The 2013 offseason has marked a complete transformation for the Boston Celtics, making them one of the most intriguing teams heading into next season.
Gone are Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers, three mainstays from the latest era of playoff contending Celtics squads. In their stead are former Butler head coach Brad Stevens and a core of young players that the team will be looking to develop.
The addition of Stevens means some likely turnover on the coaching staff as well. It also means a likely acclimation period is on the horizon as players get used to his style of coaching, and also for Stevens himself as he adjusts to the NBA game.
Throw in the fact that star point guard Rajon Rondo is attempting to come back from an ACL injury and there's plenty of buzz about the state of the Celtics.
Here's the latest.
Danny Ainge Expects Rondo to Play in Season Opener
While it's clear that the Celtics are in a rebuilding phase right now, the long-term health of Rajon Rondo is going to be vital to Boston having any success next season.
The four-time All-Star suffered a torn ACL in January, forcing him to miss the rest of the season. While ACL injuries usually don't signal the end of a player's career, Derrick Rose proved last season that judging a player's recovery time from this particular injury is a tricky game.
However, team president Danny Ainge remains optimistic that Rondo will be available for the team's season opener, via Jessica Camerato of CSNNE:
I don't really know a timeline, but when they did the surgery -- and I hate to put pressure on the player -- but I think his goal and a very realistic goal is to be ready Opening Night, Ainge said following head coach's Brad Stevens introductory press conference. I'm guessing that training camp will be maintenance, maybe not do two-a-days, maybe miss a day here or there, but I think that our objective is he'll be ready Opening Night. I haven't heard anything that's suggested otherwise.
With the team probably more interested in garnering a high selection in the 2014 NBA draft than winning an NBA title this year, they'll likely be cautious with Rondo's return. But it's still good news to hear that his recovery is going well.
Stevens Looking to Add More Butler Flavor to Coaching Staff
Now that Brad Stevens has been tabbed as the head man in Beantown, he'll need to get to work putting together a coaching staff.
According to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, Stevens could be looking to add Butler assistant Brandon Miller to his staff:
Brad Stevens said he's could add Butler asst Brandon Miller on #celtics staff depending on Butler coaching search. Miller is candidate— gary washburn (@GwashNBAGlobe) July 5, 2013
As Washburn reports, the addition of Miller to the Celtics staff would be dependent upon him not getting the nod as the Butler Bulldogs' next head coach. He is considered to be a candidate for the opening left behind by Stevens.
Miller has been an assistant at Butler, Ohio State and Illinois but has no experience at the NBA level.
Rondo Reportedly Open to Stevens Hiring
When it was announced that the Boston Celtics would be hiring Brad Stevens as its new head coach, speculation from analysts such as Jeff Goodman of ESPN centered around the potential rocky relationship between Rajon Rondo and the new coach:
Can't wait to see Brad Stevens try and reach Rajon Rondo. He has never dealt with anyone like Rondo. Not even close.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) July 3, 2013
While we'll have to wait and see if the enigmatic star and young coach are able to forge a successful partnership, but Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe reports that a source close to Rondo believes that he is a approaching the situation with "a completely open mind."
Rondo has two years left on his current contract, while Stevens' deal is for six years and $22 million, according to Washburn's report. Based on those contracts, the two will have to make things work for at least two seasons.
For now, it appears the two will get off to a good start.