In his weekly power rankings, Yahoo Sports reporter Marc Spears dropped an interesting nugget.

In his weekly power rankings, Yahoo Sports reporter Marc Spears dropped an interesting nugget.

The Lakers and Celtics had mutual interest for a Rajon Rondo deal, but the Lakers weren’€™t willing to give up injured rookie Julius Randle, a source said.

A previous report from Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski suggested the Lakers offered Steve Nash‘s expiring $9.7 million expiring contract and Houston’s 2015 first-round pick in exchange for Rondo.

Likewise, USA TODAY’s Sam Amick reported an offer that would have sent Jordan Hill, a first-rounder and presumably Nash to Boston in exchange for Rondo and Jeff Green going back to L.A. (although Hill owns Bird rights approval of a trade and can’t be dealt until Jan. 15).

Either way, it’s noteworthy that the Celtics discussed trading their captain to the rival Lakers before ultimately sending him to Dallas. The trade talks also suggest Rondo’s breakfast with Kobe Bryant during the Lakers’ most recent visit to Boston was more than “just two [expletives] having breakfast.” It would’ve been fascinating had the Lakers been willing to include Randle in a potential deal.

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Here’€™s the first question Danny Ainge was asked in his press conference prior to Friday’€™s game: ‘€œWhy did you trade Rajon Rondo?’€

Ainge’€™s answer was brief: ‘€œThere was a definite uncertainty into what may happen this summer. So that was a big factor.’€

That’€™s all Ainge initially said on trading away his largest asset for what will presumably be a late first-round pick and a few misfit parts. Those few words tell us everything we need to know, though.

Ainge believed Rondo was going to bolt in free agency and didn’€™t want to lose him for nothing, so he traded him. It was the right move, plain and simple.

However, uncertainty remained a key word.

‘€œWe like the players that we got in the trade,’€ Ainge expanded. ‘€œBut, listen, I think that with [Rondo’€™s] impending free agency and uncertainty of what may happen this summer, I think that gave us the impetus of wanting to do a deal.’€

Ainge was later asked how long these uncertainties had existed regarding Rondo’€™s future in Boston.

‘€œOh, I think that there’€™s been uncertainty for a while,’€ Ainge claimed. ‘€œYou know, as to what kind of team we’€™d be able to put together. We tried this summer to get some significant players in, unsuccessfully, and there’€™s a price that we won’€™t go [to], either. [A price] that we won’€™t pay for any player in order to make that happen this past summer.

‘€œAt the same time, there’€™s been uncertainty as to what [Rondo’€™s] future would be, and there’€™s been uncertainty as to how he would return and how he’€™d come back and play [after tearing his ACL]. Yeah, I think he’€™s understood that, and I’€™ve understood that and we’€™ve talked about it.’€

Despite being a huge contributor to many Celtics‘€™ teams in the past, Rondo isn’€™t the type of player that could ever help this team win. So getting something for him while you still can makes perfect sense. The only thing I questioned was the timing of Ainge’€™s move, but that was another idea he addressed.

‘€œThe timing and the market was well though through and calculated,’€ said Ainge. ‘€œYou never know what may be available, but I think we had a pretty good feel for the teams that had interest, and consistent interest, over time and we thought all that through: timing and deals.’€

Even though the timing was well thought out, it still isn’€™t an ideal time to try and trade your point guard away. Many, including myself at times, figured there just wasn’€™t a trade out there for Rondo that made sense.

‘€œRight, well you would expect maybe a one-third of the teams in the league wouldn’€™t want to acquire a player of Rajon’€™s stature even when their goal isn’€™t a championship,’€ Ainge said of the market for point guards. ‘€œI think that the top 10-12 teams with a realistic opportunity to win a championship would be the ones that would be interested in acquiring a player such as Rajon at this time. If you look around [at] the teams, this may have been the only one that didn’€™t have, that I would classify, a consideration for an All-Star type guard. Every good team has this level of point-guard.’€

Ainge didn’€™t enjoy letting his star go, but he definitely wasn’€™t going to make the wrong decision because of that.

