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Celtics Circuit: Five Bold Predictions For Summer

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love will be the first chip to fall this summer.

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love will be the first player to come to Boston.

The Boston Celtics finally finished their 2013-’14 season with a 25-57 record after their 118-102 loss to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. The Celtics tied the Utah Jazz for the fourth worst record in the NBA. On Friday, the Jazz won the coin toss for the fourth spot in the NBA Lottery.

Before the season began, I predicted the Celtics would finish with 28 wins. There were many games where the Celtics had a chance to win. I also believed that the Celtics would look to trade veterans like Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace. They kept Humphries and Wallace, but the Celtics sent Courtney Lee to the Memphis Grizzlies and Jordan Crawford to the Golden State Warriors. I thought the team would play better when Rajon Rondo returned to the lineup in January, but the Celtics actually were better without Rondo in November and December. At the end of December, the Celtics were 13-18.

Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said there would be “fireworks” this off-season. Danny Ainge will attempt to upgrade the Celtics roster. With the Lottery on May 20th, the Celtics will find out where they pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.



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Here are my bold predictions for the summer:

1. Celtics won’t get a top-5 pick in the Draft. The Celtics poor luck will continue in the Lottery. In 1997, the Celtics lost the Tim Duncan sweepstakes  Like in 2007, this misfortune will lead the Celtics to complete a trade.

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Celtics Tweets of Interest: Rajon Rondo Promotes Bracket Challenge; Kelly Olynyk Follows Gonzaga

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As the Boston Celtics’ 2013-’14 season winds down, the team continues to play hard.

Since the 108-88 defeat to the Golden State Warriors, the Celtics are 2-2. In the 91-84 victory over the Brooklyn Nets, the Celtics were fortunate the Nets struggled from the three-point line even when the Nets had open shots. The Nets missed their initial 17 shots from beyond the arc and they finished just 4-for-30. On March 9th, the Celtics beat the Detroit Pistons as the Pistons are struggling. The Celtics were at home and they took advantage of the free-falling Pistons. Rajon Rondo compiled 18 assists and Kris Humphries posted a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds.

The Celtics fell to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night. After falling behind by 15 points, the Celtics sliced the deficit down to two at 77-76. The Pacers pulled away with a 6-0 run and held on for a 94-83 win. Then the Celtics lost to a red-hot New York Knicks squad who could not miss a shot in the first half.

Here are this week’s tweets:

Rondo is asking his fans if they have signed up for the Yahoo! Sports NCAA Tournament Bracket Challenge. If someone picks a perfect bracket, then he/she will win $1 billion. Selection Sunday is on March 16th and the NCAA Tournament begins next week.

We continue with the March Madness theme as Kelly Olynyk sent his support for Gonzaga on Tuesday night. Gonzaga overcame a late rally from BYU in the West Coast Conference championship game. The Bulldogs received an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament and they will wait to find out their opponent as well as where they will be playing on Sunday evening. Olynyk played at Gonzaga and I’m sure the former Bulldog was happy for his ex-teammates.

Celtics Tweets of Interest: Jared Sullinger’s Well-Wishes to Perk; Kelly Olynyk Cheers for Canada

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This has been a newsworthy week for the Boston Celtics. The team came off a four-game road trip without a win on the West Coast.

On Tuesday, Danny Ainge commented on 98.5 The Sports Hub that Rajon Rondo celebrated his 28th birthday in Los Angeles instead of traveling with the team to Sacramento.

Apparently, Rondo’s camp claimed there was a miscommunication between himself and the team. Earlier this month, Rondo stayed in Boston while the Celtics played in Milwaukee on the second night of a back-to-back.

The airwaves on sports radio was filled with some hosts and callers discussing Rondo’s lack of leadership. While I’m not excusing Rondo, this could be misconstrued as a simple mistake.

Here is an example of a former Celtics captain who made a mistake. Paul Pierce was ejected late in a tight Game 6 of the 2005 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Indiana Pacers. After Jamaal Tinsley intentionally fouled Pierce and hit him in the neck, Pierce swung his elbow at Tinsley. With the Celtics holding an 84-83 lead, the officials handed Pierce a second technical foul. In the post-game press conference, Pierce created a sideshow with a bandage wrapped around his head. The Celtics were facing elimination and they were fortunate to come away with an overtime victory. Pierce’s ejection could have been costly.

Both Pierce and Rondo had to fight criticism of their attitudes throughout their early years in the NBA. George Karl called out Pierce after the 2002 World Championships for Pierce’s selfishness.Of course, Pierce was able to change  perception over the course of his career. Rondo should be given the same opportunity to overcome his errors in judgement.

I would be more concerned if Rondo was arrested for illegal possession of a firearm like New York Knicks guard Raymond Felton on Monday night.

Here are notable tweets:

Jared Sullinger never played with Kendrick Perkins when Perkins was a member of the Celtics. Sullinger is sending well-wishes to the Oklahoma City Thunder center because Perkins underwent surgery on his left groin earlier this week. The injury occurred in the third quarter of the Thunder’s loss to the Miami Heat last Thursday. Meanwhile, Sullinger missed the last three games because he suffered a concussion in the Celtics’ 101-92 defeat against the Los Angeles Lakers last Friday. Here is well-wishes to both Perkins and Sullinger and they can both recover from their ailments quickly.

Kelly Olynyk is from Toronto so obviously he was cheering for Canada’s hockey team during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Canada shut out both the United States and Sweeden in the medal round to win their second consecutive gold medal.

Celtics Remain Quiet At Deadline

Celtics forward Brandon Bass will stay with the team for the remainder of the season.

Celtics forward Brandon Bass will stay with the team for the remainder of the season.

The Boston Celtics did not make any moves before the NBA Trade Deadline expired at 3 PM on Thursday.

Overall, the whole day proved to be a dud with only minor moves being made. The biggest deal was the Indiana Pacers receiving Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen from the Philadelphia 76ers for Danny Granger.

The Celtics were unable to unload contracts like Brandon Bass and Jeff Green. Teams were unwilling to surrender their first-round picks, which weakened the market for Bass, Green, and Kris Humphries.

During the week, several reports swirled that Rajon Rondo could be sent to the Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, Sacramento Kings, and Toronto Raptors. Yahoo! Sports Marc Spears reported the Kings offered Ben McLemore, Isaiah Thomas, and two first-round picks for Rondo. This trade did not go through because the salaries didn’t match. Danny Ainge wants the moon and the stars for Rondo because Rondo is in the prime of his career.

While many fans may be upset with the lack of movement by the Celtics, the front office did not have to make a transaction if the move did not improve their team. The Celtics are in rebuilding mode and they can let these contracts expire or hold onto them for the summer. Lastly, the Celtics could have as many as 17 picks, including 10 in the first-round over the next five years.

When teams have more flexibility to complete trades this off-season, the Celtics can fall further under the luxury tax. This deadline proved that the market was low and teams are attempting to avoid being repeat offenders in the tax under the new CBA.

There remains a logjam at power forward and the Celtics are unable to provide more minutes for rookie Kelly Olynyk. The Celtics are still under $1 million below the $75.71 luxury tax limit.

All of this sets the stage for a very interesting summer with the NBA Draft and free agency.

Celtics Tweets of Interest: Rajon Rondo Recommends “RoboCop;” Jared Sullinger Supports Alma Mater

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The Boston Celtics have won four out of their six games in the month of February. They are entering the All-Star break on a sour note after their 104-92 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs.
 
With a week until the trade deadline, the rumors are swirling. Earlier this week, there were reports from the New York Daily News that Danny Ainge was shopping Jeff Green to the Atlanta Hawks. Sam Amick of USA Today mentioned the New York Knicks are willing to take Green or Gerald Wallace in a package that included Rajon Rondo. In the exchange, the Celtics would receive Amar’e Stoudemire and young players. Some Celtics fans are running a swap of Rondo for Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook in the ESPN Trade Machine.
 
The most likely scenario is Ainge will look to unload some of the bigger contracts such as Brandon Bass, Green, Kris Humphries, and Wallace for future draft picks or veterans on short deals. In New York, the Knicks are desperate to add another star next to Carmelo Anthony and they are still holding out hope that Ainge loses his mind. The Knicks do not have any first-round picks to offer unless they swap choices with the Celtics. While fans would like to dream of Westbrook and Kevin Love (reunite UCLA stars) in a Celtics uniform, it would not make any sense for Thunder General Manager Sam Presti to ship his injury-riddled point guard for another point guard who just returned from ACL surgery last month. This does not even take into account that the Thunder extended Westbrook’s contract last year while Rondo will become a free agent in the summer of 2015. While Ainge has been known to make bold moves, my prediction is if he does trade Rondo, then it will come this off-season. The Celtics still have a trade exception from the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce deal this past summer. There is a possibility that multiple moves could happen from the Celtics, but the team is looking to take unwanted money off their books.
 
The Celtics signed guard Chris Johnson to a contract for the rest of the season. Johnson will cost $320,000 and a non-guaranteed season for next year. This will give the Celtics time to develop Johnson or use him in a trade. The Celtics have one roster spot open and they have less than $1 million to use in a trade before the deadline on February 20th.
 
Here a couple of tweets while everyone enjoys All-Star Weekend:

Rondo wants his followers to go see the remake of “RoboCop.” The original film with Peter Weller and Joan Allen was great, but Hollywood doesn’t have any unique ideas. This new movie opens on Friday. Hopefully, Rondo is correct and this new “RoboCop” is just as good as the first one.

Sullinger is showing his support for his high school Alma Mater. The 6-foot-8-inch forward played for Northland High School in Columbus, Ohio.They are competing in the Ohio state tournament. Sullinger’s teammate was Trey Burke of the Utah Jazz.

Celtics Tweets of Interest: Jared Sullinger Selected to Rising Stars; Phil Pressy’s Community Work

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On January 26th, fans of the Boston Celtics were able to display their appreciation for Brooklyn Nets forwards Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. In an ugly game, the Celtics fell 85-79. The return of Garnett and Pierce provided a welcome distraction from the Celtics’ losing streak.
The Celtics continued their slide with a lackluster performance in New York as the Knicks rolled to a 114-88 victory. In Wednesday night’s buzzer-beating defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers, the Celtics set a record for the most losses in a month (15). January was not a kind stretch for the Celtics. The team went 2-15 in January and have lost 19 of their last 22 games.
Currently, the Celtics own the third worst record in the NBA, yet they are only five and a half games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Such is life in the putrid Eastern Conference. The Celtics seem like they are in full-out tank mode. Rajon Rondo sat out against the Sixers for rest on the second night of a back-to-back. While Jerryd Bayless returned against the Knicks, Avery Bradley remains out of the lineup.
Jeff Green continues to disappear at times and the Celtics lack a go-to-scorer down the stretch. They are not talented enough to pull away from their opponents. The fans who are looking towards the Draft Lottery in May have smiles on their faces.
Here are a couple of noteworthy tweets:

Second-year forward Jared Sullinger was selected along with rookie Kelly Olynyk to the BBVA Compass NBA Rising Stars game on Friday February 14th in New Orleans. This game will be televised on TNT at 9 PM. In this game, rookies and second-year players compete against each other. The rookies and sophomores will be mixed together for the third consecutive season. The BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge Draft will be held on February 6th on TNT at 7 PM. There are nine players for each side.

Phil Pressey spent time last week with Boston Mayor, Marty Walsh to teach children about practice. The event was sponsored by New England Baptist Hospital. Pressey tweeted some pictures with the youth of Boston and Waslh.

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