Rumors Abound, But Boston Celtics Are Still Finding The Time To Win

Mar 02, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce (34) is congratulated by teammates point guard Rajon Rondo (9), power forward Kevin Garnett (5) and power forward Brandon Bass (30) after a play in the second half against the New Jersey Nets at the TD Banknorth Garden. The Celtics defeated the Nets 107- 94. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

Rumors have burst through the doors and captured many inside the Boston Celtics locker room, but the team has done a superb job of putting all of their distractions aside and focusing on the one thing that will stop them: winning basketball games.

Distractions are a pain in the behind. We all face them. Whether it's watching TV when you should be doing homework, surfing the web when you should be working at the office, they can be a major thorn in the side when we're trying to get something done.

They don't just exist in our world, either. Distractions can affect anybody. You, me, the President, and yes, even the Boston Celtics.

Although the distractions they're facing aren't exactly like ours. Instead, they come in the form of trade rumors, created by the very people who cover the team in the media. Just as we have to focus in our lives, so do the Celtics.

And just like champions do, they've been handling them well. Excellently, even.

"Well it's nothing we haven't been through before, said team captain and 14-year veteran Paul Pierce, whose team has won three straight to start the second half of the season. "Rondo's been through it. I've been through it a number of times.

"The thing is you have to do your job, you can let that affect you. I kind of mentioned it to Rondo today, you know I was part of trade rumors for probably four or five straight years. I just didn't let it affect me on how I approached each and every game. You know whatever happens, happens. It's business. Sometimes you don't have control of it."

It's a reality that Pierce and the Celtics know all too well. Not only did Pierce dwell in rumors for years, but he witnessed a cornerstone of their 2008 championship team, center Kendrick Perkins, abruptly shipped away last season.

The move hit home for all of the Big Three, and it makes sense considering everything they had been through together.

Perhaps the hardest hit player by the trade aside from Perkins (who was very emotional about it) was Rajon Rondo, who had developed a tight-knit bond with the scowling Perk. Though he'll never admit to it, Rondo's play appeared to take a nose dive because of the trade.

And here we are, nearly one year later, and these same Celtics are facing the same questions they were at this last season, Rondo in particular.

First, there were the Chris Paul rumors this summer, when Danny Ainge, the team's general manager, actually admitted that Rondo's name came up in talks.

Then there were the Rondo for Pau Gasol rumors, started because the general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers said that he'd like to add a point guard (he basically described Rondo without mentioning his name, so say the reports), and that rumor took flight, too.

In the latest batch of Rondo rumors, we have an ESPN.com report citing that he and Celtics head coach Doc Rivers had been clashing and that Ainge was aggressively shopping the young star guard.

Rivers and Rondo took exception to the rumors, which both claimed were baseless. Rivers told Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston that he had no problems with Rondo and that their relationship was better than ever.

Before the game against the Nets on Friday night, Rivers addressed all of the rumors and hit the nail on the head when it came to the question of him and his players clashing.

"I've had issues with Kevin - it's not anything that's crazy," he said. "I think for everyone outside of a locker room, it's easy to think it's the same. Everybody has issues. Some issues are harder, some are not. It's called, to me, human relationships. If it's worth anything, you're probably going to have some issues sometimes."

Rondo spoke to the media after Friday's win, much more quickly than usual I might add, and put the recent rumors to rest.

"I don't know where people are getting their information from," said Rondo, who had 14 points and 13 assists Friday in a 107-94 victory. "But it was big of Doc to come out with a statement. People are still going to say me and Doc have problems, but even after that comment and statement he made, they are still going to say what they want. It's just part of life."

Rondo's right, it is part of life. Not our lives, or at least to a lesser extent, but their lives. It's not fair really.

Sure, they get paid millions of dollars - much more than you are I are probably ever going to make.

Imagine, though, how stressful that must be. Going day to day with no job security is certainly tough, millionaire or not.

It's not like we can be traded from our jobs (well, to be fair, some of us can be transferred). They can certainly fire us, but it doesn't automatically mean we have to relocate.

(An aside, to SB Nation - please don't trade me to another website. I love it here!)

Constantly thinking about possible changes in scenery has to be difficult. Remember, most of these guys have families. It's not as simple as packing up an apartment and leaving. There's the matter of finding a new place to live, not easy for all players (not everyone is a millionaire in this business), as well as changing schools for their kids and adjusting to new places.

You could pay me all the money in the world to do it, and I'd probably take it, but it wouldn't be any less difficult to do.

But that's the world these guys live in, and no one ever said life was fair, and it really isn't.

Will this be it for the Big Three? And what of Rondo? Is it the end of an era in the storied history of the Celtics?

Nobody, aside from Danny Ainge, knows that answer. Heck, even Ainge may not know at the moment.

Rivers, for one, doesn't believe anything will change for his Celtics in the next two weeks as we approach the March 15 trade deadline, and he hopes his players can keep focus.

"I don't think anything will happen," Rivers said, regarding a big Celtics trade. "But I think there will be a lot of talk about something happening and I just hope we have the strength to block it out."

So far, so good. The way this team is playing recently, maybe we should have trade deadlines more often.

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