Rajon Rondo's contract year has commenced. (Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

This is Rajon Rondo’s team, and this is his time.



The Celtics hosted the Nets on an opening night where it seemed nothing could go wrong for the home team at TD Garden.

The Celtics hosted the Nets on an Opening  Night where it seemed nothing could go wrong for the home team at TD Garden.

First it was the C’s taking a 26-point lead into halftime, then the Celtics dropped 101 points by end of the third quarter thanks to a Kelly Olynyk buzzer-beater.

In the end, the Celtics played extremely well as a whole, winning, 121-105, while shooting an insane 55.7 percent for the game. (€Click to see box score.) And it was Rajon Rondo who gave them the shot in the arm that they really needed.

Rondo dazzled in his return

Rondo returned to action just shy of five weeks after having surgery to repair a broken bone in his left hand and was better than ever. Wearing protective padding over his injured hand, Rondo posted a near triple-double in his first game action since April, finishing with 13 points (6-for-9 FGs), 12 assists and seven rebounds in just under 30 minutes of action.

Brad Stevens said prior to the game that there is no minute restriction on his star point guard, but that he will open up the season playing in these types of short stints followed by even shorter rests.

Marcus Smart was solid in his first regular season game

Marcus Smart made his NBA debut. Smart got his first basket as a pro by stealing an inbounds pass and taking it all the way to the rim for an easy dunk.

Smart finished the game with 10 points on 3-for-7 shooting, but was even better on the defensive side of the ball where he collected four steals to go along with his typical lockdown defense. Fellow rookie James Young received a DNP in his first game.

Eight Celtics scored in double-figures

The Celtics’€™ victory was a complete team effort on all fronts and the scoring distribution showed it. Olynyk led eight C’€™s in double-figures with 19 points, followed by Jeff Green (17), Avery Bradley (15), Rondo and Jared Sullinger (13 each) and Smart, Evan Turner and Marcus Thornton (10 a piece). On top of that, the only other two Celtics that played, Brandon Bass and Tyler Zeller, had eight and six points respectively.

The fans showed much love for Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett returned to the Garden to play in his second game in Boston since departing to Brooklyn in a trade. Garnett received a loud round of applause followed by plenty of chanting and cheering when he was announced in the starting lineups. It wasn’€™t quite as heartfelt as when he and Paul Pierce returned together with the Nets last January, but it’€™s clear that Boston still loves them some KG.

The Celtics now have a couple days of practice before a road trip takes them to Texas to play the Rockets on Saturday and the Mavericks on Monday.

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow

He’€™s been giving us updates on himself all week, from 79 percent on Monday to 83 percent on Tuesday, but now Brad Stevens has made it official.

He’€™s been giving us updates on himself all week, from 79 percent on Monday to 83 percent on Tuesday, but now Brad Stevens has made it official. Rajon Rondo will play in the Celtics‘€™ first game of the season on Wednesday night just 33 days after surgery to repair a broken bone in his left hand.

Stevens was straight to the point when asked if Rondo would play and if he would start, simply responding, ‘€œyes’€ to both questions.

Then Stevens was asked if Rondo would have a minutes restriction: ‘€œNo,’€ said the coach. ‘€œThe way that I’€™ve looked at it is that I might play him in shorter stints, but no minute restrictions. And then, you know, it will be about how he plays after that, it really is his first preseason game as well for him.’€

Stevens also went on to say that Rondo will receive shorter rest than he did last year in between his playing stints.

Rondo’€™s presence means that rookie Marcus Smart will be demoted to coming off the bench. Meanwhile, Rondo will start alongside Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger.

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow
Its time to start the season for the Celtics! We talk about the things we like about the Celtics and the things we dont like very much. Plus Sam feels like a jerk for laughing at Julius Randle.

I think we can all agree the Celtics won’€™t be raising banner 18 in the immediate future, and more likely than not the 2014-15 NBA season will result in another lottery pick come June, regardless of how ardently Rajon RondoAvery Bradley & Co. argue the contrary. It’€™s been a year since Danny Ainge traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets, launching the process of stockpiling draft picks and cap-friendly contracts. Since the Celtics failed to cash in those commodities in exchange for fireworks this summer, this season’€™s preview will have a Wyc Grousbeck theme, focusing on the hodgepodge of C’€™s pieces in a series we’€™ll call Asset Management. Next up: Rajon Rondo.

There’s no point arguing about whether Rajon Rondo is a great player any longer. He’s capable of things on a basketball court previously reserved only for Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson, and that’s all I’ll ever need to know.

We haven’t seen Rondo at full strength since Jan. 25, 2013, when he dropped a 16-10-11 triple-double and played the final 12 minutes of a double-overtime loss to the Hawks on a torn ACL. How anyone hates on him is beyond me.

Playing at 87 percent health or whatever weird number he assigned to his rehabbed right knee last season, Rondo still averaged 11.7 points, 9.8 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 33.3 minutes over 30 games. You know who else achieved those averages in 2013-14? Nobody. Not Kevin Durant. Not LeBron James. Not Stephen Curry. Not Chris Paul. Nobody.

Rondo is one of the most extraordinary players in the NBA, if not the league’s strangest bird, and it’s good to have him back. The broken metatarsal in his left hand will prevent Rondo from reaching 100 percent for a week or two, but he’ll be collecting triple-doubles before we know it, ascending everbody’s player rankings all year.

