Rajon Rondo won’t play back-to-backs rest of season

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The Boston Celtics and Rajon Rondo have had better days behind them.

In front of them too, they hope.

Boston will miss the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons, and Rondo missed the All-Star Game for the first time in four years. To avoid repeating either outcome, Rondo must get fully healthy.

That’s why the Celtics will be cautious as they close this season.

Celtics president Danny Ainge, via CBS Boston:

“Based on where we are as a team and Rondo is his rehab, it’s probably safe to say he won’t play back-to-backs the rest of the year,” said Ainge. “We need him to play because we want him to get re-acclimated; there’s a mental process and mental hurdle to overcome when you come back from an ACL tear.”

“So it’s important for him to play some games, but at the same time we don’t want to wear him out or take any risks. We want him to have a full year of rehab and strengthening and not take any steps backwards,” he said. “We’re going to be careful with Rondo as we finish the year. It appears he’s gaining ground to being back to who he is, and we want to see him at 100 percent next season.”

Rondo has skipped the second game of all five back-to-backs Boston has played since returning from injury, and this this means Rondo will miss at least four more games this season.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens previously said Rondo would always play the first game of back-to-backs. That way, there’d be at least a chance he could play in both games. If Rondo skipped the first game, obviously, it’d be impossible for him to play both if he felt better than expected.

Now that it’s predetermined Rondo will play only one game per back-to-back, maybe Stevens re-thinks that strategy. It’s just another way for the first-year coach to learn on the job.

And, more importantly, a way for the Celtics to improve their lottery odds.

Most importantly, though, a way to ensure Rondo is healthy for next season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.

Kings hire former WNBA Seattle coach Jenny Boucek as assistant

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The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.

The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.

Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.

A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.