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Irish Coffee: Another NBA conspiracy theory 12.09.11 at 2:20 pm ET
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Please indulge me, whilst a tell you an NBA conspiracy theory. It involves a Mormon, a camel, two giants and an insurance salesman. None of them walked into a bar.

On July 31, 2007, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge convinced former C’s teammate, good friend and Timberwolves general manager Kevin McHale to ship Kevin Garnett to Boston in return for Al Jefferson and a cup of poop soup over a deal with the Lakers involving Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom. And the road to a 17th NBA championship was paved.

On Feb. 1, 2008, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak dangled the immortal Kwame Brown and his 5.7 points/5.7 rebounds per game as the centerpiece of a trade for Grizzlies All-Star Pau Gasol and his 18.9 points/8.8 rebounds per game. And former C’s general manager Chris Wallace delivered the 2009 and 2010 NBA titles to L.A.

On June 25, 2009, Dan Gilbert and the Cavaliers brass traded $20 million worth of Sasha Pavlovic and a washed up Ben Wallace for four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Irish Coffee: The return of Marquis Daniels 12.08.11 at 11:20 am ET
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Just 10 months removed from suffering a season-ending spinal cord injury and nine months removed from being traded to the Kings for a 2017 second-round pick that freed up his roster spot, Marquis Daniels is close to rejoining the Celtics, according to a Boston Globe report.

Daniels’ ability to backup Paul Pierce and Ray Allen — even spelling Rajon Rondo at the point in spots — was a safety net for Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. The swingman’s scary injury against the Magic cut short a second consecutive season in Boston and forced Danny Ainge to pull the trigger on a trade for Jeff Green.

Daniels averaged 5.6 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 100 games over two seasons in a Celtics uniform. He can officialy re-sign with the Celtics on Friday at 2 p.m.

TO TRADE OR NOT TO TRADE, THAT IS THE QUESTION

The Celtics are still "relentlessly" pursuing Chris Paul. (AP)

I was going to discuss the latest Rajon Rondo for Chris Paul trade discussions, as reported by Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski, but colleague Paul Flannery’s column from Thursday on the importance of timing in this matter still holds true.

Quickly, my two cents. The Boston Herald quoted a source in saying the Celtics’ “window is just too short for him. He looks on them as having one year left to do something, and that’s it.”

That might be Paul’s opinion, but it’s far from the truth. If the C’s made a deal for Paul, they would have just $18 million worth of Paul Pierce and Avery Bradley on their books. Even if Paul signed an extension in Boston (a financial windfall for him as opposed to entering unrestricted free agency), Ainge would have plenty of cap space to sign a Dwight Howard while offering Allen and Kevin Garnett more affordable deals to stay.

What I’m trying to say is this: The window wouldn’t be closing if the Celtics acquired Paul, because he actually is the window. His presence alone would make Boston an attractive destination to free agents for years to come, not to mention the fact that Ainge isn’t handcuffed by any bad contracts so the C’s will have the money, too.

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Irish Coffee: Imaginary 2011-12 Celtics roster 12.05.11 at 1:07 pm ET
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We’ve already discussed the Celtics reported interest in the following players: Shane BattierKwame BrownShannon BrownTyson ChandlerMarquis Daniels, Reggie EvansAaron GrayGrant HillJosh HowardChuck HayesCarl LandryRoger MasonAnthony ParkerJoel Przybilla and Michael Redd.

Over the weekend, The Washington Post reported the Celtics are indeed among nine teams interested in Josh “Not Dwight” Howard, and The Plain Dealer confirmed the Cavaliers will have to contend with at least the Celtics and Knicks for the services of Anthony “Not Candace” Parker. And Evans practically drooled over the possibility of playing for the Celtics, telling The Boston Globe, “I was kind of surprised when they reached out to me. It was an honor, especially with the kind of players they have on their team.”

However, it doesn’t appear the Celtics are among the potential landing destinations for Chuck Hayes, as his agent Calvin Andrews told Houston’s FOX affiliate (h/t Red’s Army) his client is focusing o the Blazers, Raptors, Rockets, Kings and Timberwolves. In other words, he’s looking for maximum dollars, not victories.

