Friday Free Throws: Lockout rules; Rondo's kicks

191544.jpg

Friday Free Throws: Lockout rules; Rondo's kicks

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
Normally, Friday Free Throws is a weekly recap of the most interesting news, notes, and information that have not made the headlines. But this week we have to make an exception as we address the hottest issue in basketball that's been in the headlines for weeks: the lockout.

On Thursday evening the NBA announced the lockout would begin at 12:01am on July 1. In the statement, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said:

The expiring collective bargaining agreement created a broken system that produced huge financial losses for our teams. We need a sustainable business model that allows all 30 teams to be able to compete for a championship, fairly compensates our players, and provides teams, if well-managed, with an opportunity to be profitable.

We have made several proposals to the union, including a deal targeting 2 billion annually as the players' share -- an average of approximately 5 million per player that could increase along with league revenue growth. Elements of our proposal would also better align players pay with performance.

We will continue to make every effort to reach a new agreement that is fair and in the best interests of our teams, our players, our fans, and our game.

The NBA also noted restrictions for both players and teams during this period:

- Players will not receive their salaries
- Players will not be able to use team facilities for any purpose
- Teams will not negotiatesigntrade player contracts
- Teams will not conduct or facilitate any summer camps, exhibitions, practices, workouts, coaching sessions, or team meetings.
Rondos Winning Approach
Last week we told you about the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse 2011, the sneaker Rajon Rondo is expected to wear next season. A promotion for the shoe is on Nike's website with the slogan, "Stay Quick or Stay Home," and a photo of Rondo with the sneakers hung around his neck.

Rondo sat down with the crew from Nike to talk about the shoe, his love for basketball, and how he views his role as a point guard. Check out a few snippets below or view the entire interview.

- "I love the game, I love competing. I want to be the best at what I do."

- When you're not 100 percent in a game and you try to push through it, I think the most important thing is adrenaline. Once, say if you sprain an ankle or something, you get back out there, you get a flow, you get up and down, you just try not to think about it. Once the game is over obviously it may swell up or it hurts a lot more, but during the game you just keep going and keep pushing.

- "From my rookie season where I didn't play a lot to now as a starting point guard, my mental preparation has changed because it starts with me on the floor. I feel like it starts with the point guard. I'm an extension out there on the floor of the coach, so if I don't bring it, it's a trickle-down effect to where my teammates might not want to bring it or have their energy if you're playing in an arena that's not full of fans. So it starts with the point guard and it finishes with the point guard."

Former Celtics Honored
A pair of former Celtics were honored this week by local and statewide halls of fame. Raef LaFrentz was announced as a class of 2011 inductee to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame (via SB Nation Kansas City). LaFrentz, a former Big 12 Player of the Year, played four years for the University of Kansas Jayhawks and is the school's third-leading scorer. In 2003 he was traded by the Dallas Mavericks to the Celtics along with Chris Mills and Jiri Welsch in exchange for Tony Delk, Antoine Walker, and a future draft pick the Cs would use to select Delonte West. LaFrentz played three seasons in Boston before being sent to the Portland Trail Blazers in 2006 as part of the Sebastian Telfair deal.

Bridgeport, Connective native John Bagley will be inducted to the Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame in October. Bagley, who wore No. 5 nearly 20 years before Kevin Garnett, played over two seasons with the Celtics. He averaged nearly six points and six assists in 137 games in Boston. NBA official Bennett Salvatore (Stamford, CT) will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame, as reported in The Daily Weston.

Celtics Tweets of the Week
Celtics draft picks JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore came to Boston this week and took to Twitter while they were in town.

@JaJuanJohnson: Weoutchere! http:lockerz.coms114677458

@33ETwaun: Thanks to all Boston fans for showing love!

Birthday of the Week
Former Celtics first round draft pick (and current Atlanta Hawks guard) Joe Johnson turned 30 on Wednesday. Johnson was selected by the Celtics with the 10th overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft and was traded to the Phoenix Suns in February of his rookie season. He played just 48 of his 771 career games with the Cs.
This Week in NBA History
On June 29, 1982, the Celtics drafted Indiana University standout Landon Turner, who had been paralyzed in a car accident before his senior year of college, in the 10th round of the NBA Draft. Turner had helped the Hoosiers win the 1981 NCAA Championship. On June 30, 1969, Bill Russell retired from the Celtics after winning 11 NBA championships in 13 years. Russell was a five-time MVP and 12-time All-Star. He served as a playercoach in his final three years with the Celtics and went on to coach the Seattle SuperSonics for five seasons. Plans for the creation of a Bill Russell statue in Boston were announced earlier this year.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA

Blakely: Tatum's character separates him from many of the other rookies

Blakely: Tatum's character separates him from many of the other rookies

BOSTON – With his new head coach Brad Stevens and Boston Celtics ownership and front office officials surrounding him, Jayson Tatum’s mind seemed to be somewhere else briefly.

He looked ahead, way, way ahead to the other end of the Celtics’ practice court where there were banners, lots of banners, raised high above all else in the gym.

This wasn’t just a passing glance, either.

TATUM SPEAKS

It was clear that the newest Celtic was in deep thought as he stared at the 17 banners and the one left blank, a steady reminder of what this franchise is about, past and present.

Yes, it’s a lot to soak in for anyone let alone a 19-year-old kid whose career with the Celtics can be timed on a stopwatch.

But the soft-spoken 6-foot-9 forward has been here long enough to understand that success around here is about more than playing well; it’s playing to win a championship.

And that in many ways separates Tatum from his teenage brethren who made up the majority of Thursday night’s NBA draft which included an NBA-record 17 players taken in the first round who like Tatum, were just one year removed from high school.

All come into the NBA with lots to learn, as well as goals and aspirations for this upcoming NBA season.

During an interview with CSN on Friday, I asked Tatum about what in his mind would make for a successful season.

And his answer initially was to ask me a question, “Individual or team?”

So I replied, either one.

“To get back to where they were last year and get over that hump,” he said. “Championships, chasing that number 18, that would be the ultimate success for me.”

That served as a reminder as to why despite having a handful of players under consideration at No. 3, the Celtics did the right thing in selecting Tatum.

His words may seem like the politically correct response, but take a look at the kid’s basketball resume and you’ll quickly see he is indeed about winning and doing so in whatever way possible.

After missing his first eight games at Duke with a foot injury, Tatum gradually improved as the season progressed and wound up on the all-rookie team as well as being named to the All-ACC third team.

Once the Blue Devils got to the ACC Tournament, Tatum became a different, better, more dominant player.

Indeed, Tatum led the Blue Devils to their first ACC championship since 2011 and did so in historic fashion as the Blue Devils became the first ACC school to win the conference tournament with four wins in four days.

Late in the title game against Notre Dame, Tatum put together a sequence of plays that speaks to why the Celtics were seriously considering taking him with the number one overall pick had they not been able to trade it for the No. 3 and a future first-round pick.

With the scored tied at 65, Tatum made a free throw that put Duke ahead.

Moments later, he blocked a shot and finished off the play with a lay-up that gave Duke a three-point lead.

After a Notre Dame basket, Tatum connected with a teammate for a 3-pointer that pushed Duke’s lead to four points with around a minute to play.

And then there was the 3-point play Tatum converted after getting fouled on a dunk which secured a 76-69 Duke win over the Fighting Irish.

Free throws. Blocks. Getting out in transition. Passing.

When his team needed him most, he gave whatever was required at that moment which is one of the intangibles that makes Boston feel good about his future.

“He does whatever he has to do to help you win,” said an NBA scout who said he has seen Tatum play “at least a dozen times.”

He added, “Like all of these kids coming into the league now, he has some things he has to get better at, get more consistent with. But he makes winning plays, whether it’s for himself or others. He’s a lot more unselfish a player than he’s given credit for being.”

And he’s 19 years old, which is both a blessing and a burden when you’re an NBA team executive charged with committing at least two years and millions of dollars into a young man.

Part of the process when making a draft choice, especially when it’s one of the top picks, is character evaluation.

Of the players at or near the top of the draft board, multiple league executives contacted by CSNNE.com in the past couple of weeks said this was an area where Tatum stood out in comparison to all of the top prospects.

“He’s the kind of young man you’d love whether he was a basketball player or not,” one Western Conference executive told CSNNE.com. “If you’re ranking guys on character alone in this draft, he’s your number one pick.”

Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, acknowledged the challenge of differentiating between miscues made by a teenager as being problems of concern going forward, or whether that’s a teenager making the kind of bad/questionable decisions most teens make.

“It’s dangerous to play too much into a 19-year-old kid’s behavior,” Ainge told CSN’s A. Sherrod Blakely and Kyle Draper on Friday. “But I think that, with all the things we do, from physical, emotional, mental, character, work ethic and their skills … it’s just really hard at 19. You hate to just be labeled what you are at 18.”

But in regards to Tatum specifically, Ainge added, “Jayson is a high character guy. We know he will get better because of his character and his work ethic.”

Said Tatum: “It’s a great feeling. Being part of a great organization like the Celtics; think of all the great players of the past and you can follow in their footsteps.”

And in doing so, blaze a trail of his own in the pursuit of Banner 18.

Did Suns ask Josh Jackson to cancel his Celtics workout to keep him from Boston?

Did Suns ask Josh Jackson to cancel his Celtics workout to keep him from Boston?

BOSTON – It appears there may be an answer to the mystery surrounding Josh Jackson’s decision to not work out for the Boston Celtics leading up to Thursday’s NBA draft.

While conventional wisdom tells us that such decisions are often made by the agent who in this case is former NBA player B.J. Armstrong.

Boston instead selected Jayson Tatum at No. 3 with the Phoenix Suns scooping up Jackson with the No. 4 pick.

MORE: Danny Ainge on Josh Jackson: 'He didn’t want to play for the Celtics'

During Jackson’s introductory press conference, there was a sense that it wasn’t necessarily Armstrong who strong-armed Jackson into not working out for the Celtics. But apparently, he got an assist from Suns General Manager (and ex-Celtics assistant GM) Ryan McDonough.

A reporter asked McDonough if Phoenix may have encouraged Jackson to cancel his workout with the Celtics who were flying into Sacramento, Calif. to watch Jackson workout only for it to be canceled after they had departed which as you can imagine, did not go over well with Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations.

“I’d like to consult my attorney B.J. Armstrong (Jackson’s agent),” McDonough said, smiling.

The more McDonough talked, the clearer it became that he and Armstrong were in cahoots to do all they could to get Boston to pass on Jackson at No. 3 which as McDonough mentioned, doesn’t break any rules.

“You guys all know my history with the Celtics and the respect I have for Danny Ainge and the organization,” McDonough told reporters on Friday. “But I think you guys who know me well know how competitive I am. Look, it is a competition. The Celtics were ahead of us at No. 3 and they could have selected whoever they wanted to. I think they got a very good player in Jayson Tatum, but that doesn’t mean B.J. and I and … other members of my staff couldn’t talk and try to formulate the best plan to get a player we were really high on to a place we felt he really wanted to go and would be a great fit for him.”

McDonough is right in that no rules were broken if he and Armstrong did decide to work together in an effort to get Jackson to Phoenix.

But to cancel the workout after the Celtics executives and head coach Brad Stevens had left, forcing them to spend a night on the road for a workout that Jackson’s camp probably knew wasn’t going to happen well before the Celtics contingent boarded for Sacramento … not cool.

Here are words I thought I would never say … the Ball clan got it right.

They told Boston from the jump that Lonzo Ball wasn’t going to work out for them, so the Celtics knew he didn’t want to be a Celtic from the very beginning.

Jackson’s actions said the same, but his words kept hope alive that he would work out or at the very least, talk to the Celtics organization – neither of which happened.

He kept referring to the fact that he didn’t think Boston was interested in him when they had the number one pick (that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if they asked him to work out for them; otherwise, what’s the point from the Celtics'  perspective of asking to work out a guy they had no interest in drafting?)

After they traded down to the number 3 pick, a deal that was cemented last weekend, Jackson said there wasn’t time to do a workout for Boston.

The draft was nearly a week away and he didn’t have time to work out for a team that had the third pick overall knowing that the top two picks (Markelle Fultz at No. 1 and Lonzo Ball at No. 2) were essentially accounted for?

“If I could have, I probably would have worked out for them,” Jackson said (with a straight face). “But I think everything worked out for the best.”

Yup.

Boston will once again be among the better teams in the East and will contend for the best record like they achieved this past season before their season ended in the Conference finals to Cleveland. 

Jackson will spend his rookie season playing a lot of minutes with a Suns team that probably won’t win as many games as he did a year ago at Kansas (33).

Enjoy.