Celtics

Gasol: 'It's part of the reality of what we do'

666054.jpg

Gasol: 'It's part of the reality of what we do'

BOSTON Wednesday morning began like most mornings for Los Angeles Lakers forward (for now at least) Pau Gasol.

His name was once again linked with trade rumors, this time in a deal that would send him to Boston in exchange for C's guard Rajon Rondo.

Gasol said that he tries not to think about it, but adds that it's easier said than done.

"There's days I might think about it a little more, it's in your head a little more," he told CSNNE.com. "But you can't shake it off until something happens or doesn't happen at all. It's not pleasant, but it's part of the business. You have to deal with it."

Rondo can relate.

He, too, has been the subject of trade talks, with the Celtics earlier this season actively involved in trying to move him for Chris Paul, who was eventually traded from New Orleans to the Los Angeles Clippers. There was another rumor shortly after that one fizzled that involved the Lakers apparently being interested in trying to deal for Paul Pierce, who grew up just outside of L.A. in Engelwood, Calif.

"It's part of it," said Rondo, regarding the trade rumors. "I don't think no one is safe until the actual trade deadline (March 15) is over."

Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, has maintained throughout his tenure that he'll pursue any trade -- regardless of which player he has to move to get it done -- if he believes it can meet certain objectives which of course include, making the C's better.

For now, Ainge told CSNNE.com that his focus is on seeing the players he assembled actually play together some before he'd seriously consider breaking the team up.

"Our guys are just starting to get back healthy, and are starting to develop nice chemistry with one another," Ainge said. "I've been happy with the way things are progressing, the direction we're heading right now."

And while adding Gasol would certainly bolster the Celtics' frontcourt, it would certainly come at a high cost -- a cost that Ainge is unlikely to want to pay for a 31-year-old big man who is averaging a career-low 16.2 points per game.

Plus, the Celtics would have to include an additional player or two with Rondo in order to match Gasol's salary, which is 18.7 million this season. After that, Gasol has two years and 38.3 million remaining on his contract.

While Avery Bradley did a nice job filling in for Rondo when he was out with a right wrist injury, Bradley is not ready to assume the lead guard role on a full-time basis.

And maybe the biggest deterrent for the C's in pursuing such a deal now -- or any deal for that matter -- is the way the C's are playing.

It's not so much that they've won a season-high five straight, and nine of the last 10.

It's how they're winning -- with defense.

With all their core guys healthy, starters and reserves alike can now play the roles they were brought in to play.

And as we've seen the past couple of weeks, the C's are devastatingly good when they play their brand of defensive-minded, grind-it-out basketball.

For Boston, the true test of how far they've come is on the horizon with a schedule that gets significantly tougher, beginning with Thursday night's game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

After the Lakers game, Boston (14-10) has seven games prior to the All-Star Break.

Of those seven opponents, the C's face Chicago twice (Feb. 12 at the Garden, Feb. 16 at Chicago's United Center), along with road games at Dallas and Oklahoma City.

Regardless of how well the Celtics are playing, you can bet the C's will continue to be linked in trade rumors involving different players like Gasol.

"I still try to play as well as I can, help my team as much as I can as I have been," Gasol said to gathered group of reporters. "That's what I can do. It's not pleasant to know you're being dealt with, that you could be sent away somewhere, but it's part of the business part of our league and you accept it. Whatever happens, you just try to move on if it does."

Reports: Cavs players aren't happy with roster

cavs_lebron_james_110517.jpg

Reports: Cavs players aren't happy with roster

As the Cavaliers fall further and further behind the Celtics, it appears there's some internal grumbling that the problems that have led to eight losses in their past 10 games aren't fixable with Cleveland's current roster.

Multiple reports indicate that a number of "prominent" Cavs  (and there's no more prominent player in the NBA than LeBron James) shared those thoughts with ESPN, Cleveland.com and TheAthletic.com.

After their loss to the NBA-champion Golden State Warriors Monday night in another Finals rematch, the third-place Cavs have dropped 7 1/2 games behind the Celtics and 3 1/2 behind the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference.

