And-Ones: Mavs, Koponen, Chandler

September 1 at 9:53pm CDT By Zach Links

Two games into FIBA World Cup pool play, Bulls star Derrick Rose is pain free, writes Joe Cowley of the Sun Times.  Rose didn’t light up the scoreboard against Turkey on Sunday as he scored just two points, but he looked sharp as he scored 12 points in 22 minutes against Finland on Saturday.  Here’s more from around the league..

  • Finnish point guard Petteri Koponen, whose rights are owned by the Mavericks, hopes to be playing in the NBA by the 2015/16 season, writes Marc Stein of  “I always said my dream is to play in the NBA,” Koponen said. “Every summer we talk a little bit with Dallas to see what the situation is and what they think. I’ve got one more year left on my contract in Russia and then of course I would like to come over. I hope I get some options to go there and show I can play at that level.”  Team sources say that the Mavs have not ruled out importing Koponen themselves in the future, but there was no talk of doing that this season with four point guards already on the roster.  Of course, they could also deal his rights to another team.
  • Even though he only played just one season for the Mavs, Tyson Chandler says his heart was always in Dallas, says Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram. “I enjoyed my entire time with the Mavericks and it was a sad process for me and my family leaving Dallas, especially after the amazing experience and amazing run that we had,’’ said Chandler, who was shipped back to Dallas this summer. “As I left I told those guys, ‘You know, I love you and I’ll love you forever and I love everything you have done for me and did for me.’ I understand the (NBA) business and I guess it wasn’t meant for me. But I guess it is meant for me to be back now.’’
  • The Spurs kept the band together after winning the championship but not every defending champion has been so lucky.  Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders looks at some of the worst defending champs in NBA history.
  • According to Italian basketball exec Gianmaria Vacirca, Thanasis Antetokounmpo had an agreement to play with Pallacanestro Varese before deciding to stay in America to go to camp with the Knicks, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando writes.

Poll: Should The Celtics Trade Rajon Rondo?

September 1 at 8:28pm CDT By Zach Links

Rumors of Rajon Rondo‘s departure have been greatly exaggerated, apparently.  A clip emanating from ESPN’s “Around The Horn” had the internet wondering if Rondo had asked for a trade out of Boston.  However, Rondo’s agency quickly denied such speculation.  Furthermore, ESPN took the video down and a network spokesperson told our own Chuck Myron today that it was pulled because the clip was being characterized as reporting rather than “an informed conversation among our panelists.”  In short, Celtics fans, don’t go putting your No. 9 jerseys on eBay just yet.

Rondo, who has said that he isn’t a big fan of change and wouldn’t mind spending the rest of his career in green and white, is apparently more patient than some have given him credit for.  After watching his star teammates get shipped off and missing roughly one calendar year due to an ACL tear, many believed that Rondo would aim for a fresh start with another team.  If we are to take Rondo and his reps for their word, he’s still eager to help Boston get back to glory.

Still, even if Rondo is on board with rebuilding, that doesn’t mean the C’s won’t explore trading him anyway.  At 28, Rondo stands as one of the league’s very best point guards and as he enters his walk year he could bring Boston a windfall of even more young assets and draft picks to build with.  The Kings could be a trade partner and although Rondo might be reluctant to sign a new deal with them, they were reportedly willing to deal for Kevin Love without any such guarantee, so it’s possible Sacramento would roll the dice anyway.

The Celtics have a promising rookie one-guard in Marcus Smart and they can afford to wait on his development as they’re ostensibly future-minded.  Still, Rondo isn’t exactly a graybeard like ex-teammates Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.  He could fit into Boston’s timetable and Danny Ainge seems to believe he and Smart could co-exist just fine.

Absolutely. No question,” Ainge said in June when asked whether Smart and Rondo could share the floor. “And [Smart] and [Avery] Bradley. No question. [Smart]’s a very versatile player. He can play off the ball. He can handle the ball. With his length and his size, he can probably play against a lot of small forwards — 6’3″, long wingspan, 230 pounds. He’s a very versatile player. Easily those guys can play together, and I think they would really thrive playing together, all of them.”

For now, it seems as though Rondo wants to remain in Boston and Ainge has told anyone that will listen that he wants to keep him there.  If you were at the helm of the Celtics, would you trade Rondo between now and the February deadline or hang on to him?

Anderson Varejao Wants To Stay With Cavs

September 1 at 6:40pm CDT By Zach Links

Anderson Varejao has spent his entire career with the Cavs and, if he has his way, he’ll keep it that way until he’s through playing.  The big man told Raul Barrigon of HoopsHype that he has every intention of staying in Cleveland even though he is slated to hit the open market next summer.

“I want to stay in Cleveland, I really don’t think about that. They know what I want to do, they know I want to stay,” said Varejao, who answered in the affirmative when asked if he wants to retire in Cleveland.

The whole interview is worth a read, but are a few more highlights from Varejao’s Q&A with Barrigon..

On whether he thought he’d ever play with LeBron James again:

I did! I wasn’t sure when, but I thought there was a chance for him to come back. I didn’t expect it now, but eventually, because he’s from there, I thought there was a chance…All these years there were a lot of people on my ear telling me that I should ask for a trade because LeBron wasn’t there and the team was in a rebuilding process. They told me I should leave, that I should go to another team and try to help win a title and I always said no, I won’t. I don’t need to leave. I like the city, I like the people here, and I’m going to keep fighting through this. And now that LeBron is back the people [are] telling me I did the right thing [laughs].

On whether the arrival of Kevin Love means that his role will change:

I don’t think it’s going to change. I played with LeBron for six years and what I did was playing defense, setting screens for everybody, fighting for every rebound and being ready on the offensive side when I get the ball. 

On the new-look team developing chemistry:

Sometimes it takes some time to have it, for everybody to get on the same page, to know what to do. And we have a new coach, new system, a lot of new things going on. But we’re going to have to stay patient and grow as a team. 

Mike Moser To Join Lithuanian Team

September 1 at 5:06pm CDT By Zach Links

Lithuanian club Lietuvos Rytas has signed Oregon product Mike Moser, according to Enea Trapani of Sportando.  Meanwhile, agent Adam Pensack tells Hoops Rumors (Twitter links) that Moser, who shined in camp with the Celtics this summer, does not have an NBA out clause in his deal.

While it’s somewhat surprising to hear that the Moser’s deal does not contain an NBA out given widespread interest from around the league, Pensack explained that the power forward wanted the opportunity to play major minutes for a strong Eurocup team.  And, while the agent declined to disclose the terms of the deal, he explained that it’s a lucrative one-year pact.

The undrafted power forward averaged 13.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game during his collegiate career and according to his agent, about “half” of the NBA wanted to bring him in for training camp.  Pensack and Moser whittled that list down to about three or four clubs that were exceptionally interested, but the opportunity overseas was too good to pass up.

Hoops Rumors Chat Transcript

September 1 at 5:05pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Click below to read this week’s chat transcript:

Live Blog Hoops Rumors Chat: 9/1/2014

Latest On Rajon Rondo

September 1 at 4:04pm CDT By Chuck Myron

People close to Rajon Rondo indicate to A. Sherrod Blakely of that he never told the Celtics he wanted out, countering this weekend’s dispatch. Multiple sources from around the league tell Blakely that Rondo wants to begin the season in Boston and see how the situation develops from there, and people within the Celtics organization echo that sentiment, according to Blakely. The most likely scenario involves Rondo remaining with the Celtics at least at the beginning of the season, though the C’s are open to dealing Rondo for the right return, Blakely hears.

A rival GM suggested to the scribe that the presence of Marcus Smart gives the Celtics greater leverage against Rondo if the All-Star were to demand a trade, given Smart’s upside. Blakely reiterates an earlier report that indicated that teams around the league are anxious to see Rondo at full health, dampening the market for a trade at present.