‘€œIt was hard,’€ Ainge admitted. ‘€œYeah, it was very difficult to move Rajon. I know that it’€™s business in professional sports, but you really develop a lot of close relationships. And I loved watching Rajon, I loved visiting with him, our one-on-one conversations were fun, entertaining, frustrating sometimes, and always a surprise. I mean, the guy is a very unique person. But watching him grow and watching him develop as a man and as a person and as a basketball player ‘€“ I just enjoyed my interactions with him. And so, yeah, it was an emotional time as we met [Thursday] night. It was not an easy thing to do, but I believe it was the right thing to do.’€

On a night where Ainge expressed many uncertainties, one certainly was not pulling the trigger on the deal that sent Rondo to Dallas, we can be sure of that. This was a move Ainge very much felt needed to be made.

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow

BOSTON — In their first game since the trade of Rajon Rondo, the Celtics defeated the Timberwolves, 114-98 (

BOSTON — In their first game since the trade of Rajon Rondo, the Celtics defeated the Timberwolves, 114-98 (box score here) Friday night at TD Garden.

While Rondo’s departure generated a lot of buzz pregame, the Celtics didn’t allow his absence to affect their play on the court. Separating the two worlds was easy, something Jeff Green predicted before the game.

“At the end of the day, you got to still go and play basketball,” Green said. “Doing something that we love — its not that hard to go out there and play hard and give it all you got.”

That’s exactly what the Celtics did. Despite the score being relatively close for the first three quarters, the Celtics controlled the game for the entire night and were able to pull away in fourth quarter. The Timberwolves got 26 points from Shabazz Muhammad and 19 from Chase Budinger, but their efforts were no match for the team effort put forth by Boston.

Without Rondo, the Celtics had 29 assists, tying their fourth highest total this season. The crisp ball movement led to a balance attack in which six different players scored in double figures.

If there were a standout individual performance, it would have to be Kelly Olynyk. Coming off the bench, Olnynk had an incredibly impressive first half, scoring 14 points in 14 minutes. On the heels of a career-high performance Monday with 30 points in a win over Phillu, he attacked the rim with ease and showed little hesitation when given a open looks beyond the arc. He finished with a team-high 21 points.

Evan Turner started in place of Rondo, and along with Phil Pressey and Marcus Smart, did a serviceable job running the offense. The three-headed point guard trio only had six turnovers while combining for 24 points and 10 assists.

First overall pick and presumptive Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins struggled to find any sort of rhythm, finishing with only five points on 2-of-10 shooting. “Maple Jordan”€ did have a couple of nice blocks, but otherwise was a non-factor.

After the game, the Celtics will take their talents to South Beach to prepare for a Sunday night battle against Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and the 50 or so remaining Miami Heat fans.

Blog Author: 
Sam Packard

Danny Ainge finally decided it was time to send the last standing piece of his 2008 championship roster on its way. It was the right move, there’s no doubt about it. But couldn’t it have been done sooner?

Ainge’s Plan A was no secret: Find a star to place next to Rajon Rondo. This plan began on June 27, 2013 — the day the Celtics agreed in principle to send Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn. Despite Ainge aggressively searching for that star, it just wasn’t there. When no deal presented itself at last season’s trade deadline, Boston patiently waited for summer to arrive.

By June, it looked like the Celtics might be rewarded. Kevin Love did some notable flirting with Boston, and even chatted with Rondo himself at Fenway Park. Ainge went all-out to bring Love to Boston, and for a while it looked like he could offer Minnesota the best package to pry Love away. As we now know, one thing led to another and Minnesota got an offer it couldn’t decline. It was almost an unthinkable offer in which the Timberwolves received back-to-back No. 1 overall picks (Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett) for their star. In ways it was bad luck for the Celtics, but Plan A failed the second Love went to Cleveland.

