ORLANDO — Even with the acquisitions of center Tyler Zeller and guard Marcus Thornton in a three-team deal, the Celtics appear headed for another lean rebuilding year unless they’re able to acquire an impact player this offseason.
The Celtics’ brass has stated there is still plenty of offseason left, giving them time to create some “fireworks” that co-owner Wyc Grousbeck forecasted.
The Cavaliers received Thornton from the Nets, and then sent him, Zeller, and a 2016 first-round pick to the Celtics. The Cavaliers also traded veteran guard Jarrett Jack and swingman Sergey Karasev to the Nets. Boston gave up only a second-round pick.
Still, before Wednesday’s trade was agreed upon, Rajon Rondo said he understood the team’s stalled position in the hunt for top talent, in part because the NBA’s two biggest free agents have yet to make up their minds, leaving the rest of the league in a holding pattern.
“Obviously everybody is waiting on [Carmelo Anthony] and LeBron [James], so I’m not anxious at all,” Rondo said during a recent interview at his basketball camp in Louisville, Ky. “I have a lot going on here. I can only worry about what I can control — that’s myself and my game. Obviously, nothing’s happened, but I still trust Danny [Ainge]. Danny wants to win, so we’ll make something happen.”
James and Anthony are expected to announce their decisions soon, ending days of drama as teams flew around the country to pitch woo at them.
Because Rondo is entering the final season of his contract, he stands to be an unrestricted free agent during the summer of 2015. He has said that he would like to stay in Boston long term, but that he’s also intrigued by free agency.
And though much can happen between now and next summer, Rondo was asked if he could envision himself being a free agent who, like Anthony, toured the country to be wined and dined by several teams.
“It just depends,” Rondo said. “I don’t know if I’m going to do 10 teams. I may do a lot. I don’t know. It’s kind of like college all over again, with recruiting, only times 50 because they have a ton of money to throw at the guys and they don’t have any restrictions on what they can do. No [NCAA] rules.
“But I haven’t even watched TV. I don’t want much TV. I’ve been traveling a lot, spending time with my kids. I don’t even know what’s going on with free agency, who’s traded, who’s not. My assistant will text me and let me know what’s going on, but I don’t really get into it all. Everybody is different, situations are different. Who knows what I’ll do next year? I’ll know when I get there. But if I don’t get a text message saying I’m traded, I don’t even really know what’s going on.”
The Celtics improved to 2-1 in summer league play by beating the Detroit Pistons, 92-90, at the Orlando Magic’s practice facility Wednesday night.
Kelly Olynyk led six Celtics in double figures with 16 points. He also had nine rebounds. Marcus Smart, the No. 6 overall pick, finished with 14 points and six assists. Smart’s shooting struggles continued, as he shot 4 for 13 from the floor in 31 minutes.
Fellow first-rounder James Young (neck) again sat out for precautionary reasons after being in a recent minor car accident. He isn’t expected to play the rest of the week.
There was a scary moment late in the third quarter when Dairis Bertans, a Latvian guard who is playing for the Celtics, hit his head hard on the stanchion after being fouled on a drive late in the third quarter.
Bertans gave two thumbs up as he was wheeled off the court on a stretcher with his head and neck stabilized.
His CT scan came back negative for any fractures, the Celtics announced.
He was set to be discharged from the hospital late Wednesday, but his game status going forward was undetermined.
The Celtics are scheduled to play the Magic at 5 p.m. Thursday on CSN and NBA TV.
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