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 ESPNBoston.com writer Jackie MacMullan said in a recently published video featuring excerpts from the ESPN show “Around the Horn” (hat tip to Jay King of MassLive.com). 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 MassLive.com. 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.