Get ready for the new and improved Rajon Rondo. He has put on 7 lbs of muscle and is confident and ready to go. As you can see from the photo, he has gained muscle and is going to be exciting to watch this season. There is no question about Rondo's motivation.
"I want to be the best point guard in the league one day," said Rondo. "My coaching staff believes in me. The Big Three believes in me, and the rest of the team believes in me. I'm going to keep working hard regardless of how much I've accomplished so far."
He's definitely been working. Veteran Celtics players had to tell Rondo to stop coming in for two-a-days. So he shortened his daily workout to one, 5-hour session.
The much talked about signing of Sam Cassell has been finalized as he signed a one year contract with the Celtics today. This means that someone definitely has to be cut or traded. If Sam doesn't play better than last season, I'm all for cutting him now and making him a coach. But, it will probably be one of the young guys that goes. With Sam in place to play back up point, the obvious choice would be Pruitt, but Danny seemed rather excited about Pruitt earlier this summer, so who knows. If it's a trade, we can only hope Scal is included. They may have to give up Pruitt or Big Baby to get someone to take him. Under no circumstances should we trade Leon!
The news about Darius Miles is all positive. Doc says that he is 100% and KG and Pierce are very positive in their comments about him. He is excited about the opportunity and seems to have a great attitude. If he is 100% and as he says, he is better than he was, he should make for some exciting basketball this season. The 10 game suspension isn't a problem because he and Danny discussed it before he was signed and Danny didn't seem worried about it.
Pierce sounded like he was doing a Johnny Most impression as he was pretty hoarse. He said that he has been icing his right knee during the offseason and that the injury he sustained during the 2008 NBA Finals isn't anything lingering. That is good news. He KG and Ray all sound like they are motivated to repeat as champions. The young guys sound very motivated. I can't wait for the season to start.
Perk said he is targeting the third preseason game which would be the Oct. 11 game in Manchester, N.H. for his return to playing. Perk, as always is working hard and focused and will get back on the floor as soon as he can, but the doctors are being more cautious and taking it slow so that when he comes back he will be 100%. Rushing it could cause another injury to the shoulder, and that would be disastrous for the team. Scott Souza has some words from the big guy:
“I don’t want to rush it,” Perkins said, “and make it worse. I want to take my time and make it 100 percent when I come back on the court. … I am doing all the drill work in training camp. It’s probably the week after training camp when I will start doing the contact stuff. I’m expected to play in the third preseason game, so I am pretty excited about that.
“I was expecting the worst (with recovery time). I am just following doctor’s orders with the recovery time. But as long as Doc (Rivers), the coaches, everybody’s OK with it, I shouldn’t have a problem with it either.”
Bill Walker impressed me with his intelligence, reminding me what a scout had told me, that he expected him to pick up the system earlier than most rookies and thus have a "leg up" to challenge T. Allen, Giddens and Miles for Posey's minutes.
Walker reported that he is playing without pain in the knee that he had surgery on just after the draft and so is ready to earn a spot on the roster. I have been excited about Bill Walker since we got him in the draft. I really think he is going to be a surprise and will be hard to keep off the court this season.
Tony Allen is healthy and confident and has ditched the knee brace. That is good news because the Celtics are depending on Tony to be the defensive stopper that they lost when James Posey left the team. If he has turned the corner and is ready to play, he is very capable of it.
Pierce, Allen and Garnett have already started to pitch the idea to PJ Brown of coming back for the stretch run once again. Pierce maintains that the fact that he says he is retired doesn't mean anything because he was retired last year too. I imagine PJ will have to get used to the occasional call from the Boston 3 Party asking him to keep his options open about coming back. Doc said he wouldn't mind having PJ even if he just was there for the locker room because he had such a positive influence on the Celtics' young big guys. (assistant coach anyone?). But aside from his influence, Doc said that what he gave them was length and although Leon and Big Baby give toughness and can hold their own, they don't have the length. But, Patrick O'Bryant does and if he can blossom under Doc's system and Clifford Ray's tutelege, The Celtics will have that length. But again, that is a big if.
Steve Pagliuca has come up with the catch phrase for this year's team: "Two-buntu". Last season ubuntu was the motto and hopefully the meaning of that word will once again be the guiding principle for the team but this season, it will be two-buntu or maybe ubuntu².