Rondo Leads Celtics’ L.A. Retreat

 

The player who allegedly was the source of the Boston Celtics’ deepest friction last season now seems determined to be the spark of deeper togetherness.

Point guard Rajon Rondo, cited as one reason teammate Ray Allen bolted the Celtics for Miami over the summer, was the ringleader of a Boston-in-Los Angeles week, as reported by Yahoo! Sports NBA writer Marc Spears. The feisty playmaker who has been such a love/hate/trade object for basketball boss Danny Ainge took it upon himself to plan what Spears called “a week of bonding.”

One of the first steps was welcoming a couple of new teammates — Jason Terry and Courtney Lee — to Boston’s L.A. retreat.

“I wanted J.T. to play with Kevin [Garnett]. I wanted Courtney to see how Paul [Pierce] likes to play. I wanted Paul and Jeff Green to go at each other,” Rondo told Yahoo! Sports. “I wanted to play with those guys. It was getting guys away from our actual training facility to get a new view.

“I wanted the guys to have fun. When you’re with me I want you to say, ‘Man, I had a good time with Rondo.’ And I think that’s what they did.”

So the Celtics worked out together at UCLA, broke bread and spent free time together (Pierce and Garnett own homes in the area). For five days they hung out, newcomers, rookies and veterans alike – only the most recent signee, Darko Milicic, wasn’t there.

They even crosstrained, Spears wrote.

To add some fun, Rondo also put together a flag football game at UCLA that included referees. Rondo said the only Celtics that didn’t play were Pierce and 7-foot, 255-pound rookie Fab Melo “because he might hurt somebody.” Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith, a close friend of Rondo’s, also played.

“My team won,” Rondo said. “We dominated. I had seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. I had a nice kickoff return back. We had fun. K.G. was the quarterback of the other team, but they had to sub him out because he wasn’t getting any touchdowns.”

For all the good fellowship, a lot of focus remains on a player who wasn’t there – Allen, so vital to the Big-Three-Plus-One success for five seasons. A personality clash between the shooting guard and the point guard, both on and off the floor, was said to contribute to Allen’s snub of a fatter free-agent contract offer from Boston. And earlier this month, when Rondo made an appearance on BET’s “106th & Park” show, he blew off a question about Allen by saying, “Oh, that guy.”

His comments after the L.A. getaway were more thoughtful.

Rondo admitted the two didn’t always get along, but he also said he respected Allen as a player.

“People act like because me and Ray didn’t get along or they think me and Ray didn’t get along that I’m a bad person or he’s a bad person,” Rondo said. “No. It’s just life. If you look at your job, everyone doesn’t always get along with every co-worker they work with. It’s just part of life. People are blowing the Ray thing out of proportion. We had some words, but other than that it was no big deal.

“There were so many rumors like I was looking Ray off. Why would I look Ray off? That doesn’t make sense. He’s the best shooter, so why would I look him off? People can see it how they want to. They can talk to Ray. But from my standpoint, he made his decision. I don’t know why he made the decision, but he made the decision. I don’t think it had anything to do with me.”

Even if it did, that “me” might be changing as Rondo assumes more of a leadership role for the Celtics. Allen is gone, Pierce and Garnett are in twilight and there is serious turnover on this season’s roster. The group will head overseas for training camp before games in Turkey and Italy, and it will be on Rondo, as the guy with the ball in his hands, to piece things together ASAP.

Said Rondo: “I know exactly what [coach Doc Rivers] wants, especially for me and this team. I’m trying to lead the team the best that I can.”

How far does Rondo think he can lead them? Back to the top.

While he calls the defending champion Heat “the team to beat,” he thinks the remodeled Celtics have enough talent to dethrone them.

“We won a championship and that’s great, but I don’t want to settle,” Rondo said. “I have a lot of NBA time left on my clock and I got the talent around me. Everyone can’t say they can compete for a championship each year. With the talent around me now with the Celtics, it’s time to obtain that goal.

“There are only five teams right now that can say they can compete for a title realistically. And we’re one of them.”

34 Comments

  1. skeo says:

    we the best baby (boston celtics)

  2. DW says:

    Darko is like 3x better than Steimsma….at least it’s an upgrade.

    • dattebayo says:

      I didn’t catch many Celtics games so I mostly saw him in flashes in the playoffs and Stiemsma picked up fouls real quick, which many Celtic fans would like to blame on biased officiating. When I look at all the relevant stats, Darko shoots 20% less at the line, he shot 10% less from the field (he plays at center and can’t shoot and he has a FG% of 45% which means he missed a lot of layups) and his per 36 minutes stats are either lower or the same as Stiemsmas.

      Now would you like to tell me how Darko, who has an inch over Stiemsma, who gets less rebounds and less blocks and shoots worse from the field and at the line, is 3x better than Stiemsma? Stiemsa was a rookie and Darko is a 9 year veteran who won’t get better or younger. Not sure if Stiemsma can improve in any way, but who knows.

  3. dattebayo says:

    Rondo should not sleep on the Pacers either, they will be a force again and they added Mahinmi and Young along with Augustin. Maybe George will take the next step and be more productive too.

    Spurs, Lakers, OKC, Heat, Celtics and Pacers are contenders, I am looking forward to see the Clips and Knicks establish themselves and I will enjoy Minnesota first run to the playoffs in a long time. The best thing would be a Clippers-Lakers series and a rematch with Miami and Chicago and Miami vs Boston.

    btw. imagine Stiemsma with no heart and no effort on the court and you will know what Darko has brought to the T-Wolves last season. I doubt he will be helpful….

