When the doors opened at the TD Garden and the crowds began to file in, the hype surrounding this game with the locals was one of a quiet confidence. The Thunder has had a miserable start to the season and all were looking forward to adding more pain to their suffering.
Following on from Nick C’s opening Julius Randle Rookie feature, I have decided to choose new Boston Celtics draftee Marcus Smart. My decision behind the pick was that as a Boston Celtics fan, I feel I can give a true account to his Rookie season as I’ll be watching him more than any other rookie in the League, while trying to stay as unbiased as I possibly can.
Free agency 2014 is done and dusted, with most teams finalizing their transactions, and beginning to prepare for the long NBA season ahead of them. The West is stacked, and the East is getting better, but there are still teams who have failed to match the off season efforts of others.
One team which has failed to make a splash in the market is the Boston Celtics, who have become a non-factor in a lackluster eastern conference these past few years, calling into question the true metal of much revered General Manager and former player Danny Ainge.
Since trading Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the summer of 2013, fans of the 17-time Champs have become increasingly more unnerved about the direction of the ball club, and how they plan on returning them to their rightful place atop the eastern conference.
There are picks a-plenty, and the future looks bright with young rookies Marcus Smart and James Young joining the ranks via the draft this summer. They also have a young core of Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger and Jeff Green, all of whom are ready to help the team progress into the next stage of Boston basketball. But what is the next step? What direction will this team, steeped in history, take?
There is zero doubt that Boston’s back court is deep, having drafted a one and a two, in addition to their already talented lineup of guards, leaving many asking the question why they let enforcer and 7th overall pick Julius Randle fall to the Lakers during June’s NBA Draft.
Drafting Marcus Smart was curious, given 1 x Champ and former All Star Rajon Rondo is still performing at an optimum level for the team, and will return at full strength this October, following knee surgery in February, 2013. Smart is projected to be a high performance player for Boston, but it’s hard to imagine they’ll be able to fully utilize him as a back up behind Rondo.
In this lies an interesting debate – Does it benefit the Celtics to trade their cornerstone, and franchise player before his free agency next summer?
Let’s look at the facts.
As mentioned previously, the roster is deep with guards. Rondo, Avery Bradley and Evan Turner only scratch the surface of their back court, with Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk and Jeff Green the only players of considerable note anchoring down the paint. Having prided themselves as a defensive stalwart for years, the Celtics would undoubtedly benefit from the addition of a top 15 big, who can average 20/12 on a nightly basis, and help reinforce Boston’s leaky defensive structure.
Injury is a concern. While Rondo is one of the league’s top point guards when healthy, there is uncertainty about his durability after a torn ACL restricted his playing time drastically this past season. Thus far, his value remains high, but should that decrease, and his ability begin to decline, so will his appeal. There is interest in Rondo throughout the league at this point in time, so at the very least, the Celtics should be willing to listen to offers.
An article surfaced earlier this week which indicated that Rondo wants to be “wined and dined” this summer, in similar fashion to Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. Of course, this may be nothing more than a player wanting to have his ego stroked, but it could also indicate that that Rondo is willing to listen to offers come summer 2015. If the Celtics let Rondo test free agency, they’ll run the risk of losing him for nothing, and while he has said he wants to stay a Celtic, no one truly knows.
Should they keep Rondo beyond 2014/15, it will no doubt take up considerable cap space with the team having signed Avery Bradley to a four year, $30 million deal. There is little doubt he’ll sign for anything less than the max next summer, so the Celtics must make a decision about the style of basketball they’ll be playing for the foreseeable future. There is also the question of whether keeping Rondo will impact the development of Marcus Smart, if Boston do intend to utilize him to his full potential.
So, while it remains unlikely that Rondo will sign an extension with any team beyond 2014/15, there could still be something in it for Boston – It’s not so much that we’ll see a Kevin Love/Minnesota type situation between the Celtics and Rondo (given Rondo’s love for the team. A notion Love did not share when it came to the Wolves), but it would benefit Boston in a big way to shop him before he leaves for nothing when the opportunity at a title and max money rears its head.
