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Danny Ainge on Greg Oden and Leandro Barbosa

 

Danny Ainge made his weekly appearance on WEEI Thursday afternoon. You can listen to the whole thing here.

Here are two key pieces of news that came out of the discussion.

Boston ‘monitoring’ Greg Oden

Ainge confirmed Ken Berger’s report that the Celtics are interested in Greg Oden, who, had the Celtics landed the #1 overall pick in the 2007 draft, might have led the Celtics… well… nowhere.

Oden’s been through three microfracture surgeries, the most recent less than a year ago, but in the short time he was healthy enough to play consistent minutes, proved himself a major rebounding force and paint-clogging presence with All-Star upside. Oden intends a return to the NBA for the start of next season and may be looking for a team to sign him for the remainder of this season in order to secure his services for the next.

Ainge:

“We’re monitoring Greg, like all the NBA teams are, but we have not attempted to sign him. But we are monitoring him and having [conversations] with his people just to see where he’s at.”

“I don’t think [he'd be able to play this year]” Ainge said. “I don’t know any of that for sure, but I would suspect that anybody that would sign him would have their eyes looking more towards his contribution in the future than now.”

Oden has previously been linked to Miami but given his still-tantalizing potential and the dearth of old school centers around the league, it may take a multi-year deal to lock him up. That would be a financial challenge for the Heat. Oden also constitutes a major health risk for any team willing to commit multi-year money to a player who doesn’t appear to have the constitution for full NBA seasons.

It will be interesting to see if the common wisdom around Oden — that he doesn’t intend to try and play this season — is true, or if there’s any possibility of him making an appearance sometime in the spring. There have been no concrete details about his conditioning, rehab or the general state of his body.

Barbosa might have requested a trade — or not

An ESPN Brazil report started circulating on Thursday, quoting Leandro Barbosa, allegedly unhappy with his playing time, as having requested a trade several times this season.

ESPN Boston has the translated Barbosa quote:

“I won’t lie to you. I’ve tried to get out several times, but Danny Ainge doesn’t want to let me leave,” Barbosa told ESPN Brazil. “He is a guy that I’ve admired in basketball for many years. I was supposed to have gotten a good contract from the Boston Celtics, but it did not happen. He’s not going to let me leave this way.”

Barbosa walked back that quote at practice Thursday afternoon and Ainge flat out denied the trade request on WEEI, indicating that he and Barbosa have had discussions about his role, but that no formal request for  trade has been made.

Ainge:

“I think it’s been hard for him not to get an opportunity to play as much as he’s wanted, but we have said from the beginning, even before he signed here, that minutes might be difficult to come by, because we were deep at that position, and he still chose to come here.”

Ainge went on to compliment Barbosa’s play and implied, as it typical in these situations, that Barbosa would eventually get a chance for extended minutes.

However, Boston remains deep at the guard position and thin upfront so Barbosa’s prospects range from a regular role in the rotation to being included in a trade package, depending on which way Ainge decides to take this roster in the approach to the February 21st trade deadline.

  • Eric

    SOMEBODY PLEASE LET DANNY AINGE DO NOT GET RID OF BARBOSA!!! SOMEBODY PLEASE LET DANNY AINGE DO NOT GET RID OF BARBOSA!!! SOMEBODY PLEASE LET DANNY AINGE DO NOT GET RID OF BARBOSA!!! SOMEBODY PLEASE LET DANNY AINGE DO NOT GET RID OF BARBOSA!!! SOMEBODY PLEASE LET DANNY AINGE DO NOT GET RID OF BARBOSA!!! SOMEBODY PLEASE LET DANNY AINGE DO NOT GET RID OF BARBOSA!!!

    • jg4th

      Somebody please learn how to put a coherent sentence together….

    • Vincent

      stop yelling

    • someguyinsac

      The cure for CAPS LOCK disease is a mere button push away, sorry you missed the news about that.

  • Phil725

    For Oden's sake, I really hope he signs with the Suns. I'd like to see him get through a whole season healthy, and that's only happening with warlock assistance.

    Not surprised to hear the Barbosa talk. He had to be kicking himself the second D'antoni went to LA. Especially when Nash was injured, that would've been the perfect spot for him.