The complaints are a clear message to management that a change will be necessary at the trade deadline and, according to Cleveland.com, the offseason acquisition of Isaiah Thomas isn't going over too well. Thomas, who was out until Jan. 2 while he recovered from hip surgery after he was acquired from the Celtics in the Kyrie Irving trade, is shooting 36 percent and is averaging almost as many turnovers (2.4) as assists (3.4). But it's his defense that's hurting the Cavs more. Here's what Cleveland.com's Joe Vardon reported a "league source" told him:

“Rotations are awful. IT is so much worse than Kyrie defensively it’s insane. There is not a great feeling anywhere. They need to limp into the All-Star break and get away from each other.”

Meanwhile, the guy Thomas was traded for has led the Celtics to an East-leading 34-10 record and become a leading MVP candidate.

The Case Against Anthony Davis to the Celtics

The Case Against Anthony Davis to the Celtics

Let’s get this out of the way: the Celtics should absolutely try as hard as possible to land Anthony Davis. Danny Ainge’s track record means any deal that ultimately lands “The Brow” would, at worst, be fair, and at best, be a steal.

That said, there are arguments to be made against an Anthony Davis trade. Here they are:

1. GARY TANGUAY CAN'T BE RIGHT
This is more important than anything else. Gary Tanguay cannot have this win. We can’t validate his reckless speculation with a Davis-to-Celtics deal. Banner 18 is not worth the years of Gary telling us he was right about this. All joking aside, let’s give Tanguay some credit for predicting this, even if it was luck.

2. ACQUISITION COST
Freedom isn’t free and neither is a 24-year-old mega-star. It’s important to realize that the Celtics are not the only team making this trade. The Pelicans will, justifiably, need one of the biggest return packages in NBA history in order to move Anthony Davis. For starters, say goodbye to Jayson Tatum. The C’s wunderkind looks like a future star and there’s just no way New Orleans makes this deal without him. Ditto for the Lakers/Kings pick acquired from the 76ers this summer and at least one more future first-rounder. Did we mention Al Horford yet? His salary is almost a must in any deal for Davis. 

MORE CELTICS:

I’m not positive a package of Tatum, Horford and every future pick of value is enough to convince the Pelicans to trade Davis. If I’m New Orleans, I’m asking for Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Horford and the LAL/SAC pick for Davis and the ridiculously expensive corpse of Omer Asik. So yeah, the Celtics have positioned themselves to pull off a deal of this magnitude, but it’s sure gonna cost them.

3. FINANCIAL COST
Including Horford in a deal for Davis lessens the blow of adding another max player; however, the Celtics will also be trading at least one of their rookie-scale starters, and that cannot be overlooked. Tatum and Brown aren’t just potential All-Stars, they are cost-controlled starters who the Celtics are paying a combined $10.6 million this season. The other seven Eastern Conference playoff teams (as of Tuesday) are paying an average of $36M for their starting SG/SF combos. Losing one or both of Tatum and Brown means the C’s will be pinching pennies to try and fill out their starting lineup. The calculus gets much harder when Kyrie Irving opts-out of his deal after next season.

4. INJURY CONCERNS
Davis is an absolute stud when he’s on the floor. The problem is he’s often sidelined with injuries. Davis has never played more than 75 games in a season, averaging 67 games through his first five years in the NBA (he’s already missed seven games this year). Davis’ alien-like size/athleticism combo make him a devastating two-way force, but might also make him injury prone for his entire career. Similar to Joel Embiid of the 76ers, Davis sometimes seems too big and fast for his own good, crashing to the floor at a rate rivaled only by Kelly Olynyk.

5. DOES HE MOVE THE NEEDLE ENOUGH?
Is Davis good enough to overcome reasons 1-4 on this list? Going by individual stats, absolutely. Davis has the third-highest career Player Efficiency Rating (PER) in NBA history, trailing only Michael Jordan and LeBron James. But that individual success has only led to a 165-206 record and one playoff appearance for the Pelicans franchise. Before this season, the Davis-led Pelicans boasted a top-10 offense once in five seasons. It’s the same on the defensive end, with one top-10 finish in Davis’ first five years. If Davis is such a game changer, how come he hasn’t been able to impact winning at a greater clip? Most of that can probably be blamed on Pelicans management for doing a terrible job building around him, but it should be a question the Celtics ask before trading just about everything to acquire him.

The Celtics would be crazy turning down the chance to add Davis to a core of Irving, Gordon Hayward and Brad Stevens, even if it does mean Tanguay can brag for the rest of his life. Ainge has assembled a super team before and you better believe he’s on the phone right now trying to do it again.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE