New York Knicks Rumors

Rajon Rondo Rumors: Thursday

December 18 at 4:55pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Celtics appear to have turned up the heat on Rajon Rondo talks, as several reports from Wednesday detailed. We’ll round up today’s latest in this post, with any additional updates throughout the day added to the top:

  • According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter links), Dallas and Boston are progressing toward completion of a trade for Rondo tonight. The Mavs would send Wright, Crowder, Jameer Nelson, a future first round pick, and a future second-rounder to Boston, Stein adds.
  • The Rockets have dropped out of trade talks with the Celtics, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweets.
  • Rondo and his representatives have made it clear to Dallas that the All-Star guard would be inclined to sign a new deal with the team this summer, Wojnarowski adds.

4:25pm update:

  • The first-rounder Dallas is offering as part of its package for Rondo is its 2015 pick, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link).

3:58pm update:

  • While the Lakers are in the hunt for Rondo, there is a strong desire in Los Angeles’ front office not to give up too much now for him via a trade, and instead, they would prefer to pursue Rondo in free agency this summer, Chris Mannix of SI.com reports (Twitter link).
  • The Mavs are emerging as the frontrunner in pursuit of a deal to acquire Rondo, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link).
  • Dallas is currently offering a package that includes Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, and a first round pick, Wojnarowski adds.
  • The Lakers and the Knicks both declined to be a part of three-way deals that could have sent Rondo elsewhere, Wojnarowski tweets.
  • With Dallas in the lead for Rondo, the Rockets are “still fighting” to land Rondo, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link).

2:31pm update:

  • The Lakers made an offer that included Jordan Hill and a first-round pick, if not more, for Rondo and Jeff Green, but the Celtics turned them down, according to USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt (Twitter link). The Lakers would have indeed had to have added more salary to such a deal to make it work, and Hill isn’t trade-eligible until January 15th.

2:21pm update:

  • The Celtics are asking too much for Rondo for the Kings to engage in talks about him with Boston as they have in the past, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). A report late Wednesday seemed to indicate that Sacramento had spoken recently with the Celtics regarding the point guard, but it’s unclear just how long ago the teams last discussed the matter.

12:51pm update:

  • The Lakers have offered Steve Nash and multiple picks to the Celtics for Rondo, as Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com hears (Twitter link).

12:36pm update:

  • The Mavs are confident that they can convince Rondo to stay in Dallas for the long term if they convince the Celtics to trade him, sources tell Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link). That falls in line with Berger’s report from earlier that Rondo would be open to re-signing with the Mavs and Rockets if he were dealt to either team.

10:57am update:

  • The Rockets have been pursuing Rondo longer than the Mavs have, but Goran Dragic was more attractive to Houston than Rondo was over this summer, Stein notes (Twitter links). Rondo and Dragic both appear likely to hit free agency in the summer ahead.

8:59am update:

  • The Mavs have advanced to the offer stage and have made a pitch featuring Brandan Wright as the key piece, reports Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. Dallas would have to add others to make the salaries match. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge has begun to move on from the idea of pairing Rondo with another superstar, spurring his apparent interest in gauging deals for Rondo, but the market for Rondo doesn’t appear as strong as Ainge had hoped, the Herald scribe writes. However, Ainge is in no rush to simply accept whatever he can find for Rondo just so the point guard doesn’t leave the C’s empty handed in the coming summer’s free agency, Bulpett adds.
  • Jae Crowder‘s name has also come up in talks, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.
  • Rondo is open to re-signing with the Mavs and the Rockets if the Celtics trade him to either of those teams, a source tells Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. It’s “certain” that the Rockets will use their nearly $8.375MM trade exception by Friday, Berger writes, as they’ve reportedly been trying to do, and that stands to alter what Houston has to offer for the Celtics point guard.
  • The Lakers are among the teams to have chatted up the Celtics in recent days about a Rondo trade, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com, seconding an earlier report that the Rockets had done the same. The Lakers and the Knicks are on the “periphery” of Rondo talks, and the Lakers are more of a free agency option than a potential trade destination, as Berger adds in his piece.
  • The Pacers have also asked the C’s about Rondo, USA Today’s Sam Amick reports.
  • Rondo reiterated his fondness for Boston late Wednesday to reporters, including Ben Rohrbach of WEEI.com“How many times do you want me to say it?” Rondo asked. “We discussed it on media day. My thoughts and my opinions as far as the organization [haven't] changed, so … I’m enjoying life. You can’t win ‘em all, but these guys are funny, I’m young and I’m doing what I love to do. It’s a dream come true. I can’t be upset about anything, really.
  • Ainge was vague in addressing the latest Rondo chatter in this morning’s radio appearance with Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb on 98.5 The Sports Hub (audio link), as Rohrbach passes along (Twitter link). “I wouldn’t say it’s any different from any year,” Ainge said. “… We’re having a lot of discussions, just like we do every year.” 