Ainge kept looking for trades but just never found one. Not only was a deal to add a star not out there at the time, there were no foreseeable trades on the horizon for the upcoming (now current) season. Plan B, it’s now clear, was to trade Rondo. Which begs the question: Why not trade Rondo as soon as Plan A failed?

This is the part I don’t understand. Was Rondo really expected to succeed on the team he was given to lead this season? He’s not that type of player. In years past, debates have gone as far as to question which point guard you would rather have with players like Rondo against the likes of Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul. Those debates are nowhere to be found today. Most of that is to blame on Rondo’s ACL tear suffered in January 2013. But Rondo has never been the same type of player as other point guards in the league.

Rondo’s uniqueness lies in the fact that his value is controlled by the talent of his teammates — something we can’t attribute to any other player. Rondo will thrive in Dallas, mostly because he will be playing with his best surrounding cast since at least 2010. He couldn’t succeed in Boston because the talent was not there, and for that reason Boston should have moved Rondo as soon as it realized it couldn’t add the necessary stars that its current star required.

Knowing now what Ainge’s floor was, in terms of a deal he would accept for Rondo, wouldn’t he have taken a first-round pick in the 15-25 range of this past June’s draft? Yes, Love still was an option at the time, but the idea of him coming to Boston was fading. Even after the draft, a team like the Rockets had long been rumored to be interested in Rondo. Just a day prior the draft, Houston acquired New Orleans’ 2015 first-round pick in a deal for Omer Asik. That pick figures to be higher than Dallas’ will be in 2016, why not go for that? Obviously, Houston didn’t want to make a deal using that pick now. But what about five or six months ago?

Hindsight is 20/20, but I (like many) was shocked by the low return on Rondo. Boston recieved Brandan Wright, Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder and conditional first- and second-round draft picks. But Rondo had to go — Kendrick Perkins has even revealed to Yahoo! Sports that Rondo wanted out of Boston.

In the end, Ainge made the right move for the franchise. Why he waited so long I may never understand, but, in fairness, we still don’t know what the final return on Rondo will be. Wright is a nice player with one of the highest efficiency ratings in the league. Could Wright, Nelson and/or Crowder fetch another draft pick before the trade deadline? Ainge purposely got this deal done more than 60 days before the deadline so that trading players he got in return this season remains an option.

Ainge is a smart guy. He often makes gutsy and questionable moves. One of them was taking a gangly point guard who couldn’t shoot with the No. 21 pick 8 1/2 years ago. Who’s to say he won’t experience that success again with the pick he just got from Dallas?

Blog Author: 
Julian Edlow
Jackie MacMullen, ESPN Boston, talks with MFB about Rondo being traded to the Dallas Mavericks, and how this will have an effect on the Celtics rebuild process

[0:03:24] ... think Cuba and the guy that's willing to overtake if you promised Dirk Nowitzki. When nine Dirk took a took a pay cut I'm an acute bill in the team and would make it better and ...
[0:05:12] ... Going forward I don't know what we know me getting out dumped. Jeff Green I know they've been chopping Jeff Green not for almost three seasons now do you go completely to the bottom. The draft coming up is another good one you ...
[0:08:11] ... them you know in big games. It was a position of need Monta Ellis kind of play that position on guys they had just. Kind of were cut it but offensively the team is great MER ...

ESPN basketball analyst Jeff Goodman joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to discuss the Rajon Rondo trade to the Mavericks and the state of the

Jeff Goodman

Jeff Goodman

ESPN basketball analyst Jeff Goodman joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to discuss the Rajon Rondo trade to the Mavericks and the state of the Celtics. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The C’s have faced some early criticism for the deal, with critics saying the return for Rondo was not all that great. Goodman said the Celtics got a decent value back in the trade.

