Originally written January 29, 2013 on Taking Bad Schotz:
Picimg_boston_celtics_vs_3f14
A torn ACL is a death sentence to any athlete. When a star in the league suffers that gruesome injury, all you can do is feel for them. It is a helpless feeling being that player, especially when they believe it is only a minor injury. That was the case for Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, after he thought he had only hyperextended his knee during Boston’s double overtime loss in Atlanta Friday night. Rondo played through the injury and even recorded a triple double, while logging a team high 45 minutes. The public only began to get news that Rondo suffered some sort of an injury on Sunday morning when he was scratched at the last minute before facing off against the Heat. He was taken to the hospital where he would learn the shocking news that his season was over. Doc Rivers got word of the devastating news during the game, but wisely did not inform the team to avoid any possible distraction. Paul Pierce found out during his on-court postgame interview with Doris Burke and could not display any more shock and disbelief on his face. Rondo wasn’t just the best player on the Celtics this year; he was the best point guard in the Eastern Conference, maybe the NBA. Picked to start the All-Star game for the first time, Rondo was playing outstanding this year, leading the NBA in assists per game with 11.1 which was 1.4 more than the next player, Chris Paul. Some call him the best point guard in the NBA because of his pass-first mentality that has seemed to fade away from most point guards in this league. In my opinion he has the best court vision in the league due to the variety of ways he can get his teammates the ball. With his oversized hands, Rondo can do just about anything with the basketball, which is what actually hampers him from shooting the ball effectively. Some have problems with him as a teammate because of his attitude, but when it comes down to playing with him, he tops the list.  So with Rondo done for the season, how can the Celtics salvage this season? Click here to view the video on YouTube. Well, in their first game without the All-Star point guard, the Celtics rallied to beat the Heat in double overtime while holding Miami to under 100 points. So, they can win without Rondo sure, but let’s be real, they are not going to win an NBA title this season, which brings up the idea of blowing up the team. When you look at the Celtics’ contract situation after this season we have Paul Pierce only locked up for one more year, while Rondo and Kevin Garnett signed up for two more seasons. There is no way they bring back Garnett after those two years which leads me to believe he will be traded before this year’s deadline. The Nets have been rumored to be interested in a possible deal that would involve Kris Humphries along with a couple of draft picks. Humphries has one less year on his contract than Garnett, and he is younger. If he plays well in Boston, he would not be a bad guy to bring back for several more years. The draft picks would also help the Celtics get younger and better much quicker. Garnett, whose 15 points and 7.3 rebounds a game have him starting in this year’s All-Star game, would be vital to a Brooklyn team in a win-now mode much like what Boston was in when they landed Garnett. Another interesting piece that is being rumored to be on the move is long-time Celtic Paul Pierce. Over the past decade when one thinks of the Celtics, Pierce comes to mind, but the thought of him in another jersey is becoming more sensible by the minute. The Grizzlies are appearing to be a possible suitor as they are attempting to shed salary, while obviously not trying to lose talent. Rudy Gay is owed a whopping $37,206,258 over the next two seasons, while Paul Pierce is only under contract for one more season at $15,333,334. Pierce, even though he is much older, is scoring more points a game than Gay while rebounding at the same rate. The Grizzlies would lower their payroll and actually gain talent, while Boston would get a lot younger, nine years to be exact, and have a potential star for the foreseeable future. The deal makes sense for both sides. Rajon Rondo is under contract for the next seasons, and with his surgery scheduled to occur in the next two weeks, he could possibly return some time next season after the All-Star break. At that time, he would have approximately a season and a half to prove himself worthy of a new contract, or prove himself worthy to another team while Boston shops him around. The Celtics will surely keep an eye on how Derrick Rose performs when he returns shortly to the Bulls, following a long recovery from his own ACL injury. If he can regain his prime form that had pre-injury, then there will be hope for Rondo to do the same. The rest of this season will surely be a tumultuous one for the Celtics and their fans as a major shake-up is on the horizon. Contracts will be moved and the remnants of the Big Three will, in all likelihood, dissipate. Celtic fans must have hope though, as the coming seasons have with them free agents that can change organizations including: Josh Smith, Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, Al Jefferson, Kevin Martin, Chris Paul, Andre Iguodala, Monta Ellis, and Pau Gasol. That is just a short list of incredible players that will be available over the next two seasons, so do not freak out if you root for the Celtics because help is coming, just be patient. -Huberman
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