Phoenix Suns Rumors

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.

Trade Retrospective: Stephon Marbury To Knicks

August 30 at 12:33pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

With the Kevin Love trade saga now finally over, fans of all the teams involved are left to wonder whether or not their franchise got the better end of the deal. The Wolves dealt away their franchise player for a number of intriguing pieces, and the Cavs nabbed another star to pair alongside LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, while the Sixers chances to nab the No. 1 overall pick have improved markedly. It’s always a risky undertaking when dealing a top-tier player away, as many past trades have demonstrated. It’s with that in mind that I’ve been looking back at other blockbuster trades and how they have worked out for all involved.

So far I’ve examined the trades that sent Dwight Howard to the Lakers; Deron Williams to the Nets; Kevin Garnett to the Celtics; Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks; Chris Paul traded from the Pelicans to the Clippers; and the trade that sent Shaquille O’Neal from the Lakers to the Heat. Next up is a look at a trade that occurred on January 5th, 2004–the deal that sent Stephon Marbury from the Suns to the Knicks.

I’ll begin by running down the assets involved:

This trade had all the makings of a great story–a hometown star returns to change the fortunes of the Knicks franchise. Marbury was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and was a lifelong team fan. The Knicks were firmly mired in mediocrity, and this trade was intended to be a major step towards reversing the franchise’s fortunes.

Here are the Knicks’ records prior to trade:

  1. 2000/01: 48-34 (Lost in first round to Raptors)
  2. 2001/02: 30-52
  3. 2002/03: 37-45

The Knicks used this trade to acquire the star point guard they desperately needed, plus it also helped correct the less-than-stellar results of the franchise’s big move from the year before. I’m referring to the ill-fated deal that sent the draft rights to Nene; Marcus Camby; and Mark Jackson to Denver for Antonio McDyess and Frank Williams. McDyess was intended to be an anchor for the franchise, but instead he just added to his injury history, and only played in a total of 18 games in New York. Nene and Camby were much more productive over the years, and this trade ended up being one of the more imbalanced ones that you’ll see.

When New York made the Marbury deal, which was the first major move made during the Isiah Thomas regime, the Knicks hoped this would lead to a change in culture and a reversal of fortune. Things didn’t quite work out that way. Here are the Knicks’ records during the Marbury years:

  1. 2003/04: 39-43 (Lost in first round to Nets)
  2. 2004/05: 33-49
  3. 2005/06: 23-59
  4. 2006/07: 33-49
  5. 2007/08: 23-59

Not all the blame can rest on Marbury’s shoulders for the franchise’s lack of success. The Knicks didn’t have much talent around him, and a number of personnel moves ended up backfiring spectacularly during this era. But Marbury didn’t exactly perform up to the levels he did in Minnesota and New Jersey, either. Here are Marbury’s numbers during his time in New York:

  1. 2003/04: 19.8 PPG, 3.1 RPG, and 9.3 APG. His slash line was .431/.321/.833.
  2. 2004/05: 21.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 8.1 APG. His slash line was .462/.354/.834.
  3. 2005/06: 16.3 PPG, 2.9 RPG, and 6.4 APG. His slash line was .451/.317/.755.
  4. 2006/07: 16.4 PPG, 2.9 RPD, and 5.4 APG. His slash line was .415/.357/.769.
  5. 2007/08: 13.9 PPG, 2.5 RPG, and 4.7 APG. His slash line was .419/.378/.716.

His first two years with the Knicks were excellent statistically, but he tailed off significantly starting with the 2005/06 campaign. Marbury’s lack of productivity led to him spatting publicly with then-coach Larry Brown.

Brown claimed that Marbury refused to take responsibility for his part in the team’s disastrous 2005/06 season. Marbury responded by saying, “I think it’s personal now. I don’t think it’s about basketball anymore. Now it’s to the point where he’s [Brown] putting his 30-year career against my 10-year career. You know, coach is a great coach is what everyone says. We’re supposed to be better than what we are. Did it happen now? No.”

Brown responded by saying, “So, you’re the best guard in the league and the team is 17-45, yeah, it’s the coach’s fault. I don’t know why you play a team sport and not be concerned about making your teammates better and helping your team win games. That’s the only thing that really matters, and if you’re the best player, surely you’re going to have some effect on the game’s outcome.”

That was Brown’s only campaign on the New York bench, and he was replaced the following season by Thomas, who also ended up clashing with Marbury, whose popularity was on the decline with the Knicks’ fan base thanks to all the issues and losing seasons. This player-coach feud culminated with rumors that Marbury and Thomas had allegedly gotten into a physical altercation at practice. Marbury further angered the organization and fans when he elected to have season-ending ankle surgery in February of 2008, which the team had deemed unnecessary at the time.

The Knicks explored potential trades for Marbury, but there wasn’t much interest in the then-31-year-old guard, who still had two years, and nearly $42MM remaining on his contract. Mike D’Antoni took over as head coach in 2008, and New York signed Chris Duhon as a free agent, and Duhon in turn won the starting point guard job during training camp. Marbury was placed on team’s inactive list. He and the team debated over his role and playing time, and when they were unable to come to an accord on a potential buyout, Marbury was banned from attending any practices or games.

The Knicks and Marbury finally reached a buyout arrangement in February of 2009, and after clearing waivers, he signed with the Celtics. Marbury finished out the season with Boston, averaging 3.8 PPG and 3.3 APG. The Celtics offered him a contract for the veteran’s minimum of for the 2009/10 season, which Marbury declined. He has been out of the league ever since.

Penny Hardaway was a shell of the superstar player he was during his years with the Magic. Injuries had taken their toll on his production and ability to remain on the court. Hardaway hadn’t lived up to the seven-year, $86MM contract he had inked in 1999 as part of the sign-and-trade deal that sent him from Orlando to Phoenix.

Hardaway was productive for the remainder of the 2003/04 season, and he played well in the Knicks’ first round playoff series loss to the Nets, averaging 16.5 PPG, 5.8 APG, 4.5 RPG, and 1.5 steals. After that he would only appear in 41 contests over the next two seasons due to injuries. Hardaway’s numbers with the Knicks were:

  1. 2003/04: 9.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 1.9 APG. His slash line was .390/.364/.775.
  2. 2004/05: 7.3 PPG, 2.4 RPG, and 2.0 APG. His slash line was .423/.300/.739.
  3. 2005/06: 2.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG, and 2.0 APG. His slash line was .286/.000/1.000.

His time in New York ended in February of 2006 when he was traded back to Orlando, along with Trevor Ariza, for Steve Francis. Hardaway was then waived by the Magic in a cost-cutting move.

Cezary Trybanski only appeared in three games for the Knicks, averaging 0.3 PPG. He was then traded to the Bulls along with Othella Harrington; Dikembe Mutombo; and Frank Williams, for Jamal Crawford and Jerome Williams. Trybanski was waved by Chicago prior to the start of the season and he has been out of the league ever since.

The Suns made this deal to free up cap space for the summer of 2004, when they hoped to make a splash in free agency and build around their core of Amar’e Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, and Shawn Marion.

The Suns records prior to the trade were:

  1. 2000/01: 51-31 (Lost in first round to the Kings)
  2. 2001/02: 36-46
  3. 2002/03: 44-38 (Lost in first round to Spurs)

This deal is an odd one in that the Suns gave up the best player, didn’t receive much long term value in return, essentially squandered the draft picks they acquired, yet still came out ahead in the end. This is all thanks to the free agent signing of Steve Nash in July of 2004. All Nash did was win the MVP award in his first season and lead the Suns to the Western Conference Finals.

The Suns’ records post trade:

  1. 2003/04: 29-53
  2. 2004/05: 62-20 (Lost conference finals to Spurs)
  3. 2005/06: 54-28 (Lost conference finals to Mavs)
  4. 2006/07: 61-21 (Lost in second round to Spurs)
  5. 2007/08: 55-27 (Lost in first round to Spurs)

Howard Eisley finished out the rest of the 2003/04 season with Phoenix, averaging 7.1 PPG and 3.4 APG, then reached a buyout arrangement with the Suns for the remaining two years of his deal. Eisley then signed a one-year, $1.1MM contract with the Jazz that summer.

