Sunday, December 21, 2014

Calling Out Bob Ryan

I used to love Bob Ryan.   I remember the way he championed Cowens in the seventies, making sure that no one failed to see what a great player Big Red was, making sure that no one missed the fact that he played a lot bigger than his statistics.  I remember too the way he criticized Red Auerbach - another Big Red - for some of the moves he made after the 1976 championship.  For once Auerbach seemed to put his ego and the team's money ahead of his  basketball heart, trading Silas and confronting Havlicek amidst contract disputes (as I recall).  Bob Ryan stood for Celtics Pride during those dark years when the team itself didn't.  We owe him a lot.  I believe that he helped make the team's resurgence into the Bird era possible.

But often people change over the years.   I guess Bob got caught up in the media madness that came with the eighties and cable.  He became a Big Fish and that became important to him.  Then along came this kid, Rondo,  who (I presume) refused to respect Bob Ryan's power.   Bob Ryan just had to prove to this kid that he needed to learn proper respect for the Don, er Dean of basketball writers.

That is part of what I think happened to drive Rondo out of a Celtics uniform and into a Dallas uniform.  In sports as in many areas of life, perception counts for a lot.  Perception is reality in many ways.  Bob Ryan's sniping at Rondo was relentless.  I suppose Danny Ainge's commitment issues and later Brad Stevens'
 soft-spoken power-tripping played a more central role in the way things unfolded for Rondo, but the power of public perception is not to be underestimated.  I think Bob Ryan's clout  opened the door to the growing flood tide of scorn (in the media, in the blogiverse and amongst fans) for Rondo that I think wore down his love for Boston, wore down his confidence and wore away at his leverage within the Celtics organization.  

Bob Ryan's campaign against Rondo seemed to climax early in the 2012-2013 season, the only season that the Celtics were declared to be 'Rondo's team'.   For years the strident claim against Rondo had been that he was not consistent.   Like all the Hater claims, it was based on a real problem in Rondo's game.  Without a doubt, Rondo took too many games off.   But Rondo seemed to listen to this criticism and his answer was a majestic string of double digit assist games towards the end of the 2011-2012 season.  This was a tremendous achievement and an effective answer to Rondo's critics and it seemed to propel the Celtics into the 2012 playoffs.  The streak continued into the 2012-2013 season and that was when Ryan struck.

Somehow Ryan redefined the assist as a selfish statistic!  It was a bold rhetorical move and, unfortunately, Rondo himself gave Ryan the opening for attack that Ryan seemingly craved.  A few weeks into the 2012-2013 season, he asked Doc to put him back into a game that the Cs were losing so that he could get a couple more assists and thus keep his double figure assist streak alive.   Doc thought the request was no big deal and complied.  I would guess that he understood that Rondo is a guy who is fascinated with numbers and uses them as a motivational tool.  All athletes have such motivational tools.  Some are weirder than others (Wade Boggs!).    It was a bad move by Rondo, but it should have been no big deal, except that the howlers, led by Ryan, made it a big deal.  This trivial event supposedly proved to them that Rondo was a selfish player whom you could not build around.

The season had already been a struggle, but after that controversy exploded, thanks largely to Ryan, Rondo seemed confused.  He seemed uncertain about his role and, at the same time,  support for his leadership seemed to erode badly within the team, the organization and the fan base.  Doc was an example of this.  Initially he came out in support of Rondo amidst the controversy, stating that it really was no big deal,  but as the howling became louder, he changed his tune and averred that he regretted allowing Rondo to go back into the game.  Things seemed to spiral out of control for Rondo and the Celtics after that and it felt like the ACL injury that ended Rondo's season and became a turning point in his career had an air of inevitability to it.  That season had come to feel like a story that was not going to end well, one way or another.

The hate campaign against Rondo was one of the most despicable things I've seen in sports, and I believe that it will stand as Bob Ryan's final legacy.  I think he did his best to destroy the career of one of the most talented players the Celtics have ever had.  I see it as an act of professional bullying that stains a Ryan's great career.  Now that Rondo is gone, it's time for Bob Ryan to explain why he felt he had to attack the guy.  What is the truth about Rondo that forced you to attack him relentlessly,  Bob Ryan, the hidden truth about what an awful guy he really is if only we fans knew.

As delightful as it was, friday night, to see Rondo finally play the game he loves with joy once again, it's no thanks to Bob Ryan and his band of bullies.  Were it not for them, perhaps we would have seen that joy in Rondo's game in green.

ProuDDDD of RonDDDDo

The hatred continues over at CelticsBlog.  Check out this thread....  Having succeeded in driving Rondo out of town, some of these good folks are trying to kick the heck out of him in Dallas, claiming on one  hand that his brilliant debut in Dallas shows that he wasn't trying here, whilst also claiming that his debut in Dallas was a failure.   I think one can read a lot of the problems in our society in the twisted and mean-spirited attitudes many 'fans' develop about  athletes.

