As most know by now, Kobe Bryant and Rajon Rondo shared breakfast together in Boston on Thursday, but as Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reported, there was nothing to the breakfast — it had actually been planned for weeks.

That doesn’t mean there haven’t been any trade conversations between the two legendary franchises recently, though.

According to one of Shelburne’s sources, the Celtics and Lakers did briefly discuss a Rondo deal a few months ago, but talks have since ended. The Lakers don’t have much to offer, and are not keen on including a first-round pick in a deal — something Danny Ainge would require at least one of one of in order to ship Rondo out. Although the odds of Rondo being traded are slim, a deal along the lines of a first-round pick, rookie Julius Randle (who is out for the year with a broken leg), and an expiring contract would be something Ainge would at least be forced to ponder.

But even at season’s end, assuming Rondo has not been dealt, it’s been no secret that the Lakers plan to pursue the crafty point guard in free agency. Rondo has long been one of Bryant’s favorite players.

However, Thursday’s hangout session had nothing to do with Rondo giving up Boston for Los Angeles. “It was a basketball geek conversation,” Bryant said to reporters earlier on Friday.

And as for Kobe’s thoughts on the breakfast? “It was delicious,” he said.

For more Celtics news, check out weei.com/celtics.

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow

James Young played the best game of his professional career, scoring 31 points and pulling down nine boards for the Maine Red Claws in Thursday’s 110-106 win over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Young was efficient, shooting 9-for-15 from the field, including 7-for-10 from beyond the arc. He still had some defensive lapses, but his shooting stroke was quite impressive.

Fellow Celtics rookie Marcus Smart struggled in his first Red Claws appearance. Turns out he can’t shoot in the D-League either, as he missed his first 11 shots.

Dwight Powell had a great fourth quarter, getting to the rim with ease. He was an efficient 9-for-14 and finished with 21 points.

Blog Author: 
Sam Packard

With the Lakers in town for Friday night’s game against the Celtics, Rajon Rondo and Kobe Bryant were spotted having breakfast together earlier on Thursd

With the Lakers in town for Friday night’s game against the Celtics, Rajon Rondo and Kobe Bryant were spotted having breakfast together earlier on Thursday.

With Rondo set to become a free agent following this season, could Bryant be doing some recruiting?

Blog Author: 
WEEI

When Pistons starting forward Josh Smith fouled out with 6:47 remaining against the Celtics on Wednesday night, Detroit trailed by nine. Enter backup Greg Monroe off the bench.

When Pistons starting forward Josh Smith fouled out with 6:47 remaining against the Celtics on Wednesday night, Detroit trailed by nine. Enter backup Greg Monroe off the bench. Over a 2:21 stretch in the final minutes of regulation, the 24-year-old big scored 10 straight points — all either within 4 feet of the basket or from the free throw line — during a furious comeback to force overtime.

“We played pretty well in a lot of the fourth quarter, until the very end,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “Monroe, obviously, that’€™s a tough spot, especially when you’€™re coaching, because you know what can beat you is the 3, and they keep chipping away with two after two. I thought [Brandon] Bass and Tyler Zeller guarded them about as well as you could, but he just made shot after shot after shot.”

The Celtics had few, if any, answers for Monroe or Andre Drummond, who combined for 56 points (21-35 FG), 21 rebounds and six blocks. (And, yet, somehow the Pistons still managed to lose to a Celtics team that shot a combined 39.8 percent from the field.) The C’s could sure use a guy like that.

Actually, the Celtics could sure use that guy. And it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

For some odd reason, the Pistons brought Monroe off the bench in favor of Smith and Kyle Singler alongside Drummond in the frontcourt. Detroit is 0-6 without Monroe in the starting lineup. The Pistons score 7.2 more points and allow 8.3 fewer points with Monroe on the court, according to Basketball Reference. If I were him, I wouldn’t be too happy backing up one of the league’s least efficient scorers. (For the record, the Pistons are 12.5 points per 100 possessions worse with Smith on the floor.)

After collecting 29 points (9-17 FG, 11-11 FT) and seven rebounds in the 109-102 loss to the Celtics, Monroe provided all the right answers to a line of questioning about his adjustment to a newfound reserve role, and then finished, “I just have to continue to get comfortable coming off the bench.”

When the Pistons and Monroe failed to reach a long-term extension this past summer, he opted to sign a one-year, $5.5 million qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent in 2015. With Detroit unable to find a trade partner for the three years and $40.5 million left on Smith’s burdensome contract, it seems increasingly likely Monroe could be the odd man out of the crowded Pistons frontcourt.

“I’m always trying to get quality,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in his weekly interview with CBS Radio. “We’re trying to get better players, more impactful players. We do have a hole from a rim-protecting standpoint, and you can’t just add rim protection and then give up other things that you have that are solid. So, they’re not easy to find. A quality one, I should say, is not easy to find. Maybe through the draft or free agency, but we will continue to work all the way to the trade deadline to see if we can fix that hole in the meantime.”

