All of the chatter leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline is a blast for fans to take in, but it’s far less enjoyable for the players whose names continually pop up as being part of reported rumors or discussions.
Rajon Rondo is an interesting case, because he seems like exactly the type of player a team in a rebuilding situation would want to use as its foundation. Rondo is an All-Star talent who has won a championship with his current team, and is devoted to both the city and the franchise.
But for a variety of reasons, Celtics GM Danny Ainge has made it known that Rondo is available in trade, albeit for a fairly steep price. Rondo has seen his name surface in these types of reports in the past, so he seems to have come up with a way to deal with it with as little stress as possible.
He sat down with CSNNE Celtics sideline reporter Abby Chin in Phoenix, before the C’s faced the Suns in their first game after the All-Star break on Wednesday night, and again talked of how he tunes out the rumors.
“Stay focused,” Rondo said. “I can only control so much. Right now, I’m a Celtic and I’m going to go out tonight and play as hard as I can if I’m still here.”
Rondo has forged a solid relationship with new head coach Brad Stevens, and seems well-suited to be the one to lead the team back to the postseason. But should the right offer come along, the Celtics won’t hesitate to trade him to continue their rebuilding process.
Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.
Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.
Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.