|Rajon Rondo would like a new pair of shoes||09.21.10 at 10:16 am ET|
With the start of training camp less than a week away, Rajon Rondo has been making the rounds. He talked to Slam magazine for an interview that was posted on their website about his goals, buying groceries and his shoes.
“Actually,” he said. “I wear a new pair of shoes every game for the most part.”
Good to know.
Of more immediate concern, Rondo laid out his individual goals for the upcoming season: making the All-Star and All-Defense team. Rondo gave credit to his teammates for helping him achieve those milestones last season and then said something very interesting:
“I’m pretty sure that people who don’t like my game are waiting to see how I react when I don’t have the Big Three, but I don’t really care. I’m doing what I can do now for the team, and that’s why I’m in this situation.”
If you’ve paid attention to his career, then you know that Rondo is beyond intrigued about one day playing on a team without the veterans. That’s entirely normal for a young superstar. Beyond even acknowledging it, what makes Rondo unique is that he’s able to separate the here and the now from the future.
The only other player on the 2010 All-Star Eastern Conference team who couldn’t definitively be termed as a franchise’s signature player was Atlanta’s Al Horford. But, none of those other players have a championship ring.
Along those lines, Rondo’s team goals are to win a championship, obviously, but he also has goals for the regular season and there again, he’s a little unique among the current Celtics.
“As a team it’s to try to win 60-plus games and to try to stay healthy. As long as we’re healthy I’m pretty fine with what we do on the court. We don’t have to win 70 games, but it would be nice to get the first-place position and the home court advantage, because who can say? I never look back and say what if, but if we had the home seed then maybe the outcome would have been different against L.A.”
You won’t find too many Celtics worried about winning 60 games and playoff seeding. Their postseason success may have reinforced the notion that the regular season doesn’t matter, but it does in one very significant way: homecourt advantage.
That will be the largest theme of this regular season, along with health, and the two things are related. How much does Doc Rivers push his team, and how will they react? Rondo’s at the point in his career where he wants it all.
|Rajon Rondo talks about leaving team USA||09.19.10 at 9:50 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo hasn’t had a lot to say about why he left the United States team just before the FIBA World Championships in Turkey, but that hasn’t stopped others from speculating about the decision. (For my take, click here).
Rondo spoke to ESPN’s Ric Bucher over the weekend in San Francisco where he was hosting a 1-on-1 tournament on Alcatraz for Red Bull, which he endorses. Bucher also talked to Rondo’s agent Bill Duffy, was said he was the one who pushed Rondo to go out for the team, something the All-Star guard has resisted in the past.
Other reasons cited in the piece include: fatigue, both mental and physical, and family issues. (His uncle died during the preliminary games.) It will be interesting to see how much weight Rondo’s decision has on the 2012 Olympic team, or if he has any desire to play when it comes around.
|Mannix on D&C: ‘Not a unanimous decison’ for C’s on Shaq||08.04.10 at 10:09 am ET|
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to discuss the Celtics’ impending signing of Shaquille O’Neal. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Mannix said it’s a one-year deal for the veteran minimum — approximately $1.4 million — with a second-year player option. “This was not an easy decision for either side,” Mannix said, adding, “Shaq is obviously taking a monster pay cut. … It’s a huge, huge pay cut for this guy to play for this team and to accept a reserve role, coming off the bench.
“And for the Celtics, I can tell you this much, it was not a unanimous decision. This is not something that the entire front office and coaching staff entirely agreed upon. But it is a Danny Ainge type of move. He’s taken risks like this in the past, whether it’s Gary Payton or Stephon Marbury or Nate Robinson this past year. He’s taken chances on guys he thinks can help put them over the top. Danny obviously is convinced that Shaq is what this team needs right now.”
Asked if it was Shaq’s off-court distractions or on-court issues that made the Celtics hesitate, Mannix said: “It’s a little bit of a blend of both, but I think you’d have to start with the on-the-court problems. He is the worst pick-and-roll defender of all-time. He really is. He’s just a horrible, horrible guy when you’re coming off blitzing those screens. And Kendrick Perkins was one of the better pick-and-roll defenders on this Celtics team. This whole defense that Tom Thibodeau put together, and Kevin Garnett glued together, was based on effective pick-and-roll defense.
