Four teams, four thoughts.
– Count me among the throngs who don’t want the Celtics to unload Rajon Rondo before the trading deadline. The point guard has clearly shown he can be an electric player – when he wants to – and is consistently lauded by coach Doc Rivers as one of the smartest players in the NBA. But what choice does Danny Ainge have? Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, or Ray Allen might bring you pennies on the dollar, while Rondo should land you some sort of piece to prepare for the future. As many predicted, the shortened schedule has been a death knell for the aging Celtics, they are clearly not as good as the elite competition, and the clock continues to tick on this team’s championship viability, if the alarm hasn’t already sounded. With all due respect to Chad (who almost swayed me here…almost), as difficult a decision as it might be, isn’t it a no-brainer? Dwight Howard isn’t walking…well, you know.
– As expected, the Patriots slapped the franchise tag on Wes Welker yesterday, assuring that wide receiver will be with the team next season, at least by midseason if he decides to hold out. The prediction here is that there’s no way the Patriots let this thing go down the Logan Mankins road. Second to Tom Brady, Welker is the most popular player (Sorry, Ocho) on the Patriots, and to risk losing him for a half season would be a major dent in the productivity of a certain Pro Bowl quarterback. Sure, bring in Mike Wallace if you like as a major deep threat, but part of the reason why Brady and Randy Moss were so successful in 2007 was the presence of Welker down low. Simply toss Wallace in there and ask Julian Edelman to replace Welker’s production for 8 games, and what you’re doing is asking your defense to carry you. Shudder, right? Welker gets a new, lucrative deal by May 15. Book that.
– Apparently down in Florida, Bobby Valentine is re-inventing the game of baseball by teaching fundamentals and holding players accountable. IT’S A REVOLUTION!!! Look, I like the energy Valentine has brought to the team, love the little nuances he brings like making David Ortiz play first base, and can’t wait to see how he translates to big league action. But can we stop? We’re six days into March and I just read my 156th “Meet Bobby V, leader, lover, laureate” piece of the spring. If one of the Sox beat writers told me point blank that Valentine has the Force and can stop runaway subways with a tap of his earlobe, I would 100 percent believe that he or she would think it to be true. Click on “Love Letters” these days, and it goes directly to a grinning portrait of Bobby V, who imparts wisdom and advice through his static smile. It glows, it teaches, it heals.
– I’m not in panic mode just yet, but the fact that the Bruins have now hit the two-month mark of not winning back-to-back games is mildly concerning. Of course, come playoff time, all you need to do is win Games 1, 3, 5, and 7. Simple, right? Marty Turco – should he clear waivers – seems like he’ll be a good fit with the team, which likely has lost Tuukka Rask for the rest of the regular season. He’s an affable guy whose best days are clearly behind him, but should fit well as a plugger behind Tim Thomas down the stretch, when the Bruins goalie is going to need some breathers heading into April’s playoff run. If the man happens to come to you asking for some bills though, please don’t encourage him.