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Could Boston Celtics afford to give Rajon Rondo a max contract?

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After reports surfaced that Rajon Rondo wanted a five-year, $100 million deal, it was widely assumed that the Celtics would decline to re-sign him if he wanted the mega-max contract he would be eligible for. At first glance, Rondo’s prime doesn’t seem to mesh very well with Boston’s rebuilding window. Why sign a max-contract player if you won’t be able to field a competitive team?

I gave it some consideration over at MassLive, where I’ve been filling in for the vacationing Jay King:

“It’s unlikely the Celtics will have to give Rondo the super-max five-year, $100 million deal he reportedly asked for earlier this year. But for the sake of argument, let’s examine what would happen if they did. How capped out would they be long-term?

It’s actually not as bad as one might think. Giving Rondo the super-max would essentially end Boston’s summer of 2015, but Rondo is a top free agent in that class. As mouth-watering as Marc Gasol’s two-way scoring and rim-protecting talents would be on Boston’s center-deprived roster, he’s not coming to Boston anyway.

Per Shamsports.com, Boston could pay Rondo his $100 million deal and get itself down to $66.694 million (before signing its 2015 rookies). That’s assuming Rondo’s deal isn’t back-loaded, which it very well might be — Boston would much rather pay him $23 million in the first year before the cap rises, as it’s projected to do wildly over the next few years.

Keith Bogans’ $5.5 million deal is extremely unlikely to last the length of this year, and by waiving Vitor Faverani’s non-guaranteed contract, the Celtics could get themselves down to roughly $41.7 million before signing Rondo. Jeff Green can opt out of his contract next summer ($9.2 million), but it’s not wise to bank on that possibility. The projected cap is $66.5 million for 2015-16, with a tax level of $81.0 million. Since the Celtics would be re-signing Rondo with Bird rights, and since they would be under the $81 million tax level even if Jeff Green didn’t opt out, they would be able to avoid paying the luxury tax. That’s important — when Boston gets good again, it would rather avoid paying the hefty repeater tax. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sunday Notebook: Rajon Rondo Visits China, Avery Bradley Opens Up

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A few odds and ends to tide you over here as we deal with the dog days of the NBA offseason here.

We’ll to start with the travels of Rajon Rondo. Our friends at Red’s Army pointed out that the point guard has made the trek over to China for a week’s worth of activities starting today:

Rajon will spend nine days in China. While there, he’ll hold “Control Camp”-a point guard driven clinic sponsored by Anta. It will be attended by boys & girls who qualified by going through a series of competitions that measured their hoops skills. He’ll also visit Yao Ming’s camp, check in on the development of his second signature shoe at Anta’s Chinese headquarters and see the Great Wall.

You can check out more about Rondo’s trip over at Red’s Army

Over at the Boston Globe today, Gary Washburn had a nice piece on Avery Bradley reflecting on his new contract, taking on more of a leadership role with the Celtics and much more. Here is one of the more interesting excerpts with Bradley talking about the possibility of making the postseason for the Celtics next year: Read the rest of this entry »

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Who Will Be The Celtics’ Biggest Underachiever Next Season?

Over at ESPN Boston, Celtics Hub’s writers have been participating in the Summer Forecast series hosted every year by our good friend Chris Forsberg. Forsberg’s questions are generally a fun glimpse into how the Celtics’ blogosphere projects the upcoming season to go.

Here are my thoughts on the Celtics’ biggest underachiever next season:

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 1.22.13 PMThere are a lot of other options here. I mentioned Jeff Green, who underachieved so hard last season it’s hard to imagine him continuing to fall. Similarly, Evan Turner is likely to disappoint, at least to the people who expect 18-points-per-game-with-Philly Evan Turner to show up in a much slower offensive system that focuses on other players. Marcus Smart is a dark-horse candidate, if only because we’ve built up our expectations pretty high — perhaps unfairly so. Tyler Zeller, who averaged 15 minutes per game last year, is somehow being hailed as a potential starter. Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger both took steps last year, but there’s no guarantee they’ll continue to do so as teams improve their scouting reports. There’s all kinds of potential disappointment on the 2014-15 Celtics. Read the rest of this entry »

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Marcus Smart Throws Out First Pitch at Fenway Park

r620-dccde96bdfad7f33cd227b95a0e03722Marcus Smart has seemingly done it all this summer. Playing in Orlando Summer League. Playing with the US Select Team in Las Vegas. Now he can add another impressive item to his resume. First pitch honors at Fenway Park.

The no. 6 overall draft pick got the call from the bullpen to take in the honors during Saturday night’s game at Fenway Park. Our buddy Jimmy Toscano from CSNNE.com was on the scene and gave us a full rundown of the evening.

Smart and Patriots rookie Dominique Easley threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday night’s game between the Red Sox and Houston Astros.

Smart fired the pitch in without a problem, but chances are he’s going to stick to his current day job.

“I used to play [baseball] just to play,” Smart told CSNNE.com while sitting in the Red Sox dugout. “I was a baseball fan when I was little growing up, but obviously as you grow older, things change. I still like baseball, I still watch it, I’m just not a diehard fan.”

This was his first trip to Fenway Park, and one of the only real landmarks he’s seen in Boston so far.

“First time. This is incredible,’ Smart said. “First time, there’s nothing like it.”

Smart also talked about his experience playing with the US Select Team with Toscano: Read the rest of this entry »

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CelticsHub Podcast: How’s your rebuild?

nba_g_grouspagli_600It’s August.

Are you still thinking about basketball? We are.

Brendan and I kicked off a new edition of the CelticsHub podcast with this look at the state of the Celtics rebuild, with digressions into LeBron James’ move to Cleveland, Paul Pierce’s jump to the Washington Wizards, gratuitous references to Canada, and why Brendan owes Michael Olowakandi an apology. We actually recorded this last week so you’ll also hear a little in-the-moment commentary about Vitor Faverani’s brush with the law.

We’ll have future episodes of the podcast up on Itunes, but for now check out this Soundcloud link.

 

Footnotes:

Spanish tomato festival

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Boston Celtics 2014-15 Schedule Released

The Celtics’ 2014-15 regular season schedule has been released, and it looks…largely like every other member of the Atlantic Conference’s regular season schedule. There will be some back-to-backs, there will be a lot of games against the Knicks, Nets, Raptors and 76ers, and it’s likely there will be a lot of losses.

If you are interested in a PDF version of the schedule, you can find that here. A few highlights are broken down below:

Opening Day: Brooklyn. 

When the Celtics are this bad, the only team that holds any real significance for them is Brooklyn, so it’s not a surprise that Boston will open up against the Nets on October 29. It certainly won’t hold the same emotional weight — Paul Pierce has moved on to Washington, and Boston is one year away from getting Brooklyn’s lottery pick, so the only thing tying the Nets to the Celtics is KG. Don’t get me wrong; Garnett was a huge part of this organization, and I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping only for the best for him going forward, but after seeing him play in Brooklyn for an entire season, it’s not quite as impactful when he returns to Boston as an opponent.

November 14: Cleveland (in Boston). Read the rest of this entry »

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Notebook: Boston Celtics 12th In The East? Brad Stevens’ Ice Bucket And More

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ESPN’s 2014 Summer Forecast series has kicked off with Eastern Conference predictions, and unsurprisingly, the mothership doesn’t think the Celtics are going to be playoff contenders.

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With all due respect to Mr. @Supermaninsane, I don’t think 12th in the East is ludicrous at all. Nobody is quite certain how much Rajon Rondo will be able to contribute (or if he will even be in Boston for the entire season), nobody is quite certain how much progression we’ll see out of Kelly Olynyk (especially after a relatively disappointing Summer League), and relying on Jeff Green to ball like a star…well, that’s actually ludicrous.

