Your Morning Dump… Where Rondo to the Rockets speculation begins (and ends) | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Your Morning Dump… Where Rondo to the Rockets speculation begins (and ends)

rondo rockets

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. 

The Houston Rockets are having a pretty terrible offseason.  It was going to be a great offseason when they thought Cleveland snagging LeBron James away from the Miami Heat was going to land them Chris Bosh, but Bosh decided to stay in Miami (for the full max deal, which was a ton more than Houston’s max could be).  Bosh staying in Miami caused them to pass on matching Dallas’ offer for Chandler Parsons.

The process of preparing for all that to happen included trading Omar Asik, Omri Casspi, and Jeremy Lin away while only Trevor Ariza in return.

Houston’s affinity for Rondo has been well-known for a while, but there’s a major difference in their pitch now…

…they don’t have any assets left to trade.  All of the pieces that made a deal for Rondo even remotely attractive (Asik & Parsons, especially) are gone.

Now, Daryl Morey and Danny Ainge are creative guys, so I’m not going to dismiss this report out of hand.  If any two guys could muster up the brain power to turn nothing into something, it’s these two.  But it would take AT LEAST one other team to muster up the kind of player necessary to satisfy Ainge’s requirements for parting with Rondo.  Frankly, I’m not even sure how they’d make it work in a 3-teamer.  But I’m not a genius GM.

Let me reiterate… I’m willing to trade Rondo in the right deal.  If the net effect is the Celtics get better after the trade, then I’m willing to trade anyone.  I’m struggling to find  a way for Morey to satisfy his increasing urge for another star in Houston, and knowing the high price Ainge has set for Rondo, I really don’t see how they can pull this deal off at all.

Page 2:  Tyler Zeller could really blossom in Boston

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Houston Rockets

“First and foremost, I think he’s a great transition rim-runner,” he said. “I think he can really get out and fly up and down the court. And I think that showed itself a lot at North Carolina. A guy with his skill can score on the block but also stretch the defense and has enough handle and savvy to play facing the basket. And you can kind of play around him — not too dissimilar from some of other big guys that we have now. He’s 7-foot, 250 pounds, and takes really good care of himself and is an invested pro.”

[…] “I know their family really well,” Stevens said. “Great family. Just terrific people. All three boys are great students and very good basketball players. Tyler is a guy that has accomplished quite a bit in his basketball career — obviously in high school, winning state championships, and then in college, winning a national championship and being an ACC player of the year. Then in his first two years in the league, he has had some good moments, and I think [he] will really continue to blossom here.”

ESPN Boston:  Zeller could be big help for Celtics

My first reaction when I look at Tyler Zeller is “holy crap this kid still looks like he’s 18.”  It’s not a bad thing, though, for these Celtics.  Youth is well served in Boston nowadays.  He will grow in Boston, we hope, with added minutes and a more stable environment.

When looking at players statistically, we should take into account the “Cleveland factor”… which is the amount of influence Cleveland’s bungling management has on stunting a player’s growth.  Matt Moore summed this up brilliantly this weekend in this piece:

[Cavs owner Dan Gilbert] took shortcut after shortcut trying to get back to the playoffs. There was no patience, no rebuilding plan. Drafting Dion Waiters, trying to nab a transcendent surprise talent. Signing Jarrett Jack. Keeping Anderson Varejao. The Cavs spurned a methodical, well-planned rebuild in favor of a win-now-at-all-costs approach. And it was catastrophic. In a system like the NFL, where the worst team gets the No. 1 overall pick and so on, the Cavaliers would have been stuck in neutral, trying to find their way out of mud Gilbert put them in.

[…] So Gilbert took vindictive measures against a system that cost him a superstar because he failed to secure enough talent to keep the superstar at home. He ran the team into the ground trying to make the playoffs to no avail. He fired his coach three times in four seasons (including the same guy twice!) and fired his GM. And he made efforts to ensure James and superstars like him would be paid less while also ensuring it would not be viable for those stars to team up with other superstar talent for a long period of time.

