NBA PM: Celtics Shoot Down Trade Rumors
The message coming from the Boston Celtics was clear: Ignore the trade rumors.
For several weeks, the Celtics have been the subject of rumors and speculation. Nearly every player in Boston’s locker room has heard their name mentioned in some trade scenario. Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Courtney Lee, Brandon Bass, Leandro Barbosa, Jeff Green and Jason Terry have all been mentioned as trade chips at some point in the last month in a half.
Since Rondo’s season-ending ACL tear, the rumors have significantly picked up. Would Danny Ainge finally decide to part ways with Pierce or Garnett? Pierce was linked to the Memphis Grizzlies prior to the Rudy Gay trade and Garnett was linked to the Los Angeles Clippers over the weekend. Ainge has went on record to say that he wants to see Pierce retire with the Celtics and the franchise has denied having any trade talks involving Garnett. However, the rumors continue to surface.
That’s what happens in the weeks leading up to the NBA’s trade deadline. But the Celtics want to put an end to the speculation and today Doc Rivers did his best to shoot down the rumors.
“All from [the media],” Rivers said of the trade rumors, according to Greg Payne of ESPNBoston.com. “None from us. Really. I would like to say that. Sometimes, I like [the media]. Sometimes, some of the stuff that happens is just silly. It really is. When I wake up in the morning and I hear a trade rumor that I haven’t heard in my office, that’s silly, and that’s what happens.”
“I heard one report — I honestly did — that me, Chauncey [Billups], Kevin [Garnett] and Paul [Pierce] had dinner. And I was like, ‘I wish I would have known about it. That would have been terrific because I would have made them pay and I could have had a free dinner.’
“But it’s just silly what goes on. And I don’t think it’s honestly [the Boston media]. I think someone can sit behind a computer and write something. The problem is, now you guys have to actually report it, which you shouldn’t do. But you do, and it becomes an issue.”
Rivers isn’t the only one who is tired of the “silly” trade rumors. Ainge went on WEEI in Boston to dispel some of the rumors. He said that the team isn’t looking to make a trade to replace Rondo at the moment.
“Not right now,” Ainge said of a trade. “There’s a lot of reasons we’re not just jumping out and doing something right now. There really is nobody you’re going to find to replace Rondo through trade or through free agent acquisition at this time of year with our inflexibility. We like the guys. [Leandro] Barbosa has been dying for a chance to play, Jason Terry, Avery [Bradley] playing some more point, I think all those guys are looking for an opportunity so I think it’s a chance for us to see those guys play without Rondo playing and just see what they’re capable of doing.”
Ainge was asked if he has talked with Pierce about the possibility of him being trading before the deadline, but he said that wasn’t necessary since the Celtics haven’t seriously considered any trades involving Pierce.
“No, because nothing has been talked about with Paul or discussed,” Ainge said. “Nothing is close to being done. I too would like to see Paul Pierce retire as a Celtic. That would be great. We’re all attached to Paul. Paul has been great for the city, the franchise, each of us individually and a true pro. Having said that, if something came up I would talk to Paul but my job is to do what is best for the Boston Celtics fans, for the Boston Celtics team and what’s in the best interest of our team regardless of my personal ties or personal relationships with players.”
Garnett and Pierce believe there isn’t anything to the reports that they could be traded. Until they hear something from Boston’s front office, they will ignore the rumors and focus on winning games.
“Well, Danny [Ainge] made it very, very obvious since day one, since he brought Ray Allen and myself here to be aligned with Paul [Pierce] that he was going to do whatever is best for this organization,” Garnett said. “He’s always made that apparent, so I’ve always understood that. I bleed green, I die green, that’s what it is. But it is a business and when that crosses the paths, I deal with it. But trades are a part of this league. Every year you’re going to hear certain things. If I were y’all, I wouldn’t read too much into it.”