Charlie Ward was waived the day after the trade by Phoenix and was picked up shortly after by the Spurs for the rest of the 2003/04 season, when he averaged 3.3 PPG and 1.3 APG. Ward appeared in 14 games for the Rockets during the 2004/05 campaign, and then retired after the year.

Milos Vujanic was originally selected by the Knicks with the No. 36 overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft. He never appeared in an NBA game, and played eight seasons in the Euroleague and Italian League before retiring in 2009.

Maciej Lampe was another second-round selection by the Knicks, taken with the No. 30 overall pick back in 2003, but he never appeared in a game while with New York. After the trade Lampe averaged 4.6 PPG and 2.1 RPG for the Suns. Lampe’s time in the desert came to an end in January of 2005, when he was traded along with Casey Jacobsen and Jackson Vroman to the Pelicans for Jim Jackson and a 2005 second-rounder (Marcin Gortat).

Antonio McDyess finished out the 2003/04 season with the Suns, averaging 5.8 PPG and 5.8 RPG. After the season he became a restricted free agent and signed with the Pistons, where he stayed for five seasons, and he became a valuable contributor off of the bench.

Both first round draft picks that the Suns acquired in the Marbury trade were later packaged along with Tom Gugliotta and a 2005 second-rounder (Alex Acker) and sent to Utah for Keon Clark and Ben Handlogten. This ended up being a terrible trade for Phoenix, as neither Clark or Handlogten appeared in an NBA game after being acquired by the Suns.

Utah used the 2004 first-rounder to select Kirk Snyder with the No. 16 pick. Snyder was a bust and was traded after one season to the Pelicans. His career numbers in four NBA seasons were 6.3 PPG, 2.3 RPG, and 1.1 APG. Some notable players that Utah could have had with that selection instead of Snyder were Josh Smith, J.R. Smith, Jameer Nelson, Kevin Martin, Anderson Varejao, and Trevor Ariza.

It’s the other draft pick from the Marbury trade that is more haunting to both Knicks and Suns fans. With the No. 9 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, the Jazz selected Gordon Hayward. Let’s look at Hayward’s numbers since entering the league:

  1. 2010/11: 5.4 PPG, 1.9 RPG, and 1.1 APG. His slash line was .485/.473/.711.
  2. 2011/12: 11.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 3.1 APG. His slash line was .456/.346/.832.
  3. 2012/13: 14.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG, and 3.0 APG. His slash line was .435/.415/.827.
  4. 2013/14: 16.2 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 5.2 APG. His slash line was .413/.304/.816.

Hayward signed a four-year, $62,965,420 offer sheet with the Hornets this summer, which the Jazz quickly matched in order to keep Hayward in Utah for the foreseeable future.

Like I mentioned earlier, this is an odd trade in how it worked out. This became another failed deal during the Isiah Thomas years for the Knicks. The franchise could have benefited long term from retaining those two first-rounders, and saved themselves a number of headaches and public relations hits that resulted from Marbury’s presence on the team.

The Suns came out OK here, despite not receiving any long term assets besides salary cap room. Their signing of Nash away from the Mavs was a turning point in the franchise’s fortunes, and it wouldn’t have been possible if Phoenix hadn’t dealt away Marbury’s and Hardaway’s contracts. But it’s still hard to give them too much credit, seeing as they later gave up the two valuable first rounders they had acquired to Utah for essentially no return.

The Suns win this by default, but it’s interesting to imagine what might have happened had they held on to those picks and nabbed Josh Smith and Hayward instead. That would have truly been a landslide victory for them in regards to this deal, rather than winning it by default. The Marbury trade is a prime example of the risks involved for all franchises when making blockbuster deals. Knicks fans are still feeling the pain from all the misfires during 2000s, which included this one.

