NBA AM: Is Rajon Rondo In Boston’s Future?
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Is Rondo The Future?: The Boston Celtics still do not have a timetable on when injured point guard Rajon Rondo will return to action after suffering an ACL tear last January.
As with most players with ACL injuries, the Celtics are being overly cautious and are not trying to set timelines on his return.
But the elephant in the room for both Rondo and the Celtics is how long is he going to be part of the plan in Boston?
The Celtics are clearly rebuilding, and while Celtic president Danny Ainge and new head coach Brad Stevens say all the right things about their lone remaining All-Star, the truth of the matter is Rondo might be the best trade asset the Celtics have and he might be the roster part that can return the most building blocks for the future.
This year’s Celtics roster is not terrible. They have some players and if Rondo can get back to form early enough, the Celtics could be in the mix for the seventh or eighth seed in the East.
But is that what Boston is really looking for with such a deep and enticing draft class on the horizon?
The Celtics have tried the tank-mode method not so long ago in 2006. Danny Ainge and company had eyes for Ohio State big man Greg Oden. They clearly tanked down the stretch and were rewarded with the 5th overall pick for all of those losses.
While Celtics fans may have dreams of Kansas shooting guard Andrew Wiggins, tanking out the season offers no guarantee of the top overall pick. The Orlando Magic had the worst record in the NBA last season and landed the second overall pick. The same was true for the Charlotte Bobcats in 2012, which turned the worst record in the NBA into second place in the draft.
The other burning question is can the Celtics lose enough games with Rondo on the roster and playing well? The answer there may very well be no.
The Celtics have would-be suitors that might offer real trade value for Rondo. The Detroit Pistons are said to covet Rondo and they have some excesses in their frontcourt that could pay Boston for a Rondo-level player.
Boston fans would love to pry away Andre Drummond from Detroit; however, that’s just not very likely. The piece that might be had is Greg Monroe, but the Pistons will surely want to see if what they have in camp now works and more importantly how healthy and explosive Rondo is once he returns.
The LA Lakers have long been linked to Rondo. There have already been reports suggesting doubts about how much Laker guard Steve Nash has left and if he can finish the season in LA after a nasty run of injuries last year.
Like the Pistons, the Lakers are seeing what they have and are awaiting the return of Kobe Bryant from his own injury.
There has been some talk that if the Lakers are not competitive at the trade deadline that they could be in the trade market, looking to offload some of their ending contract dollars in exchange for some youth and some future talent.
The Houston Rockets have said that their roster is a work in progress and that they would likely be active in and around the trade deadline. Imagine how Rondo would look in Houston. The Rockets have some interesting young guys to dangle if Boston decides to cut bait on Rondo.
The Celtics continue to say that re-building around Rajon Rondo is the plan and if that’s true, the Celtics may not lose enough games to be real players in the 2014 NBA Draft unless they can trade off the bulk of the roster.
So it’s unclear how quickly Boston can really re-tool if Rondo is legitimately part of the future.
The Philadelphia 76ers traded away All-Star Jrue Holiday because they knew they’d win too many games to really get the good draft picks; eventually Boston is going to be faced with the same problem.
We Want To Know:
Wall Wants The Playoffs: On July 31, Wizards guard John Wall signed a five-year $80 million contract extension with Washington, locking him in as a the unquestioned leader of the Wizards for the foreseeable future.
The oft injured Wall hopes this is the year his team breaks the cycle and hits the post-season. It’s also a daily reminder of what’s on the line as Wall writes the word “playoffs” on his adidas CrazyQuick sneakers before every game.
“You will see it on all my shoes,” Wall said to Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. “Every game pair is going to have `playoffs’ on it. That’s my main determination.”
It’s not uncommon for players to write on their shoes, more as a symbolic gesture than anything else. But in Wall’s case making the postseason means more to him than you might think.
Wall has long internalized the criticism tossed his way. He’s heard the commentary about not being able to stay healthy. He’s seen the reports that do not rank him among the NBA’s elite at the guard position and he wants to change that this year.
Wall says some of that doubt about his game is fair, because he himself has had doubts too.
“My first two years, I wasn’t really confident,” Wall said, “Because I didn’t believe in myself and some other people didn’t believe in me. But that was just me not being confident in my own ability.”
Wall missed 33 games. The year before that he played in all 66 games after the lockout and in his rookie year he missed 13 games.
For the first time in a while Wall entered the preseason healthy and ready to go.
When healthy a year ago, the Wizards won 24 of their last 49 games. That’s a 48.9 percent win rate, which over a full season would have been good enough for a playoff berth.
That’s what Wall’s goal is this season, and he’s writing it on his shoes to remind everyone he’s never losing sight of that goal.
Telfair Headed To China: Sebastian Telfair thought he’d land a NBA roster spot, in fact he’d met and worked out with enough interested teams that he was telling those around him he’d be in training camp.
As the NBA calendar flips to day 15 of NBA preseason there does not appear to be a guaranteed job for Telfair, so he’s taking his game to China, agreeing to a one-year deal with the Tianjin Golden Lions.
The appeal of China for out of work NBA players is that’s its fairly easy money, with some teams offering deals in excess of $1 million for named players and unlike teams in Europe that sometimes struggle to pay their players on time; the Chinese Basketball Association is prompt with payment.
The only drawback for Telfair and players like him is that the CBA will not grant FIBA letters of clearance until their CBA season is complete in late February or early March, meaning players like Telfair won’t have the option of returning to the NBA if there is a NBA job that opens up during the season.
The 28-year old Telfair was the 13th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft and has played nine seasons in the NBA.
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