Rajon Rondo ‘Dying To Get A Ring Again’ With Mavericks After Trade

DALLAS — Rajon Rondo wants another NBA championship ring and another parade, and he knew it probably wouldn’t happen anytime soon with the rebuilding Boston Celtics.
When Rondo was on his way to Dallas with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban as the centerpiece of a five-player trade, championship talk dominated the conversation.
The deal sends the four-time All-Star point guard from the fringe of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference with the Celtics to solidly in the mix in the tougher West, where the Mavericks were showing signs of returning to title contention but looking like they might be missing a piece. In their view, that piece comes in the form of the NBA’s assists leader with a reputation as a solid defender and rebounder. In other words, one of the league’s few triple-double threats.
“To be a contender right away, there’s a goal that you have in mind, and I’m dying to get a ring again,” Rondo said at his introductory news conference Friday. “I want another para

View full post on Yardbarker: NBA

NBA Trade Rumors: Buzz Surrounding Lance Stephenson, Jeff Green and More

The month of December is often ripe with trade discussions in the NBA, and although plenty of potential swaps crop up, few of the seeds planted by rumors bear actual fruit in the trade market. 

The Dallas Mavericks pulled off a blockbuster trade and landed pass-happy point guard Rajon Rondo—as well as forward Dwight Powell—from the Boston Celtics in exchange for a host of players and picks, including point guard Jameer Nelson and a conditional first-rounder in 2015, per a report from ESPN.com.

The Rondo exchange has the NBA all shook up, and the concentration of star power in the Western Conference is at an absurdly high level now.

The state of Texas alone has three bona fide championship contenders right now—the Mavericks, Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs, for those keeping score at home—which is about the same number of legitimate Larry O’Brien hopefuls in the East.

Of course, a big trade like Rondo to Dallas simply whets the appetite for more high-stakes bartering. The rumors will keep flying until the trade deadline in February grounds all the talks. Expect plenty of trade talk in the ensuing months as deals fall through and others rise through the cracks to take their place.

Here is a quick look at the latest trade chatter from around the league.

Lance Stephenson

The Charlotte Hornets, mired at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and with perhaps a glimmer of hope for a turnaround after a 3-4 start to December, have apparently been looking for ways to improve the current roster via the trade market.

Shooting guard Lance Stephenson has become scapegoat No. 1 for the team’s poor start, even though a number of factors, including a shoddy team defense that allows 101.4 points per game and diminished contributions from bedrock players, can be blamed for the disconcerting 2014-15 campaign.

However, it appears the team is sticking with Stephenson for the time being in a lukewarm trade market, per ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard and Ramona Shelburne:

Underwhelmed by the quality of trade offers they’ve received for Lance Stephenson, the Charlotte Hornets have decided to keep the volatile guard ‘for now,’ according to league sources.

This is a fine development. The Hornets’ trade options with Stephenson were likely limited, especially considering he’s averaging just 10.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. It’s way too early for the team to scrap everything and rebuild, especially with stars like Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson locked up through at least 2016.

They would have needed to trade Stephenson for an immediate contributor out on the wing, but of course there was always the possibility that any new player would need his own adjustment period and leave the team treading water.

Stephenson is still just 24 years old, and although his regression is stark, improvement is not impossible. Shelburne and Broussard provided insight as to why the Brooklyn native might have to stick around regardless of the trade interest for him:

Another factor in the Hornets’ decision to keep Stephenson is their growing belief that a groin injury has hindered him all season and played a significant role in his lack of production. Stephenson is expected to miss the next two games because of the groin and did not travel to Philadelphia for Friday’s game against the 76ers.

Charlotte feels the injury has affected Stephenson’s movement and conditioning, according to sources, and that just as he was getting healthy, he reinjured the groin Wednesday against Phoenix. The Hornets want to rest Stephenson, let him heal and see if he can either fit in with Charlotte or re-establish his trade value.

Recent performances indicate Stephenson’s game might finally be on the upswing, at least when it comes to scoring and holding onto the ball.

A groin injury might also explain why Stephenson has been settling for more jumpers and driving to the hoop less often. In 2013-14, 51.5 percent of Stephenson’s shots came from within 10 feet of the basket, per Basketball-Reference.com. This season, that number is down to 42.3 percent.

Unless another team comes through with a golden trade opportunity for the Hornets—the Nets would be a decent partner should they be willing to part with the likes of Joe Johnson and other assets—it’s best the team holds onto Stephenson and sees if it can make an organic turnaround by the end of the season. If not, the Hornets’ brass can always reassess the situation in the summer of 2015.