Like it or not, he’ll also be the biggest name on the trade market as the NBA’s highest-profile free agent in 2015 (assuming LeBron and Kevin Love are staying in Cleveland.) There’s simply no way to escape the trade rumors. It makes too much sense for a Celtics team that just drafted its point guard of the future and remains years away from contending to shop a four-time All-Star banking on a big payday come July.

The problem is finding a trade partner. Two-thirds of the league has a point guard in place for the foreseeable future, half of the remaining teams wouldn’t sign him long-term and the other half doesn’t have the assets to meet Danny Ainge’s considerable demands. All that probably adds up to Rondo remaining in green this season. Unless, of course, the Pacers give up Roy Hibbert or the Heat, Kings, Knicks or Lakers  come up with a more enticing package than draft picks and Mario Chalmers, Ben McLemore, Iman Shumpert or the now injured Julius Randle.

The problem comes next summer when Rondo becomes a free agent, and the Knicks, Lakers and Mavericks all have cap space to pursue his services. The Celtics can still offer the most money, but do they want to? And does Rondo want to stay in Boston for a rebuilding project still in its infancy? (A Dallas starting lineup of Rondo, Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler is an instant title contender.)

If Rondo returns to form and commands anything close to max money on the open market, then maybe it’s best to re-sign him, keep a valuable asset in the holster and consider trading him down the line. (Great, more trade rumors.) These are questions Ainge must answer before considering lesser offers at the trade deadline.

It’s a circular argument, and we’ll be driving around that roundabout all winter. Buckle your seatbelt. It’s gonna be a weird, wild ride, and at least Rondo is at the wheel this year. Let’s get this Celtics season started.

Asset Rating: A

This has been another edition of Asset Management. Check out more Celtics player valuations below.

ASSET MANAGEMENT: Brandon Bass | Avery Bradley | Vitor Faverani | Jeff Green | Kelly Olynyk | Dwight PowellPhil Pressey | Marcus Smart | Rajon RondoJared Sullinger | Marcus Thornton | Evan Turner | Gerald Wallace | James Young | Tyler Zeller

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

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FOXBORO — Tom Brady is at it again on Facebook.

On Wednesday, his page posted a photoshopped image of him from his childhood holding an old-school Voit basketball. The photoshopped part was the Rajon Rondo-esque headband.

Brady appears a bit chubby in the photo but with an endearing smile.

The post wishes the Celtics “good luck this season.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

I think we can all agree the Celtics won’€™t be raising banner 18 in the immediate future, and more likely than not the 2014-15 NBA season will result in another lottery pick come June, regardless of how ardently Rajon RondoAvery Bradley & Co. argue the contrary. It’€™s been a year since Danny Ainge traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets, launching the process of stockpiling draft picks and cap-friendly contracts. Since the Celtics failed to cash in those commodities in exchange for fireworks this summer, this season’€™s preview will have a Wyc Grousbeck theme, focusing on the hodgepodge of C’€™s pieces in a series we’€™ll call Asset Management. Next up: Dwight Powell.

Dwight Powell

Dwight Powell

Other than looking a lot like Daniel Tosh, what else do you know about Dwight Powell? We’ll still be here when you get back from that interwebs search.

The Celtics have quietly stockpiled high-character, high-IQ players in the Brad Stevens era — through the draft (Marcus Smart) and the trade market (Tyler Zeller) — and Powell certainly fits that mold. The Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year as a senior at Stanford this past winter, he brings fundamental defense, sound shooting mechanics and deft passing to Boston.

Powell also brings a 6-foot-11, 240-pound frame to go along with impressive averages of 25.8 points, 12.6 rebounds and 5.7 assists per 100 college possessions. And yet the former top-25 high school recruit dropped to the 45th pick in this past June’s NBA draft and has since been traded twice — in packages for a pair of since released players (Scotty Hopson and Keith Bogans).

That’s because, according to DraftExpress, as a senior he lacked toughness on the boards, couldn’t consistently knock down jump shots and didn’t protect the rim, even if he earned another First Team All-Pac-12 selection. Powell showed more promise as a junior, when he logged a respectable 54.2 true shooting percentage, grabbed 24.0 percent of available defensive boards and submitted a 23.3 player efficiency rating a few months after his mother (living in Melrose, Mass.) died of cancer. Talk about toughness.

The Celtics apparently saw enough of Powell to choose him over a handful of other training camp invitees. He started alongside Kelly Olynyk during the Canadian national team’s tour through Europe. In 89 minutes over nine summer league and preseason games, Powell totaled 25 points (6-19 FG, 0-1 3P, 13-15 FT), 18 rebounds, nine personal fouls, eight turnovers, five steals, three blocks, three assists and a partridge in a pear tree.

Powell’s a work in progress, even if he’s already 23 years old, and the only reason he’s more valuable than Phil Pressey at this point is because he’s a foot taller and his NBA ceiling is a mystery. Athletic 6-foot-11 dudes who understand schemes and possess floor-spacing shooting potential don’t grow on trees, only up to the branches.

Then again, every other team passed on Powell once, half did twice and both the Cavs and Hornets did a few times.

Asset Rating: D

This has been another edition of Asset Management. Check out more Celtics player valuations below.

ASSET MANAGEMENT: Brandon Bass | Avery Bradley | Vitor Faverani | Jeff Green | Kelly Olynyk | Dwight PowellPhil Pressey | Marcus Smart | Jared Sullinger | Marcus Thornton | Evan Turner | Gerald Wallace | James Young | Tyler Zeller

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach