Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about the Celtics and the NBA playoffs.
The league’s two most successful franchises, the Celtics and Lakers, have become also-rans, and the future is not promising for either team.
“There’s no question there’s been a changing of the guard in the league,” Wojnarowski said. “You look at both teams, the Lakers and Boston, it’s going to be a while before either is in contention again. It’s hard to rebuild in this league, and it doesn’t happen quickly unless you draft LeBron [James] or Kevin Durant. It’s going to take a while, and I think both organizations have to face that reality, because we aren’t going to see these two in the finals again in the foreseeable future, that’s for sure.”
Wojnarowski said the the Celtics have a better front office than the Lakers and a more appealing coach in Doc Rivers, but the Lakers are more likely to return to prominence first because of the appeal of Los Angeles.
“If the Lakers have cap space, they’re always a team that’s going to attract the best player on the market,” Wojnarowski said. “I think Boston, as long as Doc is there and Doc is coaching, I think Boston is very attractive to players, more so to the elite players. But even then, Chris Paul didn’t want to come when they talked deals. It’s not LA.”
Wojnarowski said he thinks the Celtics will attempt to rebuild around Rajon Rondo, but they need some fortuitous moves to get out of the middle.
“That’s the worst place to be in the NBA — stuck in the middle,” Wojnarowski said. “You want to be really good or really bad. That’s the fear is you don’t want to get stuck in that middle place, because you can’t get out of it. You become Milwaukee, fighting for the eighth seed. You don’t want that.
“But I do think, though, the emergence of Jeff Green this year, you’ve seen that they can lean on him to do more and be a different kind of player. Listen, a year ago you didn’t know what his career was going to look like, with the heart ailment. And then this year you saw him become a much more explosive and reliable player. I think that’s a bonus for them. You look back at the Kendrick Perkins deal, and certainly it looks a lot better in hindsight than it did to people initially. But there’s no easy path back for them.”
Looking at the playoffs, Wojnarowski said the Spurs, with the resurgence of Tim Duncan, are the favorites in the West, following the season-ending injury to Thunder guard Russell Westbrook. But either team would be a big underdog vs. the Heat.
Said Wojnarowski: “Earlier this season you’re talking about who can beat [the Heat] four times in the postseason. This run that they’ve been on since they started that winning streak, the question is, can you beat them once? Can you beat them once? I don’t think it’s realistic to think there’s a team out there right now that can beat LeBron four times in a series. I just don’t think it’s realistic. … I think Miami is head and shoulders above everybody else right now. That goes without saying, I guess.”
To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Celtics news, visit the team page at weei.com/celtics.