screw things up just because it’s all about him, going to purposely screw the mechanism up of Doc [Rivers‘] machine there. But sometimes when we’re young and have success early we can’t stay out of our own way, and I think Rondo kind of ran into that a little bit. He really is a great player, but there’s more than just being a great player when it comes to basketball.”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
On Rondo’s leadership: “You can’t go in the locker room and alienate your teammates. I don’t know if he’s doing that or not, but it seems like that locker room is much healthier. You can’t go on the court and say, ‘I’ll handle the ball, get out of the way, I’ll make you better.’
“There would be situations where Ray Allen would be in position to make a move one-on-one, and Rondo would run over to him and grab the ball from him and say, ‘Get to the corner, I’m going to run the play.’ This team doesn’t have that guy right now, and they’re playing so free. Their spacing is amazing, which helps their ball movement. It’s just incredible to see, for a team that doesn’t really have that one guy that stands out to you over this streak, it’s really amazing.”
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