Tag: Kris Humphries

Rajon Rondo

ProBasketballTalk 2014-15 Preview: Boston Celtics


Last season: The Celtics went 25-57, their worst record and first time out of the playoffs since their championship.

Boston set up its fate by trading Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce before the season, and Rajon Rondo missing a majority of the year due to injury sealed it.

Brad Stevens worked through his first NBA season and had his team playing hard, but the Celtics just didn’t have enough talent to compete for a playoff spot – even in the East. Brandon Bass was their best player. Let me repeat: Brandon Bass was their best player.

Signature highlight from last season: If you want the Celtics’ best play of the season, it’s Jeff Green catching an inbound with 0.6 seconds remaining and nailing a 3-pointer to beat the Heat:

But if you want the moment that truly captures Boston’s season, it’s Rajon Rondo sitting on the bench and cringing at the box score. The video has been pulled, but he asked for a box score, looked down at it and shuddered. Rondo on the bench, the Celtics losing and their star player unhappy – Boston’s year in a nutshell.

Key offseason moves:

Keys to the Celtics’ season:

Fitting in Rajon Rondo: This starts on the court, where Rondo is an All-Star-caliber guard. He’s an excellent passer, hounding defender and very good rebounder for his position.

But his skills are best used with other good players around him, and the Celtics are woefully short on those – which is why they might trade him.

There was a report Rondo asked to be traded this summer, and of course, denials followed. For now, we’re all in wait-and-see mode.

Rondo’s contract ends after the season, and he’s notoriously prickly, especially when his team is losing. Obviously, that makes him a prime trade candidate.

At this point, Boston will probably keep Rondo to begin the season, but after drafting point guard Marcus Smart at No. 6 and not improving the team in the short term this, the writing is on the wall for a Rondo trade.

Seeing progress from Brad Stevens: On paper, the Celtics lack talent to compete into the postseason.

But so did Butler.

Stevens came to Boston with a great college pedigree. Him translating that to the NBA might be the Celtics’ best chance of defying expectations this season.

If Stevens can implement the sound defensive and offensive systems that worked so well at Butler, Boston will be a very tough out each game. Any feisty team in the East has a chance.

Taking advantage of having a center: Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk and Kris Humphries often played the pivot for the undermanned Celtics last season. Not only were those players – power forwards by trade – ill-equipped to handle the job, it wore them down.

Humphries left in free agency, but with Tyler Zeller in line to start and Vitor Faverani hopefully healthy enough to back him up, Sullinger and Olynyk can take advantage. Both are skilled bigs, which they can better show if they’re no longer taking such consistent poundings.

Why you should watch: Rondo. Nobody impacts a game quite like him. Whether he’s turning down open shots to make a pass, gambling for steals or crashing the glass, Rondo is a point guard unlike any other. His all-out effort and high awareness give him a unique style.

Plus, watching Rondo is scouting. He might be playing for your favorite team soon.

Prediction: 24-58. Rondo is very good, and Green will have his moments. But I don’t think this team is good enough to be in the playoff race at the trade deadline, and I think that means Rondo gets dealt. The Celtics are probably capable of finishing better than 24-58, but I anticipate trading Rondo will be part of a tanking effort. Smart and Young could get plenty of minutes down the stretch, aiding their development and Boston’s losing. Danny Ainge seems ready to kick rebuilding into full gear.

Report: Wizards close to signing Damion James

New Jersey Nets v Washington Wizards

The Wizards are signing Xavier Silas as their 15th player, but he’ll have to fight to make the regular-season roster.

With 14 guaranteed contracts, Washington has one opening. Silas is seemingly a contender to fill it – and so is Damion James.

J. Michael of CSN Washington:

Training camp opens in two weeks from Tuesday and the Wizards, who can bring in as many as six free agents, have a commitment from Xavier Silas and are close to securing Damion James, CSNwashington.com has confirmed.

James, the No. 24 pick in 2010 out of Texas, spent three seasons with the Nets and then signed late last year with the Spurs. He’s played just a total of 39 games, though he’s provided few signs of encouragement in that span. It’s too soon to close the book on his career, but unless the 26-year-old shows more soon, he’ll stop getting these opportunities.

And I’m not sure how great of an opportunity this is for James. The Wizards have plenty of big-man depth with Marcin Gortat, Nene, Kevin Seraphin, Kris Humphries, Drew Gooden and DeJuan Blair. Washington can use more help at shooting guard, which Silas plays.

Plus, it sounds as if the Wizards might add more players for training camp. James in the mix, but I don’t like his chances.

Report: Celtics trying hard to trade Brandon Bass for value

Brandon Bass, Paul Pierce, Shaun Livingston

By trading Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Nets and letting Doc Rivers leave for the Clippers, the Celtics headed in a new direction last offseason. Sure enough, Boston went 25-57 and missed the playoffs for the first time in seven years.

Now, with Kevin Love headed to Cleveland, indications are the Celtics will trade Rajon Rondo and fully commit to rebuilding.

Where does that leave Brandon Bass?

Bass, 29, was Boston’s fifth-oldest player last season. Three of the older players – Keith Bogans, Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries – came to the Celtics only to make the the Garnet-Pierce trade work financially. The other, Joel Anthony, was also acquired in a salary dump.

Really, Bass – who has a $6.9 million expiring contract – is the only one whose on-court value nears his salary. But it’s also difficult to see him remaining helpful once Boston is ready to win again.

So, you know where this leads.

Zach Lowe of Grantland:

The Celtics have tried like hell, but they can’t get anything of value on the trade market for Brandon Bass

Boston already has a couple young replacements at power forward in Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk. I suspect the Celtics wouldn’t mind giving those two more room to develop.

But they won’t – and shouldn’t – just dump Bass. They can always just let him walk in free agency next summer if it comes to it, though it’s best to get some return now if possible.

Bass is a quality mid-range jumper shooter for his position, but he lacks 3-point range. In today’s NBA – as Lowe thoroughly details in his article – that severely diminishes Bass’ value.

As the trade deadline nears, barring a surprisingly successful season to that point, Boston will only get more desperate to take any return for Bass. In the meantime, Bass has proven himself a consummate professional, even on a bad team. So, there’s no rush to deal him.

If another team offers an asset with future value like a young player or draft pick, the Celtics would likely trade Bass. But they’re not going to just give him away.