Carmelo Anthony recruiting Rajon Rondo to New York? Maybe it should be the other way around. The Celtics punished the Knicks at MSG this afternoon, cruising to a 114-73 victory. In the biggest rout of the 2013/14 season so far, Jordan Crawford led the way with 23 points while Melo had just 19 off of putrid 5-of-15 shooting. The latest out of Boston..
After being brought in at last season’s trade deadline to be a wild card for the postseason-bound Celtics, Crawford had no real expectations on him. However, Crawford is proving to be a real force for Boston, writes Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com.
Even though he’s not likely to win the award, Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter) would like to see Danny Aingeget some votes for Executive of the Year for the picks he stockpiled and his bold coaching hire.
Joel Embiid is developing into a potential No. 1 overall pick, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com, joining ESPN colleague Chad Ford on the Kansas center’s bandwagon.
Knee troubles have sidelined Al Harrington for a good chunk of this season, but he remains involved with the Wizards. As he tells Michael Lee of the Washington Post, Harrington can imagine himself coaching after he retires and has been acting as a de facto assistant in Washington while he recovers.
An Eastern Conference executive who spoke to Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News points to Nets coach Jason Kidd as a prime example of why the Knicks can’t replace Mike Woodson with Allan Houston, a possibility broached earlier this week. Houston, like Kidd, has no previous coaching experience, and “would be a disaster,” in the exec’s opinion. Here’s more from around the Atlantic Division:
Within the previously linked piece, Lawrence writes that he heard Lawrence Frank “regularly honed in on other assistant coaches’ work and often acted like he was in charge,” which was one reason for his re-assignment. Lawrence adds that Kidd won’t really be in trouble unless he gets a fully healthy roster and still struggles to win games.
Frank has hired attorney David Cornwell, who also represents Jonathan Martin of the Miami Dolphins and Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees, tweets Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. As we heard on Wednesday, Frank intended to retain legal counsel to help work out a buyout agreement with the Nets.
Derrick Rose refuses to recruit, but Carmelo Anthony (reportedly) might be willing to woo stars to New York. Oak Hill Academy coach Steve Smtih told USA Today’s Jason Jordan that Anthony is trying to convince Rondo to sign with the Knicks in the summer of 2015 when he is a free agent. Here’s more on that and other news out of the Atlantic Division..
Anthony refused to discuss the report, writes ESPNNewYork.com’s Ian Begley. ”C’mon, man. In my book, that’s tampering,” he said. If the report is true, however, that’s a promising sign for Knicks fans if the pending free agent is working to get stars to join him at MSG.
Iman Shumpert is clearly uncomfortable with all of the trade talk surrounding him and Knicks teammate J.R. Smith empathizes. ”Nobody wants to be traded,” Smith said, according to Begley. “To be in the situation he’s in with a hell of a team and the teammates that we have, it’s tough to go through that.” Shump took his anger out on the Magic last night, scoring 10 points in 25 minutes in the Knicks’ 38-point win.
Despite uneven playing time in Boston, Gerald Wallace says that Celtics teammate Kris Humphries won’t be requesting a trade. “That’s not his personality,” Wallace said, according to the Boston Herald. “I think a lot of people are trying to push him to that edge, but knowing Kris, that’s not his personality. He’s not going to demand a trade. He’s not going to blow up and go all off in the media. The thing he’s going to do is keep working hard every day and continue to get better as a player and wait for his opportunity.”
Rajon Rondo can’t become a free agent until the summer of 2015 and remains sidelined after an ACL tear, but his high school coach claims the recruitment process has already begun. Oak Hill Academy coach Steve Smith tells USA Today’s Jason Jordan that Carmelo Anthony is trying to woo Rondo to New York. Anthony also played under Smith at Oak Hill, but the Knicks star seems intent on opting out of his contract this summer, making his interest in recruiting a class of 2015 free agent to New York a potential sign that he wants to re-sign with the Knicks.
New York reportedly tried to trade for Rondo earlier this season in a deal involving Iman Shumpert, only to meet with refusal from Celtics GM Danny Ainge, who denies that any talk of a Rondo swap took place. It could be that the high school coach is making reference to these talks rather than free agency, insinuating that Anthony is lobbying the Knicks front office to pursue trading for Rondo and that the two stars have had their own private discussions about it. That’s just my speculation, of course.
Rondo is set to become one of the most sought-after free agents in 2015, assuming he returns to form after the injury and doesn’t sign an extension with the Celtics. The Knicks are set up to shed most of their bloated payroll after the 2014/15 season, making a Rondo signing a possibility.
According to Jeff Goodman of ESPN, several “NBA guys” (presumably scouts and/or executives) who were in attendance for a recent matchup between Michigan and Duke were disappointed in Glenn Robinson III‘s lack of assertiveness. Goodman adds that they consequently wondered if the current Wolverine should be considered in the top 20 during the upcoming draft or could possibly fall out of the first-round, with one proposing that Robinson III needs one more year in school (Twitterlinks).
Here are more of tonight’s miscellaneous news and notes:
Rajon Rondo doesn’t appear close to a return date, according to Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge: “I don’t think he’s close…Meaning, I don’t think [his return is] going to happen the next few weeks. We’re not on pins and needles about it. We’re being very cautious with Rondo. I think he’s still got a little bit of a limp, his strength is not quite there, but he is making progress. We’re not close” (Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston).
Although there may be a split between NBA executives on who they would choose between Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker for the number one overall pick, Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com writes that the general consensus seems to associate Wiggins with the higher ceiling. Even after a less-than-stellar performance last week in the Bahamas, many are said to still be high on Wiggins’ potential.
During tonight’s matchup between the Knicks and Nets on TNT, one video segment included coach Jason Kidd‘s comments on Lawrence Frank’s recent re-assignment from his assistant coaching duties: “Philosophies, sometimes things don’t work out…You have to accept that. I could accept that. At the same time, there’s a brand, the Brooklyn Nets that has to move forward. I have to find a way to make them better. For coaches, it happens just like players. It could be a disagreement, or an understanding that we don’t get along. But I have to do what’s best for the brand, and that’s what I had to do” (hat tip to Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated).
Tom Haberstroh of ESPN looks at the rebirth of Michael Beasley‘s NBA career in Miami, as the Heat have presented the type of environment that will give the former lottery pick a chance to expedite his development (Insiders only).
RealGM’s Shams Charania takes a compelling look at Tre Kelley of the D-League’s Austin Toros, whose challenges in trying to fulfill his NBA dream over the last several years only pale in comparison to the tragedies he’s had to endure away from the court.
The Celtics are just 7-12, but they could have moved into first place in the Atlantic Division with a win last night. Instead, they lost to the Bucks, the worst team in the woeful Eastern Conference. That leaves the Raptors on top of the Atlantic at 6-9. Here’s more on the four teams chasing Toronto:
In a piece for Philly.com, SB Nation’s Michael Levin tries to peg Thaddeus Young‘s trade value, opining that his contract won’t discourage other teams from taking him on. Young’s deal runs through 2015/16 and has $28.2MM left on it, including this year.
A summer story line resurfaced this weekend with a report that the Knicks had attempted to trade for Rajon Rondo. The injured point guard is the final remaining link to the Celtics’ last championship team, and when Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers all exited this summer, rumors surfaced that Rondo could be next. Celtics GM Danny Aingedenies having conversations with the Knicks and insists that he hasn’t fielded calls about Rondo from any NBA team. Whether or not that’s true, it seems scuttlebutt about the four-time All-Star will persist.
Rondo is under contract for close to $12MM this season and about $12.9MM in 2014/15. It’s one of the most team-friendly deals in the league for a player of his caliber, but it only has two seasons left, and will likely have expired by the time the Celtics are ready to compete again. Still, Rondo’s the team’s best player, and he’s never played for another franchise. One opposing GM believes the Celtics would seek a major star in return for Rondo if they were to deal him away, so perhaps Ainge feels confident enough about the prospect of re-signing him in 2015 to pass up all but the most generous of trade offers.
What do you think Ainge’s strategy should be? Should he cash out the team’s best asset now while he’s under team control on a bargain contract? Or should he make Rondo the centerpiece of his rebuilding effort even though the point guard can bolt in two years? Let us know with a vote, and elaborate on your opinion in the comments.
Despite reports that the Knicks called the Celtics about the possibility of acquiring Rajon Rondo, GM Danny Ainge told reporters yesterday that he hadn’t spoken to any other teams about Rondo. According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, Ainge wasn’t just playing semantic games; the Celtics GM clarified that he hadn’t shot down any clubs attempting to talk about Rondo either.
Whether or not you believe Ainge, his message is clear: Boston’s star point guard isn’t going anywhere. That doesn’t mean there won’t be chatter surrounding Rondo and other C’s over the next several weeks and months though, so let’s check in on the latest:
Here’s what one rival GM told Bulpett about the possibility of the Celtics trading Rondo: “If you don’t hear of some superstar going back to the Celtics for Rondo, don’t pay any attention to it. They don’t want to trade the guy anyway, but when people are throwing names like Iman Shumpert and Raymond Felton and Amar’e Stoudemire out there, you can be sure Rondo’s not involved…. I’m sure they’d have to listen if there was another major star involved, but it would have to be really big. This other stuff just doesn’t make any sense.”
Bulpett notes that the Celtics have also been linked to Omer Asik, but a source questions whether Houston would receive an offer strong enough to deal him, since he’s limited offensively and has a $15MM balloon payment coming in 2014/15.
While they may not be interested in moving Rondo, the Celtics are still active on the market, according to Bulpett, who names Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries as two players the team would “love to move.”
Ainge, on the possibility of swinging a deal: “I think that we don’t have much flexibility, as much as we would like. I wouldn’t say it’s a priority, but we are having conversations.”
12:12pm: Ainge also spoke to Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe, expressing in even stronger terms that no teams have inquired on Rondo and that he doesn’t expect any clubs to do so.
“Rondo is coming off an injury and I think people know how much we love Rondo, so I don’t expect anybody to inquire, quite honestly,” Ainge said. “People know that Rondo is a big part of our future and that we’re not going to trade him.”
I find it hard to believe that not one team has at least kicked the tires on Rondo, but either way, he seems to be unavailable. In Ainge’s words: “He’s going nowhere.”
11:57am: In what has become an annual ritual, Celtics GM Danny Ainge denied having trade talks about Rajon Rondo, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. Previous reports have suggested that the Knicks inquired on the injured point guard, but Ainge wouldn’t confirm having talked to New York.
“I haven’t talked to any teams about Rajon Rondo,” said the Celtics GM, adding that Rondo remains very much a part of the club’s plans going forward.
I’m inclined to believe that the Knicks at least asked about Rondo, though based on the rumored package they suggested, it makes sense that the conversation wouldn’t have lasted long. So perhaps when Ainge says he hasn’t spoken to any teams about his point guard, he means he hasn’t actually entered any negotiations beyond that initial inquiry.
Rondo has been subject to trade rumors in the past, despite Ainge’s repeated public insistence that Boston isn’t looking to trade the last key member of the club’s championship core. According to Bulpett, the recent reports prompted several other teams to call Ainge and inquire about Rondo’s availability, which the C’s GM referred to as “frustrating.” I expect Ainge will be frustrated a few more times before February’s trade deadline, since the interest in Rondo should only increase as he gets healthier.