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Celtics Circuit: Rajon Rondo Traded To Dallas

Rajon Rondo will no longer be the floor leader for the Boston Celtics.

Rajon Rondo will no longer be the floor leader for the Boston Celtics.

The Boston Celtics shipped out their final piece of a golden era on Thursday evening as Rajon Rondo seems to be headed to Dallas to join the Mavericks.

The deal is not yet completed, but it appears both sides are close with just the final pieces being discussed. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Celtics will send Rondo and Dwight Powell to the Mavericks for point guard Jameer Nelson, Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, a 2015 first-round pick, and a future second-rounder.

Rondo delighted Celtics fans for the past eight-plus seasons with his precision passes. The mercurial point guard reportedly clashed with former coach Doc Rivers. He is the final member of the 2008 championship team. Rondo said that he was interested in testing free agency next summer.

The ninth-year veteran will join Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, and Chandler Parsons. Rondo can afford to take more chances on defense with Tyson Chandler roaming down low. The Mavericks already have two pick-and-roll guards in Ellis and Jose Juan Barea. Dallas is the best offensive team in the NBA, but they are currently sixth in the loaded Western Conference.

Nelson, who is 32 years old, has struggled in 23 games this season for the Mavericks. The six-foot guard averaged 7.3 points per game with just 4.1 assists. He is shooting just 37% from the field this season. The Celtics could trade Nelson before the deadline since Nelson has just a year and a half on his contract.

Wright is a unique talent with his size and athleticism. The seventh-year veteran had trouble finding a place with the Golden State Warriors early in his career, but he really came into his own for the Mavericks. The 6-foot-9-inch forward is shooting about 75% from the field through 27 games off the bench. Wright’s specialty is scoring off of pick-and-rolls, which would have helped if Rondo was still with the Celtics. Since Wright has an expiring contract at $5 million, the Celtics could flip Wright before the trading deadline in February.

Crowder brings energy on the defensive side of the ball and Brad Stevens could use Crowder to trap opponents. If Crowder can display the talent he showed at Marquette, Celtics fans will be pleased. Despite being undersized, Crowder can ignite the crowd with his athleticism.

The Celtics now have three first-round selections in 2015 and 2016. Although two of those picks in 2015 will come later in the opening round, Danny Ainge has a solid history with those higher picks. Players such as Kendrick Perkins (27th pick, 2003) and Tony Allen (25th, 2004) were part of the rebuilding process and they developed into valuable contributors during the Celtics’ title run in 2008. Also, the Celtics picked up a $12.9 million trade exception, which they have a year to use.

Even though this doesn’t look like a strong move for the Celtics, they added more assets to use in their rebuilding project. The Celtics were able to get something in return for a player who may not be with the team next year.

Celtics Circuit: C’s Release 2014-’15 Schedule

Will the 2014-'15 season be Rajon Rondo's last year with the Boston Celtics?

Will the 2014-’15 season be Rajon Rondo’s last year with the Boston Celtics?

The Boston Celtics released their schedule for the 2014-’15 season on Wednesday.  The Celtics will play only one nationally televised game on January 14th at home against the Atlanta Hawks. This means the Celtics are not a premier team in the NBA.

Their lone star (Rajon Rondo) is in the final year of his contract. Their roster is filled with either players who have been disappointments (Jeff Green, Evan Turner, and Tyler Zeller) and rookies like Marcus Smart and James Young.

The Celtics schedule in November looks to be daunting. They have to travel to Houston (Rockets), Dallas (Mavericks), and Chicago Bulls. The only game where they could be favored is on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers. Then they have a six-game road trip through the Western Conference from January 19th through January 28th.

Here are some notable games for Celtics fans to look forward to.

-October 29th – The Celtics open the season versus the Brooklyn Nets at the Garden. Kevin Garnett could be back with the Nets. This might be Garnett’s final season in the NBA.

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Celtics Circuit: Late Poor Execution On West Coast

Brandon Bass and the Celtics were a notch below LaMarcus Aldridge and the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday.

Brandon Bass and the Celtics were a notch below LaMarcus Aldridge and the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday.

The Boston Celtics just came off a winless five-game road trip on the West Coast. The first two games consisted of a poor effort on both ends of the court and led to lopsided defeats in Oklahoma City and Denver. Then the next three games, the Celtics played with more intensity, but came up short to the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, and Portland Trail Blazers.

Everybody knew the Celtics would struggle in the fourth quarter, especially when the score was close. Since Rajon Rondo is out, the Celtics lack their floor leader who can create shots for others as well as himself. In the fourth quarter, teams need that presence on the court because players need to produce in their half-court sets on offense while clamping down on the defensive end. Rondo can run the sets efficiently while preventing point guards from dribble drives with his speed. While Jordan Crawford had a nice run early in the season as the starting point guard, he has reverted to his old form of forcing bad shots.

In the first contest against the Thunder, the Celtics played a supremely talented team who has one of the best players in the NBA in Kevin Durant. While the Celtics hung with the Thunder in the first half when they put up 56 points, they still allowed 66 points. The Celtics let Reggie Jackson score 27 points and Durant nearly posted a triple double (21 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds) as the Celtics fell 119-96. The Thunder was able to get many easy baskets around the rim, especially in the second half.

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Celtics Circuit: C’s Trade For Jerryd Bayless

The Boston Celtics added another volume scorer with an expiring contract in Jerryd Bayless.

The Boston Celtics added another volume scorer with an expiring contract in Jerryd Bayless.

The Boston Celtics continue their attempts to increase their cap space for the summer of 2014.

On Sunday evening, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reported the Celtics executed a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies to swap reserve guard Courtney Lee for Jerryd Bayless. Both teams had trade exceptions that allowed the contracts to work in this deal.

 

Both Lee and Bayless share a similar position as guards who can come off the bench and play both spots in the back-court. They can handle the ball as well as play off-the-ball. Bayless is a scorer and he has been known to knock down some clutch shots with the Grizzlies. Lee is a versatile defender who can hit corner three-pointers.

Celtics fans remember Bayless because he scored all 15 of his points in the Grizzlies’ 95-88 home victory over the Celtics on November 4th. This deal does not necessarily make the Celtics a better team. From an optimistic view, if Rajon Rondo returns to the court and Bayless can perform like he did for the Grizzlies in the fourth quarter, the Celtics could compete for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Like all shooters, Bayless can run hot and cold. The sixth-year veteran has played for three teams.

Lee has two more years left on his contract for about $11 million. Bayless will be a free agent after this season.

When the Celtics acquired Lee, they believed that he would fill in for Avery Bradley because both had similar skill sets. Bradley also was coming off multiple shoulder surgeries in the summer of 2012.  The 28-year-old Lee never fulfilled those hopes. Even though Lee has been solid this season, the Celtics wanted to clear salary this year.

 

BST&N’s Top 5 Celtics Moments Of 2013 (VIDEO)

Although this year brought many memorable moments in Boston sports as the city dealt with tragedy (the Boston Marathon bombings) and celebrated the triumph of the Red Sox capturing the World Series, we are reminded that the Celtics were the lone team in the four major professional sports leagues to not play in a championship game. They have given us some exciting moments, but Celtics fans also waved goodbye to Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce.

Here are the top five moments in 2013 for the Celtics:

5. Celtics lose to New York Knicks in Eastern Conference quarterfinals in six games:

Nobody knew this would be one of Paul Pierce's final shots in a Boston Celtics uniform.

Nobody knew this would be one of Paul Pierce’s final shots in a Boston Celtics uniform.

The Celtics fell 88-80 to the Knicks in Game 6 of the first round of the NBA playoffs. This team was playing without point guard Rajon Rondo. Even though the team went on a run after Rondo tore his right ACL in January, the Celtics clearly displayed their flaws against Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks. The Celtics nearly forced Game 7. They fell behind by over 20 points in Game 6 at TD Garden before they cut the deficit down to two possessions late in the game. The Knicks hung on to survive and move on to the next round. This game proved to be the final game for Rivers, Garnett, and Pierce. It was not the ending that any Celtics fan hoped for when the Big Three formed in 2007. All good things must come to an end.

4. Celtics honor victims of the Boston Marathon bombings in Toronto:

The Celtics were supposed to square off against the Indiana Pacers at TD Garden on April 16, but the game was cancelled as the city mourned the tragic events that transpired at the Boston Marathon. Instead, the Celtics wrapped up their 2012-’13 season in Toronto on April 17th. Toronto held a pregame ceremony with both the Celtics and Raptors players and coaches meeting at halfcourt for a moment of silence.

3. Celtics Hire Brad Stevens:

Danny Ainge (left) was all smiles after the Boston Celtics gave Brad Stevens (right) a six-year contract.

Danny Ainge (left) was all smiles after the Boston Celtics gave Brad Stevens (right) a six-year contract.

Most media members were expecting the Celtics to replace Rivers with a young coach since the team was rebuilding. The prevailing rumor was the Celtics would promote Jay Larranaga, who is the son of the University of Miami (FL) head coach Jim Larranaga. Jay Larranaga was coaching the Celtics’ Summer League team and Rivers was reportedly trying to lure Larranaga onto his staff with the Los Angeles Clippers. On July 3rd, Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge shocked everyone when he tabbed Butler’s lead man, Stevens. Stevens had previously rejected several top-flight college programs to remain at Butler University. The hiring of Stevens brought both optimism and pessimism. People recognized the success that he had at a mid-major program like Butler and other people looked at his age (37 years old) as well as lack of experience on the professional level.

2. Celtics send Rivers to the Clippers for 2015 unprotected first-round pick:

 Doc Rivers joined the Los Angeles Clippers after a lengthy negotiation for his trade.

Doc Rivers joined the Los Angeles Clippers after a lengthy negotiation for his trade.

On May 3rd, Rivers said after the Celtics’ defeat to the Knicks that he would need time to think about coming back to the Celtics. Over the next month and a half, Ainge commented that he believed Rivers would be back. Then there were reports that the Celtics were shopping Rivers and Garnett to the Clippers for a package that included center DeAndre Jordan and point guard Eric Bledsoe. NBA Commissioner David Stern stepped in and said that teams cannot make a transaction that involved both a head coach and a player. Instead, the Celtics managed to receive a first-round choice and Rivers was granted his wish to coach a contender for the NBA title. While Rivers’ exit was unceremonious, this did not have an effect on the relationship between Rivers and the Celtics’ fans. When Rivers returned to Boston on December 11th, the Celtics’ faithful gave him a standing ovation. The organization compiled photos of Rivers’ days with the Celtics on the JumboTron. Rivers was forced to wipe away tears and expressed his love for Boston in his postgame press conference.

1. Celtics trade Garnett, Pierce, and Jason Terry to Brooklyn Nets for Keith Bogans, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph, and three-first round draft picks (2014, 2016, and 2017).

Paul Pierce (left), Kevin Garnett (middle), and Jason Terry (right) show off their Brooklyn Nets jerseys.

Paul Pierce (left), Kevin Garnett (middle), and Jason Terry (right) show off their Brooklyn Nets jerseys.

The Celtics were able to clear money from their salary cap and the Nets believed they were closer to a championship at the NBA Draft on June 27th. The trade was not made official until the NBA moratorium period ended on July 12th. Both teams can swap first-round picks in 2017. This showed that the Celtics were clearly in rebuilding mode. Pierce was a Celtic for all fifteen years of his career up until this past summer. Garnett spent six memorable years with the Celtics. Both players helped the Celtics capture the organization’s 17th title. They nearly won another championship in 2010 when they lost in seven games to the Los Angeles Lakers. This trade was already seen as a steal for the future because the Celtics received three first-round picks. The Nets are currently a team in disarray with a 10-20 record while the Celtics are in a better position than what most people thought they would be early in the 2013-’14 season. The Celtics are competing with the Raptors atop the Atlantic Division while the Nets are at the bottom.

Celtics Tweets of Interest: Jeff Green Shops With Children; Jared Sullinger Sends Christmas Greeting

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The Boston Celtics are enjoying their extended Christmas break this year. In the past five seasons, the Celtics had been showcased as part of the NBA’s Christmas package of games on national television. Since the Celtics lost Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce, the team has no star power. Also, Rajon is Rondo sidelined because of his torn right ACL.

While most pundits and fans believed the Celtics were in a rebuilding stage, the Celtics have surprised everyone. New head coach Brad Stevens has received the most out of his players’ ability. Through 29 games, the Celtics are 12-17 and they are competing for a possible playoff berth. In most years, the Celtics would be considered mediocre, but the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks have been major disappointments. This has left the Celtics to compete with the Toronto Raptors atop the Atlantic Division.

Avery Bradley has emerged as confident outside shooter. Bradley is shooting 41 percent from three-point range this season. Jared Sullinger is proving why he should have been a lottery pick. After undergoing back surgery last February, the second-year forward is averaging 14.1 points and 7.1 rebounds in 26.7 minutes per game. Jordan Crawford was seen as a volume shooter and a malcontent after he lost minutes to John Wall and Bradley Beal with the Washington Wizards, but he has become a capable point guard with the Celtics. While Jeff Green can disappear at times, he is leading the team with 16.1 points per game and has been successful defending players like Carmelo Anthony late in games. Green also made the game-winning three-pointer to beat the Miami Heat on November 9th.

Here are tweets from the players who enjoyed taking time away from their families to support their community and were in Christmas spirit:

On December 18th, Green shopped at Macy’s with 19 children. He attached a picture through Instagram. Green was a proponent of the NBA Give BIG program through social media. He spread holiday cheer to many people, especially children.

Sullinger sent Christmas wishes to his Twitter followers on Wednesday. He also reminded everyone about the religious aspect of Christmas. The 6-foot-9-inch forward’s avatar is a picture with him in a Santa Claus hat. Apparently, Sullinger enjoys the Holiday season like most people.

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