I'm very proud of Rondo.  He took this trade on the chin with tremendous class.   Obviously he saw it coming, and I'm sure he has known for a long time that it was just a matter of time before Mr. Rogers and Captain Kangaroo got rid of him, but he tried hard while he was in Celtics green and he seems to have used the last few years as an opportunity to do an immense amount of growing up.  You have to really hate the man not to see that he has developed his own brand of dead-pan charm and not to see that he held up his part here as best he could in the middle of a Brad Stevens system that was antithetical to him and not to see that he did a beautiful job of listening to what was wanted from him by Dallas and giving them exactly that.   This man stepped into the qb role on a completely new team and did it, frankly, not only brilliantly, but like a man let out of prison.

The key going forward is defense, I think.  As long as Rondo plays hard on defense - last night he was a beast, just as we knew he could be - I think his marriage with the Mavs will get better and better and better.  The kind of defense Rondo played last night wins championships.

Rondo get's approval from a talking head

Rondo has the keys to prove his legacy. Listen to these guys,and leave comments.. Smith is a guy I dislike, but wow he gets Rondo..

Brad Stevens didn't feel like Rondo wanted to leave Boston

Stevens actually seemed pretty real.. As for Ainge's comments. It was the same old spin crap. Danny Ainge will be on the hot seat now for Boston fans if this deal comes back to bite him. I think Werkshop said a key thing about Stevens, and how things were going to go.

"This was really inevitable since the team hired Stevens, and even more obviously so after they drafted Smart (and focused on pgs not only during that draft but also during free agency). It was almost fun to see everyone on the team and in the media and the blogiverse essentially lie about it for months. Now it's equally hilarious to watch them lining up to support the trade - even Scal! Scal knows where his bread is buttered."

Check out Ainge's comments if you haven't already.

Rondo say's he played around a "six" in Mavs debut

The Mavericks played an okay game, but when the game mattered most Rondo was on point, and dished to Ellis who scored a season high 38 points. The Mavs beat a Spurs squad who rested every key player after playing a grueling three overtime game, and they also played another Wednesday night against Memphis. Rondo was smart with the basketball, and he didn't try to do more than he had to on the floor. Rondo finished with 6 points, 9 assists, and 7 rebounds in the Mavs 99-93 win over San Antonio.

Rondo on Mavs Debut

"It was exciting," Rondo said. "Best part was we got the win."

“I just try to do the intangibles,” Rondo said. “I didn’t make a lot of shots tonight, so I just wanted to go in on the defensive end of the floor and make plays for my team and get the ball back for more possessions.”

Rondo is on a winning team, and a team that may play for a title in June. Rondo would have wanted to remain in Boston in my mind despite Ainge's spin tactics on the trade. The Mavs will need some time to adjust to Rondo, but after one game it's easy to see that this team can compete for a banner.

Rondo's highlights in his debut.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Key Points for Rondo in Dallas

Looking over comments from media figures, from Dallas Mavs folk and from Rondo, it's pretty clear, I think, that the Mavs want Rondo to significantly alter his game.   The changes they want are good ones, changes that Rondo fans and Haters have been calling for.   The Mavs want Rondo most importantly as a defensive player.  They want him to attack opposing point guards.  Rondo said in his press conference that he fully understands this and takes responsibility.  I hope that is true.  I think it probably is.  Rondo's Haters have refused to acknowledge that an important part of the reason that Rondo tended to slack off on the defensive end was that he was carrying a huge load on the offensive end.  I guess they didn't see this because Rondo has not been a massive scorer and his assists were dismissed by his foes as being somehow fake stats.  On Dallas, Rondo will not have to carry as large an offensive load, so he should be able to focus more on defense.  The big question is, will he do it?   Dialed in on defense, Rondo is a beast.  I think both fans and Haters would love to see that beast rise in Dallas.

On offense, it looks like Rondo's ego will have to take a back seat.   He says that he sees himself as the team's QB, but that he will give up the ball quicker.  This is important because Monta Ellis is in some ways the primary playmaker on Dallas.  How will these two guys be able to manage a relationship between them that benefits the team?  That will be tricky.  If they succeed, Dallas' offense could become even more powerful.  If they don't succeed, Dallas may struggle on the offensive end.  In my opinion, Rondo and Paul Pierce never did figure out how to share the ball really effectively,.  They made some genius plays together, and they had a reasonably affectionate relationship, but even so they did not seem to be able to work out  a truly effective way of sharing the playmaking burden.   Will Rondo and Monta be able to do what Rondo and Pierce never quite seemed to be able to do?  Hopefully so, because they could make history.

It would appear that Rondo needs to make two huge steps on the offensive end.  One is that he will almost certainly have to give up the league lead in assists per game;  he will have far better scorers to pass to than he had with the Celtics, but at the same time, he will have much less control over who shoots when.  On a team whose offense is built around another guard, Monta Ellis, Rondo will surely have to take a back seat, at least to some extent. Will Rondo be able to subordinate his numbers to the team's offensive success?

Secondly, Rondo will need to try to be a more effective player off the ball.   This is another thing that he has been better at doing in the past than lately - cutting to the basket without the ball, etc..