“You got a first-round pick, you got a good, young player in Brandan Wright, who I think has a chance to be a 14 [points] and seven [rebounds] guy if he plays 20, 30 minutes a game,” Goodman said. “But people forget also, they’re saying, ‘Well, you should’ve traded him early, you should’ve traded him earlier.’ He did get hurt, it’s not like his trade value was so high. He was out, he didn’t play a full season. Last year when he came back he was playing every other game. You really didn’t have the chance to trade him until this year when you tried to boost his trade value as high as you possibly could.”

Rondo adds to a team that already has Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons. Goodman said the point guard is a much better fit for Dallas.

“I’m not a Rondo guy for this franchise, meaning the Celtics, once [Kevin Garnett], Ray Allen and Paul Pierce left,” Goodman said. “I think in Dallas, in a fairly strong locker room, Rick Carlise’s gotten a little bit easier to deal with than he was back in the day. But you’ve got Dirk. You’ve got some veterans there, Tyson Chandler, who I think can handle him. And all he’s got to be is that third, fourth, even fifth guy, option on the floor. He can’t be your first, second option. He can’t be your leader. And he was forced to kind of be both in Boston. And Dallas is the ideal fit for Rondo to succeed.”

The hosts wondered if Rondo had any issues with coach Brad Stevens or the front office that might have led to the trade. Goodman said it came down to wins and losses for Rondo.

Brad Stevens is the easiest guy to deal with you’ll ever meet in your life. If you can’t get along with Brad Stevens, you have so many issues,” Goodman said. “Did I hear that Brad loved him? No. But he dealt with him. Rondo bought in as much as Rondo could possibly buy in, partially because Rondo knew the endgame here. If he didn’t buy in, he was going to be here long term, and he wanted to go somewhere he could win because he was used to it. He didn’t want to be here. Yeah, $20 million would’ve been nice to stay here. But I think for Rondo, he’s a different dude, he just beats to a different tune. I think a lot guys say it, the money isn’t as important, I think Rondo would’ve been one of those guys that would’ve taken less money to go elsewhere to win than to stay in Boston and keep losing games.”

With Rondo gone, the Celtics now have more salary cap space to acquire a more expensive player. Goodman said the Celtics might be forced to take a different approach in order to be successful again.

“What I think that they’re going to have to do is overpay kind of like Dallas did with Chandler Parsons did this year,” Goodman said. “Remember, he was a restricted free agent, they overpaid, Daryl Morey of Houston said, ‘I don’t think he’s worth that money.’ I think you’re going to have to do the same with maybe a guy like a Jimmy Butler. OK, Jimmy Butler, Chicago didn’t offer him this offseason, so he’ll become a restricted free agent. If you max him out, for the right team, and I think Chicago will probably pay Jimmy Butler. But if you max out a restricted guy, the right guy, and the team doesn’t think he’s worth $15 million, they think he’s worth 12 [million dollars] and they’re not going to pay that extra difference, that’s how you’re going to get maybe a player.”

Following are highlights from the interview. For more Celtics news, visit the team page at

On if Jeff Green will remain with the Celtics: “I think they’re going to try to get rid of him. Jeff Green‘s not the answer anyway. He helps you win too many games right now. That’s kind of the problem, is you’ve got to bottom out as much as you possibly can this year to try to get a high draft pick. I want to see what Brandan Wright can do. Brandon Wright gives you something you don’t have, which is length and athleticism up front.”

On when the Celtics are going to be competitive again: “I would say let’s give it ’til 2017 because they’ve got all of those draft picks in ’16 that they can really turn into a hopefully a marquee-type player. So I would say 2017, for me, is the year to watch when they might be able to break through and really be competitive with some of the top teams in the East.”

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano

Rajon Rondo, who was singing Christmas carols with his Celtics teammates at Boston Children’s Hospital on the evening he was traded to the Mavericks, expressed heartfelt gratitude for his time in the city in