Poll: Should Bledsoe, Monroe Sign QOs?

August 29 at 10:29am CDT By Chuck Myron

Monday will mark two months since the start of free agency, and still two of the top five players on the 2014 Hoops Rumors Free Agent Power Rankings remain unsigned. The restricted free agencies of Eric Bledsoe and Greg Monroe have dragged on longer than it seemed reasonable to expect, even though teams and their restricted free agents often engage in protracted negotiations, as the Wolves and Nikola Pekovic did last year. There’s little doubting the game-changing ability of either, but the power for Phoenix and Detroit to match all other offers for their respective young stars appears to have effectively short-circuited the market.

Reports have indicated that both Bledsoe and Monroe are prepared to sign their qualifying offers, the standard one-year offers that teams must make at the start of free agency to retain matching rights on their restricted free agents. One report amid a series of dispatches earlier this month indicated that Monroe had already let the Pistons know he would accept the qualifying offer, though other reports conflict with that notion. Bledsoe is insisting that he either receive a max deal or he’ll take the qualifying offer, according to the latest we’ve seen on him.

Signing the qualifying offer would represent a drastic step. Monroe’s QO is worth a shade less than $5.48MM, while Bledsoe would make just $3.727MM this season if he signed his. The Pistons and Suns appear to have made long-term offers that would pay much more than that. Phoenix reportedly has four years and $48MM on the table for Bledsoe, while the Pistons are apparently willing to give Monroe more than $54MM over four years. Still, the max for both would be a five-year, $84,789,500 contract, and it seems neither would be satisfied settling for less. Sign-and-trades remain a possibility, but it doesn’t appear as though there’s much traction toward one for either of the free agents stuck in limbo.

Bledsoe and Monroe could hit unrestricted free agency in a year if they sign their qualifying offers, and while it would seem that both would field more competitive offers from teams who would no longer have to worry that the Suns or Pistons would match, there are no guarantees. Bledsoe has only started 78 games in his career, and it appears few around the NBA regard Monroe as someone worthy of a maximum-salary contract. Only 17 players have signed qualifying offers in the past two decades, and none have carried cachet of either Bledsoe or Monroe, underscoring just what an unusual move it would be.

Let us know whether you think signing the qualifying offer, and the chance to hit unrestricted free agency in a year that comes with it, would be worthwhile for Bledsoe and Monroe, or if you think they should take the more lucrative long-term deals in front of them. Weigh in on your choice in the comments.

And-Ones: Thomas, Wiggins, Drew

August 26 at 10:25pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The NBA is creating more room around the basket stanchions and reducing the number of photographers along the baseline, as Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press reports. The league planned the changes before Paul George was hurt, league president of basketball operations Rod Thorn tells Mahoney, and that’ll prevent another injury of the sort that befell George, but that’s of little comfort to the Pacers at this point.

Here’s the latest from around the league:

  • Isaiah Thomas tells Jeff Caplan of that he never requested trade from the Kings, who wound up participating in the sign-and-trade that sent him to the Suns. I was always professional about every situation,” Thomas said. “I always came in with my hard hat on willing to do whatever is best for the team. When they signed Darren Collison, I knew I was going in a different direction.”
  • Larry Drew said that he was blindsided by the events which led to him being fired and replaced by Jason Kidd as coach of the Bucks, writes Howie Kussoy of The New York Post. Drew also said, “From their [the owners'] standpoint, there’s no set time for these type of things. It caught me in a position when I least expected it. But I know how these things work. I don’t have any hard feelings, any grudges against anybody. [Owner] Marc [Lasry] called me and I just wished him luck. I’ve got to keep moving forward.”
  • Andrew Wiggins just wanted to play for a team that wanted him, and called the completion of the deal that sent him to the Wolves a big relief, writes Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press.
  • Former NBA player Dominic McGuire has signed with Hapoel Eilat of the Israeli League, reports David Pick of Eurobasket (Twitter link). McGuire’s last NBA action came during the 2012/13 season with the Pacers, Pelicans, and Jazz. In six NBA seasons, he has averaged 2.7 PPG and 3.4 RPG.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Suns Reach Camp Deals With Barron, Prather

August 26 at 8:21am CDT By Chuck Myron

The Suns have agreed to non-guaranteed deals with eight-year NBA veteran Earl Barron and undrafted rookie Casey Prather that will allow the pair to join the team for camp, reports Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. They’re almost certainly on minimum-salary arrangements in spite of Phoenix’s ample cap flexibility.