I think Rondo will rise to the challenges  his new situation presents.  He has gone from being in limbo to a situation where he is wanted and needed.  I think that will make all the difference.


Charming quote from Smart:

Ask him whether he feels the Celtics organization showed confidence in him, individually, by trading away a franchise cornerstone, though, and he once again reveals his aversion to a certain vertical vowel.
“The confidence it has in these young players, including myself, is tremendous,” Smart said. “It was a big move from the guys upstairs, and it just shows how much they believe in these young guys and this new team that they have.”

He talks about Rondo as though Rondo was some old trash to be hauled away, an obstacle to be shoved aside - just one day ago, Marcus, "this new team" supposedly INCLUDED the guy who just got shoved off.


Another thing I find so charming is that up until two days ago, if you pointed out that Ainge drafting Smart meant that Rondo was almost inevitably going to be traded, you were called a conspiracy theorist.  Now one hears about how foolish and naive anyone was who actually believed Danny when he said that they had no intentions of trading Rondo, etc..

Friday, December 19, 2014

Make Us Proud in Dallas Rondo

Possibly the most maligned and hated player in Celtics history, Rajon Rondo, left town yesterday and today with an uplifting display of class.  He played a beautiful game against Orlando that we will long remember.  He visited kids at Children's Hospital.  He wrote a heartfelt twitter-farewell to fans and teammates.  He showed that he is someone who has, as he himself has said, grown and matured.  He put his doubters to shame and I think he put Danny to shame.  As Shawn showed in his article this morning, Danny's farewell comment on the Rondo trade was cold.  To my way of thinking, Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens played a sick game of pretend the last two years, allowing Rondo to twist in limbo as he tried to adapt to a system that had no real use for his unique talents and approach to the game.  They should be ashamed of themselves.

Rondo goes to a situation in Dallas that promises to be much better in important ways.  For one thing, Rondo will be playing with guys of his own generation for the first time, instead of a bunch of young pups who at times seem to see Rondo as an annoyance.  For another thing, Rondo will have people to pass to who won't hesitate to pull the trigger when the best playmaker in the game sets them up for a wide open J, or a killer chance in the paint.  In Boston, Rondo's best finisher was Tyler Zeller.  Enough said.    Finally, Rondo is joining an organization that values loyalty.  The Celtics used to be that kind of organization.  Those days are long gone.

But there are challenges too that await.  How can Rondo find a way to fit into an offense that is already the best in the league?   An ESPN Dallas writer raises that question:
Rondo is not a perfect fit on paper, at least not on the offense. And his role will be drastically different than it was with the Celtics, where Rondo constantly probed the defense and hunted for assists. His poor shooting -- 25 percent from 3-point range -- presents some significant spacing challenges for Carlisle, as creative an offensive mind as there is in the league. 
The Mavs, who have the best offense in basketball with Monta EllisChandler ParsonsDirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler forming the core, do not need a point guard who dominates the ball. They need Rondo, whose pride has occasionally manifested itself in pain-in-the-butt fashion, to be willing to adapt and sacrifice in his new surroundings. 
Tim Macmahon offers good advice to Rondo in that he emphasizes the importance of Rondo re-investing on the defensive side of the floor.  There have been times this year when Rondo seemed to be doing so, but always he has seemed to relapse into the turnstile ways that have become so frustrating to both fans and haters.  We know that Rondo loves to do damage by pursuing the play on defense and that should be easier to do with Chandler and Dirk providing front court length, but he also has to stay in front of his man more.  Can he find the right balance as a defender?  That will surely be a key factor to Rondo's success in Dallas.

But for Macmahon to call on Rondo to stop being Rondo on the offensive side is  a recipe for disaster.  My God, hasn't Rondo dealt with enough of this over the past several years?  If he controls the ball he's selfish.  If he gives up the ball he's too passive.  If he doesn't push the pace he's lazy.  If he pushes the pace he's out of control.  If he shoots he's forgotten his role.  If he doesn't shoot he's a drag on the offense.  If he piles up assists he's a selfish player.  If he doesn't pile up assists, any failure by the offense is his fault.  Dallas needs to recognize that the guy they have traded for is the best playmaker in the game.  If you didn't want that, you should not have traded for that.  Sure, he needs to adjust his game, but so do the folks on the team he is coming too.

Hearts have been broken in Boston, but I think that a lot of true fans have had their hearts broken many times by Ainge.  We are almost hardened to it by now.   Yes, change is a necessary part of sports, as it is necessary in life, but unfortunately,  Danny seems to revel in it.  I think that when you have the best playmaker in the game, you do whatever it takes to build around him.  I think that we just traded away a great Celtic.  Danny seems to be satisfied adding, Dragon-like, to his heap of 'assets'.   Hopefully Dallas will show more loyalty as an organization and hopefully the team will show that great players don't just play the game at a high level:  they redefine the game.

Meanwhile, tears will just have to dry on their own...


Rondo haters, such as Jeff Goodman and Dan Shaughnessy,  seem determined to keep sniping...

