BOSTON (CBS) – The rebuilding phase has begun for the Boston Celtics, though it’s pretty unclear how things are going to go this summer.
There are rumors out there that Boston will make a push for free agent forward Josh Smith, who was high school teammates with point guard Rajon Rondo. But The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn doesn’t see a Rondo-Smith reunion in Boston.
“They worked well together, they’re old friends, but Josh is kind of a mercurial guy like Rondo as far as his attitude and some of the things he does on the court,” Washburn said on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Monday. “It would be an interesting mix. I’m not sure if that’s ever going to happen because it doesn’t help their rebuilding plan. They don’t have the cap space to sign him, so it’s kind of a pipe dream.”
So what is the plan for Danny Ainge? Will the Celtics “tank” next season in hopes of getting a high pick for what is predicted to be a stacked draft?
“It’s tough to tank. You can’t, with a salary cap, trade all your high-priced players for low-priced players,” said Washburn. “Gerald Wallace is going to play hard, Rondo, Bradley, Green, they’re all going to play hard. You can’t shut them down.”
“They just can’t go back to the bad days and not have the fan base suspect something is up,” he said. “You can’t depend on the draft lottery; they did in 1997 and 2007 and they failed both times. You can’t go from having all these vets with a high-salary team to losing 70 games. That’s a tough transition. You have to be really bad, and the Celtics aren’t really bad.”
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“I think the plan is get better eventually, but remember, they have a lot of cap space in 2015. This is going to be a transition, a bridge,” said Washburn. “If you have a 12-win team, you’re not going to be able to sign free agents. You can’t bring a coach in here to tank. You have to have something to attract a free agent. The city of Boston, as great as it is, for an NBA player it’s not a sales point. Now you can’t even say we’re going to play for Doc. It’s cold weather, a tough sports town that is tough on their athletes, and a team that won 18 games, that’s not going to draw a premium free agent to Boston.”