The deal is Barron’s first in the NBA after he signed with the Knicks for the final game of the regular season and the playoffs in 2013. He didn’t see any postseason action that year, appearing in just that lone regular season game, and while the Knicks were reportedly split on bringing him back for last year’s camp, they decided against it, and he spent the season playing in China and Lebanon instead.

Prather made his first contact with the Suns through a predraft workout, though he spent summer league with the Hawks. The small forward from Florida entered the draft as the 83rd-best prospect in Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress rankings and No. 95 on Chad Ford’s board after a breakout senior season with the Gators. His 13.8 points in 27.9 minutes per game represented the first double-digit scoring average of his college career.

Barron and Prather will join 13 other Suns, all of whom have guaranteed deals, as our roster counts show. That doesn’t include Eric Bledsoe or second-round pick Alec Brown, though the Suns could make room for them if they cut Barron, Prather or both before opening night.

And-Ones: Drew, Antetokounmpo, D-League

August 25 at 10:33pm CDT By Cray Allred

Former Bucks coach Larry Drew was blindsided by his ouster from Milwaukee, telling Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he was taken aback by the process. New owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens were already in discussions with Jason Kidd, who supplanted Drew on the bench, while he was participating in rookie Jabari Parker‘s introductory press conference.

“The whole Jabari thing, putting me in that position, I don’t think it was very professional. I wish it wouldn’t have happened that way, but it did,” said Drew, who is now an assistant with the Cavs. “It caught me in a position when I least expected it. But I know how these things work. I don’t have any hard feelings, any grudges against anybody.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Thanasis Antetokounmpo‘s agent tells Marc Berman of the New York Post that the forward turned down a two-year, $550K offer to play in Italy in order to accept the $25K salary he will receive with the Knicks‘ D-League affiliate. Agent Tim Lotsos says the sacrifice was made because his client is eager to prove himself as NBA-ready. “To my surprise, he passed on it,” said Lotsos. “He’s very ambitious and determined to make the NBA. I didn’t try to force him. I wanted him to make his own decision.”
  • A D-League expansion draft for returning player rights will take place on September 1, reports Gino Pilato of The draft will supply the Knicks‘ new affiliate with a starting roster, and each existing team will protect up to 12 current D-League players that the Westchester Knicks can’t obtain.
  • In the same piece, Pilato does a mock selection draft, projecting which players he sees each D-League team protecting and which players wind up in Westchester.
  • Plenty of people believe rookie Cavs coach David Blatt will become one of the best coaches in the league, writes Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders in his look at rising coaching names. Brigham views Mike Budenholzer, Steve Clifford, Dave Joerger, and Jeff Hornacek as fellow up-and-comers in the NBA ranks.
  • In a LeBron James-centric mailbag column, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel asserts that it was James’ contract preferences that led to the Cavs receiving draft picks from Miami in 2010 through a sign-and-trade, and that it was also his contract desires that prevented the Heat from receiving any picks when he returned to Cleveland this summer.