    I know Barbosa's become a comments section MVP lately, but there are just no minutes for him here barring an injury. Ainge pointed out that Barbosa knew that going in (though I tend to read any Ainge quote with my Belichick "truth" goggles on,) so I'm not sure why he signed in the first place if this was going to be an issue. He doesn't have any trade value by himself either, so he would have to be a throw in in another trade if he was moved. A buyout/release seems much more likely if the situation does sour.

    • CelticsBIG3

      On those nights when Terry stinks, why not give Barbosa some minutes? He has been instant offense every time he has come in to games.

      • The Cardinal

        Because egos and contracts have to be managed and "by golly, if we signed you as the fifth guard, then you should know that you have slim to no chance of supplanting the relatively big money guards that you have been outplaying all year!"

        I'm on the fence about a lot of the so-called metrics that are frequently cited, but I would be interested in someone who is experienced with them to compare Barbosa's key offensive and defensive numbers vs. the other guards (hell, the other players) on the C's.

        I hope he gets a chance to play for someone as a rotation player although my preference would be for the C's. On the bench and on the floor, he brings energy and enthusiasm. On the floor, he brings skill, aggression and athleticism, so whats not to like? There is no one else on the C's who is more of a player's player, and yeah, while I understand the "numbers" thing, the fact is our other guards aren't exactly setting the world on fire with their consistency.

        He is the one player we have that is guaranteed to try and attack the basket (and more often than not, be successful) and on this scoring-inside-the-paint-deficient-team, you would think that would be priceless.

        Groundhog Day!

        • Phil725

          Egos and roles on the team are part of it, but to say that's the only reason is grossly overstating Barbosa's ability. Terry is a better all around scorer, passer and leader than Barbosa, and they're about the same on defense. Barbosa could probably match Terry's points output if given the minutes (he's averaging about 15 per 36 right now,) but he's not the playmaker that Terry is, and he doesn't offer much else. I'm not sure which metrics you're referring to, but I can't find anything that likes Barbosa. The whole offense revolves around him when he's on the court, and he's just not an elite scoring option. Those drives look pretty when they go in, but when no one else gets the ball in a good spot and turnover rates go up, the offense as a whole suffers.

          There is a potential role for him on this team, but that role isn't an every game one. I'd like to see him come in at points like near the end of the third quarter of the Hornets game where it was obvious that no one could hit a shot. Give him a few minutes to monopolize the offense and see if he's on. If not, pull the plug to start the fourth, and what did it hurt? I'm not sure he would be okay with that limited role, but there aren't many options. Playing major minutes (or every night,) in Terry's stead is unrealistic.

          • The Cardinal

            Well let's see what the latest metrics say:
            *PER: LB is 15.5 (4th behind PP, RR, and KG); JT is 11.9; CL is 10.6.
            *Assist/TO: LB is 2.9 (2nd to RR's 3.0); JT is 1.9; CL is 1.2.
            *FG%/3PT%: LB is 44.2/39.3 (# PT Team High); JT is 42.5/36.1; CL is 47.8/31.7.
            *Points per shot: LB is 1.18; JT is 1.17; CL is 1.16.
            *TO per game: LB is 0.4; JT is 1.2; CL is 1.1.
            *Assists per game: LB is 1.2; JT is 2.3; CL is 1.3.
            *Minutes per game: LB is 10.7; JT is 29.1; CL is 22.9.
            Stats are from ESPN.

            As always, please draw your own conclusions but remember Boston has the tendency to stand around in their half court offense when RR and PP are in the lineup waiting for PP isolations. The same is true when JG is in the game. The difference with LB is twofold: 1) Doc inserts him into the game to do exactly what he does, and 2) while they may stand around, LB is generally driving to the basket where he either scores, gets fouled, or provides his team an opportunity for the rare offensive rebound.

            The thing is LB is very capable of playing whatever role Doc wants him to play. When he started the one game in RR's absence, he actually distributed the ball as opposed to looking for his own shot. As with his defense, simply because he hasn't been called upon to play a certain way does not mean he can't – he strikes me as very coachable and given his speed and quickness, I suspect he could make a major impact defensively as part of the regular rotation.

            I've said it before, no one in the league other than LeBron James is flawless, and Barbosa compares favorably to his peers on this team.

          • Phil725

            I glazed over the percentages a little, you're right that those favor Barbosa. I just don't know how much you can really glean from those other stats given Barbosa's incredibly limited role though. Take turnovers for example; Barbosa's turnover rate this year is tiny, but so are his minutes. His career average is a whole turnover per game higher than what he's averaging now (and it doesn't seem unreasonable to expect him to reach that number if he played 2X as many minutes.) Terry and Barbosa's turnovers per 36 minutes are almost the same.

            It's the same story for the other stuff; Barbosa's played well in a limited role, but his potential impact on the team is very limited because he doesn't create looks for anyone else. I don't think his on/off court data this year means much since he plays a lot of his minutes with junk lineups, but the overall assist rate and offensive rating going down, along with overall turnover numbers going up doesn't surprise me.

            And just a note on PER, I'm a fan of it, but it's very favorable towards guys like Barbosa (high usage, volume shooters who aren't a factor on D.)

            Edit – I'm not saying he shouldn't have any role, just that his role should be 5th guard. When things are stagnating anyway, see if he can put up some points. Doc should actually use him in that role, but Barbosa also has to be happy with that role, which he may not be.

  • The Cardinal

    One more thing – please do not use the tired ol' "he's not a lock down defender" excuse cuz Jason Terry sure as shoot ain't one, Jeff Green ain't one, Brandon Bass ain't one, Rondo doesn't always play like one, and while Courtney Lee has his moments on the defensive end, so does Barbosa.

  • Josh_5

    Ya, this whole Barbosa thing is sad. Like Cardinal said, sometimes coaches have their "favorites" or have to manage minutes to egos. Barbosa is always offense and on a team that struggles to produce, I sure wish Terry would get hurt for 2 weeks so Barbosa could get some run. (Ok, not really wanting Terry to get hurt but to me he won't produce until the playoffs anyway)

  • Anthony

    Has DA had any luck with the mid-level signings? Sheed, JO, JET, etc…

    I came into the season having really high hopes for JET, thinking he would supplant Ray, because he seem like a better fit for the Celts roster. Up to this point, despite playing minimal minutes, Barbosa has been the better player on both ends.

    JET was very smart in getting that tattoo as it would just be awkward to trade him mid-season. What about JET, Bass, and 1st rounder for J-Smoove or Horford?

    • Phil725

      I think people are very unnecessarily down on Terry. We knew going into the year that the starting guard rotation was going to be Rondo/Bradley, and that ideally both would be well above 30 minutes a game. Terry struggled big time while being yanked from the starting rotation to backup PG to go-to guy on the second unit… I just don't see why that matters. If he's needed for a versatility role down the road, I have less faith in him. As the leader of the second unit (his role now,) I think he's still exactly what the team needs.

      Look at his shooting percentages over the games since Bradley's come back, then look at the overall bench impact. Even on nights where he's not hitting anything (most nights lately,) he has value as a facilitator. Assuming he can get back to his career percentages sooner or later, that's just another weapon added to an already potent bench. He requires the attention of the defense, is a sure ballhandler, and is a good and willing passer. The bench has been getting better looks than the starters recently, and Terry's a big reason why. I actually think he's due for a break out soon.

      I also don't see how he would have much trade value. He's a 35 year old SG on a market/overmarket contract. The only teams who would want him are championship or bust teams, and they won't give up anything for him, so it's better to keep him.

  • bigblack

    They need to keep Barbosa matter of fact he can start over Courtney Lee and Terry.he can blow pass you and take it to the hoop and shoot from the outside.every time he get chance to play he prove hisself.DR. surpose be playing his best player.i thank he one of them.if you not playing good set on the branch.Terry and Lee need a wait up call. start Barbosa in there place.

  • Dean

    While Danny sits so does Dalenbert on Milwakees bench. The man is still a top 15 center, would be a great help fo Celts. Even Drew Good can rebound and shoot better than 2 of 4 C's fwds Cheap 2 for 2 trade.

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