For the first time in the last seven years, the start of free agency for the Boston Celtics has been greeted with the sign of crickets. With Danny Ainge’s wheeling and dealing all taking place during draft week, the team now is left with no cap room, and no real ambition to upgrade a restocked roster on the free agent market. Instead, we have an overstocked roster with a few more trades likely on the horizon later this month. Until then, a few rumblings on the market with the C’s serving as the suitors.
GREG ODEN STILL INTERESTED IN BOSTON?
That’s the latest report from Jeff Goodman at ESPN.com
Greg Oden will likely choose from a group of suitors that includes the San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies, a source close to Oden told ESPN.com.
A source close to Oden told ESPN’s J.A. Adande that the Cavaliers and Spurs appear to be the best fits at this time.
Oden, 25, has battled numerous knee injuries and hasn’t played in an NBA game since Dec. 5, 2009. He is coming off his third microfracture knee surgery in February 2012.
Sources close to Oden told ESPN.com that he is optimistic he can return for the 2013-14 season opener.
CH’s Take: While there are a couple centers in place now in Boston, it wouldn’t exactly be stiff competition for Oden to beat out Fab Melo or Colton Iverson on the front line. The opportunity is there for Oden to earn plenty of minutes right away. Unfortunately, that’s where the advantages end for Boston in recruiting the big man.
The chance of contending here is gone. Great leaders like Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett have moved on. All of the other four teams on that list have much rosier futures at this point than Boston, so if Oden wants to play for a winner in his return, it won’t be here. Boston will likely only have the mini mid-level exception (a tad over 3 million dollars) to offer Oden, but it’s unclear what he will command in the open market still.
As we all know, the Celtics are likely not done wheeling and dealing, and despite the fact Danny Ainge has remained adamant in recent days he’s not looking to move Rajon Rondo, teams are still ready for a change of heart according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:
Danny Ainge has said publicly that the Celtics aren’t rebuilding, and that he’s not trading Rajon Rondo. Be that as it may, the Pistons have let it be known how to reach them if Ainge changes his mind.
In the aftermath of the Celtics’ decision to ship Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn last week, the calls have been coming in — chiefly, regarding Rondo. The logical assumption was that if the Celtics didn’t want to pay Doc Rivers $7 million to coach a rebuilding team and if Garnett and Pierce didn’t fit into those plans, either, then Rondo would be the next to go.
Based on that possibility, the Pistons were among the first teams to reach out to the Celtics and express interest in acquiring Rondo, the All-Star point guard who is coming off an ACL injury, league sources told CBSSports.com. Having already made lucrative pitches to free agents Josh Smith and Andre Iguodala, Pistons president Joe Dumars also has registered interest in Raptors forward Rudy Gay, one source said.
The Mavericks, who met with free-agent center Dwight Howard on Tuesday, also intend to pursue a Rondo trade if the Celtics make him available.
As I wrote about on Saturday, I remain adamant in thinking the C’s are better off holding onto Rondo now, waiting for his value to increase in his return from injury or continue to build around him for a Celtics future. However, the Pistons are a team that might have enough young talented pieces to intrigue Ainge more than usual in discussions.
With so much in flux on this team for the time being, everything is likely on the table for Ainge in the next couple weeks as he attempts to piece together a mismatched roster. Once the KG/Pierce deal goes through, expect other dominoes to fall as well. I just don’t feel like Rondo will be one of them.