As always, leave it to Jackie MacMullan to get the scoop on all things basketball, especially Celtics basketball. An article posted on ESPN Boston answers a few questions we have discussed along with a few others we didn't even know about.
First up, I was concerned about Rondo's work ethic this summer and Jackie put's this to rest completely with this quote from Doc Rivers:
"Rondo has been great, just terrific this summer," Rivers said. "He reached out to all the players and got every single one of them to fly to L.A. and practice together. They put in about four or five hours a day. Paul and KG were already out there, but Rondo got Jason and Courtney Lee and all the other guys on board too.
"He called and asked me what I thought of the idea. I loved it, especially because it was him that organized it."
The spirited practices at UCLA were useful not only because of all the new faces. They gave the players a chance to spend some time together away from Boston and reestablish some camaraderie.
So, Rondo has been motivated and has motivated the others as well. And Rondo, Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Pierce, and KG were all working out for 4-5 hours a day. That's just awesome to hear. It's especially great to hear that Rondo organized it and took it on himself to get the other guys there. It shows that he truly has matured and that can only bode well for the Celtics.
Other things that have been cleared up by the article is that Ray was unhappy with a lot of things and not just his relationship with Rondo. He wasn't happy with his position as the 3rd in line in the Big 3. He didn't like having to come off the bench, in spite of the fact that he wasn't playing well and the move made the team better. He wasn't happy with the trade rumors or that it was acknowledged that he was almost traded to Memphis. He was even unhappy with KG over his unwillingness to do some of the promotional duties that Ray eventually ended up with. He was also unhappy that KG's contract negotiations took on more importance than his. Another issue he had was that Doc didn't play him in pick and rolls more even though he wasn't very good at it. Doc was right when he had this to say:
"When you have a lot of complaints, you probably need to go somewhere else," Rivers said. "Sometimes guys just run their course at a place. It's probably best for all of us and for Ray that he moves on."
It sounds as though Darko is getting a try out and if he doesn't put in the work, he's not long for the team.
"It didn't cost us much," Rivers said. "He has it in him, and if we can get it out of him, then great. If not, well, I'd rather take a chance on a really talented guy."
Also reported in the article is that Avery Bradley might not be back until December or even the first of the year. We've been hearing that he would probably miss training camp but this is the first I've heard that he would be out that long. Hopefully Doc is just being conservative.
Some great things from Jackie MacMullan for a news starved Celtics Nation. So, now we know more about Ray's departure. He not only had a beef with Rondo, he had a beef with KG. I can't wait to hear what happens when he doesn't get to play the pick and roll in Miami. And, my concerns about Rondo have all been laid to rest. Bless you Jackie Mac!
Jackie Mac is one of the best. So much good stuff in one article.
Ray does have OCD. He admitted that in an interview last year when he was talking about his game day prep always having to be the same. I imagine that's why there were clashes with the free spirits KG and Rondo.