Boston Celtics Rumors

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?

Latest On Rajon Rondo

September 1 at 4:04pm CDT By Chuck Myron

People close to Rajon Rondo indicate to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com 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 CSNNE.com 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 ESPNBoston.com writer Jackie MacMullan said in a recently published video featuring excerpts from the ESPN show “Around the Horn” (hat tip to Jay King of MassLive.com). 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 MassLive.com. 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.

Int’l Notes: Dragic, Andersen, Moser

August 29 at 4:25pm CDT By Zach Links

Not everyone on the Dream Team can be a Hall of Famer, and Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders goes back through history to isolate the worst-ever Team USA members.  Among those earning the dubious distinction are Kirk Hinrich (2006), Raef LaFrentz (2002), and the 1998 roster, which was made up of college players thanks to the NBA lockout.  Speaking of international competition, here’s today’s look around the globe…

  • NBA teams continue to eye Zoran Dragic, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com, who writes in a full story that the younger brother of Goran Dragic “badly wants” to play in the Association. Still, Zoran signed a two-year extension last month with Unicaja Malaga of Spain, which Stein says offers the 25-year-old greater financial security. The Rockets appeared to be at the front of the line for the younger Dragic as of May.
  • Australian center David Andersen is eyeing a return to the NBA and has kept his dance card open beyond the World Cup, writes Roy Ward of the Sydney Morning Herald.  The 34-year-old, who has been traded three times within the NBA, last appeared in the Association with New Orleans in 2010/11.  Across 103 career games, Andersen averaged 4.9 PPG and 2.8 RPG in 12.3 minutes per contest.
  • Despite lots of interest from teams overseas, Celtics summer camp standout Mike Moser will be in an NBA training camp next month, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Latest On Rajon Rondo

August 24 at 5:08pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Now that the Wolves have officially traded Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo seemingly looms as the next most likely superstar trade candidate. Still, the Celtics aren’t anxious to deal the point guard 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, writes Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. Rondo can become a free agent next summer.

The 28-year-old Rondo, like most star veterans in their primes, is unlikely to sign an extension, as Washburn notes, adding that Rondo would be especially reluctant to do so with the Kings. Sacramento was reportedly one of the teams most active in pursuing him at the deadline this past season and the Kings had talks with the Pistons earlier this summer about acquiring Josh Smith, a close friend of Rondo’s. Still, it’s unclear if the point guard would be more inclined to consider a long-term future with the Kings were they to trade for his former Oak Hill Academy teammate.

The Celtics hold Eric Bledsoe in high regard, Washburn also writes, speculating that Bledsoe might end up as Rondo’s replacement in Boston. Bledsoe’s camp and the Suns, who employ former Celtics executive Ryan McDonough as GM, appear to have stalemated in talks about a new deal, and Phoenix has begun to examine sign-and-trade possibilities involving the restricted free agent. Bledsoe has the chance to hit unrestricted free agency next summer, but only if he takes take the unusual step of signing his qualifying offer, worth about $3.7MM, for this season.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has time and again batted down persistent Rondo trade rumors that date back to shortly after the Celtics traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to begin a rebuilding project. Three GMs told Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald earlier this summer that Rondo’s trade value wouldn’t be all that high, anyway, perhaps suggesting that other teams share Boston’s desire to gauge his health. Bulpett also heard from rival execs who had reservations about Rondo’s consistency and personality. In any case, Rondo’s scoring and assists per game were down last season in the 30 games he played after returning from injury, and his 40.3% shooting was the worst of his career.

Eastern Notes: Cavs, Rautins, Heat

August 23 at 11:00am CDT By Eddie Scarito

The Cavaliers‘ roster overhaul this offseason is reminiscent of what the Celtics did back in 2007, including obtaining a star player from the Wolves, writes Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal.

Here’s more from the east:

  • Former Knicks second-round pick Andy Rautins has signed with Pallacanestro Varese of the Italian League, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Rautins only appeared in a total of five games for New York, averaging 1.6 PPG. His last NBA action came for the Bulls‘ Summer League team back in 2013.
  • If Dwyane Wade can stay healthy, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel believes that the Heat‘s roster this season is better than the one they had prior to LeBron James‘ arrival.
  • Former NBA player Terrel Harris has signed with Maccabi Ashdod SCE of the Israeli League, the team announced via their Facebook page (hat tip to Basketball Insiders). Harris has played for the Heat and the Pelicans, with a career average of 2.3 PPG. He spent last year in the NBA D-League, most recently with the Bakersfield Jam.

Atlantic Notes: Antetokounmpo, Bradley, Leiweke

August 21 at 11:04am CDT By Chuck Myron

Hoops Rumors readers so far believe the Wizards are the best team outside of the Cavs and the Bulls in the Eastern Conference, but the Raptors aren’t far behind in the voting. Still, there’s change afoot in Toronto, where Tim Leiweke, CEO of the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment company that’s in charge of the franchise, is set to step down within the next several months. Here’s more on Canada’s team and the rest of the Atlantic Division:

  • Thanasis Antetokounmpo has reportedly agreed to join the Knicks D-League affiliate in Westchester, but before that can happen, the team would have to acquire his D-League rights from the Sixers affiliate in Delaware, as Gino Pilato of the D-League Digest points out. Delaware still possesses Antetokounmpo’s D-League rights because he played there last season, and that holds even though new rules allow NBA teams to otherwise possess the D-League rights of their draft picks.
  • The Sixers apparently reached out to Avery Bradley within the first hour of free agency this summer, but it seems the Celtics still beat them to the punch, as the guard indicates to Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com (Twitter link). “They were the first team that called and — we had other calls — but Boston, I knew I was coming back here,” said Bradley, who re-signed with the C’s to a four-year, $32MM deal.
  • Leiweke’s upcoming departure is a blow to the Raptors, given the team’s progress during his brief time in charge of the team, opines Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun (Twitter links). Wolstat credits Leiweke for doggedly pursuing Masai Ujiri to serve as GM and staying out of Ujiri’s way once he hired him.

Celtics Sign McGruder, Watford

August 20 at 8:47pm CDT By Cray Allred

The Celtics have signed Rodney McGruder and Christian Watford to one-year deals, reports Mark Deeks of ShamSports. The team hasn’t announced the signings, but they are reflected on RealGM’s transaction log. The two players were added along with Tim Frazier, who is a training camp invite. It’s very likely that both McGruder and Watford are joining Boston on non-guaranteed summer contracts to compete for a roster spot.

Both McGruder and Watford went undrafted in 2013, and both spent last year playing overseas. McGruder spent time with the Thunder for training camp last summer, but was cut from the roster prior to the season. Boston has 14 guaranteed contracts on the books for 2014/15, and this will bring their total roster count, including non-guaranteed deals, up to the summer maximum of 20. However, the team also has a deal with Evan Turner that’s yet to become official, meaning they will have to waive or trade one of the 20 players under contract before formally signing him.

McGruder is a shooting guard who averaged 11.7 PPG and 4.8 RPG at Kansas State. Watford, a power forward, averaged 12.3 PPG and 5.9 RPG in four years at Indiana. Deeks places their odds of making the team as “not remotely likely” in a separate tweet.

Tim Frazier To Join Celtics For Camp

August 20 at 8:46pm CDT By Chuck Myron

WEDNESDAY, 8:46pm: Although the team has yet to announce it, Frazier signed a contract with Boston today according to the RealGM transaction log. Frazier signed along with Rodney McGruder and Christian Watford, who reportedly accepted one-year contracts that are also likely to be of the non-guaranteed variety.

TUESDAY, 8:36am: Undrafted point guard Tim Frazier has a deal with the Celtics for training camp, according to the official Twitter account of Penn State basketball (hat tip to ESPNBoston.com). The precise terms aren’t immediately clear, but it’s likely a non-guaranteed summer contract that will give the former Nittany Lion at least an outside shot of making the opening-night roster.

Frazier was a lightly regarded prospect heading into the draft, as neither Chad Ford of ESPN.com nor Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress had him within their top 100 prospects. Still, he worked out for the Celtics and Wolves, and he showed a flair for rebounding that belied his 6’1″ height last month during summer league, when he averaged 4.0 boards in 18.0 minutes per game for the Sixers.

It’ll be tough for Frazier to make the Celtics out of training camp even if he plays well, since Boston is already carrying 18 other players, as our roster counts show. That includes 14 guys on guaranteed deals as well as Evan Turner, whose contract is also likely to be fully guaranteed. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Celtics envision hanging on to Frazier’s D-League rights, giving him the chance to spend his first season in pro ball with Boston’s affiliate.

Jarnell Stokes Signs With Grizzlies

August 18 at 6:27pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

6:27pm: Stokes can become a restricted free agent at the end of the deal, reports Tillery in a separate article, since the third year of the deal is a team option.

5:49pm: Jarnell Stokes has signed his rookie contract with the Grizzlies, reports Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal (Twitter links). The team has confirmed the deal via a press release. The agreement is for three years, and approximately $2.5MM, notes Tillery. Stokes had reportedly been waiting to finalize his contract to give Memphis more flexibility in pursing free agents this summer.

The 6’9″ power forward was selected by the Jazz with the No. 35 pick in this year’s NBA Draft, then was traded to the Grizzlies for a 2016 second-rounder that same night. Stokes was seen as a possible late first round selection leading up to the draft, and the Grizzlies may have gotten a steal by picking him up for a future second round pick. The 2016 pick that Memphis is sending to Utah is the more favorable of the second-round picks that the Raptors and Celtics sent to the Grizzlies in previous trades.

Stokes averaged 15.1 points and 10.6 rebounds per game for the Volunteers this past season. His career numbers were 13.0 PPG, 9.6 RPG, and 1.1 BPG. His career slash line was .530/.000/.628. Stokes had talked with Zach Links of Hoops Rumors for our Prospect Profile Series prior to the draft about his career goals and skills.