 34 minutes ago34 minutes agoFrom someone who knows Rondo well : "He'll be great. Dallas is getting him at perfect time. He wants big payday & will be on best behavior."

 1 hour ago1 hour agoI wasn't around him alot, but Rondo never struck me as super intellect I read about. Seemed more rude and disrespectful of people's jobs.
It's time they explained themselves.  If Rondo is such a rotten dude, then tell us what we don't know that will open our eyes please?


Good trade assessment from Rondo-unfriendly Zach Lowe...

We know Rondo has an extra gear when he gives a crap. The Mavs are betting that Playoff Rondo is still in there somewhere, waiting to be unleashed. “This will be a Chauncey Billups–to–Denver–level addition,” one league executive says. Playoff Rondo could make a dramatic impact on defense for Dallas as it navigates through Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard, Tony Parker, Stephen Curry, and the rest. Even a semi-comatose Rondo contemplating his next Connect Four session is an upgrade on that end over Nelson, J.J. Barea, and Raymond Felton.


Jackie Macmullen has a good piece where she seems to make some effort to explain Rondo and her feelings about / experiences with  Rondo...

Doc Rivers knew he had something special, but the little brother was used to doing things his own way, and Rivers, a former point guard, wasn't going to stand for that. He hauled him in, told him his teammates couldn't stand him. Rondo's apparent disinterest in his coach's comments left Doc seething, but a couple of days later, after a heap of introspection, Rondo came back around, and asked how he could be better.
It took some time, but you watched him grow up and refine both his skills and his image.
Before you knew it, Rondo blossomed into a starter, an All-Star, an NBA champion.
Even so, he remained a chameleon, trying on different hats to fit his basketball identity. One year, he was a copycat (remember him mimicking Ray Allen's pregame routines?), the next year, a contrarian. He bonded with Kevin Garnett and adopted KG's fierce "[Expletive] You!" visage.

What is striking to me is that in her view of the universe, it is always Rondo's fault, or so it seems...

There is, apparently, a coaching shelf life with the point guard, who was anointed with the middle name "mercurial.''
His current demeanor with this young, raw, vulnerable team signaled the end. He defied the wishes of his coach and GM by remaining behind in Los Angeles to celebrate his 28th birthday, rather than joining the team in Sacramento. Rondo was not scheduled to play against the Kings because he was recovering from his torn ACL and wasn't playing in back-to-back games, but Brad Stevens expected his captain to be on the bench in street clothes supporting his team. Either Rondo didn't fully grasp the message he sent -- that he was bigger than his coach and his team -- or he simply didn't care. His uneven play these last couple of weeks suggested a disconnect that wouldn't be repaired.
Now, just like that, he's gone. 

It astounds me to see that not one journo or even blog maven has enough imagination or empathy to see that not all the grievances are on the team's side.


Thankfully one writer says let Rondo be Rondo...

In Dallas, Rajon Rondo must now prove that he can fit in while at the same time validating his stardom. He has to be both selfishly unselfish or unselfishly selfish in order to get the paycheck he probably deserves (and which Ainge was unwilling to give him). If Rondo helps Dallas to a title, it's hard to say if he'll be lauded or damned for it, in the same way it's impossible to determine exactly what a team is expecting of him. Then again, maybe this endless chain of either/or's resolves itself as utter transparency. All we can do is ask Rondo to be Rondo. The rest will make sense of itself. Either we spend entire too much time trying to figure the man out or we just let him go to work.

I would add, help Rondo be Rondo.  No more Ainge/Stevens style passive aggressive  basketball management and coaching please...

Chad Ford:

He could be stubborn and petulant, fully aware of his own brilliance and unafraid to wield it. He didn't bang his head on the stanchion like Kevin Garnett or wear his heart on his sleeve like late-career Paul Pierce; he almost dared you to dislike him, and some were all too willing to do so. He was perceived and portrayed as an enigma wrapped in riddle, tangled in eccentricities, and wheeling around on roller skates while playing a game of Connect 4.


Stevens apparently virtually echoed Ainge word for word when discussing Rondo - reaching for the lamest possible boilerplate (thankyou for what you did for the organization Rondo) - which I think is telling.

Having watched Danny's news conference I am really struck by how bloodless those guys - Danny and Stevens - seem to be about this trade.  Well played guys.  Danny claims that they had to trade Rondo because of uncertainty about his free agency.  They pulled the same malarky when they tried to explain the horrendous Perk trade.  It makes even less sense this time.

Rondo seems pretty cheerful at his press conference.  He says he won't dominate the ball too much but he refers to himself as the qb of the team.  Hopefully the Mavs will work it out.  Where there is a will there is a way and these guys smell championship.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

An era of triumph, pain, and change end with Rondo trade

Time or fate may separate friends. But friendship and love that's true will forever remain in the heart. As time passes by, things change with a blink of an eye. Every moment, hour, day, month, and year shift into something bigger than the mind can comprehend. All things change, and we change with those moments. For me change has become the theme here. The Celtics culture has changed, and my feelings have changed. I became a fan of the Celtics because of the history, the culture, and because of the players who played in green, and for the man named Red who ran the show.

