Rajon Rondo, Brooklyn Nets, Kris Humphries

Brad Stevens: No timetable for Rajon Rondo’s return, urges him to do so when ready

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There’s far less of a sense of urgency for Rajon Rondo to return to the Celtics lineup than there was for say, Derrick Rose to try to get back on the court for the Bulls last season.

We may see a similar vibe around the Celtics to the one we saw in Chicago, though, at least in the early part of next season.

There have been different, unofficial timetables set for Rondo’s availability — Celtics GM Danny Ainge was eyeing opening night as recently as July, while Paul Pierce speculated at his introductory press conference with the Nets that we may not see Rondo back in action until December or January.

But the team’s new head coach, Brad Stevens, isn’t getting involved in all that. He’s content to let his star point guard rehab at his own pace, and return when he personally feels the time is right.

From Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston:

“[Rondo] hasn’t put a date on [a return], and we haven’t put a date on it,” Stevens said before Celtics players and staff led a basketball clinic at Holland Elementary School in Dorchester as part of the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation’s annual community service days. “I told him, whenever he feels best and he’s ready to come back, we’ll support him and we’ll be happy that he’s back. But it hasn’t been a specific date. Literally, I haven’t even asked that question in the past couple of weeks.”

While some of Rondo’s teammates — both past (Paul Pierce) and present (Jared Sullinger) — have hinted that he might not return until December, Stevens has insisted there is no target date at the moment. The team and player seem content to let Rondo rehab and see where he stands as the start of the season nears.

For what it’s worth, Sullinger’s estimate seemed like more of an offhanded remark, and the only real timetable that matters is whatever has been discussed between Rondo and his doctors.

Boston is entering a full-fledged rebuild, so there’s really no hurry for Rondo to make his way back to the lineup, when the amount of games he’ll likely to be able to affect personally in terms of wins and losses is negligible.

My best guess is that Rondo’s rehabilitation from injury will be handled in a similar manner to the way Minnesota handled Kevin Love last season — no timetable … no timetable … and then, seemingly out of nowhere, he’s playing.

Gallinari ready to take big role in new Nuggets offense

Danilo Gallinari, Jimmy Butler
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DENVER (AP) — Danilo Gallinari wants everyone to know this: His surgically repaired left knee, the one that took three procedures to fix and nearly two seasons to fully trust, no longer bothers him.

The Denver Nuggets forward doesn’t need to be on any sort of minutes restriction. He doesn’t need days off during the season. And he certainly doesn’t need to be coddled.

He’s Gallo again, the hard-to-guard Italian playmaker who can knock down the 3-pointer just as easily as drive to the hoop or even post up. He believes he will fit in quite nicely into new coach Michael Malone’s system.

“The thing I’m focused on is trying to get (this team) back to the same level that the Nuggets were when I got to Denver, when we were going to the playoffs easy. When we were clinching a playoff one or two weeks before the season was over,” said Gallinari, who was acquired in the 2011 blockbuster deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. “We need to get back to that level.”

Almost seems so long ago, given that the Nuggets have missed the playoffs two straight seasons after consistently making it for nearly a decade.

Gallinari returned last season for the first time since blowing out his knee in a game on April 4, 2013. His minutes were closely monitored early in the season. He never really got completely on track until late last season, when he averaged 20.5 points over the final 10 contests, including a career-high 47 against Dallas. He’s hoping to carry that kind of confidence this season.

“I’m good to go. I was good to go as soon as the beginning of last year,” Gallinari said. “I was not on the same page with the coach that we had.”

That would be Brian Shaw, who was fired last March after 1 1/2 seasons in charge and going 56-85. Exactly why he wasn’t on the same page with Shaw, well, Gallinari preferred the past remain the past.

“I’m ready to play the new season,” he said. “We need to win games, and get back to the same level we were before.”

Gallinari thinks the Nuggets have the personnel to do just that, especially with a rookie point guard in Emmanuel Mudiay and Gallinari’s knee feeling better than it has in a while. He feels like he has some ground to make up, too, since he said that knee robbed him of some of his prime.

“Playing my best basketball right before I got injured,” the 27-year old said. “Now, we’re back to the same level, hopefully better.

“My knee has been feeling great. It felt great last year. Feeling great during the summer. Feeling great now. I just feel good.”

He spent the summer playing for the Italian team at the EuroBasket tournament, where he averaged nearly 18 points a game. In those games, Gallinari saw quite a bit of time at the four spot on the floor, forcing teams to either use a bulkier big man to cover him and risk getting burned on a drive or a smaller player that Gallinari could simply shoot over.

Malone plans to employ a similar type approach, something they discussed over gelato when the coach visited Gallinari in Italy soon after he was hired.

“He’s 6-foot-10. He can handle the ball. He can play pick-and-roll. He can stretch the floor and shoot the 3,” Malone said. “There’s not a lot he can’t do offensively.”

Gallinari wants the responsibility of being the go-to player for the Nuggets this season, especially at crunch time.

“I’ve always been trying to do that, since I came to Denver,” Gallinari said. “That’s what I like to do. I feel good filling those shoes.

“I want to have the ball in my hands. I do want to have the ball in my hands a lot more.”

Knicks’ Rookie Jerian Grant gets up, throws it down (VIDEO)

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The Knicks did well trading for Jerian Grant on date night — he’s going to be able to walk in this year and play quality minutes off the bench.

And, he can get up and throw it down.

Carmelo Anthony had 18 points to lead the Knicks to a 94-88 win over the Sixers.