 

Jeff Green and Brandon Bass

Boston just might have an encore in the works after trading Rondo to Dallas. According to the MetroWest Daily News‘ Scott Souza, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge didn’t rule out possible trade discussions involving veterans Jeff Green and Brandon Bass:

On Wednesday, Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc Spears reported what the Celtics might be looking for in a potential Green deal:

Boston has been consistently shopping forward Jeff Green, trying to acquire a package that includes a first-round draft pick, sources said.

Trading either one of these players makes a great deal of sense for Boston, although it might make the team rather unwatchable in the short term. It would also signal a fairly complete overhaul of the team, considering they are two of the longest-tenured Celtics, per CBS Sports’ Sean Grande:

Green and Bass are 28 and 29 years old, respectively, and don’t fit in with the youth movement that’s bound to take place in Boston. 

Bass, who is averaging 9.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, is set to become a free agent at the end of this season and could fit in well for a contending team that needs depth at the 4-spot, such as the Golden State Warriors.

Green is the team’s leading scorer with 19.5 points per game, but his age, the fact that he’s due $9.2 million this season and has a player option in 2015-16 for the same salary make him highly expendable. Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com (via CBS Sports’ Matt Moore) notes that the Celtics would have a great deal of cap room if Green (among others) were no longer with the team:

He would actually make quite a useful second- or third-option on a (potentially) overhauled and playoff-ready Celtics squad in a couple of years, but since it’s unclear that the team can keep him throughout what could be a painful rebuilding process, it’s best that the C’s get rid of his salary and focus on grooming the next generation of stars to grace the TD Garden hardwood.

The Georgetown alum noted that Rondo was one of the reasons he stayed in Boston, which could diminish the chances of him sticking with the team on his own accord.

“He’s going to a great situation so I wish him the best,” Green said of Rondo, via MassLive.com’s Jay King. “It was tough to see him go. He’s one of the reasons why I came back and we’ve formed a brotherhood so it’s tough. But like I said, we have a great team here. We’re moving on. Just try to play basketball. Guys have to step up.”

However, the Celtics’ future already seems quite secure with eight first-round draft picks in the next four years. They currently possess the eighth-best record in the Eastern Conference at 10-14.

If the Celtics’ higher-ups decide that a playoff push is needed in order to retain the faith of a fanbase that can no longer claim one of the best distributors in the league as one of its own, then keeping Green around might be in the organization’s best interest.

Unless otherwise noted, contract information courtesy of Spotrac.

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Houston Fox Affiliate Uses Pic of Troy Daniels from NBA2k in Segment About Trade

The Houston Rockets announced Friday that they acquired Corey Brewer and Alexey Shved in a three-team deal.

When Houston Fox affiliate KRIV aired commentary about the trade, keen-eyed viewers noticed something was off.

Indeed, it appears that KRIV snagged a screenshot of Troy Daniels, who was traded away by the Rockets, from the NBA2K video game franchise.

Twitter was quite amused with the strange choice of photo.

[Deadspin]

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Ranking New York Knicks’ Trade Bait

With the NBA‘s trade restrictions being lifted, we can expect the New York Knicks to start exploring their options in an attempt to get a head start on the work they’ll need to do in the summer.

The Knicks aren’t exactly stacked with talent, but there are a handful of players who they could look to trade in return for picks, cap space or even as part of a blockbuster trade (as unlikely as that may be at this point).

After their terrible start to the season, the Knicks should also be in full tanking mode, which may mean giving away any decent player that doesn’t have a long-term role to play for the franchise.

Phil Jackson certainly has his work cut out here, as there’s no guarantee New York will be able to do anything of much use before the deadline, but it’s still worth taking a detailed look at the best trade bait he has at his disposal.

Begin Slideshow

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Boston Celtics Won’t Give Up on Season After Rajon Rondo Trade

BOSTON – No player on the Boston Celtics roster has spent more time alongside Rajon Rondo than Avery Bradley. The former backcourt starting mates have played the last five seasons together in green, through both the highs of a playoff run and the lows of rebuilding.

After Boston’s 114-98 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night, Bradley was understandably emotional about the team’s trade of Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night.

“Rondo’s someone I’ve been seeing every single day for the last four-and-a-half years,” Bradley said in his first public comments about the deal. “He’s like an older brother to me, but all I can do is wish all the best for him, tell him I’m going to miss him.”

That kind of reaction was common throughout the Celtics locker room Friday night when Rondo’s name came up. The entire roster respectfully paid tribute to its former captain who was shipped out alongside rookie Dwight Powell for Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright and Jameer Nelson. Despite politely wishing their ex-teammate well in his new home, the tenor of the team seemed unaffected by the move.

