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.
Boston making a young point guard one of its initial calls will do little to quell speculation about Rajon Rondo’s future here. In the aftermath of drafting Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart with the sixth pick in last week’s draft, Boston’s top decision-makers maintained that Rondo is part of the team’s future plans and that there was room for multiple ball-handlers in the guard rotation. The 25-year-old Thomas is a restricted free agent after averaging 20.3 points over 34.7 minutes per game last season. Some have speculated that his salary could jump up towards (or above) the nontaxpayer’s mid-level exception ($5.3 million), which means Boston might have to explore sign-and-trade options to make a potential courtship work. At the right price, Thomas would provide a much-needed scoring punch, while also giving the team another in-house option should Rondo’s future take him elsewhere. If nothing else, this is the latest in a persistent bunch of rumors regarding the Celtics and Kings.
ESPN Boston – Free-agent buzz: C’s reach out to Thomas
The never ending rumors involving the Celtics and the Sacramento Kings just keep turning up. This time as the NBA’s free agency period begins, we learn that the C’s have reached out to Isaiah Thomas. Thomas was included in those original trade rumors that involve Rajon Rondo, earlier in the season. He also plays for the Kings, who were rumored again in another deal on draft day with the C’s. Ainge and the entire Celtics organization continue to say that they want Rondo back (what are they supposed to say? “No, we hate him, please someone take him for nothing) but this latest rumor can’t make Rondo fans feel very confident. Either Ainge is trying to revolutionize the game of basketball by trotting out 3-4 point guards at all times on the floor, or he’s planning for a longer haul. The thing that doesn’t make much sense is if they feel Marcus Smart is truly a PG that could replace Rondo, then why would you try to sign another PG who is still relatively young? Also, he’s a restricted free agent which doesn’t exactly make it an easy task, especially when you’re already over the salary cap.
Either way, there are things cooking as Ainge (and Wyc Grousbeck) indicated there would be. Perhaps Ainge is trying to outright sign one of the players the Kings are trying to include in an offer for Rondo, thus one-upping Sacramento in the negotiation. These might not be fireworks, but it’s looking like Ainge is currently shopping at the store right now to see what het can get. We’ll see if that means firecrackers and bottle rockets as opposed to M80s.
On Page 2: Philly contacts Avery Bradley, Brad Stevens contacts Kent Bazemore
The Sixers are an intriguing suitor for a couple of reasons:
A) They have oodles of cap room. The Celtics would obviously prefer Bradley’s offers to stay low. They have the right to match any offer he receives.
B) The Sixers might actually be trying to acquire a good, established player. By paying him more than a minimum deal, even. Weird, right?
After averaging 6.0 points last season while splitting time with the Warriors and Lakers, Bazemore’s not a big-name target by any stretch of the imagination. But he was better during his time in Los Angeles (13.1 points, 28.0 minutes, 37.1 percent 3-point shooting) and at the very least would provide unrivaled bench celebrations. The Lakers have also expressed interest, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
It would be interesting to see what kind of offer AB gets from Philly (or any team for that matter). Mainly because it would force the C’s into a decision to make on him. But hey, they’re clearly targeting every player at the guard position anyway so why not? As far as Bazemore goes, well when you’re team is over the cap and might not be able to go with Plan A of getting the star players to pair with Rondo, then these are the type of players you can expect to hear rumored with the Celtics. Welcome to NBA free agency.
The rest of the links:
Boston Globe – Danny Ainge says he hasn’t talked with Rajon Rondo | Danny Ainge now focused on free agents or trades | Jay Larranaga to become lead assistant coach| Where does Rajon Rondo fit into Celtics’ rebuilding plans?
CSNNE – Young comes to Celtics ready to learn | Celtics’ search for rim protector heads to free agency | Celtics’ Bradley: ‘Obviously I want to be (in Boston)’ | Ainge: ‘Can’t rush the process,’ but ‘we’d like to’ | Smart joins Celtics with fresh approach to life | Ainge playing rebuild by ear?
WEEI – 2014 free agent power forwards available to Celtics | Travis Ford on MFB: Marcus Smart ‘just a warrior’ | James Young on MFB: ‘Definitely wanted to come here’ to play for the Celtics | Danny Ainge: Avery Bradley ‘is a big part of our future’ as Celtics extend qualifying offer | Marcus Smart: ‘We embrace the banners’
MassLive – Jay Larranaga expected to become top assistant, Darren Erman likely to join Brad Stevens’ staff | Danny Ainge on possibility of Boston Celtics keeping restricted free agent Avery Bradley: ‘It would mean a lot’
Celtics.com – Bradley 1-on-1: Offseason Update
Yankton Daily – Iverson ready for second summer with Celtics