I know this is Hoopsworld - but the quotes from Ainge and Doc abpout Rondo I think are interesting at least
By: Bill Ingram Last Updated: 6/5/09 1:41 AM ET | 5488 times read
For the past few days we've been hearing rumors that the Boston Celtics might be willing to part with Ray Allen before the start of the 2009-2010 season. HOOPSWORLD asked around in Chicago, where the majority of NBA executives were taking a look at most of the first round draft prospects, and managed to find out a few more details. We have now added to those, with the help of WEEI's Jessica Camerato in Boston.
Off the record, we have several sources telling us that Ray Allen is, indeed, on the block. It's easy to make the leap, as the Celtics have managed to develop some nice young talent around their Big Three while also managing to win a championship. They might have even repeated had Kevin Garnett been healthy. It's not a stretch to say the Celtics would part with Allen, who has an ending contract next season, if they could add another top young player to the mix.
On the record we have an added wrinkle - one that we thought to be highly unlikely until we found it reported with a quote attributed to Celtics GM Danny Ainge. It seems the Celtics are willing to package Rajon Rondo with Allen to make the right deal happen
"He's stubborn," Ainge told ESPN's Jackie MacMullen. "He doesn't always take direction well. He's very bright and knows what he needs to do to be successful. But sometimes he doesn't understand what the team needs to be successful."
Doc Rivers expressed similar sentiments, which he directed at Rondo himself earlier this season.
"Do you know your teammates hate playing with you? ... The point guard has to be the guy that brings energy to the team. You can't be the guy that sucks it away. Your moodiness is affecting us. Change it."
At the same time, Rondo has guys like Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins saying he's their leader and they believe in him. And while there is a great deal to be said for patience and seeing if Rondo will improve as much next season as he did in 2008-09, there is certainly a lot of negativity coming from the decision-makers - enough to fuel trade speculation.
The latest rumor making its way around - and we're not hearing that there is any truth to it, on or off the record - has the Phoenix Suns sending Amar'e Stoudemire (of course) to the Celtics in a package for Rondo and Allen, with Leandro Barbosa also included in the deal.
So . . .who gets benched? Kevin Garnett? Kendrick Perkins? You're talking about the best defensive front court in the NBA a season ago. Sitting Perkins removes a strong defender and replaces him with a true defensive screen door.
There is definitely some truth to the idea that the Celtics would move Ray Allen - and maybe even Rajon Rondo - if the right deal came along. As for the Suns coming up with the right deal, that seems highly unlikely.
Rashard Lewis Earning His Money
The Orlando Magic have taken some heat for paying Rashard Lewis what they paid him last season. The five-year contract that pays Lewis basically $20 million per season was high, and in some circles his 17.7 points and 5.7 rebounds . . .even his 40% three-point accuracy . . .don't warrant the pay. Now, with the Magic tipping off in the NBA Finals tonight, Lewis is showing people they were wrong about him, and about his team. He recently told ESPN radio that being the underdogs pushed his team to play harder.
"It kept putting fuel to the fire, we feed off of that, we've been underdogs for a long time," said Lewis, who averaged 19.0 points in helping the Magic sweep the season series from the Lakers this year. "We like being the underdog because we're going to sneak up on you and surprise you. If you're not ready to play the Orlando Magic, then anything can happen because we feel like we have a pretty good ball club."
Lewis says the Magic knew they could beat the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals when the the two teams met for Game 2. It took a miracle shot from LeBron James to beat Orlando, and they didn't feel lightning could strike twice.
"When we really got a lot of our confidence, when we knew we could beat that team was the second game, played on their home-court. We was able to steal the first one, the second one, obviously LeBron hit the big shot to win the game, we felt like if he wouldn't have made that shot we had them down zero to two, after coming from their home-court and we were ready to go home. We had a lot of confidence after losing that game we had a good chance of beating this team if we came out and played the way we know how to play basketball."
Now, with the Finals just a few hours away, the Magic might have injured point guard Jameer Nelson back in uniform. Lewis says he's sure that Nelson will do what's best for the team, whether that means he suits up, or whether that means he stays in his suit to cheerlead.
"It all depends, now we have a couple days to practice, I'm sure he'll go through a couple practices, see how he feels, see how his conditioning is, because he hasn't played the game in a long time. For him to get a scrimmage in, get up and down and kind of see where he's at with his rhythm, and then I'm sure he'll try his best to do what's best for the team. If he needs to play then I'm sure he'll try his best and go out there and play, but at the same time, he wants to make sure he's healthy and able to perform."
Whether or not Nelson is able to suit up, Rashard Lewis will be ready to do what he's done all season: help the Magic continue to surprise their doubters.
Listen to Rashard's entire interview here!
View Bill Ingram Archive Villanueva And The Cavs?
As we've discussed at length in this space, the Milwaukee Bucks have a difficult choice facing them this summer. They have two key free agents in Charlie Villanueva and Ramon Sessions, and one of them is most likely going to be a casualty of the salary cap. The fact that the Bucks are looking very closely at every point guard available in the draft would make you think they're leaning towards letting Sessions walk, but it's far too early to know. In truth, the Bucks themselves haven't made the decision yet, and are holding out hope that they can find a way to keep both. That said, plenty of teams are starting to think about what Villanueva would look like in their uniforms. One of them might be the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"I understand the situation Milwaukee is in financially," Villanueva said on ESPN Radio recently, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "They don't want to go over the cap or what not (actually the luxury tax level). Whatever team decides to make the best offer, I'm going to think about it. "Cleveland definitely is not a bad spot. I've played with LeBron. I played with LeBron in the McDonald's All-American Game and we played well together. Is there a possibility? Yes. Will it happen? Time will tell."
First and foremost, Villanueva believes he could have helped the Cavs get past the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals.
"I think I would be able to help out a lot," Villanueva said. "Just the fact I bring my versatility and create mismatch problems. One of the reasons Orlando is in the Finals is because of Rashard Lewis. They have a legitimate big man (Dwight Howard) that demands attention, and they surround him with guys that can play on the perimeter."
Indeed, it's easy to see Villanueva matching up with Lewis, who is more consistent, but a very similar type of player.
We're a long way from knowing what will happen in Milwaukee or Cleveland, but we are certain they will be two of the big movers in free agency. It's not a stretch to say they could wind up doing something together that helps both sides.
NBA Chat Tonight!
HOOPSWORLD Executive Editor Jason Fleming will hold his weekly chat tonight, talking about Portland's draft predictions, the NBA Finals, and anything else you're dying to know about. Drop your questions in now for Jason - it will be a nice warm-up for the big game!
First Look At Tonight's Action
Orlando Magic @ Los Angeles Lakers: The wait is officially over. After a long week of predictions, match-up analysis, and discussion of how seriously we should take LeBron James' no-show after Game 6, we're finally getting down to business. Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant will lace them up tonight in their quest to decide the best team in the NBA. The Magic swept the season series from the Lakers, one of only two teams to accomplish that feat (Charlotte was the other). How does that translate into postseason play? We'll start to find out tonight. HOOPSWORLD's Eric Pincus will be courtside, so catch his blog below!