And-Ones: Knicks, Batum, Cauley-Stein, ‘Melo

December 18 at 10:29am CST By Chuck Myron

The Knicks have been “very active” in trade discussions this week, as Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com reports amid a story on the team’s apparent peripheral involvement in Rajon Rondo talks. That seems to jibe with a report from Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck earlier this week that all the Knicks aside from Carmelo Anthony are available. Rumors are indeed flying fast around the NBA these days, and here’s a look at some of the latest news from around the league:

  • Nicolas Batum has pondered what it would be like to play for the Spurs, but he doesn’t see much need to leave the Blazers when he hits free agency after next season, as he tells Shams Charania of RealGM“I still have time and I like low key so there’s no reason to think yet, but why not stay in Portland?” Batum said. “I’ve been here for seven years now, so why not?”
  • Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein has been on quite a tear recently, and this has catapulted him from No. 16 all the way to No. 8 on Chad Ford of ESPN.com‘s insider-only Big Board. Cauley-Stein is currently ranked 10th in Hoops Rumors’ 2015 NBA Draft Prospect Power Rankings.
  • ‘Melo would have been better off joining the Bulls, opines Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, but there’s plenty of reason to believe that the Bulls lucked out when he decided not to, writes Sam Smith of Bulls.com.
  • Three-year NBA veteran Josh Harrellson has been released by the Chongqing Flying Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association, Enea Trapani of Sportando reports (Twitter link). The Pistons had waived Harrellson in mid-July rather than guarantee his minimum salary for the 2014/15 season.

Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.

Celtics Willing To Trade Rajon Rondo

December 17 at 10:19pm CST By Eddie Scarito

10:19pm: The Celtics are also talking to the Knicks and the Kings, though the discussions with the Mavs are the most serious, Stein reports. The Mavs would most likely send Wright and at least one first round draft pick to Boston for Rondo, Stein adds.

9:15pm: The Mavericks are serious suitors for Rondo, Wojnarowski reports (Twitter link). Brandan Wright and Monta Ellis are among the players being mentioned who could potentially head to Boston, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com notes (Twitter links). The Rockets have also discussed a potential deal for the point guard with Boston as well, Wojnarowski adds.

4:29pm: According to Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link), word around the league is that the Celtics are the ones making preliminary calls to teams about Rondo. Mannix also notes that the Kings are the team to watch in regards to acquiring Rondo.

4:12pm: The Celtics are showing a renewed willingness to pursue trade packages that include point guard Rajon Rondo, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports. According to Wojnarowski, Boston’s front office has left a strong impression with rival organizations around the league that it is prepared to make a deal that includes the veteran guard. Boston has been engaged in discussions described as “serious” in recent days, but no trade agreement is imminent, the Yahoo! scribe adds.

Trade discussions involving Rondo have been focused more toward Western Conference teams than with those in the East, Wojnarowski notes. The Celtics’ asking price for the 28-year-old remains “pretty high, probably higher than most want to pay,” one league official told Wojnarowski. Rondo is averaging 8.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 10.6 assists in 31.8 minutes per games this season.

Celtics GM Danny Ainge has been consistently shopping forward Jeff Green, in an attempt to secure a trade package that includes a first-round draft pick, Wojnarowski notes. With Boston now seemingly willing to trade Rondo, this would suggest that Ainge is prepared to embark on a full rebuild of the franchise, and perhaps attempt to guide the team toward a much higher spot in June’s NBA draft, Wojnarowski writes.

With Rondo set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and 2014 first-rounder Marcus Smart showing quite a bit of promise, trading Rondo instead of running the risk of losing him for nothing would seem like a wise move on the organization’s part. The Celtics have been hesitant to to commit to the idea of a maximum-salary deal for Rondo, something he will likely be seeking in free agency.

