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 weei.com/celtics.
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.”