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Please don't take this analogy too far, but reporters interviewing Danny Ainge can be compared to a police investigator trying to get information from a suspect. A lot of talk without telling you anything.

But there is often a bit of information that is meaningful, and I call those Danny signals. My CelticsLife article, Predicting Boston's next move- August 24, 2017 has more on the subject. This is not a strong clue, but it gives us something (per MassLive's Jay King):


"Everybody wanted us to sign an experienced point guard and I refused to do that," Ainge said. "Because I wanted Rondo to get a chance, and I think a veteran point guard would have prevented him from getting the chance he ultimately got. So i'm not saying we have Rondo (in Boston right now). I'm not suggesting that at all. I'm just saying I want to see who our guys are before we make those decisions. And there will be decisions to be made as the season goes on."

We'll get to the Rondo situation in a minute, but you can see I highlighted portions of Danny's speech. In response to the "Everybody wanted us to sign..." part, it is time for the ever-present chant, we want JaMychal Green. And I still like this guy. More on this further on.



The "wanted Rondo to get a chance" portion tends to indicate there is at least one player at training camp, perhaps more, either currently signed or not, that he strongly feels can contribute significantly right away and down the road. The "not saying we have Rondo" could mean that he thinks he does. Probably not a point guard, but a player at another position. And the insistent "I'm not suggesting that at all." indicated to me that he feels he has said too much already.

So what was the deal with Rondo? He was drafted 21st overall in 2006, and Danny, seeing the latent talent, traded for him. Rajon did contribute quite a bit in his rookie year but his progress was hindered by the presence of Sebastian Telfair and Delonte West. In Rondo's second season, after Telfair and West moved on, he orchestrated the play of his team to the NBA Championship.

What position are we looking at here? It is the power forward spot. There's a clue. In the following two Ainge quotes, the first shows some worry about the frontcourt, and the second indicates concern about the outcome of the Marcus Morris trial (per Mass Live's Jay King):

"I don't know (about the frontcourt)," Ainge added. "Right now I'm okay. We haven't played a game yet, but right now I'm fine. ...

"We'll just wait like everyone else to see what happens there, but we feel good about what will happen," Ainge said. "At the same time we understand what possibilities exist, but we've been keeping close tabs on the trial."

Here is the question Danny has in his mind. Can anyone in training camp take that PF spot and run with it if Morris is not available? That someone could be Semi Ojeleye, Guerschon Yabusele or Daniel Theis. We don't need a star here. Here is MassLive's Jay King on Theis:

-- Is Theis an NBA power forward? A center? I'm not sure, but he might be a bit like Jonas Jerebko - stretchy enough to handle perimeter responsibilities, rugged enough to compete for rebounds, and not quite big enough or skilled enough to emerge as a force.

Training camp may supply an answer. The door has not closed on JaMychal Green. He is a 27-year-old, 6'9" RFA, and he rebounds and hits free throws and threes. He played 27.3 minutes per game for the Grizzlies last season. I extrapolated that number to a projected 32 minutes and came up with 10.6 points and 8.4 rebounds. Memphis is going nowhere this season. A sign-and-trade would work.

You get the picture. Ainge and Brad Stevens are paying close attention to the PF spot at training camp and the direction of the Morris trial. They are also watching the Memphis/Green saga. If Danny thinks Semi, Yabu or Daniel can contribute significantly this year and flourish next year (like Rondo), he will go with that. If not, the Green situation is coming down to the wire, and any potential move would have to be done soon. Is there a PF-version of Rondo in training camp? We'll know shortly. That's the way I see it. How about our readers?

Top photo via Charles Krupa/AP

Tom Lane 9/27/2017 11:35:00 AM Edit
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