Friday, June 20, 2014

Rondo Rondos the Trade Winds

I don't know if I've ever seen crazier 'trade winds' in an off-season.   Already we've seen the Summer of Love, and many hats haven't even been thrown into the trade/free agency ring yet.  Some of the waiting hats could be even bigger NBA names than Love, such as Carmelo and Lebron.

Sadly, one of the names flying in the trade winds is Rondo.  I feel for Rondo.  And I honor the way he is handling this.  By staying in Boston and working out hard at the Cs' facility, Rondo has given his repeated declarations that he wants to stay with the Celtics, and compete with the Celtics, a lot of muscle and grit.  Meanwhile Rondo has been taking to the media to assert himself as the face of the Celtics, and to make himself heard as an important voice regarding the future of the Celtics.  If, in the end, Danny 'flips' Rondo (as the hard-hearted fantasy-sports-obsessed fans love to say) to some other team, Rondo will have given the possibility of a future with the Celtics the best shot he can give it.  In the end, being traded could turn out to be the best move for Rondo.  But it doesn't seem to be the move he wants.  Rondo says that he loves the Celtics, loves Boston, loves Boston's fans and wants to stay.  God love him.

Some fans seem uncomfortable with Rondo's assertiveness, though.  There are many sports fans who seem to want players to 'know their place'.  I think that sort of mentality is behind a lot of the Rondo hating we've seen over the years, and it may be part of the reason for many fans' obsession with wanting the Celtics to 'be like the Spurs'.  Some fans go so far as to claim that the Spurs play 'real' basketball.  Even Brad Stevens has spoken rapturously about how great it is that the Spurs players seem to be interchangeable, about how that makes for 'beautiful ' basketball.  I sure hope Stevens doesn't really mean that, and I certainly hope he doesn't plan to become a martinet, as 'Pop' seems to be.   As I understand it, Pop makes sure that his players know that they are cogs in a machine.   I do not think Rajon Rondo would ever be able to play on the Spurs, and I love Rondo all the more for that.

As I've said many times before, I think that what makes basketball a beautiful game is that it is a game where the creativity of the players makes the difference, and even defines the future of the game.  Basketball is and always will be, I pray, a players' game.  Can Brad Stevens appreciate the beauty of that?

When you watch Rajon Rondo play basketball, you never know what you will see.  I love that.  I think that makes him a player whose potential is beyond almost anyone else's.  Others may be able to do what is expected better than Rondo, but Rondo can raise his game to a level beyond that.  Remember the play where Bass went for a power dunk and Wade, brilliantly, punched the ball out of his hands?  That was some truly great basketball.  Strong move by Bass.  Amazing defensive play by Wade.   Lebron leapt to collect the richochet,  which Wade had sent in his direction, but  then something happened.   Lebron  got Rondo'd.   Rondo not only beat Lebron to the ball, but outjumped him for it, and, unbelievably, tipped it directly to Pietrus at the three point line,  who stroked a huge three.  All this happened in what seemed to be a second or two.

That's basketball that is too hot for Sportscenter to handle.  See, if that play had ended in a Bass dunk, Sportscenter would have loved it.  Had it ended with the Wade block, sportscenter would have loved it even more.  Had Lebron grabbed the blocked shot and headed down the court for a breakaway dunk, SC would have loved it even more.  But the play got Rondo'd.  It became something uncanny.  It was like the Pope asking Michelangelo to paint something pretty and he created the Sistine Chapel.  Why did Rondo have to ruin a fabulous highlight by making something beautiful and amazing happen?

A lot of fans seem to wish Rondo just did what every other good pg does.   They don't want to see amazing plays.  They just want a pg who hits 3s at a higher rate.  They don't care about the fact that Rondo came back from  ACL injury and essentially led the league in assists on his return, with a ragtag group of guys around him - quite an amazing feat - because they'd rather have a pg who averages 15ppg.  I'd like to see Rondo average 15ppg too, and I think he will next year, but I can't sneer at the 11 apg Rondo averaged on his return this year (taking out the first month when he was not playing full games, and was shaking off the rust).  I can't imagine how Danny can even consider trading a guy who can do something like that.

Calling for Melo, as Rondo has now done twice, is a pretty daring move.   I really love the guts and grit that shows.  In my view, that's Rondo putting his famous self-confidence to creative use.  He's basically saying to Love and Melo, 'I'm a great pg - you should come play with me'.    I know that a lot of fans have doubts about those guys - how motivated are they?  Will they play defense?   What about Brad's no name way of playing the game?   Shouldn't Rondo shut up?  Maybe instead of picking up more stars, maybe we need one less?!!

I love what Rondo is doing.  Sometimes I can't help but think that if you don't want to see Rondo and Carmelo playing off each other on offense, you must not love the game of basketball!   We've watched Rondo draw the defense to set up aging greats like KG, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce.   We've watched him do the same this last season for journeymen like Brandon Bass and Kris Humphries.  My God, why would we not want to see him work with one of the top scorers in the game in his prime?   Why would anyone not want to see that?!!  If I were Brad Stevens I would want to see that.

What Rondo showed this last half season was an even higher level of mastery, as a playmaker, than he had shown before.   He showed that he could play opposing defenses like they were so many fiddles, his fiddles.   It would almost be a crime, a basketball crime, to NOT give him a great scorer to work with.  And now, this time around, during this lastest season of trade-craziness, Rondo isn't just trying to weather the raging trade winds.  This time he is sailing the trade winds!  He's trying to make them work for him, setting course for a Celtics future that it seems to me fans ought to want as much as Rondo  does.  Sail on, sail on, sailor...

I sailed an ocean, a Celtics ocean
through restless waters, and deep commotions,
often frightened, now enlightened,
Sail on, Sail on, Sailor.

I wrestle waters, fight Neptune's daughters,
sail on through the sorrows, trade-time marauders,
unrepentant, oft-rejected,
Sail on Sail on Sailor

Caught like a Celtics brat, alone but I sail,
bought like a crust of bread, but I won't fail.

Sometimes stumble, never crumble,
as I tumble, life's a rumble,
feel the stinging, Ryan's giving,
not pretending, no relenting,
heartbreak searing, persevering,
Sail on Sail on Sailor.

I work the trade winds, gale-swept trade winds,
past ship-wrecked others, trade-wrecked brothers,
I'm inspired, though drenched and tired,
Sail on Sail on Sailor

Ever needing, green-bleeding,
Ainge not heeding, all my feelings,
damn the Thunder, Heat burst asunder,
no to Pacers and Mavs, Kings and Cavs,

hello Melo, be my fellow,
come to heaven, won't you Kevin
Sail on Sail on Sailor

Sail on Sail on Sailor
Sail on Sail on Sailor
Sail on Sail on Sailor

real lyrics


  1. Rondo's declarations have been honorable. He's a Celtic true and true. Agree epic post. You have a great pulse on life and ball. Rondo wants Melo, and Danny needs to get that done. Move Green and some other parts to get Melo the best possible deal.. Phil Jackson hates the guy, so do something about it Danny.

    1. Thankyou Gary. I like that word, "honorable" - and I think you are right. It seems to apply here. I can't really see why so many seem to assume that Rondo is itching to bolt. I know he used to claim he was faster than Usain Bolt...

  2. Lol Greg! Ty - I thought it was one of my better efforts, and made a point that I haven't seen made. And I had fun with it ...

  3. I hope the Celtics don't trade Rondo, because I don't want to miss your articles man. Nice work, keep it up.

  4. Thanks Franklin - I too hope they don't trade him. Ainge, though - I dunno ...