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Friday, December 20, 2013
Practice notebook: Moving past rumors

By Brian Robb, Special to

WALTHAM, Mass -- After an early start to rumor season, the Celtics returned to practice on Friday with their team fully intact.

Sources told Marc Stein of earlier this week that Boston had offered a package of Courtney Lee, Brandon Bass and a 2015 first-round pick for Rockets center Omer Asik, but Houston had turned down the deal.

Now, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has backed away for any trade talks for Asik. Despite the constant rumblings before talks died down, the trade rumors didn’t faze Lee.

“I didn’t put too much emphasis on it,” Lee said, “Like I said, it’s all rumors until it happens. So when it happens, that’s when I start thinking and worrying about it. Nothing happened, so I was focused on Detroit and went out there and played that game. Now we’re focused on Washington.”

Bass remained fairly quiet on the subject, telling reporters at first, “I never heard anything about that,” when asked about the potential Houston deal.

Later, he commented on how he deals with rumors when they pop up.

“All those things are a part of the business. There’s no hard feelings against anyone, nobody. That’s just business. When anything goes down about anything, that part of it is not my business. I’m supposed to go out here every day and compete and try to get better,” Bass said.

Jared Sullinger, for one, was happy to see the rumors subside, as he felt it put both Lee and Bass in a tough spot earlier this week.

“I think our guys handled it well,” Sullinger said. “I thought it was kind of unfair. Pregame they had to answer questions about trade rumors, after the game [reporters] didn’t care if the Pistons won or we lost, they asked about the trade rumors. I thought it was unfair on them, constantly getting that brought up to them. But they handled it well. I thought that was them being a pro's pro.”

Coach Brad Stevens also used the rumors as an opportunity to open a dialogue with his players and try to avoid having trade talk hang over a roster vulnerable to deals during the next couple months.

“Here’s what I told them today and I think it’s important,” Stevens explained, “I’m not going to talk to them about anything that is a rumor. But if I know something, my door is always open. They can come in and I’ll tell them straight up what I know, but the bottom line is, we live in a world that every day because of technology, we can better clutter our mind.”

Stevens continued: “The deal is, you can’t play basketball without a clear mind. And so you’ve got to do your best to control what you can, clear your mind, and not get too overly concerned about things that are not confirmed by people in the position that are ultimately going to make decisions.”

Lee acknowledged that with no guarantee this team will stay together, they have to make the best of it in the present.

“That’s the NBA,” Lee said. “We look at it as here today, gone tomorrow. You just have to be professional, and go out and do your job, night in and night out. Then while you’re here you gotta keep that chemistry going and keep doing your job.”

Here are a few other leftover notes from practice: