The Boston Celtics will begin their NBA season tonight in Toronto as they face the Raptors. The 2013-’14 Celtics look much different than last year’s team. Doc Rivers went to Los Angeles to coach the Clippers as the Celtics received an unprotected 2014 first-round pick. Then the Celtics sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry on draft night to the Brooklyn Nets. The Celtics acquired Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks,Kris Humphries, Kris Joseph, Gerald Wallace, and three first-round selections in 2014, 2016, and 2018. The Celtics can swap picks with the Nets in 2017 if the Nets finish with the higher choice. After the trade, the Celtics waived Joseph.
There was a surprise when the Celtics decided to replace Rivers with Brad Stevens as the head coach. Stevens led Butler University to consecutive NCAA Finals appearances in 2010 and 2011. He is only 37 years old. There are many questions whether Stevens can be successful in the NBA because he is taking over a rebuilding team and the recent failure of college coaches who transition into the professional ranks looms. Also, many fans are skeptical whether headstrong point guard Rajon Rondo can get along with Stevens after he had reported arguments with Rivers.
While the Celtics look toward the future, this season does not look promising. They will not be able to start the season with their most talented player in Rondo. Rondo is out after suffering a torn right ACL in a January 27th game against the Atlanta Hawks. He is not expected to return until at least December. The team has one true point guard (5-foot-11-inch undrafted rookie Phil Pressey) and one true center (the Brazilian Vitor Faverani). Both players lack experience as they have never played a game in the NBA. While Pressey played well in the preseason, he is undersized. Faverani can be physical in the paint and he can shoot from the outside, but how will he fare when he has to defend Brook Lopez?
The local sports talk in Boston over Columbus Day weekend has centered on the astonishing come-from-behind victories by the New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox on Sunday. The Boston Bruins are just five games into the 2013-’14 regular season. Then there are the Boston Celtics who continue to work in anonymity as the preseason winds down.
Currently, the Celtics are the bottom feeders in Boston sports because they sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets. Doc Rivers left Boston to chase a championship with the Los Angeles Clippers. Rajon Rondo is rehabbing from a torn right ACL that he underwent surgery on in February. The Celtics are left having to rely on holdovers such as Jeff Green, Avery Bradley, and Brandon Bass while they hope the newcomers (Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, and Vitor Faverani) can integrate themselves into the organization. There is uneasiness about rookie forward Kelly Olynyk because he looks like he can become another Dirk Nowitzki,with his ability to shoot from the perimeter, but he played at Gonzaga and he is not seen as a great defender. Olynyk is not seen as a franchise cornerstone, but he is a building block. New head coach Brad Stevens has never coached in the NBA and he is jsut 36-years-old.
The Celtics are 1-3 in the preseason. They played awful in losses to the Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Celtics nearly finished a comeback victory against the New York Knicks and then they blew out the Knicks.
With the regular season opener just two weeks away, the Celtics’ players are using Twitter to have discussions with their fans and expressing their personalities.
Brooks is a fan of the Atlanta Falcons and he was one person among many Patriots’ fans who was cheering for Tom Brady and the Patriots to score on their final drive. Since Brooks moved to Georgia when he was six years old so it makes sense that he grew up as a fan of the Falcons. The Falcons and the New Orleans Saints are both in the NFC South. The (1-4) Falcons will need to win several more games to catch up to the Saints (5-1). Also, the Falcons already lost to the Saints in Week 1 and they are missing key players, including Julio Jones who is out for the season.
While people celebrated Columbus Day in Boston, this day is a different holiday in Canada. Canadians enjoy Thanksgiving in the middle of October and Olynyk is a native of Toronto. Thanksgiving is celebrated in October in Canada because Canada has an earlier harvest season as their crops are harvested by mid-October.
The rebuilding Boston Celtics begin training camp today. There have been several changes as the Celtics have a new head coach (Brad Stevens) and several new players, including Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, and rookie Kelly Olynyk. There are many fans and media who do not know what to make of this team other than they could be in trouble without Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce. Also, point guard Rajon Rondo will be out until December at the earliest with a torn ACL that he suffered in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks on January 27th.
Celtics forward Brandon Bass is taking swimming class with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston. Bass is from Louisiana and he never had a place to learn how to swim when he was a child. Now, Bass’ son can swim and Bass figured that it’s an important life lesson. Bella English of The Boston Globe wrote an excellent article on this story.
MarShon Brooks is ready to begin his third season in the NBA. This will be Brooks’ first season with the Celtics. Brooks played at Providence College so he is used to playing in front of fans from New England. In the 2011 NBA Draft, Brooks was taken by the Celtics with the 25th pick, but he was traded to the then-New Jersey Nets. The Nets sent JaJuan Johnson (27th overall selection in 2011 Draft) and a second round pick in 2014. The 6-foot-5-inch guard was acquired by the Celtics this summer in the deal that sent Garnett and Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets.
Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo was involved in trade rumors on Saturday.
The Boston Celtics are apparently not done stripping their roster yet. On Saturday afternoon, Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com wrote that the Dallas Mavericks are interested in acquiring Rajon Rondo from the Celtics.
According to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe, the Mavericks want to pursue Rondo in order to sign Dwight Howard so they can make one final run in the Western Conference in the Dirk Nowitzki era. The Mavericks have Shawn Marion’s expiring contract and they drafted Shane Larkin. Marion just decided to not opt out of his contract and keep his $9.32 million deal for next season. The Celtics worked out Larkin twice before the NBA Draft. Jay Larranaga has been rumored to become the Celtics next head coach. Larranaga’s father, Jim, coached Larkin at the University of Miami (FL) last year.
Will Ainge trade Rondo? There can be cases made for both sides. While Rondo is one of the elite point guards in the NBA, he is mercurial. He clashed with Doc Rivers and there was a report that last year they fought in the locker room after Rondo cursed at Rivers. Also, Rondo is coming off a torn ACL and he may have to prove that he is healthy.Yet, Rondo is just 27 years old and he is entering the prime of his career. Rondo has two years left on his contract at an affordable price and teams who are seeking point guards will attempt to make deals for him.
One reason this deal likely won’t happen is the Mavericks might have to take on the contracts of Courtney Lee and Brandon Bass. They only have five players under contract right now and they want the cap space to be able to sign Howard. If the Mavericks fail to land Rondo, they can go after a free agent point guard like Chris Paul or Monta Ellis.
It is not out of the realm that Ainge will deal Rondo if he can get the proper value for him. If the Celtics do hire an inexperienced head coach such as Larranaga, it will be worth looking into what the team can get for a moody player like Rondo. Rivers said the team needed a new voice. Does this mean he could not reach Rondo and some of the other players who are currently on the roster?
While Ainge will publicly deny trading Rondo, he will listen to any offers other teams will propose to him. As we have just seen with the recent trades of Doc Rivers to the Clippers and Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets, every player on the Celtics is expendable.
Tony Parker led the San Antonio Spurs back to the NBA Finals this year.
The Boston Celtics will be facing the challenge of rebuilding their roster into a championship contender this summer.
There are mixed reports of Paul Pierce being either bought out for $5 million or traded because he has an expiring contract with a buy-out clause. The more likely scenario is the Celtics will trade the 15-year veteran. This will force them to remake their roster, but the challenge will not be as daunting because they still have point guard Rajon Rondo and head coach Doc Rivers.
Two of the remaining three teams in the NBA playoffs are examples for the Celtics to look toward in restocking their talent.
The San Antonio Spurs much like the Celtics had an aging 7-footer in David Robinson in 1997. The Spurs were fortunate to land the top pick in that draft as they won the Tim Duncan Sweepstakes. In the next six seasons, the Spurs had one of the best frontcourts in the game with Robinson and Duncan. They won a championship in the lockout-shortened 1998-’99 season over the New York Knicks. When Robinson retired, the Spurs were forced to find a new avenue to build their team. Tony Parker fell to the Spurs in the 2001 NBA Draft as the 28th overall selection. Parker came from playing in France and was an unknown prospect compared to other point guards like Joseph Forte (University of North Carolina) and Jamaal Tinsley (Iowa State) who played in the United States. Forte was selected with the 21st overall pick by the Celtics and he played a total of 25 games in the NBA with just eight for the Celtics in 2001-’02. Tinsley was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies, but he was traded to the Indiana Pacers on draft night. Parker has become one of the best point guards in the league as he has helped the Spurs win two championships (2004-’05 and 2006-’07). Manu Ginobili was taken by the Spurs in the second round in 1999 in the second round with the 57th pick, but the crafty Argentinan played overseas until the 2002-’03 season when he began his career with the Spurs. Ginobili has become one of the best scorers off the bench. Another foreign player that the Spurs plucked in the NBA Draft is contributing to the Spurs’ run to the NBA Finals in Tiago Splitter. Like Ginobili, the 6-11 center from Brazil was drafted in 2007, but he played in international competition until he joined the Spurs in 2010-’11. The two constants have been Duncan and head coach Gregg Popovich.
Paul Pierce (left) and Kevin Garnett (right) may have played their last game in a Celtics uniform.
As the Boston Celtics head into the off-season, they have many questions to answer. The first is whether they should retain captain Paul Pierce?
Pierce could make $15.3 million this season unless the Celtics buy out Pierce for $5 million. If the Celtics choose to buy out Pierce, they will have to do it by June 30th. The issue is that the Celtics are already committed to $76 million for next season. If they buy out Pierce, they still do not have a lot of money to spend since they save just $10 million and they are already over the salary cap (likely to be in the neighborhood of $59 million). If the Celtics do cut ties with their franchise cornerstone, this could lead to Kevin Garnett also leaving the franchise. Garnett said after the Game 6 loss to the New York Knicks that his future is tied with Pierce. Head coach Doc Rivers left the door open to the possibility of leaving the Celtics in his postgame press conference on Friday.
The free agent and draft class is very weak this summer so it will be tough to rebuild this off-season. This leaves trades as the only potential avenue to upgrade the 2013-’14 roster. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge was unable to ship Pierce or Garnett off at the trade deadline because he was asking for a significant return.