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NBA Rumors: Rondo Sees Playoffs for Celtics

RUMORS: Rajon Rondo envisions playoffs for Celtics. Steve Nash’s status uncertain. Boston may waive Will Bynum.

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Rondo Believes Celtics Are a Playoff Team

When Rondo looks at all of the C’s’ incongruous parts, and factors in the Stevens effect, he believes the postseason is a realistic goal for this team.

“I believe in Danny (Ainge) and I said it a month ago. I’ve been through it. One year we were the worst team in the league and the next we were the best,” he said of the wild swing between his rookie season and the 2008 Celtics championship team. “Anything can happen. Injuries are a big factor in your success. The trade deadline is a big factor. That’s what makes the NBA exciting.

“But if you give me four guys who are going to compete and play as hard as possible, then I feel like I can win every game.”

via Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald

This would be a surprise, considering the Celtics are a very young team and they won just 25 games last year. However, they have added some new players such as Marcus Smart, James Young, Evan Turner, Marcus Thornton and Tyler Zeller. They also have some returning young players who should continue to improve including Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk among others.

Rondo points out that he’s seen a team go from worst to first so he knows that it’s possible, but it’s worth noting that Boston was able to make that jump to a title team in 2008 because Danny Ainge was able to trade away the team’s young pieces for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. The Celtics obviously didn’t do anything like that over the summer and that’s not a typical jump seen in the NBA.

In the article, Rondo indicates that much of his confidence in the Celtics stems from his faith in their young head coach Brad Stevens.

“He’s very positive — the most positive coach I’ve been around in my career, and it’s hard not to play for a guy like that,” Rondo said of Stevens. “That’s every day — not just in the locker room. He’s that way off the court, with his family. He’s a role model. He has all of the characteristics of a great leader. He’s great at what he does. He’s all about the team.

“The key for any successful team is for everyone to buy in, and he has everyone believing in his plan. If we continue to do that, we’re going to surprise a lot of people.”

Fortunately for the Celtics, they play in the Eastern Conference, which is more wide open than the West. Last year, it only took 38 wins (a losing record) for the Atlanta Hawks to capture the eighth seed in the East. If the conference continues to struggle, it’s possible that Boston could compete for a playoff spot, but it still seems like a long shot given that Rondo is sidelined due to a wrist injury and the team is still so young.

Nash’s Future Up in the Air

Coach Byron Scott ruled out Nash for the Lakers’ exhibition game Sunday against Utah.

“I really don’t know what the future holds for Steve right now,” Scott said. “The one thing I do know, like I said, in talking to him, [is] he wants to play. He wants to play badly.”

via Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com

Steve Nash injured his back moving bags at his home, and now his status is up in the air as the regular season approaches. Byron Scott isn’t sure when his veteran point guard will be available.

Injuries have kept Nash sidelined for all but 65 of a possible 164 games over the last two seasons, so this latest issue is another unfortunate setback for the 40-year-old.

“I expected things to happen. It’s inevitable with everything I’ve gone through that there’s going to be issues adapting back to the game,” Nash said, according to ESPN’s Holmes. “On the other hand, I did get through seven or eight hard days well, which I didn’t do last year. So there is some improvement, and if I can adapt continually once I heal up here, I’ll be back on course.”

When he’ll be able to return to the court remains to be seen. As we covered recently, Nash has indicated that this will be his final season in the NBA.

Celtics May Waive Will Bynum

Mark Bartlestein, agent for Celtics’ Will Bynum, says he and Celts president Danny Ainge have been in ongoing talks regarding Bynum’s future.

Bartlestein said sides plan to “take a deep breath” and play out next week before Celts decide whether to keep or waive newly acquired guard.

Celts acquired Bynum Friday. Says Bartelstein: “We’re going to evaluate the landscape and figure out what’s best for Will and the Celtics.”

via Marc Stein of ESPN (on Twitter)

The Celtics acquired Bynum from the Pistons in exchange for Joel Anthony, but they may decide to waive their newest player.

Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe first reported that the two sides would be meeting over the weekend and that Bynum would likely be waived. Now, according to Stein, it sounds like nothing has been decided and that talks will continue throughout the next week.

Boston currently has 16 guaranteed contracts, meaning they must waive one player prior to the start of the regular season. It sounds like Bynum will be that player. Brad Stevens was asked about the addition of Bynum and seemed unsure about his future in Boston, according to Jay King of MassLive.com.

Bynum’s contract is on the books for $2,915,908 and is in its final year. It seems this trade was simply about getting Anthony’s contract off of the books and trimming Boston’s roster.

Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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