It’s a pivotal juncture for the point guard, who’s played just 30 games since tearing his ACL in early 2013 but faces unrestricted free agency in a year. Trade rumors have swirled around him ever since last year’s Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett blockbuster, but president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has continually denied that he’s looking to trade the last remaining mainstay from his 2008 championship team.

Rondo Tells Celtics He Wants Out

September 1 at 2:58pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

2:58pm: An ESPN spokesperson released a statement to Hoops Rumors via email explaining why the video was removed.

“Around the Horn producers felt they had put Jackie in a difficult position since the discussion was being characterized externally as reporting rather than as an informed conversation among our panelists. For this reason, the decision was made to remove the video,” the statement read.

MONDAY, 9:42am: ESPN appears to have removed the video that featured MacMullan’s comments from the “Around the Horn” YouTube account, though it doesn’t look like the network has given a reason just yet.

SUNDAY, 10:51pm: A spokeswoman for Rondo’s agent, Bill Duffy, told Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald that both men deny that the guard has demanded a trade.

10:05am: Rajon Rondo has informed the Celtics that he wants out of Boston, as writer Jackie MacMullan said in a recently published video featuring excerpts from the ESPN show “Around the Horn” (hat tip to Jay King of In the video clip, MacMullan responded to a question about whether or not Boston should trade Rondo, to which she answered, “Oh, I hope so. Just get it done. And it will happen because he’s told them he wants out. And no one believes me, but that’s the truth.”

This conflicts with previous reports that Rondo was content in Boston. Rondo had been quoted as saying, “I don’t like change much” and “I wouldn’t mind staying here the rest of my career,” writes Jay King of The Celtics organization has also maintained that they intend to keep Rondo, in part because they’re eager to see how he plays at the beginning of this season, when he’ll be more than a year and a half removed from tearing his right ACL. If Rondo shows he’s still capable of performing at his peak level, then the team could potentially garner a larger return for their star player.

If Rondo presses the issue and the Celtics are forced to trade him prior to the season, the Kings appear to be the number one suitors for Rondo’s services, MacMullan notes. The Kings have enough enticing pieces to catch Boston’s interest, but according to MacMullan, Rondo has already told the Kings that he would not re-sign with them. It remains to be seen if Sacramento would be willing to make the deal knowing that Rondo intends to leave as a free agent next summer. The Kings were willing to trade for Kevin Love without such assurances, so it’s possible they could take the same gamble with Rondo.

During the video, the potential scenario for Rondo to join the Clippers was broached, to which MacMullan responded, “He [Doc Rivers] doesn’t like Rondo, remember that. I mean, he’s done with Rondo. They went a good, long way together, but that guy — Rondo drives him nuts. And then (the Clippers have) Chris Paul anyway, they don’t need him.”

As for the rest of the potential trade market for Rondo, MacMullan speculated that teams like the Knicks, Rockets, and Mavericks would be interested, but wouldn’t be able to offer Celtics GM Danny Ainge enough to get a deal done. She also listed the Lakers as a possibility, though Rondo might not be willing to re-sign with them either. The other possibility she raised was a sign-and-trade deal with the Suns for Eric Bledsoe, but he’s also looking for a max contract, which the Celtics would most likely be hesitant to agree to.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Pacers, Chris Singleton Reach Deal

September 1 at 2:00pm CDT By Chuck Myron

2:00pm: It’s a summer contract, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM, so that means it’s a completely non-guaranteed camp deal.

11:02am: The Pacers have reached an agreement to sign Chris Singleton, reports David Pick of (Twitter link). Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports wrote several weeks ago of Indiana’s apparent interest in the 24-year-old combo forward, more recently following up with a dispatch indicating that Singleton would be working out in front of NBA team officials. The terms aren’t immediately clear, and while the Pacers have a $5.305MM disabled player exception from Paul George‘s injury to hand out, they can only spend about $2MM without going over the tax line, which they’ve long maintained they won’t do.

Spears identified the Heat as another team eyeing Singleton last month when he reported Indiana’s interest, though it seemed as though Miami had moved on to other targets. The 18th overall pick from 2011 fell out of favor rather quickly in Washington, and the Wizards declined their fourth-year option on him before last season, setting him up for unrestricted free agency this summer. It appeared about a month ago that Washington abandoned its pursuit of re-signing Singleton, though he had turned down an offer from overseas to continue his search for an NBA job. He also changed agents, going from Bill Duffy of BDA Sports to Todd Ramasar of Stealth Sports, as J. Michael of CSNWashington reported last month.

Indiana has been fairly active on the market in seeking a replacement for George, reportedly coming to terms on camp deals with small forwards C.J. Fair and Adonis Thomas, though Singleton appears to be the team’s most significant addition toward that end. The Pacers had been carrying 17 players, though only 13 are on fully guaranteed deals, so it appears Singleton has a decent shot to make the opening-night roster.

Sixers Show Interest In Joe Ingles

September 1 at 1:26pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Australian small forward Joe Ingles has fielded interest from the Sixers, sources tell Sporando’s Orazio Cauchi (Twitter link). David Pick of reported this weekend that multiple NBA teams were eyeing the 26-year-old, so it looks like Philadelphia has some competition.

The Grizzlies, Hawks and Jazz were reportedly interested in Ingles as of March, when Pick wrote that he was thinking about making the jump to the NBA this summer. Ingles rejected a two-year offer from Memphis last year, around the same time that the Pacers, Bucks and Clippers also seemingly had their eyes on the veteran of international play. NBA teams passed on him in the 2009 draft, and his pro numbers haven’t been impressive. Ingles averaged just 6.0 points in 21.2 minutes per game for Maccabi Tel Aviv this past season, but he’s been a more significant part of the offense for the Australian national team in the FIBA World Cup this week, notching 14.5 PPG in 26.5 MPG.

The Sixers have no shortage of cap flexibility to outbid other NBA suitors and float an offer large enough to pry Ingles from overseas. They also have plenty of roster space. They’re carrying only eight guaranteed deals, as our roster counts show. Philadelphia can also provide Ingles with a familiar presence in coach Brett Brown, who coached him on the Australian national team in the 2012 Olympics, as Paul Garcia of Project Spurs notes (on Twitter).

Use Of Stretch Provision At New High

September 1 at 12:52pm CDT By Chuck Myron

NBA teams used the stretch provision with unprecedented frequency this past week as they rushed to beat the deadline to spread salaries for this coming season. GMs turned to the stretch provision four times in the final three days of August, assuming the Kings indeed did so with Wayne Ellington, as Marc Stein of reported this morning. Prior to this past week, only three players had their salaries stretched since the provision came into being after the 2011 lockout, so the uptick is quite remarkable.

The stretch provision gives teams short-term relief at the expense of a lingering commitment. The Clippers, Grizzlies and Kings, dealing with hard caps for this season, opted for flexibility when they made use of the stretch provision this week, though Memphis and Sacramento seemed chiefly concerned with the tax line, which they had been butting up against. The Bulls were in peril of going into the tax for much of last season, so their decision last summer to spread Richard Hamilton‘s salary proved wise. The stretch affects actual pay as well as cap hits, so teams that use it can issue a larger number of smaller paychecks to the players they excise using this provision.

The stretch provision applies to contracts signed under the current collective bargaining agreement, while any payment schedule revisions to contracts signed before it came into effect are a matter of negotiation between each team and player. That might explain why GMs are just now beginning to put the stretch provision into widespread use, as fewer deals from the old CBA remain. For more information on how the stretch provision works, check out our glossary entry.

Here’s a list of each use of the stretch provision, including when the use took place and how much salary was spread:

Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post.