Tag:Celtics
Posted on: December 23, 2009 4:57 pm
 

Are the Celtics getting old before our eyes?

Kevin Garnett missed Tuesday night's game against Indiana with a thigh bruise. Pretty innocuous stuff. But on Wednesday came news that Paul Pierce underwent an arthroscopic irrigation on his right knee to clean an infection.

That doesn't sound good at all.

Pierce will miss the Celtics' four-game road trip, which begins with Friday's nationally televised Christmas Day game against Orlando. Though no structural damage was found in Pierce's knee, the Celtics say he could be sidelined up to two weeks.

The Celtics (22-5) have the best record in the East and second-best in the league after the Lakers (23-4). Friday's game could've been a chance to avenge a home loss to the Magic back in November. Instead, they find themselves limping toward 2010 with their fingers crossed.

Both KG and Pierce presumably will be fine. But it's worth remembering at this point that age and brittle bones are not the Celtics' friends. Among the elite teams, nobody relies more on aging veterans than the Celtics.

Pierce is 32 and has logged more than 31,000 minutes in the NBA. Garnett will turn 34 during the playoffs, and his odometer reads 40,000 and counting. Ray Allen is 34 and has launched more than 15,000 shots -- and that's not counting the tens of thousands in practice. Rasheed Wallace is 35 and has more than 1,000 NBA games in his rear-view mirror. And let's face it, Sheed isn't going to be signed as a pitchman for a longevity clinic any time soon.

I'm not suggesting that KG's bruise and Pierce's infected knee are cause for grave concern. I'm just noting that, you know, these guys are old.



Posted on: November 5, 2009 11:12 am
 

No punishment for Rondo, Paul

After reviewing the altercation between Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul during and after Sunday's game in Boston between the Celtics and Hornets, the NBA decided not to take disciplinary action against either player.

Neither point guard will receive any type of fine or suspension for the fracas, which boiled over after Rondo incensed Paul by reportedly chiding him that he's won a championship and Paul never will. Earlier in the game, won by the Celtics 97-87, each player received a technical foul for a confrontation under the basket. After the final buzzer, the players exchanged words and had to be separated as the teams left the floor. Paul unsuccessfully tried to enter the Celtics' locker room to continue the discussion, and Hornets coach Byron Scott said he overheard Paul saying, "He's going to respect me as a man."

The Celtics are off to a 6-0 start, while the Hornets are struggling out of the gate with a 2-3 record that has only intensified Paul's frustration.


Category: NBA
Posted on: November 2, 2009 9:49 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2009 11:19 pm
 

NBA reviewing Rondo-Paul incident (UPDATE)

NEW YORK -- The NBA is reviewing a confrontation between point guards Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul after Sunday night's game between the Celtics and Hornets, CBSSports.com has learned.

Each player got a technical foul after a tussle under the basket, then they exchanged words after the final buzzer and had to be separated. Paul made an unsuccessful attempt to finish the discussion with Rondo in the Celtics' locker room afterward. Boston won 97-87.

Hornets coach Byron Scott said before his team faced the Knicks Monday night that he hadn't addressed the matter with Paul and didn't believe he was out of line.

"The only thing I heard Chris say after the game as we were walking off was, 'He's going to respect me as a man,'" Scott said. "I don't know what Rondo said, but obviously Chris took exception to it. But I didn't ask him about it or really think much about it after that."

Each player could be subject to a fine, depending on the league office's ruling.

UPDATE: After the Hornets lost to the Knicks 117-111, Paul wouldn't discuss what Rondo said to him that made him so irate. "That’s over and done with," he said. As for the league's decision to review the matter, Paul said, "I’ll wait until somebody says something to me. First I heard of that."

There's a chance Paul could be the subject of a league disciplinary review for the second straight game. During a scramble for a loose ball Monday night, Paul got tangled up with the Knicks' Al Harrington, who got up rubbing his head as though Paul had punched him. Replays showed Paul at one point flailing his arms, but Paul said afterward he didn't throw any punches. Harrington said his head had collided with Paul's knee.

“He didn’t punch," Harrington said. "When I dove, his knee . . . my head hit his knee. He might have slipped a couple of jabs in there, but it didn’t affect me. I fight in the summer so it’s all good. ... It was nothing. It’s nothing anybody should review or anything like that.”
Posted on: November 2, 2009 10:12 am
Edited on: November 2, 2009 1:49 pm
 

Celtics, Rondo agree to extension (UPDATE)

The Celtics' $55 million game of poker with Rajon Rondo is over. After two weeks of posturing, the two sides have agreed to a five-year extension that will keep the point guard from becoming a restricted free agent next summer, a person familiar with the situation told CBSSports.com on Monday.

The $55 million extension came hours before a midnight Tuesday deadline for 2006 draft picks to sign extensions with their current teams. The lone high-profile holdout is Rudy Gay, whose representatives have continued to work with GM Chris Wallace on getting a deal done.