The persona of Boston is dead, and it died once Danny Ainge joined the Celtics in 2003. I think the Lakers have shown more as a franchise than Boston. That's sad, but it's the truth. The Lakers may have stunted things with over paying Kobe, but at least they stand for something more than dealing players for future picks and for players who are below average. Rondo's trade was five years in the making, and Danny got nothing in return for the best play maker int the game.

From Rondo's twitter:

"My time in Boston has meant so much. I've grown up with this city both as a basketball player and person. The love I have for the most loyal and supportive fans in the league is unmatched.

My teammates have shown nothing but heart the last couple of seasons. They are some of the hardest working guys I have played with and I wish them the best.

I've experienced my most successful and challenging years with the Celtics, fans, and city. The opportunity to play with guys like Dirk, Monta, Tyson and the young talent of Chandler is exciting. I look forward to building something special in Dallas."

Rondo became more than just another player in a Celtics uniform for me. He became this underdog that I needed to cheer for. Nothing is permanent. Except the change that hits through life. But I can't tolerate this path of disregard by Ainge. He has no loyal bones, and he lies to fans on a dime. Danny owes us nothing, but I disagree with many of his decisions. Rondo is going to a franchise that wants to be loyal, and they have shown that they can be loyal.

This is from the Celtics ownership.

“We would like to thank Rajon for everything that he has done for the Celtics organization and the success we have experienced during his tenure with us,” said Danny Ainge, Celtics President of Basketball Operations.

“We would not have won Banner 17 without Rajon and will always consider him one of our most valuable Celtics, both on the court and in the community working with kids. We will always cherish the time he was here,” said Celtics Managing Partners Wyc Grousbeck, Irv Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca and Robert Epstein.

Change is continuous, and with that I must change as well. I've been a Celtics fan since I started watching basketball in the late 80's. I understood the Pierce and KG trade, and it was great, but at the same time I felt like we sold ourselves out by accepting Ainge's dealing. But trading a special player in his prime, and getting no value in return is a slap in the face. So, with that I bid this site farewell. I started this site nearly 4 years ago, and now it's time for me to change. Stay tuned for the change.

The leftovers from Boston's win over the Magic

Brad Stevens is many things, but consistent is one thing that he's not. Doc Rivers was consistent for the most part, or at least during the Big Three era. Stevens has benched his starters, or he's played one lineup over another. In the Orlando win Brad went small, and he explains why.

"I just wanted to be into the ball and aggressive, and they were small. They had Tobias Harris at the four, so it forced our hand a little bit. So I felt like we were either going to have (Brandon) Bass at the four or we were going to go small with Jeff (Green). And I just felt like that group was playing so well, and I felt like Phil Pressey was really active and aggressive both on the ball handler and then away from the ball. And so it made a lot of sense just to stick with them, especially as the lead continues to go up and up and up."

I like Stevens, but I still haven't bought into him yet. It's rare for a college coach to excel in the NBA. But I think Stevens has progressed in his second season, but as for the big picture I don't know yet. The Celtics are in the playoff hunt, and that's because of Stevens in many ways, and of course Rondo plays a hand in that.

The Celtics trailed by ten at one point in the first half, but they went on a run in the second quarter, and it was capped off by Rondo with a three in the final minute in the 4th. The Celtics core gelled together when they needed to get it going. Green was solid with 16 points, Sully had 16 points, and Kelly was strong with 15 points off the bench. Rondo also had 13 points, along with his standard 15 assists. The Celtics are a half game out from Brooklyn for the 8th playoff spot. The Nets are 10-14, and Boston is 9-14.

Rondo calls trade rumors 'A way of life since I've been here'

The Rondo is the "future" discussion is in full swing right now after many sources suggest that Rondo is back on the trading block. Is this rumor just your normal Rondo rumor? Or is this the big one? With Rondo in the final months of his contract, and with Danny Ainge holding a big asset in Rondo. Danny Ainge may look to prolong this rebuilding phase for Boston with a Rondo trade. It's clear to the fans that Ainge isn't sold on a Rondo era. The writing is on the wall in my eyes with this recent rash of rumors. After Boston's 109-92 win over Orlando, Rondo addressed the latest trade rumors involving him.

"[Trade rumors have been] a way of life since I’ve been here," said Rondo. "It’s just part of it."

This rumor to me is not a rumor, it's a truth, and the truth is that Rondo is out of Boston by the end of the week. If not by the first of January. Danny Ainge is not satisfied with something with Rondo as the leader of the Boston Celtics. Some fans and bloggers can't move on from Rondo's lack of scoring at times, and his past personality issues or character issues. I understand that, but this possible trade goes beyond Rondo. In reality a trade to Dallas would be the best thing for Rondo. Mark Cuban, as off centered as he is as an owner. He's shown to be loyal, and he has a willingness to win with an open check book.

He also has a great eye for talent as an owner. The Mavs may make the biggest deal of the season if they can pull this off. Ainge getting picks from the Mavs? What does that do for Boston? Nothing from where I type this article. This Dallas franchise does not pull records like 20-62 out of their asses. They make the playoffs 99% of the time. So the picks mean very little. The players offered mean very little as well. Brandan Wright won't be the future. So what value will Danny get back with a Rondo trade? With Dallas' possible offer, Danny Ainge may make the biggest risk and mistake of his tenure.

I was all for the big deal that sent KG and Pierce to Brooklyn. At least as a basketball move. As a franchise move. It was an awful deal for a fanbase who loves loyalty, and respects that part of sports. If Ainge makes this deal, it's a pure tank move. The Celtics are in playoff contention, and they'll likely stay in that hunt if Rondo stays through this year. Ainge may not want that to happen. I'm not for a Rondo deal by any means, because I don't see Ainge getting a great deal for Rondo. If I'm Rondo I want this to end.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Despite trade rumors, Rondo delivers in win over Orlando

The trade season kicked off when December 15th arrived. That day marks free agents who singed deals over the summer can be traded. So despite the "Woj Bomb" today about Rondo's future in Boston. He played like a superstar against the Magic Wednesday night. Rondo was on pace for a triple-double, but with the Celtics in control Brad Stevens didn't need Rondo until the final 5 minutes of the game. Rondo finished with 15 assists, 13 points and seven boards.

Rondo's jumper looked great and in tune. He made six of his 12 shot attempts, including a 3-pointer.

ESPN Boston

Sources told that the Celtics and Mavericks have been discussing a swap that would furnish Boston with multiple draft picks -- including at least one future first-rounder -- as well as blossoming Mavericks center Brandan Wright and other players needed to make the salary-cap math work.

Sources say the Celtics also have been talking to teams such as the Sacramento Kings and New York Knicks about potential Rondo deals , but that the most advanced discussions so far have been with Dallas.

Kelly Olynyk scored 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting, after scoring a career best 30 against the 76ers Monday. Bass came off the bench to tie for the game high in scoring with 18 points. Sully also broke out of his slump with 16 points on the night, and Jeff Green scored 16 as well. he Celtics improved to 9-14, and are in the playoff mix. That's if Danny doesn't pull the trigger.

The Woj Speaks: Rondo on the Block Again?

One of the funny things about smartypants Celtics fans is how much they worship The Woj.   They see Adrian Wojnarowski  as a kind of guru.  I see him as the Wizard of Woj.  He is a talking head, in my view.  He is praised by the supposed cognoscenti because his predictions (of trades and such) come true.  Because of this, he is said to be more accurate and more reliable.  He is, supposedly, the 'real thing', not some faker.  What all this veneration ignores, though, is that the measure of the accuracy of a rumor is not whether it comes true.  All that indicates is that trade talks (or whatever) bore fruition and led to an actual trade.  Stories that a trade might happen don't automatically become false if the trade doesn't happen.

To me, Woj is basically an outlet for semi-official announcements from the league and from the various teams.  He is a conduit.   And now that he has spoken,  I guess the smarties will take seriously the rumors that have been going around for months/years that Danny has been looking to trade Rondo, in particular to the Kings.  Rumors that they would have dismissed, with a sneer, yesterday they will now take seriously today - all because they have the blessing of the Wizard of Woj..

As much as ever in his nine seasons in Boston, the Celtics have left strong impressions with rival organizations that they’re prepared to make a deal that includes Rondo, sources said. Boston has been engaged in discussions described as “serious” in recent days, but no trade agreement is imminent.

Boston's asking price for Rondo remains "pretty high, probably higher than most want to pay," one league official told Yahoo.
Mannix, often also highly regarded, has chimed in, pointing specifically to Sacramento as a possible Rondo suitor...

Chris Mannix expects the Sacramento Kings to be aggressive in pursuit of Rondo.
"They want to play up-tempo and they have had their eye on Rajon Rondo in the past," said Mannix. "That's a team that I think will be aggressive over the next few weeks and months in trying to get their hands on Rondo."

Rondo's name seemed to come up in connection with a possible trade to Sacramento often this summer.  There is a sense that the Kings have been hankering for him quite seriously for a while.  They seem to be building a team of highly talented misfits.  That might be perfect for Rondo.

The best piece today about Rondo looking to trade Rondo is from Real GM:

