Blakely: Celtics likely open to all trade talks

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Blakely: Celtics likely open to all trade talks

Glad to know the NBA rumor mill hasn't missed a beat now that we know we'll have a season.

Among the many word-on-the-street (or blogosphere) rumors being tossed around is one involving at least one Boston Celtic. Apparently the C's are open to the idea of trading Rajon Rondo.

Well, here's the thing. The C's have been open to trading Rondo for a couple years now.

For the right deal -- and I can't stress enough how difficult ''the right deal'' would be to come by for Rondo and his unique skillet -- the C's have been open to trading most of their players.

Speaking with a couple front-office officials who have made deals with Danny Ainge in the past, they said his position in terms of his Big 4 is no different now than it was a year ago.

"He's not pushing really hard to move any of his guys now," one official said. "But he's definitely interested in hearing what others think."

In other words, Ainge is doing his job.

So the idea that the C's are open to the idea of trading Rondo or Ray Allen or any of the six C's under contract, is the way things should be.

Boston has very limited options in terms of what it can do to significantly bolster its roster in this truncated 66-game season.

That's what happens when you have not one, not two, but four -- yes, four -- players under contract who will earn at least 10 million for this upcoming season. No NBA team has that many eight-figure players.

So that means the only way to significantly bolster the roster, has to involve moving one of those pieces. In other words, Boston has no shot at Tyson Chandler if the C's don't move, say, at least one member of the Big 4.

With Chris Paul and Dwight Howard hitting the free agent market in 2012, you know both of their teams (New Orleans and Orlando, respectively) are going to be looking hard for trade partners this year before losing them and getting nothing in return.

Boston's only shot of having a shot at either player, is to include at least one member of their Big 4 in a possible trade. But looking at what other teams could offer, that still won't be enough of an enticement.

So that would leave the C's little choice but to surround them with players they acquire on the cheap, with the hope that those players will out-perform their minimum wage or near-minimum wage contracts.

But the chances of that happening aren't promising.

Look at last summer's blockbuster deal that Shaquille O'Neal was coming to Boston. Getting him for the minimum seemed like a steal, right?

That's why for Ainge to do anything other than listen and solicit offers for his core guys, would be a disservice to head coach Doc Rivers, the Celtics ownership and Celtics fans.

Of the 400-plus NBA players, you can count the ones that you'll rarely, if at all, hear mentioned on the rumor mill as possibly being traded.

LeBron James. Kobe Bryant. Kevin Durant. And we're done.

While the C's have three future Hall of Famers on their roster and a blossoming all-star point guard, none of them -- right now at least -- are James, Bryant or Durant.

Another thing, folks. Sometimes people forget that Ainge is a GM, not a museum curator who collects antiques and outdated artifacts. (Although, with some of his recent signings, I could see the confusion.)

His job is to build a team, a title-contending team, using whatever resources are at his disposal. If that means trading away a core guy for a player or two who he believes can help them immediately or down the road, so be it.

That's what he's supposed to do, regardless of how well-connected a player is to a community, or how popular he is with fans.

So let the rumors continue to swirl about Rondo on the move, or Ray-Ray being shipped out. But remember one thing. The more you hear about that kind of stuff, it only means one thing and one thing only. Ainge is doing his job, which is to put out the best team possible that will give the C's another shot at Banner 18.

Dennis Schroder doubles down on claims Isaiah Thomas took family trash talk too far

Dennis Schroder doubles down on claims Isaiah Thomas took family trash talk too far

Dennis Schroder isn't backing down.

The Atlanta Hawks point guard again was asked about Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, and the budding rivalry between the two players that's turned into a rivalry between the two teams. Thomas, of course, was accused by Schroder of taking his trash talking a bit too far during the teams' last meeting, a 103-101 Celtics victory last month in which Thomas hit the game-winning shot with just seconds remaining.

Thomas' comments allegedly were about Schroder's family, per Schroder himself. Thomas has since repeatedly denied the claims. So does Schroder still deny Thomas' side of the story?

“I mean, yeah. Everybody heard it, too," Schroder said. "My family sat courtside too. And (Hawks teammate) Thabo (Sefolosha) heard some things, you know, and he was involved in it. But it is what it is. Like I said, we just try to compete. And you know, it’s getting heated in the game. It is what it is."

Schroder didn't dive much deeper than denying Thomas' claims of innocence. But is there something about Thomas inparticular that gets under Schroder's skin or runs him the wrong way?

Nah, I mean he’s a great player, he’s showing it this year," Schroder said. "I mean, what he did in the playoffs last year was just not, you know, professional. And I think nobody wants to see that but it’s fine. We just try to compete and try to help our team win the basketball game."

Schroder was referring to the back-and-forth physical play between himself and Thomas that resulted in flagrant fouls for both during the first-round playoff matchup betweein the clubs, a series Atlanta eventually won four games to two. Thomas' status was in doubt for Game 4 of the series after a hit to Schroder's head in Game 3, but the now two-time All-Star ultimately was allowed to play.

"Everybody’s competitive. Everybody tries to get out, get after it," Schroder explained when asked if his feud with Thomas fuels his team any extra. "I think it’s a big game tonight and the team knows it. I’m pretty sure the Celtics know it too. It’s getting close to the playoffs and every game counts."

Boston and Atlanta tip off from TD Garden at 7:30 p.m.

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