“It’s going to be incumbent now on Doc Rivers, and to a certain degree Lawrence Frank, who is essentially taking over that Tom Thibodeau role, to redesign the defense. They’re going to have to come up with something almost entirely new when Shaq’s on the floor. Because think about it: The two teams standing in Boston’s path are really Orlando and Miami, and those teams are going to run pick and roll all day long.”
Mannix also noted how Shaq often was in the way of Steve Nash when they were teammates in Phoenix. “Rajon Rondo is going to have similar problems,” Mannix said. “Shaq is not a guy who is even remotely comfortable playing anywhere but six or seven feet away from the basket. So, that’s going to be a challenge for Doc Rivers and his coaching staff to figure that out as well.”
All that said, Mannix said he thinks the signing is a good one for the Celtics. “He instantly becomes the best rebounder you have out there,” Mannix said. “And I’m not worried about him bogging down the fast break. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Kendrick Perkins wasn’t exactly Brad Daugherty running the floor out there for the Celtics. I just think overall, he’s a solid fit.”
Added Mannix: “While I understand the risks — and I think it’s a huge risk to a certain degree — you’re not going to get by Miami, you’re not going to get by Orlando unless you make an upgrade. And Shaq, to me, was the best available upgrade out there.”
Asked about controversial guard Delonte West, Mannix said it makes sense for the Celtics to bring him in. West was waived by the Timberwolves this week following a trade from Cleveland. “I think they should [sign him],” Mannix said. “Delonte obviously is familiar with the system, familiar with Boston, familiar with some of the pieces that are in place there. And he’s a proven combo guard. Obviously, the personal problems he’s had off the floor have been well-documented. … But again, you’re talking about adding guys for the minimum salary. If Delonte doesn’t work out — and I guess to a certain degree if Shaq doesn’t work out — you can just waive these guys.”
|Rondo makes first cut for Team USA||07.28.10 at 3:40 pm ET|
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo was among 15 players to make the cut for Team USA’s squad on Wednesday. Here is the roster:
Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets); Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks); Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies); Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers); Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers); Jeff Green (Oklahoma City Thunder); Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers); Brook Lopez (New Jersey Nets); Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves); Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers); Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics); Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls); and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder).
Asked whether he felt Rondo was an unconventional choice for international play, coach Mike Krzyzewski defended his selection.
“He’s unconventionally become an NBA champion and a triple double guy in this league. I think he’s an adequate shooter for us,” Krzyzewski said. “He did well shooting the ball in the camp. The thing that Rondo does is he plays with a will to win and he just finds ways to have a positive impact on the game. I really like that about him.”
|Broussard on D&H: C’s ‘did what they had to do’||07.27.10 at 3:25 pm ET|
Dale & Holley welcomed ESPN NBA insider Chris Broussard Tuesday afternoon to talk about all things basketball this offseason, including the topics of LeBron James, the Celtics’ offseason pickups and re-signings and Doc Rivers possibly returning for more than one season.
“If they have a great season, maybe win the championship, I do think that there would be a lot of pull to return to the franchise,” Broussard said of the coach. “I think he’s doing the right thing, I think it’s a fluid situation and he’s leaving his options open, so I’m not too surprised to hear Doc say that.”
Below are highlights. To listen to the full interview click on the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
On when he figured out that LeBron James would be leaving Cleveland:
It’s interesting, because throughout that whole process there were a lot of people close to LeBron who wanted him to stay in Cleveland, and it’s not a smokescreen, to my knowledge. I would have believed he was trying to get Chris Bosh to go there. Toronto agreed to do a sign and trade, LeBron was trying to sell Bosh on coming to Cleveland and being his second guy. If he was able to do that, then I think LeBron would have stayed in Cleveland.
And then of course, LeBron was also trying to talk to Chris Paul. They were trying to figure out a way Chris Paul could be traded to Cleveland. If one of those two things happened, then I think LeBron would have stayed because there was a part him that wanted to stay, that understood legacy. [Michael] Jordan turned a terrible franchise into a champion, Isiah Thomas did it. You hear it, even in the criticism about LeBron’s decision, that the great ones always stay with one team.