Pacific Notes: Thomas, Beasley, Ballmer

August 25 at 5:57pm CDT By Cray Allred

Jonathan Tjarks of RealGM expects plenty of suitors to pursue Eric Bledsoe next summer if he accepts the Suns one-year qualifying offer and aims for a max deal as a free agent. Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Isaiah Thomas tells Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders that while many found it puzzling he would join a loaded backcourt in Phoenix, the Suns‘ belief in his talent made it an easy decision to leave the Kings as a free agent. “I went on one visit, with the Phoenix Suns, and they just pulled out the red carpet for me and in the end I just felt wanted,” said Thomas. “I always felt like [Sacramento] didn’t appreciate me as much as they should. I’m not saying the fans [didn't]–the fans loved me and the city of Sacramento loved me. But it’s a business. They felt like they could get somebody better and I don’t blame them; that’s on them, and it’s their loss.”
  • The Lakers like what they saw from Michael Beasley‘s workout with the team, tweets Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, but their abundance of forwards could motivate him to prioritize other options.
  • We learned earlier that the Lakers have signed their second-round pick Jordan Clarkson.
  • Mark Cuban said he thinks new Clippers owner Steve Ballmer will bring positive energy to the league, telling ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s “The Afternoon Show with Cowlishaw and Mosley” that Ballmer will be good for the NBA (transcription via Tim MacMahon of “I’ve known Steve for a long time, going back into my twenties, and he’s always been this way,” Cuban said. “So this isn’t Steve Ballmer getting hyped just for the Clippers. This is just the way he is. He’s going to be great for the league.

And-Ones: Barea, Bledsoe, Bonner, Beasley

August 25 at 2:42pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Cavs are probably better off for having lost LeBron James in 2010 than they would be if he had never gone to Miami since it gave them the chance to accumulate assets through rebuilding, SB Nation’s Tom Ziller argues. That helps explain why the Sixers, one of the other teams in the Kevin Love deal, are so aggressively stripping their roster, Ziller suggests. Still, Cleveland was remarkably lucky in the lottery, nabbing three No. 1 overall picks in four years, so it’s tough to say that another team can easily mimic the path of the Cavs. Here’s more from around the league:

  • The only players on the Wolves who are off-limits for a trade are the ones who just came aboard in the Love deal, as Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune writes within a chat with readers. J.J. Barea remains on the block after the Wolves failed to convince the Sixers to take him on in the Love trade, Zgoda also writes.
  • The Wolves like Eric Bledsoe quite a bit, but it’s tough to see a scenario in which they’d sign-and-trade for the Suns restricted free agent, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. Phoenix reportedly made a last-ditch effort at a Bledsoe-for-Love swap, but Minnesota rejected that idea.
  • Backcourt mate Goran Dragic is hopeful that Bledsoe will be back with the Suns next season, as he tells Erildas Budraitis of RealGM.
  • Matt Bonner says there were several teams that inquired about him during his free agency this summer, but he let all of them know that he was waiting to see about a deal with the Spurs first, as he tells Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News. Bonner re-signed with the Spurs last month to a one-year deal for the minimum.
  • The Heat let Michael Beasley know they wouldn’t rule out re-signing him, but that’s standard practice for the team, which hasn’t made any offer to the forward, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The Heat isn’t high on bringing him back for several reasons, Jackson hears.

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.

Western Notes: Grizzlies, Thompson, Suns

August 23 at 8:59am CDT By Eddie Scarito

The Grizzlies allowed a trade exception worth $1,160,040 to expire when they failed to use it by the end of Friday. Memphis had created the exception in the deal that sent Tony Wroten to the Sixers a year ago. It’s the second trade exception that the Grizzlies have let lapse in the past week or so, after their $1,027,424 Donte Greene trade exception expired on the 15th.

Here’s more from out west:

  •  Mychal Thompson discussed the trade rumors this summer regarding his son, Klay Thompson. Thompson was rumored to be a key piece for the Wolves in any deal involving Kevin Love heading the Warriors. The elder Thompson said, “He was put on the table by the owner and the general manager. Jerry West and Steve Kerr pulled him off the deal,” tweets Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group.
  • The elder Thompson also told Leung (Twitter link), that he thought the Warriors would land Love. “I really thought [Joe] Lacob the owner was just going to veto everybody’s opinion,” Thompson said.
  • After their surprise success last season, very little has gone right for the Suns this offseason, writes Bob Young of the Arizona Republic. Young chronicles the franchise’s difficulties this summer, including the contract impasse with Eric Bledsoe; the failure to land Love; losing Channing Frye in free agency; and P.J. Tucker‘s arrest.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.