The Celtics’ practiced today in Waltham while I sat in a coffee shop in New Haven, CT. Luckily for us, Brian Robb was on the scene to provide us with all the audio necessary to bridge the gap between now and tomorrow’s game against the Wiz Kids. Here is a smattering of the more notable stuff:
Trader, Not Traitor
By now, you all know that Brandon Bass and Courtney Lee almost became members of the Houston Rockets. If you didn’t, make like Biff Tannen and mix idioms on your way to another website, mkay?
The prospect of losing your job or being transferred to another locale is always a little nerve-wracking. That said, two things are very clear for the players and Coach Stevens: trades are just part of the NBA and no one knew anything about this one. I’m calling absolutely malarkey on that second notion. As Kyle Lowry revealed last week, every NBA player reads HoopsHype. With that in mind, let”s go through some of today’s more memorable trade-talk deflections:
Brandon Bass: “I never heard nothing about that.“ If I didn’t know Bass as well as I do, I may have mistaken him for correctly using a double negative here. Since I do know Bass, I know he’s trying to say that he actually didn’t know anything about the trade talk. He is, of course, lying. Dishonesty aside Bass goes on to give a very thoughtful take on the NBA as a business that, at first glance, reads like utter nonsense:
“All those things, that’s a part of the business. There ain’t no hard feelings against no one, nobody. That’s just business when anything goes on about anything, it’s just business, man. And that part of it is not my business.”
I know reading that sounds a bit unbelievable but read it slowly. The way he said it made complete sense.
Courtney Lee: “It’s all rumors until it happens…that’s the NBA. we look at it like ‘here today, gone tomorrow.’” Sad, but very honest words from a dude that’s been traded approximately 72 times in 4+ NBA season.
Jared Sullinger: “I thought it was kind of unfair to have to answer questions before the game…but they handled it well.” I’m not sure if Sully is pointing the finger at the media, but if he is his disappointment is misplaced. Don’t blame us for doing our jobs/hobbies. Blame those who leak the information in order to help their cause (re: agents, General Managers, Front Office staff).
Brad Stevens: “I’m not going to talk to them about anything that is a rumor but if I know something my door is always open. They can come in and I’ll tell them straight-up what I know but the bottom line is that we live in a world that, everyday, because of technology, we can better clutter our minds.” This is the type of vague, coach-speak that is really frustrating for fans and reporters. Doc Rivers used to pull this pleading-the-5th-stuff all the time when it came to rumors. You can’t tell me you had no idea about a trade that everyone else knew about. Well, I guess you can tell me that but I don’t have to believe you.
Rondo PICKing UP Where He Left Off
According to Jared Sullinger, Rajon Rondo initiated a pickup game today and no holds were barred. “Once you’re on the court, you’re fair game I don’t care who you are or how hurt you are.” The general consensus was that Rondo looked good. He worked on sharp changes in direction with crossovers and even took a hard hit that put him on the ground. This is all good news for those of us that want Rondo to be back to his pre-injury form as quick as possible.
Sullinger went on to give reason to why he chose to stay and play after practice: “The main reason why I stepped out there was [to] try build his confidence and get his conditioning back so when he is back on the court he is back to 100%” You know it’s a weird year in the NBA when Paul Pierce is wearing a black and white jersey and Jared Sullinger is helping Rondo with his conditioning.
On the topic of Rondo, CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely asked Gerald Wallace a really smart question about reintegrating Rondo into the offense. Wallace gave an interesting response which touched on the mortality of life as a basketball player: “He’s an all star, he’s a professional, basketball is basketball. Regardless of what happened, what injury you have, basketball is always going to be the same whether you come back from injury or not, it’s just trusting yourself and your body. I think the main thing for him is just getting out on the court, playing, getting a rhythm and understanding his body and trying to get the confidence back in his legs.”
In addition to the dip into existentialism, it’s interesting to think about how Rondo will fit in with this team. It took a few weeks for all the new faces to get acclimated to one another when the season first started. When Rondo comes back, the plan will have the be torn up and the players will start from scratch.
Brian Robb Can’t Catch a Break
Note to anyone who might get to ask and NBA player a question: you may get some backlash if you use the words “measuring stick.” Apparently Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger don’t like to be asked whether or not playing Washington is a game that they can use to see where they are at as a team. I think it’s a perfectly legitimate line of questioning. Washington is a collection of good to great players who have playoff aspirations currently playing below expectations. The Celtics are a collection of well-coached role players who are far exceeding expectations. Like it or not, tomorrow is a measuring stick game.
On Jordan Crawford: “He’s always watching basketball, Jordan’s probably looking for a game at the Y tonight.” You heard him, folks! Start bombarding @JCraw55 with your pick-up game invites!