Jae Crowder to Celtics: Latest Trade Details, Scouting Report and Reaction

As part of Thursday’s blockbuster deal that sent All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks, the Boston Celtics got a versatile forward in Jae Crowder as part of their return.   

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports provided the full details of the landmark trade:

Boston is in the midst of a rebuilding effort and evidently felt good enough about the assets it was getting in return to ship away such a transcendent talent as Rondo.

Although an expiring contract necessitated a Rondo trade so the Celtics wouldn’t come up empty in the event he walked this offseason, Crowder is an interesting new piece to the Boston equation.

Vice’s Jack Moore believes Crowder is a nice fit for Celtics coach Brad Stevens’ system:

Crowder is known most for his ability to defend multiple positions. He can guard anywhere from the 2 to the 4 depending on matchups, thanks to his length, athleticism and quickness. All indications are that Crowder has a great work ethic, evident in his significant weight drop from his rookie NBA campaign.

Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com reported in October what Crowder had to say regarding his still-developing game, which has to put Boston fans at a bit more ease after losing such a big-time player in Rondo:

I’m trying to make plays on the other end, not just be one-dimensional. I’m a much better player than just a defensive player, but I do bring a lot of defense to my team and that is what has gotten me on the court in my two years in the league. I’m just trying to grow my game and expand my game as much as possible.

That Crowder can also keep opponents honest as a decent and improving three-point shooter (34.2 percent this season) is an added bonus.

Any scoring Crowder can add is ideal, but he’s needed most in his area of expertise as he prepares to join the Celtics’ rotation. Although Stevens is finding ways to have his squad as the sixth-ranked scoring offense in the NBA entering Thursday’s games, Boston is 27th in scoring defense.

A major part of the reason the Celtics engage in so many shootouts is that they deploy the fastest pace in the Association, averaging 100.49 possessions per 48 minutes, per NBA.com.

Crowder’s skill set and strengths fit exceptionally well into what Stevens is trying to get Boston to do. The 24-year-old can be a great energy guy off the bench, play big minutes and continue developing into a better player.

Those are some of the overarching goals for players contributing to Stevens’ reconstruction of a revered NBA franchise. Thus, Crowder is a prototypical new-age Celtic from a schematic and chemistry standpoint.  

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Celtics co-owner: 2024 Olympics would be ‘boon for Beantown’

Bringing the 2024 Summer Olympics to Boston would be “transformative” and would “set the course for what we want our city and the commonwealth to look like for decades to come,” the co-chair of Boston’s 2024 finance committee writes.
 
Stephen Pagliuca, better known around Boston as co-owner and managing partner of the Celtics, wrote an article posted on BankerandTradesman.com outlining his financial argument for the city hosting the summer games. He sought to dispel logistical and economic concerns raised by opponents of Boston’s bid.
Pagliuca wrote that TV revenues have outgrown costs in recent years and that some host sites, such as Salt Lake City, ended with a charitable surplus — despite much of the infrastructure built for the 2002 Olympics now being shuttered.
To join the Boston 2024 governing board, Pagliuca added, members must make a non-negotiable pledge that “tax dollars will not be used to build venues or pay for the operation of the Games.”
Boston is one of four U.S. c

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Warriors’ Bogut out indefinitely after PRP therapy (Yahoo Sports)

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 2: Andrew Bogut #12 of Golden State Warriors handles the ball against the Orlando Magic on December 2, 2014 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Just as they have the past two seasons, the Golden State Warriors will have to get by without center Andrew Bogut for an undetermined amount of time.


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Derrick Rose Injury: Updates on Bulls Star’s Illness and Return

Derrick Rose can now add “illness” to the list of things that have forced him to sit games this season.

The Chicago Bulls point guard is battling an illness and will be out against the New York Knicks on Thursday night, according to ESPNChicago.com’s Nick Friedell:

Rose’s history of missing games is well known by now. From 2011-12 through 2013-14, the former NBA MVP missed a total of 181 regular-season games.

Early in the 2014-15 NBA season, Rose sprained his left ankle in an eventual 114-108 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Then came a hamstring injury in a Nov. 13 game against the Toronto Raptors. Neither of the two ailments was serious, but they both served as warnings for how quickly things can turn sour for the 26-year-old.

Having spent so much time off the court due to his inability to stay healthy, Rose has earned the label of “being soft.” He hit back at those critics in November, per Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com:

Chicago fans will breathe easy knowing that Rose is only battling a bug and should be back after a few days. As Friedell mentioned, Jimmy Butler was sick recently, which didn’t stop the shooting guard from asking to stay on the court.

