This past week I had the opportunity for an exclusive interview with Gary Tanguay of Comcast Sportsnet. Gary is the studio host for all of the pregame and postgame coverage for Celtics games on CSN and is the man who intitally broke the story last month of the Celtics’ interest in Rasheed Wallace.
I talked to Gary at length about Boston’s offseason moves and their prospects for this upcoming season. Here are the some of the highlights of our discussion:
On The Impact of Rasheed Wallace in Green both on the floor and in the locker room.
GT: Rasheed will not be a problem in the locker room. Look he gets a lot of technical fouls and had a lack of desire to play this past year on a dysfunctional team in Detroit that kept him from going inside a lot.
When he plays in Boston, with KG I think we will see a new Rasheed. He is a big man that can really do it all. He will play in the post, play solid defense and also be a significant threat from the outside. I think he will respect Doc and definitely Garnett. He will play the game the right way this year because of KG.
As far as the locker room goes, he wouldn’t be on a list of guys who cause problems there.
On the potential return of Big Baby
GT: Danny Ainge told me last week that they would let the market set itself before it would make Big Baby an offer. They are not going to overpay him and the C’s have a number in mind for what they think he is worth. 2.5 million dollars would be a fair guess for me.
Danny said to me because of the exercising of player options by guys like Carlos Boozer and Okur, that was a sign that there is not a lot of money out there for free agents this year. It’s likely Big Baby’s next contract will be hurt by that reality.
On how the rumor mill gets started: Does the agent plant it or the client leak something? Who talks to who?
GT: It really boils down to the internet. Things get started because with so much information available, people try to connect the dots. They see who’s available, what teams’ needs are, and what the salary cap figures are to see what fits. Then people with connects start asking questions based on that kind of information.
Everything is changing now during the offseason because of the internet and the rumors that circulate on the platform. Rumors are good for business too, people love them and constantly talk about them. It keeps teams in the news. No one waits for a press release anymore, they just check a blog for the latest info. The rumors keep a team like the Celtics relevant and in the news in July for a baseball crazed town like Boston. In essence, basketball free agency is becoming a lot like the baseball hotstove offseason with the amount of attention it is generating amongst fans.
More from Gary on the motivating factor behind Rondo’s trade rumors, Leon Powe, and who will fill out the C’s roster, after the jump.
On the possibility Paul Pierce could opt out and restructure his deal after this season to create cap space/save the C’s money:
GT: I think it’s possible Paul would restructure his deal. With Ray Allen potentially gone after this year, the C’s could have some space created if Paul helped them out. He is a team guy through and through so that would not surprise me if he took a paycut to help the team.
On the Leon Powe situation:
GT: It’s a shame how it went down. The Celtics though have made it clear that they will support him everyway they can with his recovery. For now however, they need that roster spot and with this ACL tear being the 3rd injury to that particular knee, they couldn’t afford to take a risk. I think people around the league will need to see what he has got after he recovers before someone offers him a contract unfortunately.
On the Rajon Rondo trade rumors from last month:
GT: Danny seemed to be sending a message for negotiation purposes. Ainge is a guy who is always going to test the waters in most situations. He had a guard who wanted a lot of money in a contract extension and he didn’t want to give it to him. Seeing that this could be a problem, Danny wanted to see what was out there.
I think he said some things on WEEI to try to lower Rondo’s price and use as some intimidation. That being said, the things he mentioned were not wrong. He really just attempted to drive home his point and highlight the fact that for as good as he was during the Chicago series, he was that much of a liability during the Orlando series at times. All in all, there was no way Danny was going to deal Rondo unless he got back a solid point guard in the deal.
On the C’s final few bench slots and bench needs:
GT: I think Lester Hudson has a chance to beat out Gabe Pruitt for a roster spot. My colleague Tim Welsh has seen Hudson play a good amount from his college coaching days and likes him a lot. I also think it will be interesting to see if J.R. Giddens challenges Bill Walker for the few minutes he had last year at the 3. I think it’s likely that Pruitt will be the odd man out though.
One thing the C’s have made clear though is they want more scoring from the bench. Rasheed will get that for them, but look for more players to help them fill that void at other positions.