If Ainge is indeed looking at Western Conference teams, the two most likely suitors would probably be the Kings, who were previously said to be interested in acquiring Rondo, and the Lakers, another franchise also known to have significant interest in the point guard’s services. If Boston decides to try and deal with an Eastern team, the Knicks and the Pistons would immediately come to mind as potential suitors, though that is just my speculation.

Eastern Notes: Thornton, Hardaway Jr., Wallace

December 17 at 8:01pm CST By Eddie Scarito

With Dwyane Wade‘s injury history and the lack of production from the bench, one possibility for the Heat to correct this deficiency is Celtics shooting guard Marcus Thornton, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes. Miami wanted to sign Thornton this past offseason, but Thornton was unable to come to terms on a buyout arrangement with Boston, Jackson notes. In 20 games for the Celtics this season, Thornton has averaged 8.2 points and is nailing 42.3% of his three-pointers. The 27-year-old is currently suffering from a small tear in his left calf and is expected to miss a few weeks of action.

Here’s more from the East:

  • The deal with the Nets that garnered Boston three first round draft picks, but also required the Celtics to take back Gerald Wallace‘s bloated contract is looking better for Boston every day, Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com writes. Though Boston would jump at the chance to trade Wallace and the remaining $10.1MM that he is owed for next season, the veteran is providing value as a leader and a spot defender, notes Forsberg.
  • With J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert currently out for the Knicks with injuries, Tim Hardaway Jr. has been struggling with his increased minutes, but Hardaway says the pressure to make his case for more playing time in the future isn’t a factor in his struggles, Fred Kerber of The New York Post writes. “I’m not going to hold my head. I’m not going to get frustrated,” Hardaway said. “I’ve just got to go in the gym and work on it. I’ve got to see the ball going in the basket. That’s what I’m going to do.
  • The play of Sixers‘ 2014 first-rounder Dario Saric overseas has Philadelphia’s coaches and front office excited for the future, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Saric is currently the only player in the Turkish Basketball League who is averaging at least 11.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists, notes Pompey. “I pay attention to him [in] all the games he plays,”  Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “I’ll go and either watch a portion or all of it or highlights. We play text tag all the time. [GM] Sam [Hinkie] was just over there last week. The exciting thing is he’s ours. He will be a Philadelphia 76er and we all have to be excited about that.

Knicks Notes: Anthony, Chandler, Jackson

December 17 at 6:14pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Carmelo Anthony gave serious consideration during his free agency this past summer to relocating to Chicago. With the Knicks off to a 5-22 start, second-guessing his decision to return to New York would only be natural, but Anthony won’t allow himself to dwell on what might have been, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com writes. “If I start doing that and saying what if to myself and second-guessing and questioning myself, it won’t be right,” Anthony said. “For me, mentally it won’t be right, so I will not allow myself to sway toward asking myself what if with this situation or that situation. What’s done is done. I kinda don’t look at it. I kinda don’t think about it anymore. That’s in the past for me.

Here’s more out of the Big Apple:

  • Trading Tyson Chandler to the Mavs this past summer is coming back to haunt the Knicks this season, especially since team president Phil Jackson failed to garner an equal return on his most valuable trade asset in the swap with Dallas, Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal opines.
  • As the Knicks’ struggles continue, the scapegoating of Chandler as the alleged source of New York’s difficulties last season seems more like a smokescreen by the team with every passing game, George Willis of The New York Post writes. Judging by the warm reception the big man received from his former teammates before and after Tuesday night’s game against Dallas at Madison Square Garden, Chandler seems to be genuinely missed, and New York seems to be dealing with much more internal strife than a season ago, sans Chandler, Willis notes.
  • Reflecting back on the trade that sent Anthony from the Nuggets to the Knicks, a Denver executive marveled at how desperate New York’s front office was to obtain a player whom they could have just signed as a free agent a few months later, Frank Isola of The New York Daily News writes. “We were trying to figure out a way to create rosters spots because they were willing to give us anything we wanted,” said a Denver executive involved in the negotiations. “We kept thinking, ‘don’t they realize he’ll be a free agent in July?’ They could just sign him then.” Stripping the franchise of all those assets to obtain ‘Melo is still haunting the team to this day, Isola adds.

