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Western Rumors: Rondo, Knight, Neal

Rajon Rondo considers it an “honor and a compliment” that Kobe Bryant is trying to recruit him to the Lakers, but the point guard said Sunday that his focus is on the present day with the Mavericks, notes Baxter Holmes of  Rondo on Sunday didn’t deny interest in playing for the Lakers, Holmes adds in a separate piece, but Bryant downplayed the significance of his conversations with Rondo on Sunday when the Lakers star chatted with Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. There’s more on the Mavs’ most significant in-season acquisition amid the latest from around the West:

  • The Celtics had “serious doubts” about whether Rondo was worth the max before trading him in December, and that was one of the reasons Boston pulled off the swap, sources told Holmes for the second of his two pieces linked above. That echoes a recent dispatch from Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, who heard that it’s unlikely the Mavs point guard receives a full max deal in free agency this summer.
  • Several GMs who spoke with Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops believe Brandon Knight is worth $12MM a year. The Suns traded for Knight, a restricted free agent at season’s end, at last month’s deadline.
  • Gary Neal was reportedly angling for a buyout from the Timberwolves last month, but he said this weekend that he’d love to stay with Minnesota, observes Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune. Wolves coach/executive Flip Saunders hinted at interest in a long-term future with the guard whose deal expires this summer, as Hartman also relays. “A lot of people questioned whether we were going to keep him, but I said from the beginning he was a guy that we traded for that we liked,” Saunders said. “We wanted him to come in and we were hoping it could be a long-term-type situation, but we’ll wait and see.”

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