After nearly 24 hours to decompress a little bit after another Friday night debacle for the C’s, there have been quite a few substantial nuggets about the C’s floating around the web this weekend, as the team prepares for Ray-magedon tomorrow afternoon at the TD Garden. Let’s get caught up to date.
We’ll start with the always must-read Weekend Dime from Marc Stein at ESPN.com who covers a variety of takes from scouts on team’s across the NBA, including this one from an Eastern Conference scout:
“I thought they were starting to feel good about themselves, but I think I’ve decided they’re just not quite good enough. Their bench has to be playing at the top of their abilities for them to win. And they don’t have enough guys big-guy-wise that Doc [Rivers] is comfortable with.
“For them to win games, [Jared] Sullinger pretty much has to have a double-double. And we’re talking about a 6-[foot-]7 center. The other big issue is that they’ve got no one making any 3s. The Jet [Jason Terry] hasn’t been on the runway very often. And Avery Bradley, for all his defensive prowess, isn’t shooting the ball well, either.
“Paul Pierce is still great in big games, but I think he’s getting to that age — like a lot of guys do — where he paces himself. He gets up for the challenges of the Chicagos or the Miamis, but in some of these other games, he’s not quite The Truth.
“[Rajon] Rondo can change the game when he’s engaged, but … let’s just say he’s always very aware of his stats. And it’s very evident from where I sit that he’s playing for steals and assists sometimes instead of making the winning play or the easier play or defending his guy like he should.
All pretty fair points that C’s fans are all too familiar with at this point during the C’s recent slide, but always interesting to see scouts around the league taking note of the same exact subjects. Stein also had a bit more information in his rumor mill talk, continuing from his assertion the C’s were ramping up interest in J.J Redick Friday morning:
Although there are still live rumbles on the league’s personnel grapevine that this will actually be the February that Celtics front-office chief Danny Ainge finally parts with Paul Pierce or Rajon Rondo, I’m still pretty skeptical. As one team monitoring the Celtics said this week: “[Boston] has floated the idea of moving Pierce or Rondo out there for the last three years … but has never pulled the trigger.”
So it’s premature, to me, to throw Pierce’s name up there with Rudy Gay and Pau Gasol on the list of high-profile names available this trade season, even though we’ve heard more than one rival team speculate — given that the Celtics and Grizzlies, sources say, have indeed held some exploratory trade talks since Gay hit the market — that a three-way deal where Pierce lands in Memphis, Gasol goes to Boston and Gay joins the Lakers makes “some sense.”
Despite some rival teams assertion to Stein, I’d be absolutely shocked if the Pau Gasol ends up in Boston. Beyond the obvious reasons on the floor for giving up Pierce for him, the C’s salary situation for next year is not pretty and bringing in Gasol and his 19 million dollar cap hit would do serious damage as far as the team’s luxury tax situation and penalties moving forward. The C’s are undoubtedly looking at bigs, I just wouldn’t take Gasol as a serious candidate because of this reason, unless Danny found a way to ship a lot of the team’s pricy bench payroll out of time (highly unlikely).
With that said, given the talk of Doc Rivers “getting some guys out of here” Sunday night after the Pistons loss was enough trade talk for your liking, Wyc Grousbeck added more fuel to the fire last night on an NECN business show as well:
“There’s a likelihood of moves,” said Grousbeck. “[Coach] Doc [Rivers] hinted at thinking about it. [President of basketball operations Danny Ainge’s] phone rings all day long. I think February will be a busy month, but can’t predict yet.” (Via: CSNNE.com)
Let’s keep that trade machine busy folks, you heard the man!
Finally, we have an interesting column and quotes via Greg Payne on ESPNBoston.com discussing the struggles of Brandon Bass in some terrific depth. We’ve been highly critical of Bass here on the Hub, and it’s interesting to get the guy’s own point of view after what has felt like a two-month long slump at this point for the power forward:
“I mean, at the end of the day, you want to do better than you did last year or the same,” Bass said after Thursday’s loss. “So, it’s a little bit frustrating. But, it’s a team game. You’ve just got to keep working and hope everything works itself out.”
When asked about his production, Bass suggested fewer minutes have played the biggest role.
“I mean, if you consider my numbers down, you’ve got to look all around,” Bass said. “So if you see my numbers down then you see my minutes. If my minutes are down, OK, that plays a role. Then you look at how many opportunities I get — that plays a role. And you get what you get.”
Asked if he’s satisfied with the season he’s having, Bass was very direct: “No, I’m not satisfied.”
If Danny finds any takers at the trade deadline, Bass may be the first guy to go with comments like that, questioning his minutes and his coach. He may be right about some, but it’s not a good look with the team struggling.
Plenty of more on the way heading into the Heat showdown tomorrow.