There are scenarios in which the Celtics surprise some teams, but it would require significant, difficult-to-project jumps in production from several sources. Boston would need Kelly Olynyk to make strides on the offensive end and massive, bounding leaps on the defensive end. Jared Sullinger would need to come into camp with quite a bit of his 2013-14 weight shed. Rondo would need to perform at an extremely high level, perhaps motivated by a contract year. Avery Bradley would need to stay healthy for most of a season. Marcus Smart and James Young would need to be positive contributors as rookies — a very tall task for anyone. Read the rest of this entry »

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Colton Iverson Signs Overseas with Spanish Team

The latest “victim” of the Celtics recent roster crunch is none other than 2013 second round pick Colton Iverson. The Euroleague announced in a press release today that the big man would be signing with the Spanish team Baskonia for the upcoming season.

Laboral Kutxa Vitoria bolstered its frontcourt by inking center Colton Iverson to a one-year deal on Tuesday. Iverson (2.13 meters, 25 years old) arrives from Besiktas Integral Forex Istanbul, where he averaged 8.8 points and 5.5 rebounds in 18 Eurocup games last season, helping his team reach the eighthfinals. It was Iverson’s debut season as a professional basketball player. He played for Colorado State University for two seasons and was named the 2012-13 school’s athlete of the year. He averaged 14.2 points and led the Mountain West Conference in rebounding with 9.8 per game. Iverson also collected First-Team All-Mountain West honors. He helped the Rams reach the NCAA Tournament and win their opening-round game for the first time since 1989. Before transferring to Colorado State, Iverson played three seasons at the University of Minnesota. Iverson will make his Turkish Airlines Euroleague debut with Laboral Kutxa in the upcoming season.

CH Analysis: Boston’s open roster spot at center on the depth chart disappeared when the team acquired Tyler Zeller from the Cavs last month, which meant the writing was on the wall for Iverson to head back overseas after a lackluster summer league showing in Orlando. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kelly Olynyk Suffers Wrist Injury While Playing for Team Canada?

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Kelly Olynyk has suffered a wrist injury while playing for Team Canada, according to a fan account from Spain. Team Canada did not qualify for the FIBA World Cup but has been playing international friendlies all across Europe over the past few weeks. Olynyk last suited up for Team Canada on August 7th in a game against Spain, but did not play today for Canada against Turkey in a 72-66 win.

The fan report (seen below as they reached out to our friends at CelticsBlog) indicates Canada coach Jay Triano (pictured below) said Olynyk had suffered a wrist injury and had returned to Boston. Canada has only one more international friendly game remaining after today on their European tour so Olynyk leaving the team early shouldn’t be alarming in terms of the severity of the wrist injury since he would have been probably been returning to Boston next week anyway. With that said, we are still trying to get additional confirmations on Olynyk’s ailment, so it’s something to keep an eye on moving forward.

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Zach Lowe: Celtics Have “Tried Like Hell” To Move Brandon Bass

Brandon Bass

One of the best parts about Zach Lowe’s analysis on Grantland is how chock-full every single piece is with little nuggets of information that most of us would write entire 600-word posts on. Like this nugget, for example, which I’m about to write 600 words on:

The Celtics have tried like hell, but they can’t get anything of value on the trade market for Brandon Bass and his $6.9 million expiring contract.

Lowe just casually drops this into his bigger story on bigs in the NBA, who are finding their job security a little more complicated if they can’t stretch the floor or protect the rim. Bass is a bit player in this drama — the leading roles go to young, still-developing players like Greg Monroe, Tristan Thompson and Kenneth Faried — but he’s a fascinating case study in part because his game is sooooo close to being ideal for today’s NBA.

Bass is absolutely money from mid-range; according to the splits on NBA.com’s shot charts, Bass is more than 10 percent better than league average from six of the eight mid-range regions. He’s great at pick-and-pops, he’s acceptable around the rim, and he gets a sufficient number of rebounds for a somewhat-undersized power forward. What’s more, he’s such a good locker room guy he won this year’s Red Auerbach award largely because he didn’t complain publicly about spending one of his prime seasons on a team that had no interest in winning after mid-December.

So why are teams so uninterested in Bass’ services? Read the rest of this entry »

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