Atlanta Hawks v Boston Celtics - Game Four

Rajon Rondo says fan support is ‘a big reason why you wouldn’t want to leave’ Boston


Rajon Rondo has one more year on his contract with the Celtics, but will become an unrestricted free agent following the conclusion of the 2015 season.

The Celtics are rebuilding, and as the team continues to weigh its options, there’s no guarantee that Rondo will finish out his current deal in Boston.

But speaking about his future, Rondo said there are many factors that go into choosing where a player wants to play. And the fan support the Celtics have received, especially this year during a down season, didn’t go unnoticed.

From Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald:

“I know that would be a big reason why you wouldn’t want to leave a city like Boston,” said Rondo, “because every night, even with the season we’re having, we’re probably still leading the league in attendance or at least up near the top.

“I mean, the fans in Boston, they know the game. You can’t cheat the fans. They know the game. It’s fun to play there. It’s definitely something you appreciate even more once you go on the road and see other teams that have like 6,000 people in the stands. Every night, it’s 18,000 in Boston.

“So you don’t take that for granted,” Rondo said. “I know I don’t. I’ve been in the league for eight years, and in Boston the crowd is consistent. They’re always there.”

Joel Anthony, Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass all had similar things to say in the same piece.

While the fan support in Boston may be well above average, it hasn’t translated into free agents choosing to sign with the Celtics. The last time the team was contending for titles, it required trading for superstar players in Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, neither of whom would have been likely to choose Boston in free agency.

Rondo, however, will have the chance to change all of that, should he regain his All-Star form and then choose to sign a long-term deal to stay with the Celtics.

League executives, players wince watching this Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
Leave a comment

Over the last few days, we’ve written in more detail about Kobe Bryant‘s shooting troubles. He’s jacking up threes his fastest pace ever, he can’t create space to get off clean shots, he’s hitting 31.1 percent overall and 19.5 percent from three. There are flashes of vintage Kobe, but they are fleeting (and mostly because poor shot choices are falling). Byron Scott is still in Kobe’s corner, saying they just need to get the veteran better looks.

However, talk to people around the league about Kobe and you hear some variation of the phrase “hard to watch.” After 20 seasons, more than 55,000 minutes on the court, and coming off two major injuries, Kobe clearly is not the same player everyone admired for so long.

Over at the Los Angeles Times Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner got a number of sources to wince about Kobe for a story — except nobody wanted their name attached to attacking a legend of the game.

“Man, I don’t want to see Kobe go out like this, looking this bad and not able to do what he once could do,” said a retired guard who faced Bryant. “He doesn’t have anything else to prove to anybody. He was one of the greatest. I know he’s owed that $25 million, but he should just walk away now. He ain’t got it anymore.”

“He’s one of the few players in NBA history to have gotten everything possible out of his body. Now his body has nothing left to give,” (an Eastern Conference executive) said. “But that’s life in the NBA, in professional sports. At some point, the body just can’t do it anymore and Kobe’s body can’t do it anymore.”

One West scout said Bryant looked “disinterested” at times. A current player in the West went a step further.

“Yeah, I’ve seen him play and it’s disgusting,” he said. “He’s one of the best of all time. But he really hasn’t played that much in the last two or three years. He’s got nothing left. It’s sad to watch because he used to be so great, and I mean great.”

Kobe is not going to walk away mid-season, and nobody wants an injury to force him out of the game.

But it’s hard to see how anything is going to dramatically change. Kobe may shoot a little better than his current but it’s not likely going to change in a meaningful way. Which will just make things hard to watch for a full season.

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
Leave a comment

The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
Leave a comment

Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry

The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.