Getting the ball rolling
Celtics ship off Davis to Orlando as camp begins
WALTHAM - The sound and fury of trade rumors surrounding Rajon Rondo were so deafening he didn’t even realize one of his teammates had actually been dealt.
He said he checked his text messages and Twitter to find out Glen Davis had been traded yesterday on the first day of Celtics training camp.
“I didn’t hear his name at all,’’ he said. “I just found out maybe a couple hours ago.’’
Davis will be shipped to the Orlando Magic in a sign-and-trade deal that will bring Brandon Bass to Boston. The Celtics will lose an emotional player but a willing workhorse who wanted to take the last shot (even if it may have been out of his range), and was just as willing to take every charge. They gain an athletic forward coming off a career year.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he and Davis talked yesterday.
“We had a very good conversation, a very emotional conversation,’’ Rivers said. “When it’s with Baby, it’s always emotional. But it was good emotion, and I wish him well.’’
Davis’s four-year career in Boston could have been a reality TV show. His emotions were on display since he was a rookie, tearing up on the bench after being heavily criticized by Kevin Garnett. But that first season Davis won a championship ring. His confidence soared his second season when he filled in for an injured Garnett in the playoffs and he averaged 16 points. His winning shot in Game 4 of the Celtics’ second-round series against the Magic might be the biggest of his career. He accidentally stampeded a teenage boy after the shot.
His most infamous moment might have come in 2009, when he broke his hand after getting into a fight with a friend days before the season opener. He missed nearly half the season.
Davis’s relationship with Rivers ran hot and cold. He would call Rivers a father figure, then say he had no idea what his role was.
“It will be different,’’ Rivers said. “There will be less news, for sure.’’
With the team still putting the final touches on the deal, Rivers was cautious about discussing Bass.
“I think he’d be a good fit here,’’ Rivers said. “I just like his energy, I like his athleticism. I like the intensity that he’ll bring every night.’’
The Celtics are down to just four pieces from the 2008 title team. From James Posey to Eddie House to Tony Allen to Kendrick Perkins, they’ve seen several hard-hat players leave, and Davis is the latest.
“You hate to see a guy like Glen go, a guy who played on a championship team, a guy who I’ve grown so close to,’’ said Paul Pierce, who worked out with Davis during the lockout. “But you know I’ve been around and I’ve seen a lot of trades and I’ve seen a lot of guys that I’ve had relationships with go. It’s hard seeing Perk go. It was hard seeing Tony Allen go and it’s going to be hard seeing Big Baby go, but that still doesn’t change our friendship off the court. I just hope at the end of the day that he’s happy.’’
The first day of practice was essentially a meet-and-greet because there were so many new faces.
“Everything that has happened has been so odd,’’ said Ray Allen. “When I walked in here today, I didn’t know who half the guys were. So it was like trying to put the pieces together and deal with what we have.
“When we lost Perk on the fly like we did, I still talk to Perk every day. You just pick up and keep moving.’’
The possibility of more changes exists, Pierce said. He mentioned the possibility of sifting through the players that will become available under the amnesty clause in the new collective bargaining agreement.
“It can change dramatically,’’ he said. “I don’t know if we’ll be a player in that game, being that we’re not under the cap, but there’s going to be a lot of great free agents out there that’s not going to have any teams. Guys like Michael Redd, who knows, just for example, guys we could be looking at. There’s a good chance it could change dramatically. There’s a good chance that it can stay as is.
“It’s really kind of a lot of uncertainty because a lot of the guys that you could sign couldn’t really step on the court based on the new rules. But I think in the next couple days it’ll be more certainty to the players we’re going to have.’’
The Celtics will have a different makeup this season, but even though they’ve lost some continuity, they believe the players they’ve added will make up for the ones they lost.
“I like the guys that we have,’’ Pierce said. “We have a very competitive group. I was telling the guys, we’re still right up there with the best of the Eastern Conference. As time goes along and as we jell, I think we’ll be right there.’’
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.