Celtics Central

Boston Celtics

Danny and the Rondo-sore.

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After being incommunicado for about 10 days, I thought I’d catch up a little.

 A few big trades (Shaq to Cleveland, Vince Carter to Orlando, Mike Miller and Randy Foye to Washington) the draft, and much other rumored Celtic trade talks have transpired. But the Celtics are in about the same position they were before all the brouhaha.

Boston had Manny being Manny.

Is this Danny being Danny? In a word, yes.

As the season came to the end, no one thought that Ray Allen, Kendrick Perkins, and certainly not fan favorite Rajon Rondo, would be mentioned in trades just a few weeks later. Mind bending. But it is a good exercise in Danny being Danny.

In Frank Dell Appa’s recent article on the Globe’s website, Boston.com, Doc Rivers said….

“When you don’t win the title, people are looking at your team,’’ Rivers said. “They want to make a move, see if you will panic. A lot of teams were very aggressive toward us. I think Danny did his job. You’ve got to explore who has value and what you can get.

Media pundits were reporting that it was the Celtics themselves who were shopping high profile players to different teams. It depends on who you want to believe. Me? I think both things were happening.

There were too many rumors of Danny trying to get an early draft pick for it to be just other ‘teams getting aggressive’. He said that Tyreke Evans was his man in the draft – but the price was too high. Sacramento took his free advice and took Evans (instead of highly hyped Ricky Rubio) at number 4.

I think Danny was (and is) exploring Ray Allen options. This article by Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald illustrates Danny’s mindset well about an aging team of stars. Trade ‘em if you can, to keep the team truly competitive. It makes sense.

It’s just that no one saw it coming. Danny was looking at value now and later. We were looking at MLE signings, and veteran minimum pick ups. Danny looked a little further out.

Danny is playing politician now (and always), but I think he had a few moves in mind up his sleeves.

Danny and the Rondosore.
Rajon Rondo talk? It’s all about the money. I believe that Rondo’s name probably was mentioned in trade scenarios. But which side brought him up is an unknown right now.

One could reasonably believe that initial discussions about Rondo’s dollar value were broached between Rondo’s agent and the Celtics. Agents aim high. Money ball? How about hard ball? But it really began much earlier.

I was standing right there in the locker room early last season when the first inklings of posturing came from Rajon. When talk of his next contract was brought up, he would not commit to saying that the Celtics are his home and this is where he wants to be. Instead, phrases like, “It’s a business.” and the such were his eyebrow raising answers, even after multiple attempts by reporters to let him rephrase his answers. To be sure, the NBA is indeed a business.

Rondo-gate ?
Make no mistake, Doc and Danny are both very media savvy. Critical player comments are not spoken ‘off the cuff’. If mentioned publicly, solicited or not, rest assured, there is a reason. So…if you can’t understand a situation, look for the money angle. It’s about the money.

Cedric Maxwell just recently said that Rondo’s camp is looking for something along the lines of $10 mil a year. I’d feel better if a long term deal started at about $7-8 mil for the Celtics’ prodigy. But it renders mute any talk about a max contract – which Rondo is not worth at this point in time, IMO.

While Danny and Doc riled up Celtic Nation, they first wanted to get a few things laid out publicly, if Rondo’s agent was going to hard ball them towards a max contract, in my opinion. Take that, Bill Duffy. The message was sent, so now Danny’s playing politician the other way. Nicely done by the Celtic President of Basketball Operations

More Expansive Thought About the Roster
Referring to Danny’s well publicized comments about trading Larry Bird or Kevin McHale as they moved past their primes….I remember those Celtic teams.

They were too old and not athletic enough, nor energetic enough. The starting five carried them but would get tired and outplayed by inferior talent in the fourth quarters. Lesser teams, but younger teams, or teams with better depth would overtake these superior studs simply because they were drained in final quarters. I think they were last, or close to last, in creating turnovers one particular year.

Current Celtic bench problems are well documented. The stars are getting older.

While we all know that this starting five could match up against any in the league, including the Lakers, the bench was inconsistent for most of last year. It disappeared almost completely in the playoffs.

In the words of Winston Churchill…”Never has so much been done, by so few, for so many.”

In the end, they were outmanned and worn down, though they will not admit it openly. And I am dearly hoping that it was Ray Allen’s hamstring issues that impacted his shooting woes in major way. Not that having a hurting hamstring is a good thing. But it would help to explain his wildly inconsistent shooting. As the playoffs continued, he didn’t even square up well on many open shots, a sure sign that something was wrong.

While Danny appears to have explored and probed for potentially more monumental changes, his current focus has moved on to free agency now, at least publicly.

And I’ll look at that next. Marquis Daniels is now in play, as Indiana decided not to pick up his option. Bruce Bowen may be available soon, as well. Either player could help.

Thomas Halzack