OFFSEASON

Celtics forced to look for options in wake of Rondo's injury

989863.jpg

Celtics forced to look for options in wake of Rondo's injury

BOSTON The Boston Celtics locker room was a joyful place in the moments following Sunday's 100-98 double overtime win over Miami.

And then, Doc Rivers broke the news of the night to them.

Rajon Rondo had a torn ACL injury and was going to be out for the rest of the season.

The loss of Rondo has ramifications on so many levels, for so many individuals.

No Rondo means the Celtics will be sifting through the free agent and D-League waters to see if there's a point guard they can bring in to add some depth to the backcourt.

Although it's too soon to tell what level of interest there is now, the Celtics are likely to look into adding former Celtic Delonte West.

A league source told CSNNE.com earlier this season that the only way the C's would even consider bringing West back for a third stint in Boston, would be if one of the guards currently on the roster suffered a long-term injury.

Beyond West, the pickings are pretty slim when it comes to point guards via free agency.

Boston might tap into the D-League and look to call up Andre Barrett who leads the D-League in assists with 11.2 per game. And unlike a number of D-League playmakers looking for that next big break, Barrett does have NBA experience with six different teams and currently plays for the Celtics' D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers wouldn't touch the subject, with the knowledge of Rondo being lost for the season still too fresh.

"I was just trying to think straight during the game," said Rivers, who did not find out about Rondo not playing until about 24 minutes prior to the game starting.

"Rondo was still in the starting lineup and Dr. (Brian) McKeon grabbed me and said, 'He's out.' And I said, 'he went through our walk-through.' And then he said, 'No, he's out.' And so, I was trying to go in the locker room and talk about the game with that, thinking about that thought."

Within moments of Rivers breaking the news to his players, a wide range of emotions swept through the Celtics locker room, with shock and disappointment being the two most prominent.

Rivers had an idea shortly before tip-off that Rondo's injury might keep him out for the season, but wouldn't let on to his players or even Rondo who had an MRI performed and returned to the TD Garden by halftime.

"I couldn't tell him because I wasn't positive," Rivers said.

Not surprisingly, the locker room was unusually subdued after such a huge win, and with good reason.

The Celtics won the game and moments later found out that they were losing arguably their best player for the rest of the season.

Losing Rondo has to put the C's season in a completely different context now. With him, they were a team struggling but one that many felt would get better and be a potential thorn in some team's side come playoff time with Rondo leading the charge.

Now?

The road to being one of the last teams standing just got tougher - a lot tougher.

Even with the knowledge that Rondo won't be on the floor anytime soon, the Celtics still talk a confident game.

"We still like our chances in the Eastern Conference," Pierce said. "We found we can play with anybody with the team we put out there. Even without Rondo."

But can the C's compete with the elite teams without Rondo?

Teams like ... the Heat.

"He (Rondo) makes most of the triggers for this team," said Miami's Dwyane Wade. "He pretty much does it all ... you see a triple-double in the making, in the sense so he's gonna be missed. But it's the NBA and guys are gonna step up and get their opportunity. They'll learn how to play without what he brings to the game, and other guys can bring."

His absence puts greater pressure on Boston's guards to step up and make an impact beyond the roles they have had which focus primarily on playing off of Rondo.

"Whatever Doc (Rivers) wants me to play, that's what I'm going to do," said Boston's Avery Bradley who will likely see more time playing the point now. "I'm going to go out there and give it my all. No matter if its' the 2 (shooting guard) or the 1 (point guard), I'm going to go out there and play as hard as I can."

And that effort from Bradley and the rest of the C's is all Rivers has to hear in order for his belief in this team to be remain as strong now as it was prior to Rondo's injury.

"Obviously that's a blow; it's a huge blow for us," Rivers said about losing Rondo for the season. "When something like this happens, someone will find someone that's already in our locker room that's going to play terrific. And I have no idea who it is."

When you consider how the Celtics struggled with Rondo, the idea of not having him will surely bring about even more pessimism in regards to Boston's chances to be successful moving forward.

"Well you can write the obituary. I'm not," Rivers said. "You can go ahead. But I'm not. We won tonight, and so that way I look at it is, we're going to stay in there. In my opinion, we're going nowhere."

OFFSEASON

O.J. Mayo hit with two-year ban from NBA for drug violation

o.j.-mayo-milwaukee-bucks.jpg

O.J. Mayo hit with two-year ban from NBA for drug violation

NEW YORK  — O.J. Mayo has been dismissed and disqualified from the NBA for violating the terms of the league’s anti-drug program.

The NBA said Friday the No. 3 overall pick in the 2008 draft out of USC is eligible to apply for reinstatement in two years.

Mayo spent the past three seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks. He averaged 7.8 points in 41 games last season, including 24 starts.

According to rules of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program, information regarding the testing or treatment of a player can’t be disclosed by the league, his team or the union.

© 2016 by Associated Press

Here’s the official release from the NBA: 

NEW YORK, July 1, 2016 – The NBA announced today that free agent O.J. Mayo has been dismissed and disqualified from the league for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program.

Under the Anti-Drug Program, Mayo is eligible to apply for reinstatement in two years.

The NBA, NBA teams, and the Players Association are prohibited from publicly disclosing information regarding the testing or treatment of any NBA player under the Anti-Drug Program, other than to announce a player's suspension or dismissal from the league.

 

OFFSEASON

Celtics picks Brown, Yabusele, Bentil on Summer League roster

celtics.jpg

Celtics picks Brown, Yabusele, Bentil on Summer League roster

Celtics 2016 draft picks Jaylen Brown, Guerschon Yabusele, Ben Bentil, Demetrius Jackson and Abdel Nader will join last year’s rookies R.J. Hunter, Terry Rozier, and Jordan Mickey on the Celtics Summer League roster, which the team announced Friday. 

Danny Ainge had mentioned after the draft he wasn’t sure about No. 16 overall pick Yabusele, from France, or No. 23 pick Ante Zizic’s availability for the Summer League. Zizic, from Croatia, is not on the roster. 

2014 draft pick James Young is also among those on the roster. 

The Utah Summer League begins on Monday, with a game against the Philadelphia 76ers at 7 p.m. (on CSN) and the Las Vegas Summer League runs from July 9-18.


 

OFFSEASON

Celtics interested in bringing back big man Kris Humphries

humphries_1.jpg

Celtics interested in bringing back big man Kris Humphries

BOSTON – CSNNE.com has learned that the Celtics have had discussions about bringing Kris Humphries back to Boston for a second tour of duty.

No deal is imminent because the Celtics’ focus remains on trying to land at least one of their top three free agent targets – Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, Atlanta’s Al Horford and Houston’s Dwight Howard.

Durant has a list of six teams that he will consider signing with, although all indications at this point see the perennial All-Star returning to Oklahoma City with a “1+1” deal which would give him the flexibility to opt-out of the second year and do this free agency process all over again.

Horford and Howard seem more realistic options for the Celtics, although Boston will face steep competition when it comes to signing either one of them.

With Humphries, the Celtics would add a familiar face to the roster who when he did play for Boston, was productive.

In his lone season with the Celtics (2013-2014), Humphries averaged 8.4 points and 5.9 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game while shooting a career-high 50.1 percent from the field.

His play was strong enough to earn him a three-year, $13 million deal from the Washington Wizards.

During his time with the Celtics, Humphries was more than just a solid performer.

He was a veteran who was in and out of the lineup, but never grumbled about his inconsistent minutes.

But when the opportunity arose to play, Humphries was consistently ready to perform.

In practices, he would often stay after and run end-to-end sprints with the younger players.

It was the kind of stealth leadership that Brad Stevens needed from inside the locker room in what was Stevens’ first season as an NBA coach.

But the interest in Humphries now is two-fold.

First and foremost, he would provide some much-needed depth along the frontline. And with him being more of a stretch big now (108 of his 134 career 3s taken came last season), he fits the versatility mold that Stevens and the Celtics want from all their players.

And maybe just as significant, Humphries could provide talent while not necessarily needing a long-term deal to join the Celtics. Humphries was thought to have been a player who could command a deal starting at around $10 million.

But with some of the deals reportedly agreed upon just hours into the free agency period (Timofey Mozgov to the Lakers for four years, $64 million; Joakim Noah to New York for four years, $70 million), Humphries’ starting salary now will likely fall somewhere between $10-$15 million.And lastly, Humphries knows first-hand what it's like to play for the Celtics and the connection that players have with the team's fanbase.

And lastly, Humphries knows first-hand what it's like to play for the Celtics and the connection that players have with the team's fanbase.

"This is one of the best home crowds in sports, I would say," Humphries told CSNNE.com.