So, with the information we have, does trading Rondo benefit the Celtics? In short, yes. Given what we know about the team’s current structure, Rondo’s tenure as a franchise guy/healthy player, and his impending free agency, it absolutely is in Boston’s best interests to move him.
While this may be the case, one must wonder if it hasn’t happened yet, will it at all? It’s getting to a point now where it looks more and more likely that the team is all in on Rondo, and should they decide against it in the coming months, it may already be too late.
Whichever way you look at it, expect to see a lot of Rajon Rondo in the trade winds throughout season 2014/15.
This upcoming season will feel dramatically different for anyone from or fans of the Boston Celtics.
With the trading of Boston legends Paul Pierce & Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets and Coach Doc Rivers , it was definitely the end of era.
While Boston fans aren’t expecting too much from the forthcoming season, it is still in fact a very important one for star Point Guard Rajon Rondo.
In this feature we take a look at some key points Rondo will need to face if he is to have a successful season.
1. Not To Rush Comeback From Injury!
The Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets have agreed in principle to a blockbuster trade which sees a huge roster swap complete what will be remembered as one of the great eras in Celtics history. Earlier this morning, Yahoo! sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that the Celtics were looking to offload Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to the Nets in exchange for Keith Bogans and three future first round picks. This followed the epic departure of longtime coach Doc Rivers for the Western rivals the Clippers not even a week ago. Holding up the deal was Garnett’s ‘no trade’ clause within his contract which states that should the Celtics attempt to trade him, it can only be completed upon his approval and waiving of the clause. This afternoon, the great KG did just that and in turn opened the flood gates on the biggest trade to rock the NBA in months. We are only now getting an insight into what the parameters of the trade actually are.
Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry will head to the Deron Williams-led Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Kris Humphries, Reggie Evans, Gerald Wallace, Tornike Shengelia and Keith Bogans plus three future first round picks (unprotected) in 2014, 2016 and 2018. ESPN reported a big reason for Terry being involved in the trade was because Boston are absorbing the $30 Million contract of Gerald Wallace. The Nets however still have a payroll of approximately $100 Million and are deep in luxury tax territory in 2013/14. Boston have gone into full blown rebuilding mode, attempting to gather as many picks as possible in what we can assume will be a draft-oriented build.
The trade cannot be made official until July 10th when the NBA will lift a league-wide moratorium on all trades and signings.
It would seem most people around the League, be it fans, media, even fellow opposition would be impressed by a 20 game win streak.
Well….. not the Boston Celtics.
Here’s what Terry had to say about it…
Boston Celtics fans were dealt the blow of bad news despite the jubilation after they beat current NBA Champs Miami Heat 100-98 in a gritty 2OT thriller.
The Celtics announced pre-game they would be without their star Point Guard for the game but no one was too sure as to the extent of the injury. Journalist Doris Burke broke the news at half time that the injury was indeed a tear on his ACL, and now looks certain that Rondo will miss the rest of this season.
Below is the video that suggests that Rondo’s injury could have happened late in the second half in the loss against Atlanta Hawks two days ago.
Us at NBA Nation Australia would like to wish Rajon Rondo a speedy recovery.
With the new season fast approaching the team at NBA Nation Australia threw some ideas onto the table for new features. We were looking for ideas that were slightly different, and in particular some that would be weekly rollover pieces.
We came up with the idea of each of us on the team to pick a rookie and to stick with said player for the full year. With each piece on our respective rookies we will be focusing on the past week, on how our rookie has played, his progressions, the areas of his game needing improvement, and also their influence within the league.
Also, moving aside from all the serious talk of stats and improving, we will be looking at our rookies social media influence. We wil be posting some of their better/funnier tweets from the week, quotes from interviews, and maybe their Instagram shots of their favourite breakfasts.
For our opening rookie feature, Nick How will be opening up with Boston Celtics’ Jared Sullinger.
In news this morning Dallas Mavericks veteran guard Jason Terry has signed a 3-year, $15M deal with the Boston Celtics. The Celtics used a $5M trade exception to land Terry in a deal that only further strengthens Boston’s perimeter.
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