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Life without Rondo….where do we go from here?

Nick Sannicandro January 27, 2013 Injuries, Rajon Rondo 66 Comments

By now, I’m sure your Twitter account has near exploded with the countless updates on today’s damning news that Rajon Rondo will in fact miss the remainder of the 2012-13 season with a torn ACL. So after googling how to tie a strong knot or the closest bridge to you, assuredly it has crossed your mind as to what the Celtics will do now without their starting point guard. Regardless of the path they choose, this will be a highly debated topic, one that will likely be looked back and criticized for years by many regardless of the path they choose to go. But lets face it, today will be a day that will be marked as THE  turning point for the franchise. It is the first domino to fall in what is certain to be many more in coming weeks as the future of the Celtics is played out before our eyes.

So what do the Celtics do now? Where do we go from here? I’ve wrapped things up (at least in my head) to three logical routes the Celtics can go from here lets take a look and debate each:

 

Stay The Course: 

Yes, believe it or not this is actually an option here. For those that watched Sundays victory over the Miami Heat, we actually saw the tough, grit and balls Celtics that we have all been dying to see show up and earn an overtime victory over one of the best in the game. Remember when Kevin Garnett went down with his knee injury and all was lost? That Celtics team took the eventual Eastern Conference Champion Orlando Magic to 7 games, and quite frankly deserved to win that series.

If there is ever a team that when backed into a corner, with nobody believing in them anymore that I would put my money on, it is a team lead by Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.  Yes, the leaders of this team have been quiet and criticized over the past few weeks, but if there is ever a time that their competitive juices will flare up and make one last push, now would be the time.

Think about it, how many times have the Boston Celtics been down for the count with every member of the media? Remember in 2010 when almost every member of an ESPN “Expert” Panel chose Cleveland, Orlando, and LA to beat the Celtics in their respective series? The flip the switch year,  the knee injury year, the too old year.  They’ve always found a way to dig deep when it matters and at least give us an honest effort, why would this be any different?

Staying the course would mean to likely add another piece or two to make up for the loss of Rondo.  Mike Bibby and Gilbert Arenas are both free agents, though Arenas is playing in China and may find difficulty getting out of there if the Celtics were interested.  Delonte West is in the NBADL now and presents an interesting option for retreads, as does Bill Walker (though not a PG).  Trade options could be guys like Jose Calderon, and players of that caliper. Not going to get rich by selling scraps, but will certainly be able to find a serviceable point guard that can make things work until the end of the year.

Staying the course is by far the most gutsy of the three choices, it makes the boldest statement but will by far be the hardest one to make work both in the short and long term.

Blow It Sky High:  

Already saw a great deal of talk about this on the Twitter world. I can see where many think this is the best route. The Celtics are now left with an aging Kevin Garnett as their leader, as well as another aging vet in Paul Pierce as their second in command (yes a bold statement putting Pierce second). They have young-ish assets in Courtney Lee, Brandon Bass as well as true prospects in Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley, and Fab Melo. In any scenario the Celtics would like to hang on to Bradley and Sully but would assuredly move them if it brought in the right chip. But if a combination of Pierce and Bradley brought in a marquee player, how do you say no? Blowing it up here would mean getting rid of assets both young and old to get a big name to build around in the future.

Names I could see are Al Jefferson, Rudy Gay, Josh Smith and yes…even Dwight Howard. A bubble team like Detroit, Dallas, or Minnesota could be looking to add one more vet to make a push for the playoffs, which is the mostly likely of trade partners. There will certainly be rumors popping up all over the place in coming days and these are just mere suggestions to consider if the Blow It Up scenario is your weapon of choice here.

Build Around The Young Guns: 

This is an interesting choice, one of the most complex I’d say. The Celtics do have a realistic option of building the team back around the young guns that they already have. The untradeables in this situation would be Bradley, Sullinger, Rondo (due to injury), and either Lee or Melo. Gone would be the older assets of Terry, Pierce, and Garnett. The Celtics would also have to use Bass, Barbosa, and either Lee or Melo as a bargaining chip in any deal that would bring the Celtics a serviceable young player or picks. Building around the young guns gives the Celtics three starting five quality players already, and the potential to land a few more with picks or developing players that they may land in a trade.

The Celtics would benefit from taking a risk on a player like Andre Drummond, Marquis Teague ,Bismack Biyombo, or Kawhi LeonardGuys of that caliber, while not superstars, could fit in nicely as key pieces to a brighter future.

 

So what do you think the Celtics should do?  Personally, the best route right now would be to build around the young guns, stock up picks and start a rebuild, but my heart tells me to not count this team out just yet. After counting them out last year, I learned my lesson. I’m going with stay the course and having a little faith in our seasoned veterans.

