You know changes are coming to the Boston Celtics over the next few months — if not at the trade deadline certainly over the summer.
The logical progression seemed to be the older “Big Three” — Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett — would be on their way out and Rajon Rondo would be the bridge to the future.
But rumors that GM Danny Ainge and the Celtics are looking to move Rondo just keep coming up, making you wonder how much fire there is behind all the smoke. The latest bit of smoke comes from Chris Broussard at ESPN (via ESPNBoston.com).
Boston is aggressively shopping Rondo, according to sources. The Celtics find Rondo’s personality to be too high-maintenance and his clashes with coach Doc Rivers continue. With the Celtics having realized they are no longer title contenders, they don’t believe the payoff is worth the headaches Rondo brings, sources say. And they do not want to build around him.
If true — and that’s a big if — the challenge for the Celtics will be how to get equal value for Rondo. Rondo is not one of the game’s truly transcendent players — he is not Chris Paul or Derrick Rose at the point, he is a step behind them. He is still one of the best point guards in the league, an All-Star, but getting someone back of equal caliber is going to be challenging. The Celtics don’t want to just move him for parts, but they are not going to get someone like Pau Gasol out of the Lakers for him.
Still, this is something to watch. If the Celtics can find a deal it would be a blockbuster.
Tony Parker revealed a plan nearly two years ago to play until he’s 38.
Coming off his worst season since his rookie year, the Spurs point guard is sticking to that goal.
Parker, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
“The Spurs know I want to play until I’m 38,” Parker told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “That will be 20 seasons for me. That’s my goal. This year is No. 15. And if I’m lucky enough and I’m healthy, hopefully I can play 20 seasons and then I’ll be ready to retire.”
That seems pretty ambitious, no matter how you handle the conflicting math. (Parker is 33. If he plays 20 seasons, he’ll spend most of his final season at age 39 and turn 40 during the playoffs.)
Parker is already showing signs of slippage. Many of his key numbers were down last season, including ESPN’s real-plus minus, where he quietly slipped from 12th to 67th among point guards.
But Gregg Popovich is very liberal with resting his players, and Parker won’t have to carry too much of the load. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will probably retire before Parker, but the Spurs will still have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.
I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s possible Parker lasts that long.
The Pelicans starting center, Omer Asik, is injured.
Their backup center, Alexis Ajinca, is injured.
Enter Greg Smith.
Scott Kushner of The Advocate:
Smith was part of the Rockets’ 2012-13 rotation, but otherwise, he has seen limited minutes in his four-year career with Houston and Dallas. In that small sample, he has looked alright. The 6-foot-10 24-year-old uses his big frame and massive hands to catch passes and finish efficiently near the rim. He has also become more disciplined defensively.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the regular-season roster behind the 13 Pelicans with guaranteed salaries.
But it’s also possible New Orleans signed him just an extra preseason body. That’d beat relying too heavily on the aging Kendrick Perkins and undersized Jeff Adrien at center. Anthony Davis is the Pelicans’ best option at center with Asik and Ajinca sidelined (and maybe even with them healthy), but the biggest drawback to playing him there is the injury risk. If Davis is going to deal with the banging at center, might as well save it for games that count.
Still, even New Orleans plans to keep Smith only through the preseason, this at least gives him a chance to impress.