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.
According to multiple reports, the Celtics have positioned themselves as frontrunners for the elite defender and rebounder. The Rockets are widely expected to move Asik by Thursday because it serves as the final day for a team to acquire players eligible for inclusion in a package deal at the February trade deadline.
ESPN’s Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst reported early Wednesday that the Celtics are “increasingly active in the Asik talks” and have emerged as the “strongest rivals” to the Philadelphia 76ers in trade discussions. Stein and Windhorst mentioned both Jeff Green and Brandon Bass as possible bait (one or the other), and the Celtics possess a wealth of first-round picks.
Another team, deemed a “wildcard” by one league source, has teetered on the edge of negotiations and could become more seriously involved before the Rockets’ self-imposed deadline of Friday to complete a deal.
Omer Asik’s name has been linked to Boston for a few weeks now. If the price is right, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ainge and his guys make a play for him. Brandon Bass and Courtney Lee seem expendable, and we’ve got a surplus of draft picks. Including Jeff Green’s name makes more the deal more enticing for Houston, but is he someone the Celtics want to part with? Either way, the thought of a defense centered around Asik, Rondo, and Bradley sounds awfully nice.
Related links: ESPN Boston: Asik talks progressing
On Page 2: Danny’s got his fingers in a lot of pies
The Celtics have been a major presence in reported trade scenarios over the last week or two, but they’ve been largely missing where the telephone meets the ear.
While the rumor mills have been working overtime churning out product, the club’s participation has been fairly minimal to this point.
So there was more logic than substance when a general manager told us, “It looks like Danny (Ainge) doesn’t want anything to happen in the league until he gets a chance to see if he can find something in it for Boston. I think he’s got his fingers in a lot of pies.”
As of yesterday, nothing was cooking.
“We’re waiting for an opportunity that makes sense for another team and for us,” said Ainge, the Celts president of basketball operations. “We’re looking to see if there is a win-win out there. But there really isn’t much of anything happening right now. It’s December.”
Hopefully this helps put the Rondo-Sacramento rumors to rest for a few days, at least. For those of you who haven’t heard, former CSN analyst Donny Marshall came out of nowhere yesterday saying a blockbuster deal sending Rondo to Sacramento for “players” was nearly complete. Several (far more) reliable sources have since stricken down that rumor, and Steve Bulpett’s is the most recent example.
Having to deal with Marshall’s baseless comments is a common event for Boston, even with his departure to Brooklyn where he now covers the Nets. Some mentioned that the rumor’s root could be an effect of Marhsall’s dislike for Rondo, and his friendship with Ray Allen. A stretch for sure, but not entirely impossible given Marshall’s thirst for relevance.
It’s been made very clear by Danny Ainge and his crew that Rondo remains at the heart of Boston’s rebuild. Sure, at 27 years old, there isn’t a ton of time to waste in returning to contention, but there’s almost zero chance Boston could get an equal return in a trade for Rondo. Draft picks are always sweet, but the Celtics are already loaded in that department. As for players that’ve already proved worthy of an NBA contract, no names have come close to matching Rondo’s talent.
Sidenote: Rondo is due back soon and assuming he’s not heading out West, there lies an actual chance for this team to crossover into winning-record territory. A wicked winter nightmare for those who dream of Wiggins and Parker; but something you’ve got to respect nonetheless. Of course, the Celtics are just as close to returning to the bottom of the East’s barrel, so much remains to be seen.
The rest of the links:
CSNNE: Rondo trade not happening | Bass for Asik, where do I sign? | ESPN Boston: Guarding the glass || Globe: Olynyk working on 3 point shot | WEEI: Love on loss to the Celtics: “[Expletive] happens”