— gary washburn (@GwashNBAGlobe) November 25, 2013
Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There is no word when Rajon Rondo will return to Celtics practice after Feb. 13 surgery to repair a partially torn right anterior cruciate ligament, yet indications are that he is getting close to being cleared for five-on-five workouts and coach Brad Stevens has been planning for his presence.
[...] “I’ve had him on one of the two teams in practice for the last month, so that he’s ready when the time comes,” Stevens said. “It’s really all you can do right now. He’s gotta be sharp in what we’re doing so that we can pick it up and go full steam ahead. We’re doing some things that fit him better than anybody else.”
Rondo is moving better as he continues to rehab. Before last night’s game, he engaged in a series of offensive possessions against tight defense from MarShon Brooks. This after going through his usual shooting drills with assistant coach Ron Adams. And Rondo wasn’t wearing his knee brace.
Told that some Bobcats assistant coaches were watching from the far end of the court and saying he looked good, Rondo smiled and said, “They don’t have to worry about me tonight.”
Rondo’s been inching closer to a return, a return that has divided some Celtics fans. Some point to Lou Williams returning to the Hawks already despite having had surgery just a week before Rondo and ask “what’s taking so long?”
People have different injuries, different surgeries, different bodies, and they heal at different rates. The Celtics may also be taking a more… cautious…. approach to Rondo’s return (one that has less to do with the health of his knee and more to do with the health of the team). It’s tough to say exactly what’s going on other than Rondo is doing the right thing and making sure he’s back when he’s comfortable and healthy.
It seems like he’s chosen MarShon Brooks as his workout partner, not only playing one on one, but racing him before the Hawks game.
Rondo beating MarShon Brooks in a race during shootaround: pic.twitter.com/FNJEuTFaxJ
— Jay O (@MrTrpleDouble10) November 24, 2013
All I can say is, I look forward to his return. I expect a little bump in the road when he does return because it’ll take a few weeks to get acclimated and develop the on-court chemistry necessary to play well. It’s great that Jordan Crawford is playing well out there, but it’s not exactly Rondo-style ball. That’ll take some getting used to.
Page 2: The Lakers gave Kobe way too much money
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) November 25, 2013
Bryant, 35, will maintain his status as the NBA’s highest-paid player over the course of the extension, the source told Shelburne. The 2007-08 league MVP will receive $23.5 million in the first year and $25 million in the second year of the extension, according to the source.
There was some healthy Twitter debate going on about this yesterday. Here’s my take:
There are two sides to this signing. The marketing side, and the basketball side.
From a marketing side, this is no big deal. The $23.5 million will come back to the Lakers multiple times over in revenue. It’ll keep the Lakers somewhat relevant, and we know how much people like to pretend that a 35 year-old coming off a major catastrophic injury will somehow go back to being what he was five years ago.
From a basketball side, though, this is crazy. The Lakers only had $11.4 million next year in guaranteed, committed salary to three players. Now, they’ve got $34.4 million committed to four players. That’s a lot of cap room, but they’ve got a lot of spots to fill. And when you consider cap holds of their own free agents, they’re really in a bind.
Are they going to turn to Pau Gasol and tell him “hey, now we really need you to take a massive pay cut because we gave all the money you deserve to Kobe?”
Cap expert Larry Coon has a full breakdown of the Lakers cap situation here. But basically their situation is this:
They are banking on Kobe being at the very worst, and awesome second or third wheel with Pau Gasol, a max free agent (whom everyone is calling Carmelo Anthony… don’t even get me started), and filler to build a contender. Meanwhile, they probably could have kept Kobe for significantly less money (no one was going to pay him $17 million in this economic climate, not even to screw over the Lakers or make some marketing splash), and freed up a slot to add another quality player to make their filler of a roster a little better.
The bottom line here: Kobe’s ego couldn’t handle being anything less than the highest paid player, and the sack-less Lakers capitulated and shot themselves in the foot basketball-wise. In case anyone in L.A. hasn’t noticed, this is an era of total fiscal restraint (offer does not apply in Brooklyn, NY). They’ve all but guaranteed that Kobe isn’t getting another ring. He did it to himself, really.
The rest of the links
Herald: Celtics go back-to-back | Celtics hold off Bobcats | Globe: Wallace, Celtics have right stuff in victory over Charlotte | CSNNE: Celtics bench the difference in win | Good, bad, and ugly: Wallace, C’s get back at Bobcats | ESPN Boston: Pressey assists second unit | WEEI: Celtics tame Bobcats for second straight road win