UPDATE: Only a week ago, it seemed that Celtics president Danny Ainge and Rondo's agent, Bill Duffy, were too far apart to get a deal in place before the league-imposed deadline. As a matter of procedure, the Oct. 31 deadline was extended through Monday, the next official business day.

Ainge and Duffy met at halftime of the Celtics' opener at Cleveland on Oct. 27, and things seemed bleak. Ainge told Duffy he was interested in completing a deal, but wanted Duffy to move off his desire for a contract averaging north of $10 million annually.

"And I said, 'Danny, I don’t know if we’re gonna move,'" Duffy said in a telephone interview Monday. "'I respect where you're coming from. If you have any other thoughts or ideas, I'm open to it.'" You have to give him credit. He stuck with it."

Still, no substantive talks took place until Sunday, when Duffy called Ainge to let him know Rondo was prepared to play out the scenario and hit the restricted market next July. According to Duffy, Ainge told him he'd ask owner Wyc Grousbeck to sign off on the five-year, $55 million deal, which was being finalized Monday afternoon. 

Rondo, who will turn 24 in February, has the Celtics off to a 4-0 start marked by the return of Kevin Garnett from knee surgery and the addition of free agent Rasheed Wallace. But for all the firepower presented by Wallace and the Big Three, Rondo makes the Celtics go. But some issues had to be resolved first. Ainge and coach Doc Rivers had publicly and privately challenged Rondo to become more of a leader during the offseason. The remarks prompted widespread speculation that Rondo would be traded rather than given an extension offer.

Before the Celtics' season opener in Cleveland last week, Rondo admitted that the extension deadline was "crazy timing," but vowed to push the distraction out of his mind as the Celtics opened their pursuit of an 18th NBA championship. "It'll take care of itself," Rondo said. "I've just got to worry about doing my job."

UPDATE: Duffy said it would've been human nature for Rondo to let the contract situation affect his play.

"As much as a player would say that it’s not an issue, he’s a human being, so it’d have to be in the back of his mind," Duffy said. "But that being said, more than most athletes I've worked with, I don’t think it would’ve affected him much at all because he’s so focused and so competitive. I think he would've used it as a motivator as opposed to feeling insecure about his future."

With Ray Allen becoming an unrestricted free agent after the season and Paul Pierce possessing a player option, the Rondo signing removes some of the uncertainty about how the Celtics will move forward after they finish chasing their second title in three years. Garnett and Wallace are both signed for two more seasons after this one.

And after the upheaval surrounding Rondo this past summer, the extension is all the proof you need that the Celtics have decided that Rondo has grown up enough to lead them into the post-Big Three era. Whether Rondo, who plays best with a grudge, will continue that trend with his future decided is an open question. When he's playing with abandon and chippiness -- as he did Sunday night in a 97-87 victory over the Hornets -- Rondo is at his best. When his hopes of getting an extension withered about a week ago, I thought there was the potential for that to be positive for both sides. Rondo would play with even more nastiness, and that would only benefit the Celtics, who have a veteran team that needs to win another title before the window of opportunity closes.

My answer seemed to come from Rondo's contentious battle with New Orleans counterpart Chris Paul on Sunday night. After Duffy and Ainge agreed in principle before the game, Rondo went into full agitator mode against Paul. Both players got technicals after a tussle under the basket, and they exchanged words and had to be separated after the final buzzer. Paul won the battle of the box score with 22 points, eight assists, and two steals. Rondo had six points, 10 assists, and three steals -- but his team won the game.

That pretty much defines Rondo, one of the rising point guards in the NBA. It defines his team, too. No organization has won more championships than the Celtics, who know a winner when they see one.







Posted on: October 30, 2009 9:22 am
 

To Rondo or not to Rondo

The looming deadline for extending the contracts of 2006 draft picks presents an intriguing dilemma for the Celtics -- and for Rajon Rondo.

The deadline, which originally was Oct. 31 but was extended to Monday, the next business day, is in place to force teams to either commit to draft picks after three seasons or play the risky restricted free-agent game with them after the fourth. It's a balancing act for Celtics president Danny Ainge, who joined coach Doc Rivers in chastising Rondo during the summer, urging him to become more of a leader.

Let the deadline pass without an extension, and the Celtics are taking a big risk. As important as the Big Three are to their success, the Big Three soon will become the Geriatric Three. Rondo is the future. I would argue he's as much a part of the present as any of the Hall of Famers to whom he passes the ball. Rondo makes the Celtics' engine run, and with a little experience and knowledge, his on-ball defense will be right up there with any guard in the league.

