Rondo awaits word on suspension

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Rondo awaits word on suspension

WALTHAM Rajon Rondo was at Celtics practice on Thursday, seemingly no different than he is at any other practice.

But this was no normal day for Rondo, not less than 24 hours after being ejected in the second quarter of a 95-83 loss to Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

Rondo will learn soon as to whether his actions will warrant additional punishment in the form of a suspension.

He spoke with league officials Thursday afternoon to tell his side of the incident involving him and Nets forward Kris Humphries, which eventually spilled into the front row full of fans.

When asked what his gut told him would be the ruling, Rondo responded, "You never know. It's out of my control. Whatever the consequences are, that's what they are."

In all likelihood, Rondo will be hit with a multiple-game suspension for his role in the incident, which came after Humphries fouled Kevin Garnett, who then took a hard spill to the floor.

Rondo, in an act of sticking up for his teammate, gave Humphries a two-handed push in the chest following Humphries fouling Kevin Garnett. Humphries retaliated as both players became tangled up along the baseline filled with fans, in front of the Celtics bench.

After the game, the game's lead official, James Capers, said Rondo was ejected from the game because he "initiated everything that proceeded after the foul. And when he and Humphries go into the stands, they are involved in a fight. Fighting is an automatic ejection."

In addition to Rondo, Humphries and Nets forward Gerald Wallace were ejected. (Wallace was whistled for a technical for his role in the incident and it was his second of the game, which is an automatic ejection.) Garnett was given a technical foul for his role in the incident as well.

Not surprisingly, Celtics coach Doc Rivers doesn't believe Rondo should be suspended.

However, he does admit that Rondo going into the stands might be too much for the league's officiating czar, Stu Jackson, to look past.

"The only thing it would be is, they went into the stands, which you never want," Rivers said. "But there were no punches thrown or anything. And really when you see it, I thought Rondo was trying to get him away and Humphries kind of pulled Rondo into him and that's when everything started. I don't really believe Rondo went in there trying to fight. I don't think anyone did; it just escalated. And that's what happened."

While the league doesn't spell out specifically that it cracks down harder on players who have been suspended previously, there's no way they can totally ignore the fact that this would be Rondo's third suspension in less than a year -- an unusually high rate for any player.

Rondo said he's not worried about his past suspensions having any impact on Wednesday night's incident.

"Yesterday's action were completely different from the other two, I believe," Rondo said.

He's right.

On Feb. 19 of this year, he was suspended for two games because he threw a basketball at an official. And during the Celtics' playoff series in April against the Atlanta Hawks, Rondo was suspended for Game 2 of that series after bumping official Marc Davis in Game 1.

While those transgressions all seem relatively minor in their scope, they speak to a concern that has hovered over this team for the past couple of years.

Is Rondo ready to be the leader of this team?

In what has been a season in which he has made significant strides in answering this question affirmatively, this latest incident once again brings his maturity into question.

No one questions Rondo's intent.

It was clear to anyone who saw the replay or was at the game, that he was trying to stick up for his teammate.

But the manner in which he went about doing it, well, that's a problem.

"Rondo . . . can't allow himself to be taken out of a game, and he did last night," Rivers said. "Again, it's a snap (decision); it's quick and it can happen to any of us."

If Rondo is suspended as expected, it will cost him more than 100,000 per game in lost wages.

Report: Celtics likely to guarantee Amir Johnson’s $12M deal for next season

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Report: Celtics likely to guarantee Amir Johnson’s $12M deal for next season

The Celtics will likely guarantee the second year of Amir Johnson’s two-year, $24 million deal he signed last season, the Boston Globe reported.

Johnson, 29, a 6-9 forward, signed as a free agent last summer, averaged 7.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 79 regular season games for the Celtics and 8.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in the six-game, first-round playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks. 

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics to make qualifying offers to Sullinger, Zeller

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Report: Celtics to make qualifying offers to Sullinger, Zeller

The Celtics will make qualifying offers to Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller by the Friday deadline, the Boston Herald reports.

With offers of $4.4 million to Sullinger and $3.7 million to Zeller, the two will become restricted free agents, meaning the Celtics have can match any offer sheet they sign. The two would have become unrestricted free agents without the qualifying offers.

Sullinger could take the offer to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, but the Herald reported Zeller would likely be looking elsewhere to find a bigger role after his playing time decreased last season.

Sullinger started 73 games and averaged 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in the regular season. He averaged 5.2 points and 4.5 rebounds in 13.5 minutes in the first-round playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks and lost his starting job two games into that series. 

Zeller averaged 6.1 points and 3.0 rebounds last season. He played in three of the six games in the Atlanta series. 

OFFSEASON

Celtics' ace in the hole in pursuit of Durant: Brad Stevens

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Celtics' ace in the hole in pursuit of Durant: Brad Stevens

Kevin Durant is hanging out in the Hamptons waiting to be wooed by six NBA teams, including your Boston Celtics.

(Wait, this just in: A seventh party has entered the sweepstakes. Kelly Ripa, a fellow Hamptonite has requested to pitch KD on becoming her co-host. “It’s LIVE with Kelly and KD!” It flows.)

Today Durant meets with his current team the Oklahoma City Thunder. What the hell is anyone going to say in this meeting? “Hey, KD. Anything new since we saw you a month ago, when you couldn’t make a shot in the clutch against the Warriors?”

Seriously, what can OKC tell the guy about their team that he doesn’t already know? He could have just stopped by the GM’s office on his way to the Hamptons. But, in this day and age of the power player, all must bow to him. Ah, what the hell. I would probably do the same thing.

I have a gut feeling about OKC and Durant. He wants out. If not this year -- because it looks like he's going back to the Thunder for one more season -- than the next. Is it the small town? Is it that Russell Westbrook could bolt next season to the Lakers? Is it coach Billy Donovan?

Ahhh ha! That’s what I’m going with.

I've always read that Durant loves the fans in OKC. He has never seen like a “big city” guy to me, or someone who has to live in South Beach or Manhattan. Kevin Durant has always seemed to be about basketball and that’s why I think he has man love for Brad Stevens.

I have this moment during the playoffs when OKC was playing the Warriors engrained in my brain. Durant commits a stupid mistake out of frustration that results in a turnover and a Warriors hoop. On the sideline, Billy Donovan chews his ear off for what seemed forever.

That was a mistake. Billy the Kid needed to realize he wasn't in Gainesville anymore. Remember, Billy is chip off the old Rick Pitino coaching block. Both love to talk and love to coach.

That can work against you in the NBA.

Brad Stevens, who is a better coach than Donovan, would never do that. Heck, Brad rarely shows up a rookie on the sideline. He's smart enough to know if a veteran like Durant errs because he's mad, nothing needs to be said. Players like Durant, LeBron or Steph know when they screw up.

I can see Durant talking basketball with Brad for hours, I mean, leave the room at lunch and come back after dinner and you'd find the two still jawing about everything from calling plays after time outs to Texas’s prospects next year.

I know Danny Ainge sat next to Durant’s mother during the tournament and was fined for it. Still, it was a very nice touch and it certainly made an impression on KD.

But the real reason, in my opinion, that he's thinking about Boston is Stevens.

Now if the Celtics can sell on him on playing with Jaylen Brown, they have a real shot.

Good luck with that.