Atlantic Notes: Larkin, Morris, Aldemir

December 16 at 1:19pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Atlantic Division is home to the teams with the NBA’s two highest payrolls — the Knicks and the Nets — as well as the Sixers, who have the lowest. All three of them are under .500, and the Knicks, with 21 losses, have suffered just one fewer defeat than Philadelphia has. Here’s more on a trio of teams with different approaches and similar results:

  • Shane Larkin wants to re-sign with the Knicks next summer even though they declined their 2015/16 team option on his rookie scale contract, as Larkin tells Dan Feldman of NBCSports.com“I love it here. I want to be here,” Larkin said. “Obviously, I want to help bring the Knicks back to what they used to be.” The Knicks haven’t dismissed the possibility, but declining the option hamstrings the team, which can’t pay more than the $1,675,320 value of his option if they were to re-sign him, as Feldman points out, examining the risky play of ceding control over young talent in exchange for cap flexibility.
  • The non-guaranteed minimum-salary deal that the Nets gave Darius Morris last week covers two seasons, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). The salary for 2015/16 becomes partially guaranteed for $25K if he remains on the roster through July 1st, and there are additional guarantee dates later in the year that further raise that guaranteed amount, as Pincus shows on the Basketball Insiders Nets salary page.
  • Furkan Aldemir received a signing bonus of nearly $306K, Pincus reports (Twitter links). His base salary is $2.8MM in the first, third and fourth years of his four-year contract and $2.7MM in year two, Pincus adds. The first two seasons are fully guaranteed, so the cap hits for the signing bonus, which by rule are spread over the guaranteed seasons of the deal, come to $2.96MM for this season and $2.84MM for next, as Pincus also reveals.
  • The amount of guaranteed money going to Aldemir signals the gravity of his signing amid an otherwise low-risk strategy for Sixers GM Sam Hinkie, writes John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Daily News. Aldemir’s ability to develop will be a key bellwether for the success of Hinkie’s tenure, Smallwood believes.

Arnett Moultrie To Play For Chinese Team

December 16 at 10:02am CST By Chuck Myron

Former Sixers power forward Arnett Moultrie is joining the Jiangsu Nangang Dragons, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Spears indicates that Moultrie has already signed a contract with the club, though the terms of the deal are unclear. The Dragons already have Toney Douglas and Chris Singleton on their team, and the Chinese Basketball Association doesn’t permit its clubs to have more than two healthy American players, though Singleton has missed the last two games.

The Sixers sent Moultrie, the 27th overall pick in the 2012 draft, to the Knicks in October’s Travis Outlaw trade, and New York waived Moultrie the same day. The now 24-year-old Moultrie had played both of his NBA seasons with Philadelphia, averaging 3.6 points and 3.1 rebounds in 12.4 minutes per game, but he grew upset when the team was slow to activate him following an injury last season, and the NBA later suspended him for a drug-related violation. The events left doubt during the offseason about his future with the Sixers, so it wasn’t surprising when the trade happened.

Moultrie’s salary of more than $1.136MM for this season was guaranteed under the terms of his rookie scale contract, and the Knicks remain on the hook for it. Still, it’s possible that New York will be able to recoup a small portion of it through set-off rights, depending on how much Moultrie makes on his deal with the Dragons.

Beck’s Latest: Kings, Knicks, Suns, Nets, Rockets

December 15 at 2:57pm CST By Chuck Myron

There will be chatter aplenty between now and the February 19th trade deadline, but not all of it will truly constitute trade rumors, as Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck cautions. However, when multiple voices speak in unison, there’s usually a grain of truth involved, and Beck has plenty of tidbits he’s heard from a variety of sources around the league. We already passed along the news that the Pistons are putting Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings on the block, but that’s not the only item of note. We’ll pass along the rest of the highlights here and encourage you to read Beck’s full piece for more:

  • The Kings head coaching job is George Karl‘s if he wants it, as both Beck and Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee hear (Twitter links). Alvin Gentry and Mark Jackson are also “prime candidates,” according to Beck, though it’s not clear if the Kings are targeting either of them. Karl said to Tom Byrne of SiriusXM NBA Radio today that, “If they’re interested in me, I’m interested in them (Twitter link). Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports first identified Karl as the front-runner for the job, which Tyrone Corbin is expected to assume on an interim basis.
  • Executives around the league tell Beck that the Knicks are making all of their players except for Carmelo Anthony available, as Beck writes in his piece. A similar scenario is in place for New Orleans, where the Pelicans are open to trading everyone outside of Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Omer Asik and Ryan Anderson, Beck hears.
  • Many executives expect the Suns to trade one of Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas, according to Beck.
  • The Nets would probably only move one or two of Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson, team sources tell Beck. The Rockets asked Brooklyn about Andrei Kirilenko before the Nets traded him to the Sixers last week, Beck also hears.
  • There’s conflicting intel on the Nuggets, whom many executives view as top candidates to become sellers, while one Western Conference exec tells Beck that the Nuggets like their team and aren’t inclined to move anybody. In any case, there’s plenty of interest in Wilson Chandler and Timofey Mozgov, executives have said to Beck.
  • Many executives and scouts identified Thaddeus Young, Mo Williams and David Lee among likely trade candidates, Beck writes.