He understood that and wanted to stay, a part of him did, but when he realized they couldn’t get that second guy, and then you looked down the road [he asked] “Would I be able to ever get that second guy here? It’s been seven years and it hasn’t happened.” That’s when he really had to say, “You know what? I may have to go.”
Now, Chicago was always very strong in consideration and Miami with their situation was always right there too, but I really think he gave Cleveland a legitimate shot. Finally, when Bosh made it clear that [he] was going to Miami with [Dwyane] Wade, that’s when LeBron realized he wasn’t going to be able to get anybody [in Cleveland]. Can [he] get through Boston what they’re going to do in Miami, Chicago and the Lakers, other teams, like Orlando, without that second guy. He had to go make sure that he had a couple of star teammates.
On the Celtics’ offseason strategy of re-signing their veterans:
I think they’ve done well. The Jermaine O’Neal move was a good one. I know they hate to lose Tony Allen, his defense was critical down the stretch, but I think they should move on without him. I’ve got to admit, I was among the surprised when they played so well in the playoffs, so I do wonder if they’ve got enough left to reach the finals again next year.
I was just talking about with age and things like that. You wonder two years from now, they’re going to be old and pretty much done with that. With [Rajon] Rondo, who’s developing into an All-Star and they’ve got a few other young guys, but that’s my only worry, I think they did what they had to do. I think it’s the right thing to go ahead and try to take one more shot at it. My pick is Miami in the East, but I think the Celtics will be right there.
|VOTE: Rondo or CP3?||07.22.10 at 3:48 pm ET|
With Chris Paul reportedly wanting out in New Orleans, the airwaves have been burning with debate over whether the point guard could potentially be a fit in Boston and whether it would be worth replacing incumbent Rajon Rondo. Now we ask you for your opinion.
|Rondo added to Team USA roster||07.15.10 at 5:56 pm ET|
NBA.com reports Rajon Rondo was added to the 2010-12 USA Basketball men’s national team roster used to select teams for the 2010 FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Championship and the 2012 Olympics in London.
Rondo expressed his excitement via Twitter: “Playing for Team USA this summer. Looking forward to repping our country.”
The Celtics 6-foot-1 guard joins Mavericks center Tyson Chandler and Suns center Robin Lopez, bringing the Team USA player count to 24.
All three additions are expected to participate in the team’s training camp in Las Vegas next week, culminating with the 2010 USA Basketball Showcase July 24.
NBA.com confirms the following players will participate in the camp, which runs July 19-24: Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets), Chandler, Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder), Tyreke Evans (Sacramento Kings), Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies), Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers), Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers), Jeff Green (Oklahoma City Thunder), Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers), David Lee (Golden State Warriors), Brook Lopez (New Jersey Nets), Lopez, Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves), O.J. Mayo (Memphis Grizzlies), Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers), Rondo, Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls), Amar’e Stoudemire (New York Knicks), Gerald Wallace (Charlotte Bobcats), and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder).
Rondo led the Celtics to the NBA finals last year, averaging 13.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in the regular season.
Rondo has some experience with USA Basketball after playing for the 2005 USA U-21 World Championship Team that went 7-1 and finished fifth. Rondo recorded 27 steals (3.4 spg) to lead the team and set a new USA U-21 record that year.
The FIBA World Championship takes place in Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir and Kayseri, Turkey, from Aug. 28 to Sept. 12. The U.S. will open the 2010 World Championships Aug. 28 against Croatia, which has never faced the Americans in championship play but has an 0-3 record against them in the Olympics.
The USA has won 10 medals in the World Championship — three gold medals (1954, 1986 and 1994), three silver medals (1950, 1959 and 1982) and four bronze medals (1974, 1990, 1998 and 2006).
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said Rondo initially declined the invitation to participate in February, when the roster was first constructed, but that some miscommunication may have been behind it.
Colangelo said in a statement, “Tyson, Robin and Rajon are outstanding additions to the national team and they help give us the talent and depth required in making sure we field the very best USA Basketball teams possible.”
Players selected in the Las Vegas training camp will regroup in New York to train more next month and compete in the first-ever World Basketball Festival, a four-day basketball bonanza, put on by Nike and USA Basketball, celebrating the performance and the culture surrounding the sport, before they fly overseas for the World Championship.