Caught in the middle of all this are kids like Zeller, who have to deal with different directives and the air of uncertainty around the franchise.  This doesn’t excuse away shortcomings, though.  It’s just a way to say that an unstable workplace makes productivity tough.  You all know this, too.  We’ve all worked in places where the people “upstairs” are morons.  We all know how much it hinders things when those morons continually influence the process.

I’m digressing a bit here.

Back to Zeller, who in two years saw his playing time wane, but his production actually increase a bit.  Per, here are Zeller’s “Per 36” stats over the past two seasons.

2012-13 77 55 2033 4.3 9.9 .438 2.1 2.8 .764 2.8 4.9 7.8 1.2 10.8
2013-14 70 9 1049 5.4 10.0 .538 3.0 4.2 .719 3.5 6.1 9.7 1.3 13.7
Career 147 64 3082 4.7 9.9 .472 2.4 3.2 .745 3.1 5.3 8.4 1.3 11.8
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 7/14/2014

And here are his “Per 100 possession” numbers.

2012-13 77 55 2033 6.3 14.3 .438 3.1 4.0 .764 4.1 7.1 11.2 1.8 15.6
2013-14 70 9 1049 7.7 14.3 .538 4.3 5.9 .719 5.1 8.8 13.9 1.9 19.6
Career 147 64 3082 6.7 14.3 .472 3.5 4.7 .745 4.4 7.7 12.1 1.8 17.0
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 7/14/2014.

I’m not going to sit here and read TOO much into these numbers.  But they are encouraging, especially in that he didn’t let less playing time affect his game too much.  He shot the ball better, got a higher percentage of rebounds, and put in more points in relation to his time on the floor.  His PER also jumped from 11 to 15.4, so his sophomore season really wasn’t bad at all.

In Boston, Zeller will find the stability and playing time necessary to build on these numbers.  His head coach isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.  And as a legitimate 7-foot center, he fills a dire need on this team.  Add to all this his Indiana roots and family connections to Brad Stevens (who recruited his older and younger brothers), and you’ve got a good situation for Zeller in Boston.

From there, it’s up to him. His rookie contract gives him two full, affordable seasons in which he can be evaluated before he becomes a restricted free agent.   We don’t know if he WILL become the center the Celtics have long sought, but he’ll have a chance to fill that role.     

The rest of the links

Herald:  Celtics points to consider  |  Globe:  Wyc Grousbeck invests in electric auto racing   |  Delonte West looking for one more chance |  CSNNE:  Wake up call:  Melo & Bosh are just a couple of softies  |  Report: Celtics not in serious pursuit of Stephenson  |  Blakely: C’s likely “rebuilding” for next couple of years  |  Impressions of Smart from Summer League

Free agency updates:  Melo stays in New York  |  Pau Gasol to Chicago |  Luol Deng to Miami  |  Caron Butler to Detroit

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  • adam

    I am still kind of bummed that Celtics and Houston didn’t come to an agreement with the trade exception and Asik. I don’t even know if it could have been used in that situation.

  • BillRussell

    Do you guys think Cleveland is just bluffing when they say they wont trade Wiggins? and if they really wont trade Wiggins, do you think we got a legit chance at Love still?

    • adam

      I hope so. I think the teams are going to wait a year for Flip to loose out and get nothing in return for Love by signing him.

      • frickenWaaaltah

        So you’re saying you hope the Cavs get Wiggins so that the Lakers don’t get Kevin Love?

        I’m guessing that’s what you mean because I think if the season starts and KLove hasn’t been traded, he’ll probably just sign with the Lakers this time next summer. I guess at the beginning of the season, there’s still a chance Love will sign an extension somewhere else, but if the TWolves wait till the trade deadline, I doubt Kevin would sign someplace he was only kind of happy with when the season and thus the main risk of devastating injury and lost payday is over for him in just ~2 or 3 months later. It’s not much waiting left to wait out and then sign up for his boyhood dream of playing for the Lakers.

        But I don’t think we’re out of this just yet. We look out of it at the moment, sure…but when it’s clear to all that the Cavs won’t blink on Wiggins, I think both the Wolves and Kevin Love will start to reconsider Boston. And by now Danny and co must be starting to get a pretty good idea of what the Wolves really want, based on what they’ve turned down so far.

        • adam

          you’re reading too much into what i said. all i said was, I hope flip loses out in the end and gets nothing for love. we all know he is coming to boston 😉

        • Rich Jensen

          Why would Love sign with the Lakers? So he could lose in a warmer place than he’s been losing for the past five years? I just don’t buy this “I’m going to go home because I like to play where it’s warm” crap. Did Pierce sign with the Lakers first chance he got? Did Bosh go back to Texas? etc.

          • Curt Hays

            Didn’t Pierce TRY to go to the Clips? And Bosh won’t come back to Dallas because of the way they treated him here.

            Regarding Love going to LA…I still agree with you that he doesn’t want to come home just to lose.

          • Rich Jensen

            Pierce didn’t try to go to the Lakers ten years ago. And Bosh didn’t go to Houston because ‘it was close to home’. Bottom line: other considerations play into these decisions.

            So I’m not putting Love in a Lakers or Clippers uniform until he’s signing on the dotted line.

          • Curt Hays

            I agree. I think he just wants to win.. like he said

    • frickenWaaaltah

      No, I’m pretty sure they do not want to trade him at all.

      The only maybe about it is that they might think they need somebody else with more experience if they want to win the 2014-2015 title, but it looks like they are going to be patient and take their chances with what they’ve got in 2014-2015, because those chances are pretty good already anyway. They’re already a team you have to count as a contender this coming year, just not yet an overwhelming favorite.

      Otherwise, you’d never do it. If you think Wiggins is going to be one of the defining players of his cohort, say, plus or minus 3 years from his rookie year, then how could you trade him for Kevin Love?

      KLove is a nice player; stat heads gush over his efficient offense etc, but if the basic winning formula these days is to have one of the very very best players, and two elite players, you’d have to admit that he’s in the second group, the elite players, while people think Wiggins is at some point going to be one of the very very best players for a window of who knows how many years.

      I don’t think it will be that hard of a choice for them to take the more patient approach. Just look down the road a little: Lebron is 29. Irving is 22. Wiggins is 19. Paul Pierce turned 34 in October at the start of the 2011-2012 season; Lebron will turn 34 in December of the 2018-2019 season…when Wiggins will be ~24 and Irving will be ~26. So basically, the Cavs are now in a position to be contenders every single year between this coming season and whenever Lebron retires.

  • KGino

    I’d love to take Terrance Jones from them, but not for Rondo

  • Michelle Trybulec

    For even more eye-opening context regarding how the Cavs have been run since 2010, see this Woj piece from Feb. 2012:–nba.html

    Particularly this bit: “[…]James can’t opt out of his contract until after the 2013-2014 season, but he understands that the Cavaliers would have to make a decision to
    hold back on their rebuild, preserve cap space, and wait on him all over
    again. He has to convince Gilbert to make the leap of faith, and that
    includes first working over the fans. […]”

    Makes Zeller & Co. seem less like victims of mismanagement than players caught up in the machinations of the “Return of the King.” Or maybe a little bit of both.

    • frickenWaaaltah

      I think it’s a little of both. The Cavs either wanted to beat Lebron or get him back, and the ‘sure thing’ strategy they came up with was tanking hard to load up on talent.

      Blaming mismanagement and blaming the players, calling guys ‘busts’ etc,was I think people just trying to avoid talking about tanking. Now that they have Lebron and it’s all over, it just so happens the story of their past few years is changing a little, eh? But hopefully, two years of serious tanking hasn’t hurt Zeller’s future development too much.

      • Michelle Trybulec

        Truth is, whatever stage an NBA organization is going through (from tanking to title contending) few talented young players get the good fortune that, say, a Rondo or even a Kawhi Leonard have experienced, being shepherded by greats-getting-older. It’s worth mentioning two guys who didn’t have that and turned out pretty good. Yes, LeBron. And … Kevin Garnett. LOL. I wonder how they’d really feel about being in the same boat. They’d probably both jump out and swim for it. Nevertheless they do have some things in common when all is said and done. Ironically, KG’s just been a little more low-key about it all.

        Yes, this man right here.

        Zeller seems like a good guy. Probably have a Nick Collison type career.

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