Atlantic Notes: Aldemir, Curry, Davies, Knicks

December 14 at 9:02am CST By Chris Crouse

Furkan Aldemir received his visa and will officially make his transfer to the Sixers, according to David Pick of Eurobasket.com (Twitter Link). The deal was first reported back on November 24th but numerous issues have caused delays in bringing Aldemir to Philly. The team currently does not have an open roster spot with the signing of Ronald Roberts Jr. on Friday so another move for the Sixers in the future is likely.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Leading up to the 2009 draft, Stephen Curry told the Warriors to stay away because he wanted to play for the Knicks, writes Harvey Araton of the New York Times“The Warriors had some questionable characters on their team, the Knicks really needed a point guard, and we felt that Stephen would fit perfectly with a coach like Mike D’Antoni, playing that fast, up-and-down style. He loved the idea of playing at Madison Square Garden,” said Dell Curry, Stephen’s father. Curry ended up being drafted by the Warriors with the seventh overall pick of the 2009 draft, one pick ahead of the Knicks, who ended up drafting Jordan Hill.
  •  Although coach Brett Brown was disappointed with the decision to trade Brandon Davies, the Sixers made the right move, opines Tom Moore of Calkins Media. Moore acknowledges that Davies has improved his game through hard work but argues that Davies isn’t a player whom the Sixers can build around once they have a contending team. Moore likens the situation to Philadelphia’s choice not to bring back James Anderson last offseason. Anderson could certainly help the team improve today but he didn’t show enough to indicate that he could contribute on a winning team.
  •  The Knicks are off to a horrible start at 5-20 but optimism is starting to surround the team, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. Head coach Derek Fisher noted that New York is starting to look like “a team” after Friday’s win over the Celtics. Carmelo Anthony, who played a key role in the win, knows success will quiet the rumors surrounding him on the team. “If we were winning, we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about a story out there that says I want a trade,” Anthony said in reference to a report that claimed he was open to waiving his no-trade clause to a winning team.

Atlantic Notes: Anthony, Stevens, Kirilenko

December 13 at 6:29pm CST By Arthur Hill

It may be time for Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony to consider knee surgery, suggests Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. Citing Anthony’s troublesome knee pain and the Knicks’ miserable 5-20 record, Begley writes that shutting down their star player for the season might be the best solution. Anthony, whose status is uncertain for Sunday’s game with the Raptors, said he considers surgery a last resort. He is in the first season of a five-year,  $124MM deal he signed with the Knicks after being one of last summer’s most hotly pursued free agents.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Despite the Knicks‘ lousy start, Anthony isn’t having second thoughts about staying in New York, writes Mike Lupica of The Daily News. “After all the work I did to get here and get back here? If I was to get up and want to leave now that would just make me weak, make me have a weak mind,” Anthony said in response to a question after Friday’s victory over the Celtics. “I’ve never been a person to try to run from any adversity or anything like that so I’m not going to pick today to do that.” 
  • Are the rigors of another losing season taking their toll on Celtics coach Brad Stevens, asks A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com. At 7-14, Boston is two wins behind its pace of last season and ranks 28th in the league in points allowed. But Stevens, who built a successful college program at Butler before coming to the Celtics, retains respect around the league. “He runs a lot of good stuff that works for the players they have,” an unidentified Eastern Conference scout said of Stevens. “But other than Marcus Smart, they’re not very good defensively and the Smart kid keeps getting hurt. Most nights, it’s their defense that kills them.”
  • Seventeen months ago, the Nets‘ signing of Andrei Kirilenko seemed like a steal, recalls Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily. The veteran forward, a Russian native just like team owner Mikhail Prokhorov, agreed to join the Nets for less than a  third of the $10MM annual salary he was making with the Timberwolves. But the relationship quickly soured. Back spasms kept Kirilenko off the court early in the year, and he saw limited playing time throughout the season and playoffs. Kirilenko was traded to the Sixers earlier this week.