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  • Larry Legend

    The word is caliber! Not caliper…Jesus christ

    • Alex

      People make mistakes. No need to be a dick about it.

    • http://redsarmy.com John – Red’s Army

      I assume you’ve never made a spelling error in your life, Larry Legend? Ease up

  • Nick Sannicandro

    autocorrect takes the credit there oh wait werent you the one that said your never going to read my stuff again? Ahhh..

    • Larry Legend

      It doesn’t state who writes the articles on my phone when I look up this site. Makes perfect sense tho. Should have just assumed it. My bad

      • Nick Sannicandro

        Im going to take the high road rather than tell you how little I think of you

        • Larry Legend

          Boom. Roasted. You really showed me Nick…keep up the good work

          • Nick Sannicandro

            why dont you grow a pair instead of being an internet troll, have you contributed anything to this discussion other than picking out that the spelling of one word was one letter off? Readers like you are why the internet is such a swill hole today

  • Quest

    After this win over the Heat in OT I choose to stay the course but afraid Ainge will not agree. Just read Adrian Woj quote from Danny Ainge” You can’t just philiosophically say,we’re going to do this. You have to tell me what opp we have.”
    If they trade PP next month I wonder if KG will just waive the rest of his contract to retire then we are def in rebuild mode. Well at least we know they cant trade Rajon now but he will be turning 28 when he returns and may be the vet.

    • CoachBo

      Not happening.

      They will add a big off the buyout heap and press on.

      As they should. Backcourt defense will improve automatically.

  • Nick Sannicandro

    Quest..that presents a GREAT question…. I think KG would likely retire. Keep in mind he has a NTC which he would likely use on ANY trade. I doubt he wants to pack up and move at this point of his career

  • frickenWaaaltaaah

    Too soon, man.

  • dk

    I for one would rather watch them fight and see what they can do and stay the course, explore delonte west from NBDL. I think business wise it makes more sense for them to stay the course as well–otherwise you turn the fan base even more by blowing it up. Plus not to mention the season ticket renewals that come up in February. They’d also need to have KG waive his no-trade clause and go somewhere else–not sure if I see that happen.

    We shall see

  • thetitleisours

    Why not Jonny Flynn? Is Rudy F playing back i Europe now?

  • KG21

    Keyon Dooling coming back?

  • Nick Sannicandro

    DK…great points

    thetitleisours… flynn didnt make the Trailblazers and is now playing in Australia, I think he didn’t get enough time to prove himself in the NBA, I really thought he and Wesley Johnson were going to play well together, and thought the T-wolves were going to be GREAt with Flynn, Johnson, Williams, Love, and Rubio all playing together, but they shipped him off the Houston and we never heard from him again

  • Greenman

    We did just beat the champs without rondo in a playoff atmosphere. We won the last time he was out. Blow it up? Really? The east is wide open. Blow it up over the summer. No reason to jump the gun.

    • Chris H

      Well Said.

  • Pierce UK

    This sounds nuts right, but if we don’t make a trade and sick after the trade deadline we should tank our way up the draft. Trade up for Shabazz and trade Avery for a potential piece like Andre Drummond. The youth ad athleticism in the rooster would be insane. Just a thought and if anyone gives me the I’m not giving up Bradley crap, a trade is about giving up talent to get other talent. Having 2 rookies with KG. in the front court and a young guy like Muhammed from UCLA being taught by a professional scorer would be bright for the future. That’s my most ambitious idea. See you later away to ride my unicorn.

  • zippittyay

    How the hell would we possibly pry away Andre Drummond from Detroit?

    • PICTURE PLANET

      Because some people play espn trade machine and believe they are instantly going to run a franchise. Ridiculous.

      Stay the course. Whatever happens now is a blessing. We are the 8th seed. you want to make some mind blowing trade now? Good luck getting market value for damn near anything on our roster.

    • Pierce UK

      Coach clearly isn’t his biggest fan plus they have Munro and no backcourt. Bradley or Bradley and a future pick might do it. Chuck in fab melo

  • dk
    • Dave

      ugh.. I think hope has turned to despair.

  • Nick Sannicandro

    Pierce UK hits the nail on the head. Nobody is trying to pretend they are going to be GM, just all huge fans that know the game and know players they like. Monroe isn’t going to be unseated by an underperforming Drummond who many quesitoned whether he was NBA ready.

    • zippittyay

      Underperforming?

      From espn.com
      “A back injury kept the man they call “The Big Penguin” mostly grounded until preseason rolled around. But it’s safe to say nothing’s holding him back now. Picked ninth in the 2012 draft, Drummond leads all rookies with a 23.0 player efficiency rating, averaging 7.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks — all in just 20 minutes per game. He’s a per-minute marvel among stat-heads, and a daily fixture on highlight reels.

      On Friday night in his return to Miami, you saw Drummond’s promise early in the fourth quarter. He stripped the ball from Dwyane Wade, not once but twice. On back-to-back possessions. And then, he dribbled the length of the floor the other way for the finish on each occasion.

      After the second pick-pocket, Drummond actually Euro-stepped around Ray Allen for the layup. Yes, seconds after stripping Wade, the nearly 300-pounder used Wade’s own signature scoring move on a fastbreak. ”

      He looked darn good against us too. Dreadful FT shooter, i grant you that.

      • Nick Sannicandro

        I stand corrected…. admittedly I havent been following the pistons closely after say the first four weeks of the season, he looked awful to start and I hadn’t heard any rumblings about him since so I was assuming he continued to be unimpressive. Good to hear though I like him

        • Shawn

          If you hadn’t heard anything about him you haven’t been following the NBA too closely. I’ve read about him in everything about rookies and in at least once a week. Also the Celtics game against the pistons where he played great.

  • Abwon

    We beat Miami without Rondo, we beat the NYK without Rondo. Those are the 2 best teams in the east, nobody else matters. All Boston needs to do is bring in a big man and a PG and play with the exact same effort and heart they did today. Rose tore his ACL & look what the Bulls have done?? No reason to blow it up. Rondo’s injury will force the team to improve their ball movement now instead of relying on 1 player to rack up double digit assists every night. #BelieveInBoston

    • kg215

      That is the one positive thing about this terrible injury. Sometimes there is too much playcalling with Rondo and we get into plays too late. It can take 10+ seconds to set up and then if the other team plays good D we have to hoist up a terrible shot. Of course we will miss Rondo’s brilliant reads/passes and all those times that he attacks to get layups/easy baskets for the whole team but we definitely move the ball more and start plays earlier when Rondo is out.

  • paul

    I think the dick is the person who has to make a point of declaring that Rondo is only safe from being traded because he is injured. This person classifies totally onproven sully as a quality starter! See, that’s how you know the guy is a hater. Rondo? He sux. But Sully? Clearly a HOFer…

    • Danno

      Paul, how many boxes of tissues did you go through today? Cheer up little fella. The Celtics are going to be a better TEAM without your ball-hogging woodbine blanket.

      Remeber last year when he was out for 11 games and they went 8-11? Not a coincidence.

      Rondo doesn’t suck. He is extremely talented. But he sucks the life out if this team, and when he dominates, they nearly always lose. He’s a less talented Allen Iverson, with the same selfish, childish, shitty attitude.

      I couldn’t be happier.

      • Nick Sannicandro

        Cant stand by you Danno…never happy to see a player go down with an injury, but I think this will really show us who has guts on this team and who rolls it up and packs their bags

        • http://redsarmy.com/2012/10/20/how-delusional-is-ray-allen-he-thinks-he-can-play-in-the-post/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+RedsArmy+%28Red%27s+Army%3A+The+Voic Rondo’s #1 Fan

          i agree Nick..Rondo always thinks pass first and when his team isnt making shots (last 2 games) he HAS to dominate since he is the only person who can get anywhere on the floor he wants to. You should never wish injury on someone, especially someone sooo important to this team. He is the person always passing the ball on the numbers for game winning baskets…going to be a tough season..i guess we can only hope its not as bad as D Rose’s.

          • NateB

            I don’t think the loss of Rondo will hurt them much in the regular season – it will hurt in the playoffs. Danny will explore all trade options – but there might not be many. Just hoping to see Pierce blossom again in his swan song season.

          • http://redsarmy.com/2012/10/20/how-delusional-is-ray-allen-he-thinks-he-can-play-in-the-post/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+RedsArmy+%28Red%27s+Army%3A+The+Voic Rondo’s #1 Fan

            yeah the playoffs will kill them without him..just sucks because of the high expectations everyone had for this team this year.

      • kg215

        Lol he is the polar opposite of Allen Iverson in terms of basketball style. Rondo tries to make the right play and get his teammates the best shots he can. Iverson was ME ME ME SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT and would only give the ball up when he was trapped or in a difficult situation (end of shotclock nowhere to go). Iverson was also a d-bag as a person and teammate, the only complaints about Rondo being a bad teammate were allegedly from 1 person (Ray) and he didn’t even say it himself.