Two factors work in Boston's favor. First, restricted free agency is a tough way to live. Just ask Paul Millsap, Raymond Felton, David Lee, and Nate Robinson. Under the current collective bargaining agreement, the home team holds all the cards in the restricted market. And second, Rondo and his fellow '06 picks who've yet to sign extensions -- such as Rudy Gay in Memphis -- have extra incentive to get their money now. Why? Negotiations are under way on a new CBA that is expected to be more favorable to the owners.

So if you're Rondo's agent, Billy Duffy, you play it out in your mind this way: If there's no extension, Rondo can get paid under the current salary structure by signing a lucrative offer sheet next summer. The Celtics can either match, or not. But who knows what the RFA market will be like in the final year of the CBA? Wouldn't owners want to wait until a more favorable one is ratified before going on a spending spree? LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and a few others will get max deals. But will Rondo be in that group? If the Celtics win another title and Rondo is a big part of their success, then yes. If not, then maybe not.

The worst-case scenario for Rondo would be no extension, followed by a one-year deal with Boston for next season. Then, his long-term deal would come under the new CBA. Translation: Less money.

But that's only part of the risk-reward game Rondo is playing. It sounds cool to be part of this vaunted 2010 free-agent class. But when teams survey the landscape, I believe they'll view restricted free agents with even more suspicion than they did this past summer. With so much unrestricted talent available, teams will be very careful not to get bogged down in the seven-day waiting period for an RFA. Imagine losing out on Bosh, Amar'e Stoudemire, or Dirk Nowitzki while waiting to see if Boston will match your offer sheet for Rondo. Some of the impediments that make restricted free agency so restricted are expected to be loosened in the new CBA. But for Rondo, the rules are what they are.

Speaking about the looming deadline earlier this week in Cleveland, Rondo said, "It'll take care of itself. I just need to worry about doing my job." As a player, that's the smart way to play this. The hard part is up to Ainge and Duffy, whose staring contest will end one way or another by Monday.
 



 

Posted on: October 27, 2009 4:24 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2009 7:15 pm
 

Big Baby let his teammates down (UPDATE)

CLEVELAND -- That sound you heard was Kevin Garnett's head exploding upon hearing the news that Glen "Big Baby" Davis put himself on the shelf for 6-8 weeks with a thumb injury incurred in a fight with a friend.

All together now ... with friends like that ...

Davis underwent surgery in Boston Tuesday to repair the damage -- to his thumb, but not to the Celtics. In a Yahoo! Sports story in which Davis explains that he hurt himself retaliating after the driver of a moving car Davis was riding in slugged him early Sunday morning, Davis mentioned that he received concerned text messages from teammates Eddie House, Rasheed Wallace, Tony Allen and J.R. Giddens. No mention of Garnett, who probably let out so many four-letter words upon hearing the news that the late, great George Carlin lost his train of thought in the middle of a heavenly standup routine.

UPDATE: "I'm supportive of Baby, but very disappointed, obviously," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Tuesday night, addressing the issue publicly for the first time before Boston's opener against the Cavs. "It just puts everybody in a bad way. ... When we got the results back, we were hoping that it was going to be a bad lesson, but not a lesson that was going to hurt our team as well. It turned out to be both."

Rivers said he's spent very little time in organizational meetings surrounding the team's plans to suspend Davis. The basis for it would be that he suffered a non-basketball injury, which is grounds for a suspension without pay.

Of more concern for Rivers is who gets Davis' minutes. He's hopeful that Shelden Williams -- who was marveling at the fact that he hasn't played on national TV since he was at Duke -- would be able to step in on the fly. A contribution from Williams would limit the worst-case scenario -- overextending Garnett or Wallace this early in the season.

"The one thing we didn’t want to do early in the year is to extend minutes to Kevin or Rasheed," Rivers said. "And that’s where, if this injury did anything, it may throw some of those plans out a little bit. We may have to lean on some other guys to just burn some minutes for us."

There are holes in Davis' story, important details to be filled in -- as usually is the case when an athlete gets involved in something this stupid. Those details could become the concern of an arbitrator, as the Celtics are considering suspending Davis to recoup some of the two-year, $6.3 million contract they signed him to this past summer.

All of this went down in the precious hours before the Celtics tip off the 2009-10 season Tuesday night in Cleveland against LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal, and the Cavaliers. Delonte West should be the one texting Big Baby, to thank him for the headlines.

"I’ll make this point: Baby’s not a bad person," Rivers said. "He made a bad mistake and he made a bad judgment. Unfortunately, it only takes one second or five seconds to make a mistake and then you have to live with it at times. Right now he has to live with that mistake. But he's not a bad kid. He’s growing, he’s maturing. Obviously, he’s got a ways to go."