There’s no question that the Bulls will need a healthy Rose in order to be a serious threat to win the Eastern Conference. Last season’s fourth-place finish proves that Chicago can finish well without him, but an early-round exit seems likely if Rose isn’t on the floor.

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Celtics reopen talks for Rondo trade

The Mavericks, Rockets, Kings, Lakers and Pacers have all spoken to the Celtics.

      
 

 

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Rajon Rondo reportedly traded to Mavericks

Rajon Rondo is headed to Dallas. After a 24-hour span of heavy negotiations and rumors, the Boston Celtics have finally agreed to a trade involving their franchise point guard. ESPN SportsCenter says the Mavs are sending Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright, Jameer Nelson and two draft picks to Boston in return for Rondo and Dwight Powell….Read More

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Paul Pierce Providing Blueprint for Graceful NBA Aging

Forget the 10 All-Star nods, the 2007-08 NBA Finals MVP and the championship ring. What Paul Pierce is doing now may be his most remarkable achievement yet.

He’s aging gracefully—completing the nearly impossible transition from superstar to sage with ease. He’s leading the Washington Wizards to a level they couldn’t possibly have reached without him.

Former coach and current ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy has offered up a truism borrowed from Bill Walsh dozens of times over the years. His steadfast belief in a nutshell: The hardest player to coach is the aging star in decline.

Pride and stubbornness are valuable traits for athletes, and it sometimes seems the best ones have more of both. The greater the player, the harder it is to subjugate those qualities, and the reluctance to accept declining skill has made for more than a few uncomfortable final chapters.

Pierce has become the exception to the rule, managing his physical slippage smartly and leaning on the most valuable commodity in his arsenal: hard-earned experience. As a result, he’s been a blessing, not a burden, to head coach Randy Wittman and the Wizards.

His fit with this team has just been perfect,” Wittman said, per Jay King of MassLive.com. “The cohesiveness is always an important factor in my mind that you have to have to be a good team. It’s just not based solely on talent. And those are the things that Paul has brought here right from the start.”

 

The Right History

As rare as Pierce’s successful transition is, we probably should have seen it coming. His career has been marked by distinct phases that prepared Pierce to handle change better than most.

B/R’s Michael Pina wrote shortly after Pierce signed with Washington, “Few players of his stature know more about sacrifice, and the level of individual statistical forfeiture necessary to create team success on a consistent basis. He’s made the playoffs 11 times, knows what it takes to get there and why more times than not things don’t go as planned.”

From draft snub to low-percentage one-man show in his early days, Pierce morphed into a more efficient scorer and team leader. Then, he relinquished shots and control when the Boston Celtics brought on Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.

That evolution belied a willingness to put the team first, a necessary trait for graceful NBA aging. If ego or the desire to prove “I’ve still got it” trumps the team, you get the sadder stories: gunners playing the same game they always have with decreasing success. It’s playing out this way for Kobe Bryant right now, but he’s hardly the first.

Michael Jordan fizzled with the Wizards. Allen Iverson chucked to the end.

The other extreme for aging players is similarly dangerous. Some sit around and talk, serving as locker room influencers but doing precious little to back up their chatter on the court. You could argue the all-talk veteran is less harmful to a team than the defiant chucker, but it’s difficult for even the wisest words to hit home if the young players listening know he can’t get the job done anymore.

 

The Right Mix

Pierce is not a rocking-chair leader.

He doesn’t sit teetering back and forth in the locker room spouting cliches about grit and the old days. He knows the key element to veteran leadership is showing (if only occasionally) that there’s some skill left to support the sagacity.

His stats are stable, essentially identical to what they were last year on a per-minute basis. His player efficiency rating of 17.0, per Basketball-Reference.com, shows he’s still an above-average contributor.

More importantly, Pierce has shown the ability to channel some of his past clutch glory—like he did on Dec. 8 in a double-overtime win against the Boston Celtics. In that game, Pierce ably defended Jeff Green, holding him to 1-of-6 shooting in the extra frames despite playing with five fouls. He also drilled a game-tying three with 38 seconds left in the first overtime and took a pivotal charge on Green in the second.

Aging the right way is tricky. It’s not all about dispensing advice and setting an example. Sometimes, it’s also about picking spots to send a message with actual play.

 

The Right Place

Speaking of picking spots, Pierce couldn’t have chosen a better one than Washington.

He tried the all-vet thing in Brooklyn, and it didn’t work. There, his value as an old head wasn’t as great because old heads were all the Nets had. He needed an audience more receptive to what he had to offer.

