Matt Moore of CBSSports.com looks at a recent report from Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report about the future of Joe Dumars in Detroit. Dumars is weary of the criticism he has received in trying to rebuild the Pistons after constructing a franchise that went to the Eastern Conference Finals six years in a row. The criticism fails to account for the dismal Detroit economy and restraints placed on Dumars while the team was up for sale and changing ownership, as Bucher notes, and Moore points to the success the team had early in Dumars’ tenure. Still, Moore advocates for a change. The Pistons are currently 24-36, three games out of the 8th spot in the East.
More from around the league:
- During a rough season, Bucks GM John Hammond is being praised for drafting a “gem” in Giannis Antetokounmpo, tweets Chris Mannix of SI.com. The “Greek Freak” is averaging 7.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 1.9 APG over 24.5 MPG.
- Evan Turner is still getting acclimated with the Pacers, but both he and the team think it’s been a good fit so far, writes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Turner has played in five games with the team, and has averaged 9.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 1.6 APG in 22.2 MPG. How Turner adjusts to the Pacers will impact if he is in their plans going forward when he becomes a free-agent after the season, writes Kennedy.
- Danny Ainge said that the Celtics had asked Rajon Rondo to travel with the team last week, but instead Rondo chose to stay in Los Angeles to celebrate his 28th birthday, writes Royce Young of CBSSports.com. Ainge said, “In the end, him and I had a long talk about it. He planned it before and he had reason to believe it would be OK. I understand his reason because of what he’s grown up with and what he’s witnessed. You won’t see it happen again, and we’ve just moved on from it.” This isn’t expected to change the team’s immediate plans regarding keeping Rondo, according to Young.
Should the Knicks decide that it’s in their best interest to keep Carmelo Anthony and try to surround him with the requisite pieces needed for title contention, it’s almost a given that one plan would involve adding a big-name free agent during the summer of 2015 – when names such as Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo could hit the open market and New York would have plenty of cap room to work with. Such a plan might not be that appealing to Anthony, as rumblings indicate that the Syracuse star’s camp is only interested in what gets done this summer and not in 2015, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.
Here’s a roundup of more significant points from Isola’s piece:
- By July 2015, Anthony will be 31 years old; the thought of added mileage from another NBA season without the proper reinforcements could possibly be enough to dissuade the Knicks star from committing to New York long-term,
- James Dolan would be wise to bid farewell to Carmelo this summer rather than give him five years and $127MM to stay, especially when the alternative involves clearing valuable cap space and still having a first round pick in what would most likely be a rebuilding year in 2014/15.
- As for Love, Isola hears word that the 6’10″ big man’s current train of thinking involves either re-signing with the Timberwolves or heading to the Lakers once he hits free agency.
- While Rondo’s success includes a championship in Boston, Isola adds that the 28-year-old point guard’s personality, his clashes with Celtics coaches in the past, and that he played a role in Ray Allen‘s decision to leave for Miami make him a less-than-ideal fit next to Carmelo.
The Celtics and Lakers played last night, but there wasn’t nearly as much at stake as there usually is when the storied franchises meet. Both teams are struggling this season, although it has been more so by design in Boston. Here’s more from the team that usually resides a lot higher in the standings:
- Rajon Rondo wasn’t upset by the trade rumors that spiked around the trade deadline, but he apparently didn’t rule out the possibility that he could be dealt, telling Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe in a subscription-only article, “I didn’t know what was going to happen.” It never appeared that the Celtics were open to moving him for anything in the ballpark of what teams were offering.
- Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald thinks that Rondo’s detached leadership could hurt the Celtics, specifically players who are anxious when they hear their names swirling in trade rumors. Rondo says he doesn’t worry about reassuring players of their value to the team. “I don’t talk much about it,” he said. “We didn’t speak much about it as a team. [Coach Brad Stevens] announced it a couple of times in the meetings, but I didn’t say much about it.” Bulpett thinks Rondo should think more highly of his own voice within the organization, but the point guard doesn’t seem to think his input would change much. “You can’t worry about stuff you can’t control, you know? Everybody’s situation is different. I can’t worry about [Jeff Green] being traded, because it’s out of my control. He can’t worry about if I get traded. That’s just part of the game. It’s not the first trades that a lot of these guys have been through. We’ve all been through them, and when that time comes, it comes.”
- In his “GM for a Day” series, Bradford Doolittle of ESPN Insider [subscription only] takes a look at the Celtics. Doolittle thinks that GM Danny Ainge is in no danger of growing impatient and trying to jump-start the rebuilding process at the expense of the team’s long-term plan. He also covers decisions that lie ahead for Boston, including whether they will still eventually trade Brandon Bass, if they will waive Gerald Wallace and absorb the remainder of his dubious contract, and the outlook for soon-to-be free agents Jerryd Bayless, Kris Humphries, and Avery Bradley.
The Knicks‘ Iman Shumpert managed only 17 minutes on the court tonight before he was forced to leave the game with a knee injury. With his name involved in at least two deals under discussion, the early word on the second-year man out of Georgia Tech was that he has a sprained MCL in his left knee, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski, adding that Shumpert is on his way back to New York to undergo an MRI.
- Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, citing a source close to the situation, tweets that a deal sending Jeremy Lin back to New York is very unlikely.
- While they’re desperate to deal Evan Turner, it looks like the Sixers may not get what they want in return. Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports that Philly may settle for a second rounder as part of a bigger package for the Ohio State product, adding that the team has plenty of cap room to take back money but doesn’t want to make Turner a qualifying offer this summer (Twitter links).
- Point guard Rajon Rondo is unlikely to be traded, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England, who adds that the Celtics star is likely to draw significantly more interest this summer once he re-establishes his health.
- Sam Amick of USA Today offers his ruminations on Rondo, opining that having the point guard under contract through next season gives general manager all the leverage in any negotiations. Amick also reiterates his report that the Rockets and Celtics have not discussed a deal involving Rondo.
3:23pm: The teams have yet to speak about any Rondo deal, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today.
2:25pm: The Rockets have “absolute interest” in trading for Rajon Rondo, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. That alone doesn’t make a deal happen, Stein cautions, but he notes that talks could easily strike up between Rockets GM Daryl Morey and his former boss, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge (Twitter link). The Rockets were also linked to Rondo last month.
The asking price for Rondo is astronomical, as the team appears to be looking for a pair of unprotected first-round picks virtually guaranteed to come near the top of the order. A source tells Stein that Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck is behind the team’s lofty demands, as the ESPN scribe noted in a piece earlier today.
The Celtics would insist on acquiring Chandler Parsons, but Houston doesn’t appear willing to give him up, Stein tweets. Still, the Rockets are making renewed attempts at trading Omer Asik, and Boston was involved in rumors when Morey made efforts to unload his backup center in December. The notion of Asik getting involved in any Rondo talks is just my speculation, however.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens doesn’t foresee drastic changes coming to Boston’s roster any time soon, reports Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com, but that won’t stop speculation from around the league on potential deals about players on his club. Rajon Rondo seems to be at the forefront of the discussion on the teams’ potential trades, so let’s round up the latest regarding the much-discussed point guard:
- We heard earlier tonight that the Raptors were actively pursuing Rondo, but Chris Broussard of ESPN tweets that Rondo wouldn’t have any interest in remaining in Toronto long term. It’s not clear whether or not Rondo’s alleged unwillingness to remain with the Raptors is affecting the clubs’ pursuit, however.
- If a deal is to take place that puts Rondo on the move, league executives know it won’t be until the closing hours before the deadline, according Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link).
- As for the notion that Rondo wouldn’t be open to re-signing as a member of the Raptors or Kings, Amick notes (via Twitter) that any club that might acquire him would have 17 months to change his mind before his contract expires. Rondo is signed through the 2014/2015 season.
Despite the high asking price set by Celtics GM Danny Ainge, Rajon Rondo is still being pursued by several teams, most actively by the Raptors, Knicks, and Kings, writes Sam Amick of USA Today. Ainge is seeking multiple first round picks and a young prospect in exchange for Rondo, and no team has been able to present a deal that meets such a hefty cost. Here’ more from Amick:
- The Timberwolves are willing to listen to offers for any player on their roster besides Kevin Love, says on league executive. It’s a common belief Love will part ways with Minnesota in the summer of 2015 to seek out a deal with the Lakers, and the Wolves want to do everything they can to help prevent such a scenario.
- Omer Asik has been asking for a trade since the Rockets signed Dwight Howard, but Amick hears it’s unlikely the disgruntled big man gets moved this week. It’ll be interesting to see where Asik is come Thursday, since this news contradicts an earlier report stating the Sixers might be in play to land him.
- The Bucks have emerged as a possible “longshot destination” for Asik, as the Rockets would be interested in a swap involving Ersan Ilyasova. The Bucks remain hesitant to take on Asik, who will receive a steep pay increase next season, despite word that Ilyasova is unhappy in Milwaukee.
- Amick reiterates earlier reports that suggest Mike Dunleavy is unlikely to be traded away from the Bulls.
- Jeff Teague might emerge as a fallback option for clubs that are unable to trade for Rondo, as rival executives believe Teague will be available to teams if the price of the package coming their way is high enough.
The Knicks are making one last push to acquire Rajon Rondo from the Celtics, but they’re convinced it’s a futile attempt even as they do so, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. It sounds as if New York is doing its due diligence to make sure the four-time All-Star is truly out of reach as the trade deadline nears. Sources tell Sean Deveney of The Sporting News there’s “very little chance” the Celtics find a suitable trade partner for Rondo, and that’s consistent with most reports. Here’s more from Deveney:
- Boston is looking for a young player with All-Star potential plus multiple first-round draft picks for Rondo, Deveney says, adding that some would-be suitors are scared off by Rondo’s ACL injury last year. Teams that have called often abandon their pursuit once they realize the asking price, as Deveney explains.
- The Kings highly value Ben McLemore, one of the players reportedly in their proposed Rondo trade, but the C’s would want a more well-established player in return, according to Deveney.
- The Raptors don’t possess the assets to land Rondo, unless they get involved in a multi-team deal, Deveney writes.
Other teams around the NBA appear to have joined the Knicks in their belief that Danny Ainge is more willing to move Rajon Rondo than he’s letting on. The Kings have reportedly made an offer for Rondo, while the Raptors have their eyes on him, too. The C’s appear to be demanding a pair of unprotected first-round picks for their All-Star point guard. Sources tell Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald that those picks would have to be virtually guaranteed to come within the top few selections, even though Boston wouldn’t insist that both picks come in the same year. Here’s more on the C’s:
- Bulpett hears that teams around the league have called the Celtics about Rondo, Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, Jeff Green and Kris Humphries, as the Herald scribe writes in the same piece. While none of those talks are ongoing, the Celtics would like to make some kind of deal this week, according to Bulpett.
- The C’s are open to acquiring a major player, Bulpett notes, and they’ll go into the tax if necessary, as Ainge explains to Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe. “We would go over the cap for the right deal,” Ainge said. “We’re not going to go over the cap just for the cap’s sake, just because we’re not a playoff team this year, most likely, unless we turn things around quickly. I think that it would not be prudent to be a tax-paying team this year. But if we needed to be a tax-paying team to make a certain acquisition, we certainly would. We have the support of ownership and I think we have the best ownership in basketball. And they would certainly be willing to spend the money. It’s not that; it’s just the competitive advantage to stay under the tax for future years and to allocate our money the best that we can.”
- Ainge tells Holmes that there are “a lot of different directions we could go,” and that the team could either make an upgrade or do a deal that furthers the rebuilding process. Ainge is also keeping an open mind regarding the team’s store of draft picks, of which there could be as many as 17 in the next five years. “You know what, I look at them as 17 opportunities to draft some really good players,” Ainge said. “Or maybe 12 opportunities to draft and five to trade, or five to draft and 12 to trade. It depends on the players.”
We can add another team to the list of clubs that have interest in Celtics star Rajon Rondo. The Raptors have their eye on Rondo as they listen on offers for their own starting point guard, Kyle Lowry, writes Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.
Rondo has several fans in the Toronto front office and the Raptors are eager to bring in a bonafide star. Of course, the Celtics and GM Danny Ainge have gone on record many, many times to say that they won’t part ways with Rondo. However, anything is possible and at the very least, the phone lines have been open in Boston.
The Knicks still want to pair Rondo with pending free agent Carmelo Anthony, though it’s hard to see them putting together the necessary pieces to swing such a deal. Earlier tonight, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports reported that a deal sending Rondo to the Kings for Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore, and two picks was nixed due to the C’s star being unwilling to re-sign with Sacramento in the summer of 2015.