“It’s part of the year, All-Star [and] right after All-Star, you start to hear things, and some of it’s chatter, some of it’s real, and you just have to be able to block certain things out, be able to play through certain things,” Garnett added. “If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. It’s out of your control a lot of time. The things you do control, you control those — your play, obviously family, and if a situation comes up where you have to move, then you get ready for it.”
However, Garnett has more control than most players around this time of year. The 36-year-old is one of four players in the league who has a no-trade clause in his contract – the others being Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki. Garnett can veto any trade and reports have already surfaced that the only way he would waive his no-trade clause is if Pierce was dealt. Some reports have also indicated that Garnett would only accept a trade that sent him to a team in Los Angeles, since he lives in Malibu.
Pierce doesn’t have a no-trade clause and only $5 million of his 2013-14 salary is guaranteed, which is why he has been mentioned so frequently in trade rumors.
“I don’t really pay too much attention to it,” Pierce said. “Whatever happens just happens. It’s going to play out the way it’s going to play out, just like in the draft. When I got drafted, it played out the way it’s supposed to play out. So things of that nature really don’t bother me. It has no effect on how I’m going to perform, how I’m going to practice, how I’m going to approach each and every day.
“I’m taking each day, day by day. I’m enjoying it, I’m enjoying my teammates, and like I said, whatever happens, it just happens. It’s out of my control.”
Rivers admitted that he would be surprised if the Celtics made a trade. The only conversation that Rivers and Ainge have had recently was about the San Francisco 49ers’ lack of running plays in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.
“Yeah, I would be [surprised], but again, you don’t know,” Rivers said. “But the fact that Danny and I have only talked about how [Colin] Kaepernick should have run a couple times in the fourth quarter tells me where we’re at right now.”
Gasol May Ask to be Traded This Summer
Pau Gasol has made it clear that he’s not going to demand a trade prior to the Feb. 21 deadline. Even though he has been moved to the bench, Gasol doesn’t want to be a distraction during the season. He’s willing to put his issues aside and make the best of the situation for the rest of the season.
However, this offseason is a different story. In a recent interview with T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times, Gasol said he would likely ask to be traded if Mike D’Antoni and Dwight Howard were back with the Los Angeles Lakers next season. Gasol hasn’t fit in D’Antoni’s offense or alongside Howard.
“If this coach stays and Dwight Howard remains with the Lakers,” I asked, “what about you?”
“It would be hard for me to deal with another season knowing the facts you just mentioned,” said Gasol, 32 and with one year remaining on his contract.
“So do you ask for a fresh start elsewhere?”
“It’s a possibility,” he said, “yes.”
Considering that D’Antoni has several years left on his contract and that the Lakers intend to re-sign Howard to a max deal, it’s probably a safe bet that Gasol will ask to be traded over the offseason.
Gasol and D’Antoni haven’t seen eye-to-eye all season. Early in the season, D’Antoni benched Gasol in the fourth quarter on several occasions and explained the decision by saying, “I was thinking I’d like to win this game.”
While reports have indicated that the two men have worked out their issues, that’s not the case, according to Simers.
“It’s hard to know personalities if you don’t get in touch with them,” said Gasol, his relationship with the Lakers coach now cordial and tension-free but still anchored in disagreement.
The coach and player met at a Manhattan Beach restaurant a few weeks back, and most folks were left with the impression they had a meeting of minds.
“It was an effort on our part to try and come to an understanding,” Gasol said. “But I don’t think it’s translated to an understanding. Nothing significant has happened; it’s probably even gone a little backwards.”
Jim Buss said recently he was told by D’Antoni that Gasol was a happy camper now because D’Antoni was saving Gasol’s knees and prolonging his career.
It was amusing news to Gasol, who played 37 minutes against Minnesota and 40 versus Detroit.
“Never heard that,” he said.
There’s never a lack of drama in L.A.
Gasol may not be traded prior to Feb. 21, but it’s clear that his time with the Lakers could be coming to an end, maybe as soon as this offseason.
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