Should the Celtics or any team seek a trade for Monroe, the 6-foot-11, 253-pound former No. 7 overall pick would have to waive his Bird rights, which diminishes the amount of money he could make this summer. Still, Ainge would have enough cap space in 2015 to offer Monroe a hefty contract, and Boston is made more attractive by the presence of Monroe’s fellow Georgetown product Jeff Green.

“We’re really good friends,” said Monroe. “Obviously, he’s originally from D.C., so he’s always home in the summer, and I spend a lot of time back at school, so we’re together a lot. We have the same agent and stuff like that, so we have a pretty good relationship. I would say we’re good friends.”

The Hoya fraternity is a close-knit group, as evidenced by Green, Monroe and Otto Porter making a trip to Indiana for Game 5 of last year’s Eastern Conference finals in an effort to support Roy Hibbert.

Accompanying the Georgetown foursome was their agent, David Falk, whose small list of active clients also includes Jared Sullinger and Evan Turner as well as former Celtics coach Doc Rivers‘ son Austin. Needless to say, Monroe has more ties to Boston than you might expect from a native of Harvey, La.

Should Green decline his $9.2 million player option for the 2015-16 season, he too would become an unrestricted free agent, and the Hoya duo has discussed joining forces on the Celtics, even if in jest.

“We joke about it,” said Monroe, who could command a max deal in the four-year, $60 million range this summer. “We all joke about it, man, but obviously it’s a lot more than us two coming here or us two talking about it. Right now, I’m just focused on where I’m at. Whenever the time is and if everything is right, then obviously I’ll always weigh my options, but right now I’m not worried about that.”

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

When Pistons starting forward Josh Smith fouled out with 6:47 remaining against the Celtics on Wednesday night, Detroit trailed by nine. Enter backup Greg Monroe off the bench. Over a 2:21 stretch in the final minutes of regulation, the 24-year-old big scored 10 straight points — all either within 4 feet of the basket or from the free throw line — during a furious comeback to force overtime.

“We played pretty well in a lot of the fourth quarter, until the very end,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “Monroe, obviously, that’€™s a tough spot, especially when you’€™re coaching, because you know what can beat you is the 3, and they keep chipping away with two after two. I thought [Brandon] Bass and Tyler Zeller guarded them about as well as you could, but he just made shot after shot after shot.”

The Celtics had few, if any, answers for Monroe or Andre Drummond, who combined for 56 points (21-35 FG), 21 rebounds and six blocks. (And, yet, somehow the Pistons still managed to lose to a Celtics team that shot a combined 39.8 percent from the field.) The C’s could sure use a guy like that.

Actually, the Celtics could sure use that guy. And it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

For some odd reason, the Pistons brought Monroe off the bench in favor of Smith and Kyle Singler alongside Drummond in the frontcourt. Detroit is 0-6 without Monroe in the starting lineup. The Pistons score 7.2 more points and allow 8.3 fewer points with Monroe on the court, according to Basketball Reference. If I were him, I wouldn’t be too happy backing up one of the league’s least efficient scorers. (For the record, the Pistons are 12.5 points per 100 possessions worse with Smith on the floor.)

After collecting 29 points (9-17 FG, 11-11 FT) and seven rebounds in the 109-102 loss to the Celtics, Monroe provided all the right answers to a line of questioning about his adjustment to a newfound reserve role, and then finished, “I just have to continue to get comfortable coming off the bench.”

When the Pistons and Monroe failed to reach a long-term extension this past summer, he opted to sign a one-year, $5.5 million qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent in 2015. With Detroit unable to find a trade partner for the three years and $40.5 million left on Smith’s burdensome contract, it seems increasingly likely Monroe could be the odd man out of the crowded Pistons frontcourt.

“I’m always trying to get quality,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in his weekly interview with CBS Radio. “We’re trying to get better players, more impactful players. We do have a hole from a rim-protecting standpoint, and you can’t just add rim protection and then give up other things that you have that are solid. So, they’re not easy to find. A quality one, I should say, is not easy to find. Maybe through the draft or free agency, but we will continue to work all the way to the trade deadline to see if we can fix that hole in the meantime.”

Should the Celtics or any team seek a trade for Monroe, the 6-foot-11, 253-pound former No. 7 overall pick would have to waive his Bird rights, which diminishes the amount of money he could make this summer. Still, Ainge would have enough cap space in 2015 to offer Monroe a hefty contract, and Boston is made more attractive by the presence of Monroe’s fellow Georgetown product Jeff Green.

“We’re really good friends,” said Monroe. “Obviously, he’s originally from D.C., so he’s always home in the summer, and I spend a lot of time back at school, so we’re together a lot. We have the same agent and stuff like that, so we have a pretty good relationship. I would say we’re good friends.”

