Rajon Rondo Rumors
May 19 at 11:45am CST By Chuck Myron
J.R. Smith might have cost himself millions with his poor showing following his suspension in the playoffs this season, but that could make a return to the financially hamstrung Knicks a stronger possibility. He reiterated his desire to retire as a Knick after last night's elimination at the hands of the Pacers, though he still figures to opt out of his $2.9MM contract for next season. With the final Atlantic Division team done for 2012/13, it's time to look ahead to the summer, and that's the focus as we round up the latest from the Atlantic:
- Amare Stoudemire didn't start any games this season, but he thinks a lineup featuring him alongside Carmelo Anthony could work, observes Marc Berman of the New York Post. "We didn’t give it a chance," Stoudemire said. "We need to understand exactly what my style of play is and what I bring to the table. It’s something I have to sit down with Coach Woody (Mike Woodson) and express to him."
- Pablo Prigioni hasn't made up his mind about whether he wants to return to the NBA next season, tweets Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal. Prigioni has spoken about going back to the Spanish league, but agent George Bass recently said his client is interested in re-signing with the Knicks.
- Newsday's Al Iannazzone identifies five offseason questions for the Knicks, pointing to a post threat, youth and athleticism as pressing needs.
- Bradford Doolittle of ESPN.com also chimes in on the summer ahead for the Knicks, whom he believes must "hit a home run" with the 24th overall pick this June (Insider only).
- The notion that Phil Jackson could wind up overseeing the Raptors front office is "total bunk," according to Bob Finnan of The News-Herald.
- One NBA general manager tells Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald that he isn't hearing Rajon Rondo's name discussed as heavily on the trade market as it has been in the past.
- Danny Ainge is open to trading the 16th pick in the draft, and there is "major speculation" that the Celtics will indeed do so, either to move up or move down in the draft order. Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe has the details amid his roundup of NBA news.
May 9 at 6:54pm CST By Ryan Raroque
Danny Ainge made his final weekly appearance on 93.7 WEEI's Salk and Holley Show to share his thoughts on the team heading into the offseason. Ben Rohrbach of WEEI passed along the highlights of the interview, notably mentioning that Ainge feels that Paul Pierce has "a lot of basketball left in him" and that he thinks Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers will be back next season. You can read more about Ainge's comments below:
- Determining the future of Pierce will be the first difficult decision Ainge will have to make this summer.
- He downplayed recent rumors which suggested that he and Rivers are questioning whether they can continue to coexist or not: "(Those rumors) are silly. Those are a waste of time to even acknowledge...I think I have the best coach in the NBA, and I'm not the least bit tired of hearing his voice...I think Doc'll be coaching the Celtics (next year)."
- Garnett will be given some time to himself before the team approaches him about next season: "I'll touch base w/him some time next week...He needs time to chill and contemplate his life. I do anticipate KG will play."
- On a side note, Leandro Barbosa has been rehabbing at the team's facility, leading Rohrbach to wonder if Boston will consider bringing him back to the team next season.
- Rajon Rondo has "looked good" as he continues to recover from his ACL injury and should be ready to go by training camp.
- Ainge thinks that the team is more than one player away from contending (unless it's a great player) and added that it would be tough to become a championship team with the way the Celtics are currently constructed.
March 19 at 4:57pm CST By Luke Adams
Since being all but written off following Rajon Rondo's season-ending ACL injury, the Celtics have gone 16-7, strengthening their hold on a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. While there's been some chatter about the team playing better without Rondo in the lineup, GM Danny Ainge dismisses the notion that the All-Star point guard might become expendable going forward, stressing that the team loves the backcourt combination of Rondo and Avery Bradley (link via Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com).
"I don’t know what you're insinuating," Ainge told 98.5 WBZ-FM in Boston when asked about Rondo. "Because Avery is not Rondo and
Avery can also play two guard with Rondo and those guys have been
extremely effective together. I know that we haven’t had
them together much this year and I think that Rajon loves
playing with Avery Bradley, for a lot of different reasons. I think that
combination last year proved to be spectacular, they just didn’t get a
chance to get together much this year, so it's a little bit unfair."
Rondo's name has surfaced frequently in trade rumors over the last several seasons, and even Bradley was mentioned in a couple reports prior to last month's deadline, but according to Ainge, the Celtics don't intend to shop either player this offseason.
"I can’t envision any scenario, no," Ainge said of trading either player. "I love those guys,
where Rondo is right in the prime of his career, and Avery's not even
there yet, he's continuing to get better. I think they are a great guard
combination and to ever consider doing something like that, it would
have to be something significant."
While Rondo is under contract through 2014/15, Bradley will be eligible for a contract extension this summer. When Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors examined candidates for rookie-scale extensions over the weekend, he predicted that Bradley would sign a long-term deal with Boston this offseason.
February 21 at 1:24pm CST By Luke Adams
We're counting down the hours until today's 2:00pm CST trade deadline, and Josh Smith still appears likely to be on the move sometime before then. In yesterday's round-up of Smith rumors, we passed along word from HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy that "source after source" indicates Smith will be dealt today. ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports the same thing, writing that the Hawks are expected to trade their veteran forward for the best deal that won't hurt their long-term financial flexibility. We'll track today's Smith rumors right here, with the latest added to the top of the page throughout the day:
- The Nets are still "hanging by a thread" in the Smith talks, tweets TNT's David Aldridge. Milwaukee still appears to be the leader, Aldridge confirms.
- The Suns are essentially out of the running for Smith, according to Sam Amick of USA Today, who adds that the Bucks are viewed as the favorites (Twitter link).
- The Bucks and Hawks are still "seriously engaged" in talks for Smith, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
- The Rockets appear to be out of the mix for Smith, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today.
- Atlanta is still underwhelmed by the offers for Smith, but there's a still a belief the Hawks will settle for the best one, tweets Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.
- If the Hawks keep Smith through the deadline, there's
"basically zero chance" he re-signs with Atlanta, according to Jeff
Zillgitt of USA Today (via Twitter). That's why a team like the Rockets is unlikely to make a big trade offer today.
- The Nets haven't given up on Smith and still believe they're in the running, tweets Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
- A deal involving Smith and Monta Ellis is unlikely, tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
- One executive involved in the Smith talks tells Chris Broussard of ESPN.com that the odds of a deal are down to "50/50" (Twitter link).
- If the Nets don't land Smith (and they appear to be a
long shot), the club will likely stand pat at the deadline, says Adrian
Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter).
- The Bucks and Suns are the current frontrunners for Smith, with the Celtics still lurking as a "dark horse," tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
- ESPN.com's Chris Broussard's sources insist that the Bucks aren't trading Monta Ellis to Atlanta as part of a Smith deal (Twitter link). I could see the Hawks being intrigued by a package that includes Ekpe Udoh, expiring contracts, and picks.
- The Hawks and Bucks are in serious talks about Smith, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh have been discussed, and Devin Harris could be a part of any deal as well.
- The Suns "seem to be bowing out" of the Smith derby, according to Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld (via Twitter). I still wouldn't rule out a late push from Phoenix, but it doesn't seem as if the club is the frontrunner at the moment.
- The Rockets are involved at a "high level" in talks for Smith, a league source tells Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).
However, since Houston has the potential to sign Smith as a free agent
this summer, the team has some leverage and isn't willing to part with a
ton of assets in a trade (Twitter link).
- The Nets are continuing to search today for a third team to help facilitate a Smith deal, according to Stein. Meanwhile, Milwaukee remains one of the most likely destinations for Smith, but it remains to be seen whether the Bucks will be willing to include Monta Ellis in their offer, says Stein.
- Paul Pierce or Rajon Rondo would likely to be required in any offer from the Celtics to attract the Hawks' interest, and Boston is reluctant to include either player, according to Stein.
- More from Stein: The Hawks have yet to find an offer they particularly like and are hoping that another team like the Rockets jumps back into the mix. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweets that Houston is still "lingering" in talks for Smith, but that Atlanta's desire for Omer Asik and Chandler Parsons to be included in a deal is a non-starter for the Rockets, who will have room to make an aggressive offer for Smith in free agency this summer.
- Rival teams believe that the Hawks are looking for a trade scenario in which they can ship Smith to a Western Conference club, according to Wojnarowski (via Twitter).
February 20 at 10:52pm CST By Luke Adams
Josh Smith appears to be the big-name player most likely to be moved before tomorrow's trade deadline, and Tuesday brought plenty of updates and rumors on his potential destination. We rounded up those updates right here, and we'll track today's news here, with any new items added to the top of the page throughout the day:
- "Source after source" informs HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy that Smith will be dealt by the deadline (Twitter link).
- With the Suns apparently standing pat despite a report classifying them as the frontrunner for Smith, it looks like the Bucks are in the lead for Atlanta's athletic power forward, as Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes. The Bucks are willing to risk losing Smith in free agency, but chances are strong that he'll re-up in Milwaukee for the right price, according to Deveney. Still, Milwaukee won't include John Henson or Larry Sanders in any deal for Smith.
- Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio believes the Nets are the frontrunners, with Milwaukee a darkhorse (Twitter link).
- Smith is open to playing with the Bucks even if Monta Ellis is not around, reports Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times (Twitter link).
- Despite a report previously stating that the Nets are “solely focused” on Smith, a league source says that is definitely not the case, according to Alex Raskin of HoopsWorld.
- The Suns, Bucks, and Nets are currently viewed as the three most likely destinations for Smith, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
- A source tells Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today that it's not inconceivable the Hawks
hang on to Smith through the deadline. With a huge amount of cap space
available this summer, Atlanta could still re-sign the forward to a
reasonable contract if another club doesn't make him the max offer he's
- Ideally, if they trade Smith in the next 24 hours, the Hawks would like to acquire a young center, expiring contracts, and young players or draft picks.
- Amick and Zillgitt also report that the Nets' current offer for Smith is MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, and a first-round pick. Brooklyn is unwilling to include a second first-rounder at the moment.
- The Wizards' interest in Smith has all but disappeared,
as Washington isn't willing to give up any of the players Atlanta is
seeking for the forward, according to Amick and Zillgitt.
- Although the Bucks would like to acquire Smith without giving up Monta Ellis, the Hawks are targeting Ellis along with at least one expiring contract in their talks with Milwaukee, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein.
- The Bucks, Wizards, and Nets have been the most diligent in pursuing Smith, sources tells TNT's David Aldridge (Twitter link).
- Smith likes the idea of playing with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, so the Bucks are trying to find a way to acquire the Hawks forward without giving up either of their backcourt starters, tweets Chris Broussard of ESPN.com. Even if the Bucks can somehow pull that off, it'd be an awfully risky move, considering all three of those players are potential free agents.
- In another tweet, Broussard wonders if the Celtics could land Smith without moving Kevin Garnett or Paul Pierce, noting that Jeff Green would be a good fit in Atlanta. Broussard adds that rival GMs insist Rajon Rondo is available, though I would assume that's a separate thought, rather than a suggestion that Rondo would be part of an offer for Smith.
February 20 at 11:30am CST By Luke Adams
11:30am: League executives continue to call the Celtics about Rondo's availability, according to Sam Amick of Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. However, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com tweets that the C's are unlikely to move Rondo for anything short of Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, or a big package of assets like the one Denver received for Carmelo Anthony. With Rondo out for the year, that's not happening.
11:07am: Agent Bill Duffy tells Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link) that Ainge assured Rondo today that he won't be traded.
10:40am: After undergoing ACL surgery earlier this month, Rajon Rondo won't return to the court until the 2013/14 season. However, ESPN.com's Chris Broussard tweeted this morning that rival general managers insist Rondo is available via trade. Within the same tweet, Broussard mentions Josh Smith as a potential Celtics' target, though it's not clear if the ESPN.com scribe is suggesting the C's would consider moving Rondo for Smith.
For his part, Celtics president Danny Ainge insists that the team is unlikely to make any big moves, and certainly won't be giving up Rondo at a discounted rate, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.
"I’m not looking to give up any of our players," Ainge said. "We have
a limited roster, and it’s a matter of is it a better fit? Is there a
better position need? I don’t really think that there are. So it’s just
if we can improve our team. At the same time, I’m not giving Jared Sullinger away just because he’s hurt. It’s a challenge. I’m not trading Rajon Rondo away for discounted dollars because he’s hurt. As an
organization we’ve decided not to do that."
While Ainge has downplayed the likelihood of a Celtics trade, rival teams would be surprised if Boston doesn't make a move, according to Bulpett.
"They’re too active," one rival exec told Bulpett. "They’ve been putting a lot of different
things out there, and you’d have to think at least one of them is going
to come through."
February 19 at 9:55pm CST By Ryan Raroque
are ready to trade Monta Ellis
after he turned down a two-year extension, tweets Chris Broussard of ESPN, also mentioning that Ellis wanted to play out this season first. Earlier, we heard from HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy about the expectation by some around the league for Monta to opt out of his contract
this summer and sign with a contender, so it will be interesting to see how Milwaukee handles this situation over the next two days. Broussard had a wave of Twitter updates to share in the past hour, all of which you can find below:
February 15 at 10:08pm CST By Chuck Myron
10:08pm: Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, speaking with Chris Broussard of ESPN.com tonight, strongly denied that any Howard-Rondo talks have taken place at any time this season.
"I haven't talked to Danny Ainge in weeks. I made the statement a week or two ago that we're not going to trade Dwight Howard and that hasn't changed," Kupchak said (All Twitter links).
Kupchak hasn't spoken with anyone else in the Celtics organization either, Broussard also tweets.
9:54pm: A source tells TNT's David Aldridge that there's nothing to the rumored Howard-for-Rondo proposal (Twitter link).
8:43pm: The Lakers and Celtics have engaged in preliminary talks about a trade involving Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo, reports Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. The proposal has yet to gain traction, Berger writes, and Celtics basketball president Danny Ainge would be reluctant to do a deal without assurances from Howard that he would re-sign with the Celtics this summer. The Lakers are also continuing to insist they won't trade Howard, and that's the impression the Celtics have at present, according to Berger.
The trade could be tabled until after the offseason, but a sign-and-trade would only allow Howard to sign with the Celtics for four years instead of five, Berger points out, which would cost him as much as $30MM. It would also preclude the Celtics from exceeding the luxury-tax apron next season and keep them from using their full midlevel exception under new sign-and-trade rules going into effect this summer.
Sources tell Berger that the Nets, Mavericks and Rockets are teams that intrigue Howard as he looks ahead to free agency this summer. Absent from that list are the Celtics, which would seem to make the deal a long shot. By taking back Rondo, who's out for the year with a torn ACL, the Lakers would be throwing up a white flag of sorts with regard to this season, though the Celtics would have to throw in others who make at least another $5.8MM for the deal to work under the league's salary-matching rules. Rondo would also be an odd fit in L.A., considering fellow point guard Steve Nash is the only Laker signed past 2014.
Howard said happiness and the ability to have fun on the court is what he'll look for in a free agent destination, and he said he's not having as much fun as he used to, as Berger notes. While a trade to Boston or elsewhere might not be in the cards before Thursday's deadline, it seems there's a strong chance Howard won't be wearing the purple and gold come next season. The Celtics, meanwhile, could be in for radical changes as Ainge, as he has done in the past, appears open to exploring blockbuster moves to return the team to title contention.
February 13 at 1:44pm CST By Luke Adams
The 2013 draft class took a bit of a hit today, when the University of Kentucky announced today that freshman Nerlens Noel has torn his ACL, and will undergo surgery in the coming weeks -- he's expected to be out at least six to eight months (Twitter links). Nonetheless, while there's a possibility Noel will return to the Wildcats for his sophomore year, Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com hears that NBA people still expect the big man to be a top-five pick if he declares for the draft this summer (Twitter link).
Here are a few more Wednesday odds and ends from around the league:
- Danny Ainge shares a couple of Celtics injury updates with Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, noting that Dr. James Andrew performed ACL surgery on Rajon Rondo yesterday. Additionally, Leandro Barbosa suffered MCL damage, and will have to wait until March to undergo surgery on his knee (Twitter links).
- According to Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com (via Twitter), the Celtics would like to bring back Barbosa next season if they can.
- Iman Shumpert has been the subject of a few trades rumors recently, but George Willis of the New York Post believes it would be a mistake for the Knicks to move him.
- The Jazz should be in no rush to trade Al Jefferson, writes Kurt Kragthorpe of the Salt Lake Tribune.
- As All-Star weekend approaches, so too do the NBPA's annual meetings, which will include plenty of discussion about executive director Billy Hunter. Tom Ziller of SBNation.com writes that the union owes it to itself to replace Hunter with a director that's more aggressive about challenging issues like the NBA's age minimum.
- The latest piece of bad news for Hunter comes from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who reports that the U.S. Attorney's office is investigating a contract that authorized future payment of more than $3MM to a firm that employed Hunter's son. The NBPA's executive committee is required to authorize any expenditures more than $25K, but were reportedly never shown a deal that would have paid Prim Capital $600K+ annually for five years.
- An ESPN.com 5-on-5 panel that includes Marc Stein, Chris Broussard, and Chad Ford predict the odds that some of the big-name trade candidates will be dealt within the next eight days.
February 8 at 8:15am CST By Luke Adams
In the immediate wake of Rajon Rondo's ACL injury, plenty of fans and pundits questioned whether the Celtics were still a playoff team, speculating that clubs like the Sixers, Pistons, and Raptors could end up challenging for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Since then, the Celtics have won six straight games, not only quieting that talk, but sneaking past the Bucks and into the seventh seed in the East. As the C's enjoy their best stretch of the season on the court, here's the latest off-the-court news out of Boston:
- Kevin Garnett reiterated something he's said before, telling reporters, including Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, that he wants to retire as a Celtic. "I don't know what all your sources are, or whoever's making up this
[expletive] articles about me getting traded to Denver and all these
other places," Garnett said.
"But I bleed green, and I will continue to do that. And if it's up to me I'm going to retire a Celtic."
- In his weekly appearance on WEEI's Big Show, president Danny Ainge said that keeping Garnett and Paul Pierce was "by far the most likely thing" for the Celtics. "There are so many teams that are trying to get younger," Ainge said. "There are so
many teams that are trying to rebuild. There are so many teams that are
trying to get higher draft picks already. I just think that where we
value them as players is just greater than the rest of the league, which
I think is common for players that age."
- In a series of tweets, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports provides an update on Rondo's injury status. According to Spears, Rondo spoke to three doctors and will decide as early today which one will perform his surgery. The procedure is expected to happen next Tuesday or Wednesday, and will likely sideline him for six months.