Finally, there is the main attraction, the Celtics' best player, Rajon Rondo. What Ainge does with him by February 19 is the single great and defining issue before the team. I believe the Celtics came into the season with the hope that Rondo would play his best season to date and make the prospect of giving him a massive extension a no-brainer. Were that the case, an article on the Celtics in the trade market would not include Rondo. But instead Rondo’s season to date has been a disappointment. The Celtics must be having second thoughts about whether they want to sign him to a huge deal, one which would markedly reduce any possibility of entering the free agent market in a serious manner for the visible future. So how is Rondo a disappointment? He remains the best passing point guard in the game, and in the first tier of best passers in NBA history. There are very few who are his equal. It is sheer pleasure to watch him make passes almost every game that no one else can make. He is also an exceptional rebounder, perhaps the greatest 6-1 rebounder in NBA history. ... But despite those virtues, Rondo was still an unfinished product. As great as he was in the playoffs in 2009 and 2010, he also disappeared and was largely ineffectual for many games. To become a genuine superstar, Rondo had to develop in two areas. First, he had to use his spectacular handle and quickness and savvy to initiate contact, draw fouls and get to the free throw line, in classic point guard style. Former coach Doc Rivers put it bluntly early in Rondo’s career when he said that if Rondo got to the line 10 times per game, he would be one of the all-time greats. Basically that is what Tiny Archibald did. Before injuries ravaged him, Archibald was a perennial league leader in scoring based on a good 10 trips to the line per game in the early-mid 1970s. Second, Rondo had to be able to bury open jump shots, and eventually become a passable, even solid, three-point shooter when left wide open. Both of these were realistic goals. It is what most great point guards have to do when they enter the league, from Magic Johnson to John Wall. If Rondo had mastered one of those two areas, he would be a top 10-12 player in the league, and arguably capable of being the best player on a championship team. If Rondo had mastered both of those areas, he would be a top-5 player and in the annual debate over league MVP. He arguably would be the third best player in Celtics history. ... Ray Allen once commented how he and Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce would watch Rondo routinely do amazing offensive moves in practice and want to say to him, “Dude, do you realize how good you could be?” Most Celtics fans have thought the same as they watched Rondo’s periodic dazzling, even breathtaking, performances, typified by his penchant for “triple doubles.” What if he rounded out his game like nearly all other great point guards and became a scoring threat? Alas, it has not come to pass. Indeed Rondo has regressed.... For a guy about to turn 29 and pretty much at the age where he should be peaking, this is disconcerting. Especially so since this is his contract year. If Rondo can’t get it together now, when he as much as $100 million on the line, it defies credulity to imagine he is going to suddenly get it together when the ink has dried and he is in his 30s. Just as likely, what you see now is what you are going to get. And this Rondo can be a fine complementary piece, but he cannot be the best player on championship team, or, with the regression, the second best player on a championship team. ... Recent reports have indicated Danny Ainge is burning up the phone lines in his trade negotiations with GMs across the league. This is his playoffs, and what he does before February 19th may prove to be decisive for determining the future of the franchise. Who wouldn’t love to be a fly on the wall in Celtics headquarters?

I quoted a lot of this article because it is just so good.  Please go read the whole thing.  Almost every other Trade Rondo piece is, to one extent or another, a hit piece.   This article, by contrast, expresses the frustration that Rondo often inspires, maybe more in his fans than in others.  Rondo is gifted in ways that only the very greatest players are.  He plays the game his way.  He reinvents the game each time he plays.  We saw some of that tonight in the game against Orlando.   It's not just that Rondo makes plays no one else would even attempt - it's also that he prods the game of basketball into a shape and tempo unique to him.   They say Rondo's not efficient.  Right.  He's something better than that.

The disdain some people seem to have for Rondo fascinates and appalls me.  Then again, the frustration that he inspires is easy to understand.  I feel it myself.  As Elrod, the Real GM writer points out, the things that Rondo needed to do to strengthen his game should have been achievable.  Raising your free throw percentage shouldn't be an impossible thing to do.  Raising your ability to can open threes shouldn't be impossible.

Frankly, I felt sure that Rondo would some day be an excellent scorer.  I felt in the past, and I really still feel it;  if  Rondo ever manages to find some sort of bread-and-butter scoring move, he'll be on his way as a scorer as well as a passer.  I never thought we would see Rondo completely lose whatever ability to shoot he once had!  We are told that Rondo works hard on his shooting, but where are the results?  One of the best players I have ever seen at imposing his will on the game can't impose his will on his own shooting?  At all? 'Tis passing strange.  It can even be  upsetting to folks who love talent.

But Rondo is also an emotional player.  He seems to genuinely love Boston and the Celtics, but he cannot have found it easy to deal with media folks, like JackieMac and BobbyR, who have seemed to be out to get him.  Nor can Rondo have found it easy to deal with a fandom that venerates the Big Three, but which ofen seems to despise Rondo, as if he was someone who snuck along for the ride.  Nor can it have been easy for Rondo  to deal with the fact that the Celtics brass seem to have shopped him relentlessly throughout his career.  And then there are the NBA refs, who seem to swallow their whistles when it comes to Rondo being mugged in the lane, hip-checked on the perimeter, etc..  So many 'mature' adults have chosen to magnify the faults of a young man to the point where they have overshadowed his talent, at least for some.  Is this some form of jealousy?

  I can hardly imagine the pressure Rondo has been dealing with this season and I admire the way he has handled it.  I still believe that his  whole game will return and that he will be better than ever.  I  believe that some of the improvements we have hoped to see, we will  eventually see.  Every season is a story, and there are always twists and turns.  This story has just started.   A lot of Rondo's game remains amazing.  He flirts with a triple double nearly every game and that's not just smoke and mirrors.  Tonight's game was beautiful.  If it ends up being the note Rondo leaves the Celtics on, it will be a sweet one.  Bitter sweet.