The Hoya fraternity is a close-knit group, as evidenced by Green, Monroe and Otto Porter making a trip to Indiana for Game 5 of last year’s Eastern Conference finals in an effort to support Roy Hibbert.

Accompanying the Georgetown foursome was their agent, David Falk, whose small list of active clients also includes Jared Sullinger and Evan Turner as well as former Celtics coach Doc Rivers‘ son Austin. Needless to say, Monroe has more ties to Boston than you might expect from a native of Harvey, La.

Should Green decline his $9.2 million player option for the 2015-16 season, he too would become an unrestricted free agent, and the Hoya duo has discussed joining forces on the Celtics, even if in jest.

“We joke about it,” said Monroe, who could command a max deal in the four-year, $60 million range this summer. “We all joke about it, man, but obviously it’s a lot more than us two coming here or us two talking about it. Right now, I’m just focused on where I’m at. Whenever the time is and if everything is right, then obviously I’ll always weigh my options, but right now I’m not worried about that.”

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

After finishing 1-for-6 from the field against the Pistons, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has now scored just two points in each of his last three games.

Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

In his first action in almost a month, Celtics rookie Marcus Smart played just 4:38 of the first half of Wednesday’s 109-102 overtime win over the Pistons, but he feels ready to contribute more.

“It felt good to be out there,” said Smart, who missed all three of his 3-point attempts, collecting two assists and a pair of fouls. “Last game I played was Nov. 7, so it’€™s always a good feeling to get back out there with this group of guys and get a feel for the game again. I felt like I could’€™ve gave more, but we’€™re taking things slow, and that’€™s just kind of how it goes.”

Celtics coach Brad Stevens sounded more cautious about Smart’s availability so soon after a severe ankle sprain, opting instead to play Phil Pressey and Gerald Wallace a combined 26 minutes.

“I didn’t think he looked ready,” said Stevens. “It had nothing to do physically. He hadn’t practiced. I felt like it would be better to go with Phil and Gerald. They would give us the same things that Marcus gave us, and they’ve been traveling with the team and everything else. That’s kind of tough to just throw him in there. I didn’t even see him until we got to the gym today.”

“What he says goes,” countered Smart. “If he felt like I wasn’€™t ready, then that’€™s what it is. I thought I was ready. I was lagging a little bit until my ankle got warm, and then once it did, by that time I was already out of the game. But, like I said, we’€™re just taking things slow, so it’€™s all good.”

The Celtics do not plan on practicing Thursday and will hold only a walk-through session prior to Friday’s game, so there isn’t much of a window for Smart to make up for lost time. Still, Smart is optimistic he’ll be able to impact his first career game against the Lakers.

“It’€™s the rivalry,” he said. “We’€™ve got 17 [championships]; they’€™ve got 16. Everybody knows that. I’€™m excited. I definitely feel like I’€™ll be ready Friday to give a little bit more, but it really comes down to how coach feels and if he feels like I’€™m able to give more.”

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

After finishing 1-for-6 from the field against the Pistons, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has now scored just two points in each of his last three games. He’s been held to single digits in six of his last seven outings. And he hasn’t made a free throw since Nov. 23.

This isn’t your older brother’s Rajon Rondo.

“I’ve not been myself,” he said after a 109-102 win snapped a five-game losing streak. “I haven’t been as aggressive. I haven’t been making shots. I’ve been turning the ball over. So, like I said, a lot of those losses I put on myself, and I’ve got to find a better rhythm.”

How, exactly, does Rondo plan to find that rhythm? He could start by attacking the basket, getting to the free throw line and breaking out of his 30 percent free-throw shooting funk.

“I don’t really have the answer,” added Rondo, who had eight assists against four turnovers. “If I had it, I’d probably figure it out, but I’m still confident in myself. I’m still believing in myself. So, that hasn’t shied away from my game, and I’ll continue to get better.”

Things have gotten so bad that Celtics coach Brad Stevens benched Rondo for one possession on each end in the final minute of a one-possession game, replacing him with Evan Turner for free-throw shooting and defensive purposes. In the final minutes of overtime, the Celtics actively kept the ball out of Rondo’s hands in order to avoid any Hack-A-Rondo attempts. It’s hard to remember any team ever freezing out an All-Star and All-Defensive point guard in such a manner.

“Evan’s shooting 87 percent or something?” said Stevens, who sold Turner short on his 92 percent free-throw shooting. “We were playing Rondo off the ball in some actions … and it doesn’t really matter who has it to me. I took him out the one time, and I immediately regretted it. I felt like I should have had him back in, so I had him take the ball out the rest of the time.”

Regardless of how Stevens couched his reasoning, it was obvious the Celtics did not trust their captain with the ball in the final minutes of a close game, and that strategy actually worked to their advantage in their first home victory in almost a month. That’s not normal.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach