Missed season will be devastating for Celtics

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Missed season will be devastating for Celtics

NEW YORK Every year, we always seem to talk about the Boston Celtics and their "window of opportunity" closing.

Well, how about that "window" being totally shut for a year, and then re-opened?

Different scenario, but a similar challenge.

Actually, the challenge becomes even greater when you look at where the Celtics are now, and how much losing an entire season - which is more likely to happen after the NBA Players Associations' decision to file a disclaimer of interest on Monday - will affect them.

"There will ultimately be a new collective bargaining agreement," NBA Commissioner David Stern said after hearing of the NBPA's decision. "But the 2011-2012 season is now in jeopardy."

And for veteran teams that have few bodies under contract right now, like the Celtics, they could very well fall under the category of collateral damage associated with this lockout if it wipes out the entire season.

Beyond 2011-12, the Celtics only have three players under contract - Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley.

So if the season were to be wiped out entirely, the C's would have as many as 12 roster spots to fill.

And with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen coming off the books after this season, there's no telling 1) if they would want to come back after sitting out a season, or 2) if the C's would necessarily want to bring them back.

Rajon Rondo, who represented the Celtics at Monday's meeting, might be hurt just as much as the veterans if the lockout lasts all season.

He has had the benefit of spending the bulk of his career playing with three of the game's elite players (Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce), all of whom in some way have helped him to become one of the NBA's better point guards. With all those players inching closer and closer to retirement, he knows it would be in their best interest - as well as his - if there was a season.

But that didn't stop him from supporting his union brethren in their decision to dissolve, which opens up a Pandora's box for a potential anti-trust lawsuit against the NBA and its owners.

"You have to take yourself out of the equation. We're a family," said Rondo, referring to the union. "We have to stick together. This is a tough time for us. It's something we have to go through, as far as business negotiations."

But that won't take away the potential sting of this past season being the last we see of the Green Team's Big Three, the kind of Super Team that we may never see again with a new CBA.

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

BOSTON – The trip to the TD Garden is one that Jared Sullinger has made many times but never like this. 

The former Celtic was back in town with his new team, the Toronto Raptors who signed him to a one-year, $5.6 million deal after the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to him and thus made him an unrestricted free agent. 

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“I had a feeling it was going to go that way once they signed big Al (Horford), that they were going to let me go,” Sullinger said prior to Friday’s game.  “We were prepared for it. It is what it is. I’m happy these guys are doing well.”

And he hopes to say the same for himself sometime in the future after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot – the same foot he had season-ending surgery on during the 2014-2015 season with the Celtics. 

There’s no specific timetable as to when he’ll be back on the floor, and Sullinger is cool with that plan. 

“I don’t know. They’re hiding the protocol from me so I won’t rush; we’ll see,” said Sullinger who is still in a walking boot. 

The 6-foot-9 forward played well in the preseason and solidified himself as the team’s starting power forward. 

Now that he’s out with another injury, he’ll have to once again try and prove himself either later this season when he returns, or this summer when he becomes a free agent again.

For now, Sullinger is happy to be back in town, seeing lots of familiar faces, friends and ex-teammates that he says he still keeps in close contact with. 

“Some of these guys I considered like brothers to me,” Sullinger said. “IT (Isaiah Thomas), Jae Crowder to name a few. So I watch from a distance, I support from a distance. They’re playing well.”

In addition to his former teammates, the lines of communication remained open between him and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as well. 

Stevens said the two exchanged text messages right before he had foot surgery, and afterwards. 

“Obviously, everyone here wishes a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back on the court soon,” Stevens said. 

Sullinger has been an effective player during his time in the NBA, with career averages of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. 

But this will be the third time in his five NBA seasons that he will miss a significant amount of time on the court due to an injury or recovering from an injury. 

Stevens acknowledged that he feels for Sullinger who once again has to go through rehabilitation in order to get back on the floor.

“I like Jared a lot,” Stevens said. “He’s a heck of a player, he’s a really smart guy. Got a lot of respect for him and it stinks that he’s got to go through that but he’ll come back strong I’m sure.”