    • CoachBo

      I wondered if it had ever dawned on you that pro basketball is a team game.

      Clearly not.

      Backcourt defense is automatically better – as it was yesterday – because Rondo simply doesn’t bring the effort on the defensive end anymore.

      If this team can find a big in the buyout heap and a point who will keep the ball moving – something Rondo’s been doing less and less consistently – I think I’ll take my chances with this group.

      The tough thing for all you Rondophiles is going to come if this team prospers without him. Then, you’re going to have to acknowledge the truth.

      Gonna be a fascinating few months. Looking forward to it.

  • Nick Sannicandro

    Well Paul I think many Celtics fans would agree with the fact that Sully has done a very good job for the Celtics in the minutes he’s been given, he was VERY good at Ohio State and dropped in the draft because of a questionable back. Prior to last year he was a consensus top five pick across the board in preseason mock drafts. He has done nothing to prove that he WONT develop into a starter this year

    AS far as declaring rondo safe from trade due to injury….thats not being a dick, its stating a fact. You can’t trade an injured player, he was being talked about in multiple rumors, and I’d be willing to bet he was part of the Demarcus Cousins trade talks. Call me a dick but you have no clue who I am, and clearly were just looking for something to pick apart.

  • Celticai

    Don’t know how you guys can be so cold about trading Pierce. He’s been our captain for so long. Carried this team through so many games. Carried the burden. Always been reliable. And you guys trade him in a heartbeat.

    Why not just let him retire in peace?

    As a CELTIC.

    • Nick Sannicandro

      While I did choose the stay the course option in my conclusion we have to remember that this is a business, and sometimes teams have to make a business decision and put emotions behind.

      While not on the same level think of it on this level, you have a car, this was your FIRST car, you have SO many memories in it, you love this car. But its having a bunch of mechanical problems, do you keep sinking money into it despite the fact that you know it is only preserving the car for so long, or do you finally trade it in cherish the memories with it and move on to something new.

      • Celticai

        Well, I actually have that kind of car right now.

        My dad bought it 12 years ago and gave it to me 7 years ago. There came a time when it was valuable to sell and get a bit of its value back.

        And now? It’s worth 1/16 of its value. It’s dented. There are a lot of electricity problems – But it’s still reliable and takes me wherever I wanna go.

        Call me sentimental, but I’d rather let it die.

  • Danno

    Welcome to Fantasy league dorks 101. Everybody thinks they’re a GM. Pierce is not going anywhere. They would never get the same value back for him.

  • Romeo

    What about just keep lee, barbosa and Bradley rotation at the 1 and 2

  • Verde18

    I hate to say it but, BUT… We gona have to trade one of our youg guys if we want something good in return, either Bradley or Sullinger. If it was me, I would send Sullinger, Lee and Fab Melo to the kings for Tyreke Evans and D Cousins. IF IT WAS ME!!! please don’t burst my bubble, let me dream its been a long day! Go to bed boo boo!

  • Mr Curet

    There’s no need to blow it up, they should try to trade for Lowry, if not, they could sign Delonte West & Kenyon Martin & let’s go to war.

  • Celtic Pride in Oz

    devastating news, with Rondo going down and out for the season. But we still did the job on Miami, which still says a lot for this current roster and this season. I think Rondo’s injury may be a “blessing in disguise” because it may help Doc and the club work out a better rotation for the guard situation – we don’t have bad people there and it may help find new ways to make the current pieces fit in the backcourt. I’d say especially with Rondo now out, we should still look for a big that can help KG in the frontcourt so we can still make a run this year. Sure, his injury makes it harder, but if Danny can find the right deal for someone half-decent up front, we might still surprise many this year. I think to blow it all up now, would be a panic move, and one that would be worse for the club in the long-term.

  • thekid

    As bill simmons would ask, now do we see the Ewing theory come into play?

  • Scallover

    Ewing theory?

    • Danno

      Completely. They WILL be better without him.

  • Lakers4Life

    I hate the celtics but damn I do not wanna see Rondo’s season over with a torn acl

  • Art

    If they took care of business in Atlanta, they don’t below a 27 point lead, don’t play 2OT, and therefore Rondo doesn’t get hurt. They’ve brought it all upon themselves. Kind of like what Pierce said in the ABC interview, that they’re beating themselves. Rondo, Pierce,and Garnett were all playing when that huge lead went up in smoke. Shame on all of them for that.

  • KGino

    100 bucks says we still make the playoffs

    • Curt

      You bet your ass. The contingency for success in the playoffs will be “why” we make the playoffs.

      Are Lee and Green going to do what it takes now?

      Will the Blur continue to burn it up with new minutes?