The short-term loss of Davis isn't as much of a loss for the Celtics as it would've been had they not added Wallace as a free agent this past summer. The Celtics will still win 60-plus games and be the favorites entering the postseason. But it only underscores how elite teams in any sport are always one senseless escapade away from having their championship hopes dashed. If I were Big Baby, I'd use some of my down time to read my contract, as well as the collective bargaining agreement language on "non-basketball injuries." Then, I'd call Monta Ellis and ask how all that worked out for him. (Hint: Ellis was suspended 30 games without pay, which seems like a good starting point for the discussion on Davis' punishment.)

 
Posted on: October 27, 2009 7:59 am
Edited on: October 27, 2009 7:18 pm
 

No extension for Rondo (UPDATE)

CLEVELAND -- It appears that Rajon Rondo will take the floor for the season opener in Cleveland Tuesday night with the knowledge that he won't get the contract extension from the Celtics that he's been seeking.

A person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to CBSSports.com that the Celtics and Rondo's agent, Bill Duffy, were not able to come to terms on a five-year extension that would've forestalled the point guard's foray into restricted free agency next season.

Technically, the two sides have until Saturday to finalize such an agreement. But they appear to be too far apart to make that a realistic possibility.

"It'll take care of itself," Rondo said Tuesday night before the season opener against Cleveland. "I'm just focused on doing my job (Tuesday night). It's crazy timing, though."

Is this bad for the Celtics? Under normal circumstances, I'd say yes. But an offseason of soul searching is still fresh in Rondo's mind after coach Doc Rivers and team president Danny Ainge directly challenged him to be more of a leader. It's a risk for the Celtics, who could very well face the possibility of another title contender stealing Rondo with an offer sheet next summer. But the Celtics no doubt are emboldened by the difficulty several marquee RFAs had in their attempts to change teams this past summer -- the Knicks' David Lee and Utah's Paul Millsap chief among them -- and believe it's worth the risk. I believe they're right.

Also, don't underestimate the motivation Rondo will feel to perform this season and earn a lucrative offer sheet, which the Celtics almost certainly will match anyway. Few players in the league carry a chip on their shoulders as well as Rondo, who could use this perceived snub to propel him -- and the Celtics -- back to the NBA Finals. 

It's a risk that could very well pay off for both sides.
 

Posted on: July 22, 2009 11:34 am
 

Time to re-sign, Lamar

A few weeks ago when Ron Artest decided to sign with the Lakers, one of the first things out of his mouth was this: "I know Lamar Odom, so that's pretty cool."

Artest and Odom have known each other since they were kids growing up in Queens, playing in the playgrounds and on AAU teams. As much as Artest wanted to sign with the Lakers -- even saying he'd "play there for nothing" -- it is unfathomable that he would've made such a bold career move without knowing L.O. would be on board.

This is why the posturing, the rejected offers, and the offers taken off the table over the past few weeks have been so puzzling. Well, puzzling isn't the right word. I never -- ever -- begrudge athletes, entertainers, finance people, or anybody else when they try to get paid. That is their right and that is how the game is played. An athlete's career is a nanosecond, and they should make as much money as humanly possible. You would do the same thing. So would I.

But the time has come for Odom and his agent, Jeff Schwartz, to recognize that the market is what it is for a player who might just be the best sixth man in the NBA -- but one who, nonetheless, has never made so much as an All-Star team or led the league in any major statistical category. Odom wears his heart on his sleeve and the address of the South Jamaica home where he grew up on the tongues of his sneakers. The dirty secret that Lakers management has known throughout this process is that Odom's heart is in L.A. That's where he and his sneakers belong, too.

Miami? Nice place. No state income tax. Great teammate to play with in Dwyane Wade. But adding Odom wouldn't put the Heat any closer to a title than the Lakers would be if they re-signed him. Portland? The Blazers certainly have the cap space after losing out on Hedo Turkoglu and Paul Millsap, but Portland doesn't feel like the right fit for Odom.

In my mind, the only place besides L.A. that would've made sense for Odom was Boston. But the Celtics struck early in the free-agent period and signed Rasheed Wallace for a fraction of what Odom is seeking.

There will be no hard feelings on either side when, I predict, Odom relents and accepts a three-year deal from the Lakers for somewhere north of $30 million. Derek Fisher is on record saying, "We want him back badly and I hope we can accomplish that in the next couple days." Kobe Bryant is on record saying he's "optimistic" that Odom will return to the Lakers. It is time for those recruiting efforts and optimism to become reality.

Some people whose names end in two G's don't like Lamar Odom. They're stuck in their wistful thinking about how good he could've been if he'd applied himself or if he wanted to be one of the top five players of his era. Odom certainly has that kind of talent. But he was born to be a wingman, and life's challenges have only solidified that niche for him. The Lakers are the perfect team for him, and he for them. It's time to stop posturing and put pen to paper with the Lakers. I refuse to believe that Fisher, Bryant, and Artest will let him do anything different. If Odom knows what's good for him -- if he knows where he's wanted and where he belongs -- then he'll listen.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com