Also, an anonymous agent told the Boston Herald he doesn’t “see any way” the Celtics can’t get a deal done with Glen Davis and that Jeff Green‘s return to the Celtics “is practically done.”

Finally, according to Jason Richardson‘s hometown paper, The Saginaw News, the Bulls are considered the favorites to land him, although “rumors have also linked him with the Boston Celtics” — whatever that means.

With this knowledge (or lack thereof it), let’s take a stab at what a Celtics’ opening-day roster could look like.

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Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge show the love for Rajon Rondo 12.01.11 at 1:29 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers know full well what to expect when they next see Rajon Rondo – assuming that’s in a Celtics uniform on Dec. 9, the first day of training camp.

They admitted on Thursday in an 18-minute briefing with reporters at the team’s practice facility that trade rumors involving their point guard are part of the uncontrollable business of the new-world NBA where there’s labor peace but no ratified deal in place yet to allow general managers and coaches to have direct contact with players.

“I’ll talk to Rondo,” Ainge said. “Rondo will be fine. Rondo knows that we love him. He’s excited to come back and play basketball. He gets a lot of attention. He’s a great player. There’s a lot of people that call me and ask me about Rondo. How these rumors get out is unfortunate but we didn’t leak those rumors out and we’ll deal with it. He’ll be fine.”

“There’s a reason when whatever this thing leaked out, it was all over the news,” Rivers added. “It’s because the players they were talking about are both really good. Rondo has established that with his play. He is a great basketball player and he does so many things for our team. He should be flattered, in a way, that this is news.”

As big a deal as trading Rondo would be, Ainge has an even bigger issue at hand – filling out the roster before training camp and the season opener on Christmas.

“We have about eight players to sign, that’s not including our draft players, which we’re in the process of getting signed,” Ainge said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Celtics free agent options at point guard redux 11.30.11 at 5:57 pm ET
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Welcome to Part 3 of this week’s daily post-NBA lockout position-by-position breakdown of free agent options available to the Celtics. We have already profiled the C’s biggest needs — at center and shooting guard — so we move to a less pressing but critical position: Backup Point Guards.

The Celtics started and finished the 2010-11 season with three additional players capable of handling the point guard position behind two-time All-Star starter Rajon Rondo on the 15-man roster: Delonte West, Avery Bradley, Nate Robinson (before trade) and Carlos Arroyo (after trade). Only Rondo and Bradley remain, so it stands to reason that the Celtics will sign at least one more floor general.

The C’s targets depend on how confident they are in Bradley and how cheaply they can find a reliable backup (or third-string). 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 million; Paul Pierce, $15.33 million; Ray Allen, $10 million; Rajon Rondo, $10 million; Jermaine O’Neal, $6.23 million; Avery Bradley, $1.53 million), and Jeff Green is due at least another $5.91 million this offseason.

Signed through 2014-15, Rondo cemented himself as the franchise’s foundation (until this week’s rumors), and Bradley — under their control until his restricted free agency in 2014-15 — is slotted as the backup of the future. As a result, the C’s ideally would seek a veteran pure point guard and/or a capable combo guard who wouldn’t completely destroy their chances should Rondo’s injury issues persist and Bradley prove ill-prepared for big minutes. Arroyo and West fit those descriptions, but both might be too expensive or require more minutes.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the options available to the Celtics at backup point guard, separating the current free agent players into five categories. Read the rest of this entry »

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Irish Coffee: Rajon Rondo rumors, fact and fiction at 9:14 am ET
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FACT: The Celtics are discussing Rajon Rondo in a trade for Hornets point guard Chris Paul.

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.

FICTION: The Celtics offered Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green in a trade for Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook and center Kendrick Perkins. Read the rest of this entry »

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Report: Celtics offered Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green to Thunder for Kendrick Perkins, Russell Westbrook at 7:14 am ET
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Rajon Rondo

According to a report from ESPN’s Chris Broussard, the Celtics offered Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green to the Thunder for Kendrick Perkins and Russell Westbrook following last season’s playoffs.

Broussard credits sources with the information that the Celtics were looking for another scorer who can create his own offense and thought Westbrook might be available after his erratic postseason play. But Oklahoma City apparently was not interested.

Westbrook averaged 21.9 points and 8.2 assists per game last season. Rondo averaged 10.6 points and 11.2 assists.

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