Over the summer, Pierce found the right team—one with an upward trajectory, young talent and a leadership void. And it couldn’t have worked out better.

The Wizards took to him immediately.

“That’s what I think makes him great. He’s a true warrior. He’s a leader. I’ve been here for a week now, and I work with him every day. I play with him every day. It’s ridiculous how people follow his lead,” Marcin Gortat told CSN Washington’s J. Michael just a week into training camp.

It’s tempting to say Pierce could have had a similar impact on any young team. But that discounts the young Wizards’ willingness to learn. Pierce and Washington were and are the perfect match.

 

Paying It Forward

The result of Pierce mastering the aging process is the best version of the Wizards we’ve seen in 40 years. They’re a dozen games over .500 and right in the thick of the race for the Eastern Conference’s top seed.

After crashing the playoffs as a happy-to-be-here upstart, the Wizards are aiming higher now.

Best of all, Pierce is empowering his younger teammates.

He’s inspiring Bradley Beal, per CSN Washington’s Ben Standig: “I was telling Brad [Beal] on the bench in the fourth quarter that when I look at this team from top to bottom, our depth, when guys get hurt…You see similarities to teams that have made long playoff runs and made it to the finals.”

And he’s pumping up John Wall, as he did after that huge win over the Celtics, per Truth About It’s Rashad Mobley: “He’s our leader,” Pierce said of Wall. “Everyone talks about Paul the veteran, but he’s our leader.”

The final stage of Pierce’s rare, successful evolution will come long after he’s gone—when we see his students become teachers themselves. Twelve or 15 years from now, when we watch a weathered, weary Wall and Beal dispensing wisdom and contributing in short bursts, we’ll see the full payoff of Pierce’s influence.

It’s hard to age as well as Pierce has, but his example could make it easier for the next crop.

As long as they’re willing to follow the blueprint.

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Dallas Mavericks Follow Rajon Rondo On Twitter As Trade Plot Thickens

It’s pretty much official now. Rajon Rondo is going to the Dallas Mavericks. We know because Twitter said so.
The Mavericks either jumped the gun on a potential trade with the Boston Celtics or pulled off an epic subtle troll job on the basketball-watching universe Thursday when they followed Rondo on Twitter. Basketball Insiders’ Alex Kennedy had the keen eye.

The Mavs followed Rondo on Twitter. youtu.be/5JSCbEKsguQ http://t.co/uqaEMB8NpO— Ben Watanabe (@BenjeeBallgame) December 18, 2014
The plot thickens.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports ImagesFiled under: Boston Celtics, NBA, Top Stories, Twitter

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Larry Sanders Suspended 1 Game for Flagrant Foul: Latest Details and Reaction

The hits just keep coming for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Center Larry Sanders pushed Portland Trail Blazers wing Nicolas Batum from behind in Wednesday’s 104-97 loss, and it was upgraded to a flagrant-2 foul call. That will cost the Bucks big man a one-game suspension, keeping him out for the second game of a back-to-back against Sacramento on Thursday.    

The Bucks’ official Twitter account reported the news of Sanders’ suspension and also described the incident that led to it:

Below is video footage of Sanders’ foul:

Andrew Gruman of FoxSportsWisconsin.com notes how Milwaukee may be without another one of its key contributors versus the Kings. He also analyzed the squad’s unfavorable frontcourt situation:

Standout rookie Jabari Parker tore his ACL in Monday’s win over Phoenix, so it’s been quite an adverse week for the Bucks to say the least.    

Coach Jason Kidd has his work cut out to shuffle the rotation for Thursday’s game. No one can replace Sanders’ ability to alter shots in the paint, and there are few alternatives to turn to as is. Zaza Pachulia will likely get the start in Sanders’ place.

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Wilbon angry at DC for not supporting Wizards

The Washington Wizards are out to a fast start with an 18-6 record and 13-2 at home. With this record, you’d fans would be flocking to the Verizon Center to support their team. However, on Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers, the attendance was well short of a sellout and that has ESPN’s Michael Wilbon seeing red.
Wilbon called out DC fans during an appearance on Tony Kornheiser’s radio show this week:

“… are the Redskins all that Washington can follow? They can’t follow two things, sports fans here? Because the Wizards are on to something, Tony. And I don’t mean they’re on to something because they’re not 9-20. First of all, even if they had a more mediocre record, they’re really, I think, one of the four or five most appealing teams in the entire league, in terms of the way they play, the chemistry they have on the court, the personalities. They seem to be just the nicest people. And I have now been around them for a couple of weeks over a period of time to just sort of observe,

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