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Free Agency Notebook: Greg Oden Interested in Celtics, Teams Still Calling About Rondo

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.


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.

  • james patrick

    NOT REBUILDING?!?!?! you traded the heart of this team (KG and Pierce) to JERSEY!!!!! Please, at least call it what it is.

    Can you guys turn this into a Celtics Hub Classic website? So we can enjoy the glory days of the past? That's why I had to do for over 20 years in between titles. lol

    Happy 4th.

    • Phil

      I wouldn't read too much into what Ainge says (or has said over the past 5 years, or will say in the future, etc.) He has a job to do, and public statements can really only make his job harder. Ainge will say whatever is best for his/the Cs' ambitions during any interview, and that's what he should do.

      Stern doesn't want people like him openly admitting to tanking, even if it's painfully obvious. Just like saying you're trying to trade someone is a surefire way to lower their value. Ainge may tell the truth occasionally, but it's just a coincidence.

    • Greg

      So you would prefer two more years of medocricy and then no picks or cap room do improve? That's a sure recipe for 10 years of failure. Get behind Danny.

  • Morey

    Let me tell you something pal, james patrick and others, if you are looking at organs, as in a body, we did trade away a heart, but we are getting a whole body in return. Danny Ainge w/out question is doing the right thing. Go to Celticslife.com and read; Selling their soul: 5 reasons the Celtics trading Pierce and KG was the right move in the long run. It is a great article. We have 9 1st round picks and it means a lot in the new CBA plus we now have a lot of assets to pick up a superstar now. o promise you that you will not have to wait 20 yrs. Within 3, gauranteed…I know it…

  • Phil

    The Oden stuff seems like non-news to me. He has no real reason to come here, and Boston isn't mentioned as a serious destination in any report I've seen. He's intriguing, but I'm mostly just hoping that he finishes his career without any serious lifelong repercussions at this point.

    The talks about trading Rondo are still the biggest story for this offseason (well, post-apocotrade edition.) There are interested teams now, and there will be more later considering how many teams are sharing a plan A. Here's my issue with Brian's point about trading Rondo later; if Rondo ups his value, it likely means the Cs are winning and playing well, which isn't really the goal of anyone here. I guess you could try to hold Rondo out for most of the year, then show him playing well at the end, but even a few weeks of playing well is important; the Cs aren't the only ones who are tanking. It seems like every GM who's been hired lately knows that you have to tank. And how confident are you that Rondo is going to show up engaged and ready to go for a tanking team that probably held him out longer than he wanted to be? He didn't show up engaged for a championship aspiring team last year.

    It's a huge gamble. If he shows up sulking, his play on the court is gonna suffer big time, and that will lead to injury speculation, even if it's not the case. Then you go into next offseason with Rondo coming off two bad years with injury questions and a contract negotiation one year from then. Right now, he's dealing with what's becoming the modern sports medicine equivalent of pneumonia (serious, but not nearly as bad as it used to be,) with everyone assuming they're getting a top 5 PG once he's healthy.

    Obviously the deals available will decide what Ainge does, but I'm not so sure that this isn't the highest that Rondo's value is going to be.

    • Ray

      I don't think Rondo's numbers or level of play are what is going to goose his trade value on his return. Nobody expects him to be going all-out for a lottery team. They couldn't even get him to go all out for a contending team (hello, National Television Rondo).

      He just needs to show he is the same player he was before the injury. Then he becomes an All-Star talent making sub-All-Star money. (Cs should be careful who they trade him to though because that's the best way to ensure Rondo is always playing his best when at the Garden.) I think his value will be highest at the trade deadline this coming season.

      • Phil

        Good point about the trade deadline this season. He'll probably be ramping up to 100% then, and a team may be more willing to make a big deal. Though I can't really think of the last team to make a big panic trade at the deadline. Either a fringe contender looking to jump, potentially at the deadline, or a cleared out team who missed Dwight and CP3 and wants the next level are my two scenarios. I'm not sure he's much of a target for the rebuilding teams.

        I still worry more about performance than the injury though. You have to sell that 2011-12 playoff Rondo is what you're potentially getting. The farther we get away from that, the older Rondo gets and the less likely he is to reach that ceiling. Jrue Holliday set the market on the borderline all star PG. Rondo will be in that category next year if he has a down year, but I don't think he's there yet. Or is two lottery picks a good enough haul?

      • Greg

        I agree. We will see how Rondo works with Stevens and if it's not working, Rondo and another large salary will be on there way out by the trade deadline.

  • hellyloya


  • Texan

    If Oden selects the Celtics, he will have no pressure to have a huge impact; he can get his game back and slowly regain his confidence in Boston. If he goes to a contender, the expectations will be much higher.

    As for Rondo, let him heal and get his game back. He will have much more value at the 2014 trade deadline.

    • Brad

      Celtics will not trade Rondo..He might not be the most loyal player in the NBA but id think he'd prefer a challenge in leading the Celtics other than leaving them for Dead…RR isnt going nowhere for awhile.

  • hax

    We would need 3 unprotected 1st round picks, including a 2014 one, and a young player in return for rondo, along with salary dumping wallace/bass/lee onto whoever. Wiggins tank.

  • Phil

    So, apparently the Celtics hired Brad Stevens as coach. I like it. Definitely out of left field though, I didn't hear his name thrown around at all. I thought he was going to stay at Butler for a while.

  • I would trade Rondo to the pistons for an unprotected pick in next year's draft.

  • Brad

    The Boston Celtics will have enough cap space on July 12th 2013 and will how they say "Crash to boards" in FA the only reason Boston doesn't have any cap space right now is because the Brooklyn and Boston trade isn't fully official till the 12th. Now as we all know most of the most valuable free agents have been signed but there are still plenty out there. Boston has 9 draft picks over the next 5 years. The Boston Celtics will not tank…Just because you tank does not give you a better draft pick or the lottery pick. The Celtics should try the best they can do with FA till next year which will be crazy.

  • The fact that the Celtics traded KG and Pierce for all those draft picks suggest that this season could be particularly horrible in terms of W's. Draft picks point to the future, not the immediate present. I seem to recall when teams like the Clippers, Bulls and Wizards had all 1st round picks back in the early Noughties, and look where they got them. All you Celtics fans had better hope that the upcoming Drafts produce some fine young talent who can all step in and help your team fairly quickly or else you could be looking forward to cheering on a team that resembles the Celtics teams of the mid- to late-nineties.

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