Multiple  reports indicate that Dallas is pushing hard for a Rondo deal...
While no deal is imminent, trade rumors surrounding Boston's Rajon Rondo are starting to heat up with the Dallas Mavericks among those showing the greatest amount of interest thus far, league sources told Wednesday night.

According to the Wizard of Woz, Mavs deal is done...

Dallas will send forward Brandan Wright, guards Jameer Nelson and Jae Crowder, a 2015 first-round pick and a 2016 second-round pick to Boston for Rondo and rookie forward Dwight Powell. There are lottery protections on the 2015 first-round pick headed to Boston, sources said.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Olynyk has a career night, and leads Boston over Philly

This was a game that no team should lose, and thankfully the Celtics dominated the 76ers Monday night. Boston (8-14) snapped a three-game losing skid behind a good defensive performance. Olynyk scored a career-high 30 points on 12-of-17 shooting over just 31 minutes to help the Celtics post a 105-87 win in Philadelphia. Rondo, who posted five points, seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals while playing just 24 minutes of work. He continues to have low scoring numbers, and on a night like this I suppose it may not matter.

Evan Turner, who was booed by the five fans at the game, had 10 points, five assists and four rebounds. Boston also got a well rounded game from Brandon Bass who had 14 points and five rebounds.

As for something to look at from this loss. Jared Sullinger continues to struggle with his shot, connecting on only 2 of 10 attempts for five points. Sullinger did have 11 rebounds. Sullinger has fallen in love with the three, and he needs to find that balance of inside and out on the offensive end.

Celtics prepare for 76ers, after dismal loss to the Knicks

The Celtics will get Avery Bradley back, but Thornton and Smart will sit out against the 76ers Monday night. The Celtics shouldn't lose Monday night, but the same things could have been said about Friday's game at home against the dreadful Knicks.

ESPN Boston

"Boston Celtics backup shooting guard Marcus Thornton suffered a strained left calf during Sunday's practice and will not travel with the team for Monday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers."

"Boston Celtics rookie guard Marcus Smart will not accompany the team to Philadelphia for Monday's game against the 76ers after suffering a left Achilles strain during Friday's loss to the New York Knicks.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said there is a chance that Smart will be ready to play on Wednesday when the team returns home for a visit from the Orlando Magic."

I hope we see Rondo and Green come to play together Monday night. They need to become a duo for the Celtics to become a solid team this season.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Rebuilding is hard, and finding patience is even harder

After the Celtics 101-95 loss to the Knicks Friday night. I couldn't motivate myself to write anything after the game. Frankly it was a long day, and that loss made the day feel even longer. I was expecting a Celtics win, but what I got was a crap fest by the men in green. The Celtics are dreadfully inconsistent, and even more Rondo has been very inconsistent. What happened to that jumper that he worked so hard on? Rondo seemed like he got it down in the past few seasons, and even before the ACL injury.

So far this season Jeff Green is the Boston Celtics best player, and not Rajon Rondo. It seems like Green has hijacked Rondo's confidence, and the problem is that Green and Rondo have yet to work together more often on the court. There not a typical duo, except for an occasional alley-opp. Green, who entered Friday night averaging a career-best and team-high 19.6 points per game, zipped pass that average against the Knicks. He led the contest with 28 points, and again showed that he's a possible All-Star this season.

Green could make the East All-Star squad, but the Celtics need to be in the 8 team playoff mix for that to happen. Rondo's confidence is questionable right now. I just don't see the same Rondo. To be honest, even when Rondo has performed at the highest level this season. It seems not like the old Rondo. I expected the Celtics to have more wins at this point, especially after playing some close games this season. Rondo has yet to show that he's worth max money.

I'm a Rondo fan, and I believe in him, but he's not giving much to work with right now. He's the best passing point guard, and he's the best rebounding guard. Rondo at times is the smartest point guard, but Rondo's offense overall this season is a step behind, and I question what will or could become of him.


"You have to admire the patience Brad Stevens has shown in rebuilding this Celtics team that continues to be an up-and-down bunch of thrown-together talent.

But Stevens is human.

With each late-game meltdown or disappointing performance by the Celtics, it's difficult to imagine that his patience isn't wearing thinner and thinner by the day.

The same holds true for Celtics fans, who are stomaching yet another rebuilding job that's looking painstakingly similar to last season.

And while most of the focus this season has been on Rajon Rondo and the rest of the roster, what about coach Stevens?

As the Celtics (7-14) muddle through what's shaping up to be another trip to the NBA lottery, the reviews have been quite favorable for Stevens despite Boston showing little progress in the one area that matters most - wins."

The Celtics should have a .500 record, or close to .500 for that matter. Stevens to me hasn't been perfect much like his young team. Brad has made some mistakes this season. But as a team, everyone is to blame. Brad still gets some slack, but after this season how much slack can he get? He'll need Sully and Kelly to progress, and Green with Rondo will need to remain potential All-Stars. Bradley and Turner will need to step up as well. All and all I have become a bit irritated with the Celtics, and I'll leave it at that..