      Will the JET turn on the after burner?

      Will P2x stay healthy long enough to kick it into gear for the playoffs?

      If all of that happens…#Banner18.

      • KGino

        I see us being a feisty defensive team, like the bulls without Rose but even better. Or at worst, like the 76ers were last year. Scrappy enough on D to stay in games, but not quite offensive enough to get over the hump in the playoffs.

        Please God, no more injuries.

  • Chris H

    We still make the playoffs with Courtney Lee. Championship year no, but no reason at all to blow it up.

    To blow it up doesn’t get you guys to make it work to get a championship. Next year, you have a lot of flexibility with PP. I consider this a chance for the young guns (AB, Sully, Green, Lee) to show and prove who they are.

    Obviously losing Rondo is a big deal and takes away a lot from the team and it’s current identity. However, they can have a new identity around those players. I’d rather know if those players are the real deal and whether we SHOULD be building around them THIS season where they know have the chance and responsibility to shine.

    I, for one, gots to know.

  • CPUFC

    Our plethora of flashy guards will now get the game time they deserve. Rondo was playing great though and it is a great loss however those who think Rondo has a moody attitude? This might be just the thing he needs to change his outlook on playing in the NBA. It is a blessing to do so.

  • Who lives in Boston???

    KG acted like someone died, get a grip. It’s basketball. “We’ll be his protective castle in his time of need.” What, did his Mom pass away?? Grab some Kleenex, tough guy.

  • ItCelticFan

    I do agree with Mr Curet. Sign Delonte and K-Mart and let’s go to war.
    I am not going to let Ainge blow up this team. And IF there is any trade possibilities involving Pierce, the price has to be fair. I want Ainge to go out there and tell the world that he’s giving up a huge asset. Old car, my ass. His shooting percentages are down this year? I would respond with yesterday’s night all around perfomance, his 40plus points game this season and his signature hearbreaking step back shot in in Spike Lee’s face. Here is your asset, and I am not getting sentimental here. You want Pierce? Gimme the right price for this champion. Otherwise, as stated at the beginning, sign those two mentioned above and let’s go to war!
    If we can’t do it, who else can???

    • KGino

      We’re a team built for the playoffs, so I’m ready to go to war as well.

      Pierce’s %’s are down, but his FTA, Rebs, PPG, steals are all up. His assists will only go up with Rondo out.. Pierce becomes our best distributor now.

  • Cal

    “The Celtics are now left with an aging Kevin Garnett as their leader, as well as another aging vet in Paul Pierce as their second in command”

    No PP has always been the heart and soul

    • Curt

      That’s a joke. This is a Kevin Garnett team and has been since day one.

      • Nick Sannicandro

        Garnett is clearly the emotional leader of this team, as well as the highest level of talent still..if thast not a leader I dont know what is

  • Gary

    Rondo is our only true superstar, pp and kg still very good players, but obv cant bring it for 40 minutes a night every night like rondo can and does in the playoffs. I dont care if rondo cruises in the reg season, when its playoff time hes one of the best in the league.

    While I do acknowledge the celtics have won 2 games against ny knicks and the heat without rondo. To think they can win a SERIES without their biggest advantage against those 2 teams, would be a stretch. If da is honest and not sentimental he should blow up the team, get what he can for pp and kg, and build around rondo,ab,sully.

    Not sayin i WANT him to do that, as a fan id like to ride it out with this team and allow pp and kg to retire as celtics. But the celtics could not afford to lose rondo,pp or kg,as soon as one of them went down it sealed their fate.

  • Boy Astig

    Stay The Course!

    This is my first ever post here and I feel that proclaiming my choice will define me being a fan of the Celtics particularly the KG-Pierce-Allen-Rondo era. It is just sad that Allen is now playing in Miami. I am a bandwagon fan turned believer. Please dont blame me not mentioning Bird or Russel, I was not able to watch them play, so being a fan of that era is not justified.

    Though I have just been a Celtic fan during their Championship Run, KG, Pierce and Allen are already one of my favorite players on their own team. It was like a fantasy with those 3 being Champions together.

    Winning a Championship is a Player’s Goal, but for a Fan, it is a tremendous pleasure, a wish came true. However, as a fan, what is most captivating is for your team, your players defying the odds, the grit and grind, the ecstacy of beating the Lakers, the Heat, (the Knicks maybe) of the world.

    You do not want them to get hurt, be traded, leave, whatsoever. You want them to continue the fight. But with all the losing, failed expectations, etc. being a fan means continue supporting them. I believe many of us here would rather see the Celtics of today lose while grinding it out, than blowing it up just for business and the uncertain future.