  4. Kamote says:

    Don’t sleep on Boston yet… looking forward to another Heat – Celtics series.

  5. Randie says:

    Rondo is COMPLETELY FULL OF HIMSELF and an EGOTISTICAL SOB

  6. Ron says:

    Miami has a dynasty poised team! Boston’s days of “running” the East are behind them as long as Miami can stay healthy. You think Ray Allen won’t play better in a Miami uniform?? U are kidding yourself! He’s playing with a YOUNGER more talented big three!

    • Boston101 says:

      yeah…but atfer the big 3 who do they have Ron? it took them 6 games, 3 quarters and 10 minutes before they FINALLY escaped a injury ridden Celtics team last year. Rondo’s problem with Allen is going to follow him to Miami. He’s(Allen) to dependant on others to help facilitate his scoring. ALL Miami did was pick up to players in Rashard Lewis and Allen that were both hurt much of last year and you’re banking on that. 2 has been perimeter players who are BOTH defensive liabilities…..Really Ron??????

  7. Lance says:

    What about the Clippers? Jamal Crawford and now Chauncey’s back…

  8. El Drake Shell says:

    Let’s Go KNICKS!!!

  9. Jon says:

    I agree – I would not be surprised to see the Celtics win it all. If Ray Allen, Jeff Green an Avery Bradly were all healthy last year I’m sure they could have beat a Heat team with a healthy Chris Bosh. Re-loading with JET, some rookie bigs and good health (Green, Bradly) and they are right up there.

    5 Contenders (in no particular order)
    Miami, L.A. Boston, Oklahoma City, San Antonio
    Unproven wildcard – N.Y.

  10. atatna says:

    healthy miami and healthy celtics? MIami will dominate the celtics…..

    • Peter says:

      When both teams met healthy last year (regular season) Boston dominated, and in the Playoffs when Miami were healthier then Boston (we had FAR more injuries) Boston still dominated until the Vets ran out of wind in the final quarter of game 7.

      It’s going to be a great series that could go either way, but if you think Miami will dominate you’re dreaming. Last season in the playoffs out primary backups were Keyon Dooling, Marquis Daniels and an injured Mickeal Pietrus. This year it’s Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and Jeff Green.

    • Kyle says:

      last year Miami BARELY beat Boston which had almost half of it’s roster injured. you know nothing.

    • aaaaaa says:

      Even with Ray and Rashard, the Celtics are far superior. They are deeper than the Heat. The Heat rely on their starting 5, Mike Miller, and now Ray and Rashard. The Celtics have their starting 5, Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Jeff Green, Chris Wilcox, and possibly Sullinger if he can adjust quickly. The Celtics are overall better, but I can’t wait to see what actually happens. If they meet in the playoffs again, it is going to be one amazing series.

  11. renz_garnett says:

    is the five teams he is talking about are the
    lakers heat thunder bulls and celtics??

  12. LA-shines says:

    its hard for me to admit this as a die hard laker fan for years, but i trully hope for rondo’s success in the nba. he deserves it one helluva player, i hope they DESTROY the heat in their opener

  13. Linsanity says:

    thunder, lakers, heat cetics and whos the fifth team?

  14. matchen12345 says:

    i really hope the team chemistry and overall feel of how tight knit the celtics players are will rub off on him, ultimately leading him to beantown… a lineup of rondo, bradley, green, smith and a cheap center once KG retires would wreck havoc on defense and in transition, yikes.

  15. matchen12345 says:

    i hope josh smith saw a thing or two about team chemistry and makes his way somehow to beantown… a lineup of rondo, bradley, green, smith and a cheap center would wreck havoc on defense and in transition, yikes.

    • aaaaaa says:

      Well we have KG for 3 more years, and I think Paul has 2 or 3 left as of right now, but he may decided to keep playing, so don’t count him out yet. But I agree, that would be amazing, and Smith’s contract is running out this year and he still hasn’t got an extension from Atlanta yet…..

  16. god says:

    i think boston is going to think about ray allen, if he scores alot in miami.
    especially boston vs miami

  17. danito says:

    the jet is way better than ray at this piont of there career. so boston still a contender, ray turned out to a role player last season and he was horrible in the playoff. iam not mad that he left. specially when we got back a better player . as long as rondo, garnet and pierce together . there is always a chance to win a championship.

  18. celtics fan says:

    Rondo has been a leader for the Celtics for at least 2 years know i think he is trying to form chemistry and a bond
    with some of his new team mates. that is a definition of a true leader right there

  19. fanofafan says:

    WTF???? Darko? Danny Ainge what are you thinking?

    • Rob says:

      lmao they pulled him out of his program in serbia way to early he was only 17 and didnt develop into what he couldve been right away.. spent most of the time on the bench because it was the championship pistons at the time.. he made big strides in minesota, just watch he’s going to be huge for the celtics because they’re so soft in the post. He’s actually a leader in blocks if you take in to consideration minutes played. Seen him get 5 a game regularly..pretty sure thats up there with Ibaka

  20. Deadp0etic19 says:

    Darko on the team?! Seriously?!

  21. P.J says:

    “That Guy” lol i love it when they refer to traitor big baby Ray Allen “that Guy” lol…

  22. erik says:

    It’s the Lakers title to lose. LA all Day