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Pre-Second Half Notebook: Trade Rumors, Team Meetings, and JO’s Hand

 

Can you believe you can play Shining Force on the iPhone?!

The second half of the 2011-2012 NBA season is upon us!  Rejoice! This lockout-shortened, offensively-challenged, morale-killing season is half over! Hooray!

The 2011-2012 NBA season has been anything but kind to the Celtics and we’re going to find out just how unkind in the coming weeks.  Trade rumors are running rampant and pessimism abounds.  No one knows what the future holds for this team but I’m sure it’ll certainly be unexpected and subsequently scrutinized for months.

To kick off this second half, let’s catch everyone up on the latest and greatest surrounding your favorite team.

KG Holds a “Players Only” Meeting

CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely hits the Celtics beat hard each and every day so it’s not surprising that he found this little nugget while talking to Keyon Dooling:

So before the team would venture off into the abyss that we know of as All-Star weekend, Garnett held an impromptu team meeting with a clear and very succinct Garnett-esque message.

If you’re not ready to step your game up the second half of the season, step aside and don’t come back because he doesn’t want you and the Celtics don’t need you.

Keyon Dooling, who like a number of Celtics has missed games due to injuries, felt Garnett’s message could not have come at a better time.

The Celtics (15-17) had lost their fifth straight, and Garnett could sense that coddling – not exactly a strength of his, anyway – was not needed.

He spoke the way he plays; in a strong, but firm and consistent tone.

“We understand what’s at stake,” Dooling told CSNNE.com. “We have to start, here and now.”

 

The main takeaway from this story, the real money quote, doesn’t come directly from any player: If you’re not ready to step your game up the second half of the season, step aside and don’t come back because he doesn’t want you and the Celtics don’t need you. We can only assume this is Blakely’s interpretation based on the conversation he had with Dooling.  I like the sentiment but I’m afraid of the ramifications.  If the meeting was necessary, does that mean that there are players who have already checked out?  Is this a not-so-veiled reference to Jermaine O’Neal?

Whatever the reasoning, I’m not sure it matters much to Danny Ainge whether or not the players have bought-in.  He’ll do whatever he thinks is best come trade deadline time.

Speaking of Trades…

You’ve heard all about the Rondo for Gasol/Gasol for Rondo trade rumors, so I won’t bore you with more of that. Instead, I’ll give you some generic Rondo trade chatter with just a smidgen of Gasol thrown in.

Sam Smith writing for NBA.com gives his odds on whether or not players around the league will be traded.  Here’s what he had to say about Rajon Rondo’s prospects:

Rajon Rondo: The Celtics are playing just bad enough that GM Danny Ainge will not have any problems breaking up his old gang. There’s not much to get for the likes of Kevin Garnett, but Rondo is the guy. Even since they traded Kendrick Perkins you get the sense he’s checked out mentally, if not with his play. More the feeling that the organization doesn’t have his back. There have been Rondo for Pau rumors and I thought they should have tried to trade him for Russell Westbrook. Portland’s got a bunch of young players and is going nowhere, so perhaps something there. His contract is reasonable for an All-Star and long, so he’s desirable. And the Celtics don’t want to be caught in that early 90’s fall without trading someone.

Chances of Rondo being traded: 60 percent.

I don’t see anything scientific with his statistical projection and much of his analysis leaves me scratching my head.  I think it’s common knowledge that Ainge would trade Rondo for Westbrook in a heartbeat (I would not, for the record) and tried to do so after last season.  Also, what is with the Portland speculation? Rondo is clearly better than any point guard the Blazers have, but Rip City has a ton of young guard talent.  Enough to cut Armon Johnson to make way for Joel Pryzbilla.  I wouldn’t read too much into that.

I would, however, look pretty closely at this next rumor coming from Sean Deveney of Sporting News:

While there has been plenty of focus on Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, sources indicate Allen has generated the most interest from contenders. He is a knock-down perimeter shooter and a veteran who can blend well with any team. Even at age 36, Allen is in great shape and, as a free agent after the season, an easy fit into a team’s books.

The Celtics don’t want to trade Allen, but if they continue to slide and are offered a young piece or a draft pick, making a deal would be hard to resist.

I think each one of us at one point during the Big Three era have tried to trade Ray Allen away.  He has decent value despite being so seasoned and has a fairly moveable contract.  If Allen were to depart, it would absolutely signify the end of the Big Three era (thank you Captain Obvious!) by which I mean that the half court offense would have to be completely overhauled.

JO’s Hurt (Captain Obvious Returns!)
Good ol’ 4Z (Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston) has the latest news on Jermaine O’Neal’s latest injury:

Celtics center Jermaine O’Neal, who aggravated a left wrist injury last Monday in Dallas, remained in Boston on Monday while the rest of his teammates trekked to Cleveland in advance of opening the second half of the 2011-12 season Tuesday night against the Cavaliers.

O’Neal is expected to meet with team physical Dr. Brian McKeon and a hand specialist on Tuesday, according to the team.

Okay, so the wrist injury isn’t exactly new, however it is worth mentioning because it’s a reminder of how unreliable JO is and will be going forward.  The C’s need another big body more than anything right now (well, maybe not more than health and desire).

At this point you may be wondering why I referenced the 16-bit of RPG Heaven to lead off this notebook post. The reason is simple. Musashi. Everyone knows you get Musashi by reading the small note outside the weapon/item shop in Prompt. He’s easily the best player in the game and getting him so late, after you’ve worked so hard to build your army up is like winning he lottery on the day you retire. It’s extraneous, but it doesn’t make it any less awesome. The Celtics need their Musashi. They’re old, but when healthy (eessshhh, I hate having to give that caveat) they are still awesome. They need their Musashi to come in the second half of the season to provide that dominating force to plow through the Armed Skeletons and Deamon Masters, and eventually Darksol and Dark Dragon.

Who will that Musashi be?

  • http://twitter.com/SpaceKappa @SpaceKappa

    The fact that this article contains a Shining Force reference makes it my favorite article that has ever been, or ever will be, posted on Celtics Hub. Brendan, you're all right in my book.

    • Jim

      Celtics transitioned into early 90's nintendo… We sir

  • http://twitter.com/DaddyNewts @DaddyNewts

    More Shining Force comments please.

  • http://twitter.com/KIDPRINCE22 @KIDPRINCE22

    C`s should waived J.O`Neal then go after scorers who can help the BIG4 off the bench. C`s trade Pietrus & Pavlovic to Milwaukee for S.Jackson by Wednesday. C`s should sign E.House & J.Posey for 1 year.C`s trade Bradley,Moore, & 2nd round pick to Sacramento for J.Fredette and trade Dooling & Daniels to Phoenix for S.Brown by Friday. By next week Ainge should make a 3 team trade with the Wizards & Rockets for Center J.McGee. Wizards get Thabeet,Johnson, & 1st round pick and Rockets get Wilcox and Mack. With those new players the C`s will be in the Finals this season.

    • strips

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQDHCyFe2rY

      seriously, i thought this was addressed in a previous article a few weeks back…

      if it were me, i'd rather the c's built around rondo, have them get a couple more bigs that can run with him like bass and wilcox and some reliable shooters on the wings.

      too bad it looks like danny's bent on getting rid of rondo though…

    • CelticsBIG3

      Enough man seriously, EEEEENNNNOOOOUUUUGGGGHHHH!!!! Nobody wants House or Posey, this isn't 2008 they aren't going to help anyone's cause anymore, good god man

    • ripsonics

      My god… Can we block this idiot? That'd be the most ridiculous thing in the world. JUST BECAUSE IT MATCHES UP ON THE TRADE MACHINE DOESN'T MEAN IT'S A REALISTIC TRADE.

      That being said ….. SHUT UP

    • janos

      I dont like you

      • lakershater13

        If Janos comes out and says he does not like you then you need to quit these stupid trades.

    • dasein

      reacting to this guy is just encouraging him. If everyone ignores him he'll eventually get bored and go away.

  • http://twitter.com/IronHelpsUsPlay @IronHelpsUsPlay

    Sam Smith is the same guy who kept insisting for months in 2006/2007 that the C's would trade Pierce for KG. Ever since then I've ignored him.

  • NICK33

    Paul Pierce to PHILLY for Iggy?
    Allen to MIN to Wes Johnson & Beasley?
    Garnett to WIZ for Lewis (to be amnestised in offseason) and Vesely (for helping the wiz to save 21 mil).
    WIZ can buyout Garnett and he can sign with a contender (just not LAL).

    Put those guys with Rondo and run!

    Anyone?

    Any one?

    No…

    OK.

    • dslack

      Can't amnesty a guy you trade for.

      The Pierce for Iguodala idea is a nonstarter too.

  • dunny dun dun

    i love how Doc and Forsberg cling onto the excuse if "only we can get healthy" or being "plagued by injuries" Did anyone really think that a team of decrepits and has beens wouldn't get hurt?? Enough with the gimmicks and let's get REAL.

  • IBleedGreen

    You probably won't trade Rondo for Westbrook "in a heartbeat" consider what other pieces are involved, but you would be a fool to not make that trade. Two years ago you could debate all day who is the point guard, but right now it is not even fair to compare. Westbrook is better and with even bigger upside.

    • IBleedGreen

      * who is the better point guard

  • ManiacPDN

    Seriously!?! A Shining Force reference! This article could not be any better. Oh, wait — you pointed out that I could download it on my iPhone. On another note – hopefully the Cs can pull it together. No matter how they finish – I get the feeling that no one would be happy to see them in the post season.

  • W2.

    Russ W. is a much better point guard than Rondo. It is not even close. I love Rondo and he might be my favorite Celtics and he can do things that Russ cannot. But that in no way does that makes him a superior overall talent. I would guess that there is not one GM in the NBA who values Rondo more than Westbrook, though this might include people who have given large sums of money to any number of players on the Wizards (so that arguement might be a bit hollow).

    With that being said, I don't think Rondo has reached his ceiling and I would like to see him continue to play in green.

    • dslack

      How many more years does Rondo have at peak quickness/athleticism? How effective will he be when his athletic superiority over other players starts to diminish? His court-vision should withstand the ravages of Father Time, but he doesn't have a money jump shot to fall back on (like Nash and Stockton) when he's no longer quicker and a better jumper than the guy he's lined up against.

      • zach

        could have said that about J Kidd 10 years ago

  • tbunny

    Westbrook is not available geez. They just signed him, they're not trading him. I don't even think he's necessarily better than Rondo. He's the more generic ball handler/scorer like Rose. But with the right team Rondo can be extremely hard to handle.

    I'll be happy when the trading deadline is passed because this whole process is annoying. GMs should have to figure their business out today in my opinion. Why start the second half with that up in the air?

  • LACelticFan

    Westbrook is a better ballplayer but not a better PG. West brook can also play the SG position, as he does with Team USA. He is a superior athlete to Rondo. But a true PG sets his teammates up for easy shots ignoring the times when he has a shot to keep his teammates involved. Westbrook is the hyrbid. He does come down looking looking for his shot, not to keep the defense honest on him, but to score simply. He loves to score, period. Could he pull a Rondo and just pass all game long and go for 20 plus assists? Not very likely. But even without a jumpshot we have seen Rondo dominate games. Sometimes this Celtic grass is not always greener on the Westside.

    • IBleedGreen

      Assist is one of the most overrated stat in NBA. Guys can take 3 dribbles or pump fake a dozen times after catching the ball, and they would still credit the assist to the passer. That's just ridiculous. i like ball movement, but the way NBA counts assists make it one fo the most inaccurate/overrate stat.

  • janos

    Hi Brayden, is Janos
    I hopes yo uget my emails weekend last, i have big trouble on post coment depend where I am. I am worry that my coment not get seen and when this fix get. ?

    I send too, emails on celticshub gmails but not get rpely. I know you must get 100 emails hour so I am not upset for reply, but wish i could make post from all computer i sign in to?

    Is not complicate thing man, please fix.

  • kel

    Rondo's the better PG hands down. I also think he might be the better investment in the long run. I think as Westbrook's athleticism wanes later in his career his production will diminish significantly. I'd rather have a point guard with a high IQ who has a feel for the game and running the show than one who's going to get a lot of points at the expense of other guys getting involved.

    Anyways its fun to speculate and debate where Rondo might end up. Hope its with the C's but if its somewhere else I'll definitely be a new fan of that team, dude's too fun to watch.

    • Anthony

      Rondo has higher basketball making him a better PG. Westbrook is better athlete making him a better SG.

      Nobody in the NBA, outside of Nash, CP3, and possibly Rubio, can make the passes that Rondo makes.

  • Chris from Danvers

    Interesting food for thought.

    As for player's only meeting, while the timing might be right, I am a little skeptical. This team pulled one of those off last year and actually played worse right after it. I am hoping that KG lit a fire, but I cannot feel confident about that. Luckily, these players seem to have more of an edgy side than last year, so hopefully it works. I would have preferred if it was right before a home game.

    Second, in terms of JO, my guess is they may be ready to send him packing. The recent rumor of the Celtics looking at Michael Beasley has to include JO as part of the compensation, especially if the Timberwolves need to clear cap space. I think a JO and young guy swap for Beasley would be great (KG, Danny, and Doc could help readjust his attitude).

    Third, I think Rondo is staying. If they do the above mentioned deal and bring back Jeff Green next year, they are starting to build something for the future. Green and Beasley have averaged mid to high double digits in recent years and with Rondo, can help lure an elusive free agent next year, even if it is a 2d tier free agent. Not bad at all.

    Just my two cents.

  • Sean Temple

    I'm going to throw this out there. In the playoffs against the Heat or Bulls you're playing 4 on 5 offensively because of Rondo. DId anyone watch the end of the Cavs game. Irving was literally 6 or 7 feet off Rondo. It clogs everything up. You can't win a championship if Rondo is you're best player. I'd rather have Westbrook even if he's kind of a ball hog because the defense has to be honest and that creates much better spacing.

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