The day is closing so it’s time to catch everyone up on some things that have happened recently.
First, if you have not heard, the Nuggets may have interest in moving J.R. Smith (Fanhouse.com). I know some of you may be cursing Danny Ainge for not waiting longer before waiving Rasheed Wallace and his contract which would have proven to be a match to Smith’s. To those of you feeling this way, I have to apologize and say, “you’re off your rocker.”
The Celtics added some low-risk, high reward options this summer in Shaquille O’Neal and Von Wafer. The risk was a potential assault on team chemistry while the reward is on-court production. There is no doubt that Smith can put points on the board. The jury is out on whether he can defend and whether or not his inconsistent playing time and rocky relationship with Denver’s coach George Karl was a result Karl or Smith’s own doing. I tend to think the latter. Something about a former first round pick and projected stud being involved in two Chicago-related salary dumps (first in allowing Chicago to rid themselves of Tyson Chandler’s contract and then to rid themselves of Smith’s for two round picks) does not scream “answer.”
It more likely screams a word that rhymes with “answer” which I am reluctant to use because transactions in the NBA happen for a multitude of reasons and some times guys get bad raps for no reason (just ask Rashard McCants, I am sure he will tell you all about it). The bottom line is that the Celtics already signed a potential headcase that can shoot the rock and is an unproven defender and they really do not need another one.
Plus there is also this:
This is a picture of J.R. Smith’s neck (h/t Ball Don’t Lie). Now admittedly, even with Hi Def I thought the YM symbolically tatoo’d on his neck was actually the sign of the devil (a.k.a. “NY” or the New York Yankees symbol). I did not realize Smith was just being dramatically appropriate. After all, he is young (25 years old) and he does have money (is due around 6.7 million this year). Last week I mentioned how Rudy Fernandez’ recent pouting streak was proof enough that he was not worth the headache. On a team stacked with veterans where playing time can be hard to come by for volume shooters I would venture to guess Smith was not worth the headache any way. Besides, it’s all moot now considering the Celtics do not have the salary means to trader for him (but here’s a link to the ESPN Trade Machine if you really want to try).
Our friend Chris Forsberg over at ESPN Boston has collaborated with the local bloggers and posted win predictions for this up-coming season. Here’s Brian Robb playing the role of soothsayer:“The Celtics’ regular-season total this year will be bolstered by an improved and more offensively reliable bench that will allow coach Doc Rivers to rest his starting five more while staying competitive in most games. When they get hot, Von Wafer and Nate Robinson can put up points with the best of league’s reserves, and Glen Davis and Shaquille O’Neal compose arguably the most formidable backup front line in the league. Many will point to an improved Eastern Conference and last year’s success despite a subpar regular season as a sign for another lackluster win total. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that this 2010-11 season could very easily be the team’s last and best shot at another title. Combine that with the fact that many new-look teams will be working to find chemistry with each other. Boston’s strong continuity and sense of urgency will lead to an improved performance throughout the regular season while other squads struggle to figure out how to play with one another.”Be sure to check out the rest of the post for more Celtics predictions.
According to Antonie Walker’s uncle Chico (real name), Walker is vying for a comeback in the NBA (WEEI.com). This is most likely due to his most recent financial and legal trouble that plagued the former All Star (a DUI and sizable gambling debt). Rest assured, Walker’s comeback will not happen with the Boston Celtics. Walker may “wiggle” his way somewhere, but the Celtics’ roster is all but set. I am pretty sure a general rule of thumb for GMs of contending teams is not to sign 34 year old former All Stars that have more reason to play for a pay check than to play for a ring (see Allen Iverson’s brief stint with the Memphis Grizzlies).
Over the weekend, our former favorite sharp shooter Eddie House had some choice words for Boston (NESN.com). First, he revealed some true feelings about being apart of the Nate Robinson deal last year:“That stung a little bit,” House said this weekend to the Arizona Republic. “When you feel like you’re a main part of what the team is doing and you’re on a mission, to get the rug pulled out from under you and get sent to a team that has no shot … That kind of hurt.”I don’t blame House. I would have rather been four points away from a Championship instead of playing half a season of sub-par basketball for the lowly Knicks. Then House said the following:“I compare it to the year I went to Boston when the Big Three got together in 2007,” House said. “But this is going to be even bigger. This is going to be Boston on steroids.” What is it with Florida and ‘roids?! First Rashard Lewis, now the new trio in Miami? I don’t know about you, but I would not mind opening a congressional investigation- as long as it prevented LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade from playing together next year. All kidding aside, House is right. Miami Thrice is Boston’s Big Three on steroids. They are younger, they have more star power, and they are taller and weigh more collectively. Luckily for C’s fans, steroids do not necessarily equate to winning (seriously, just ask Jose Conseco).
Remember when the Celtics were after Kwame Brown and were rebuffed when he wanted more money? Well, not only did Brown sign today for the veteran minimum but he did so with a marginal playoff team (sorry Bob-kitties). The upshot for Brown is that he won’t be taking Shelden Williams minutes. With the departure of Theo Ratliff, Alexis Ajinca and the likely departure of Erick Dampier, Brown will likely get the playing time he’ll need to quietly maintain his bust status.
If you have not seen it courtesy of our friends over at CelticsBlog.com, here is the commercial Rajon Rondo “stars” in:I say “stars” because he only says four words but he clearly steals the show. I love everything about this kid.