Many outsiders believe that the Celtics are, in essence, giving up on their season by trading away Rondo, but no one in the Boston locker room was willing to acknowledge that this team is even taking a step back without the 28-year-old point guard.

“In the trade, we got three great players,” Kelly Olynyk said enthusiastically. “We got Brandan Wright, who is super-athletic and can do lots of things to change a game on both ends of the floor. Jameer Nelson, who is solid and can really shoot the ball. Jae Crowder is an energy guy that can make a difference. For us, I think it’s great. I love our team right now. The guys in here are working really hard and going in the right direction.”

“This team is going to prepare everyday to win the game,” Brad Stevens declared Friday night. “There is a group in there right now that I can tell is ready to compete. [Without Rondo,] there has to be some ownership taken and some verbal leadership taken over by some of our younger guys that may or may not be considered old enough to do that.

“That’s the situation we are in. The deal is, this is our team. This is how we are getting ready to win every single night. We are building every single night to be the best we can be. I’m excited about the guys in the locker room. Time will tell how we will do.”

Stevens’ positive outlook has carried over into the locker room as well, as the team prepares for a variety of new roles, both on and off the floor, without their captain.

“I wouldn’t say we are taking a step back, because we are in a good situation,” Bradley said after the game. “We have a lot of talent. The main thing is we know what we need to do in order to be successful.”

Just how can the Celtics remain in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt without Rondo manning the point guard? Evan Turner got the start on Friday night alongside Bradley, but the team appears ready to hand the job to rookie Marcus Smart when he shows he’s capable of staying on the floor.

The 21-year-old has looked promising in his time on the court this season, but he has been plagued by injuries that have forced him to miss significant action in the past couple of months. On Friday night Smart scored eight points in the fourth quarter in his return to the court from an Achilles injury, helping the Celtics pull away with the win over Minnesota.

For his part, Smart is embracing the challenge of additional responsibilities without Rondo in the fold.

“As a competitor, you are your own biggest critic, so I think every last one of us in here is going to step up and put a lot more pressure [on ourselves] than we used to. We just know that it’s going to be there,” Smart said.

Smart’s teammates are also showing confidence that he can fill Rondo’s void on the floor.

“He plays with confidence, but off the court, he knows he needs to learn,” Jared Sullinger said. “When he’s out there, you couldn’t tell if he’s a rookie or not with all the plays he is making. We just want him to play his best basketball as we move on during the season.”

One reality that will make things easier for Smart and Co. is that the team has amassed some experience playing without the four-time All-Star already this season. Rondo missed all of the preseason due to a broken left hand, which allowed for Smart, Turner and Phil Pressey to handle point duties for eight games in October.

“I really haven’t had to communicate anything different to any of those guys,” Stevens said of his guards’ duties.  

While Smart, Turner, Pressey and Nelson may be filling Rondo’s shoes on the floor, the team still needs to fill Rondo’s leadership presence in the locker room. Almost universally around the young squad, players acknowledged that it couldn’t just be one person that steps up.

“It’s a lead-by-committee thing,” Olynyk said. “We are a community. We are a team and everyone is going to hold everyone accountable. I think that’s the best way to build a team.”

Veteran Jeff Green concurred with Olynyk: “It’s a team effort, it’s a team game. Not one person can do it [alone], we have to do it as a team.”

In his role as the longest-tenured member of the Celtics, Bradley acknowledged he has to step up as well. 

“It’s kind of hard to replace someone who was a leader like that,” Bradley said. “I’m going to try to come in here and continue to lead by example. I’m going to try to talk even more and encourage my teammates to go out and play as hard as I can every single night for them.”

Despite their confidence, the Celtics will have a steep hill to climb to remain competitive in the Eastern Conference over the remainder of the season. For the time being, the Celtics are in the hunt. After Friday’s win, Boston is riding a three-game winning streak that has put them in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings with a 10-14 record. With the constant struggles of teams like the Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Hornets in the bottom half of the East, Boston will have a chance to remain afloat. 

With that modest goal in mind, Stevens’ positivity and focus appears strong, and for at least one night, an overwhelming amount of optimism is present during the start of a post-Rondo era in Boston.

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Rondo trade changes everything for both teams

Dallas makes big move to compete in West, while Celtics look to the future.

      
 

 

View full post on USATODAY – NBA Top Stories

Rajon Rondo after trade: My love for Celtics fans is ‘unmatched’

A reflective Rajon Rondo took to Twitter late Thursday night.
 
 
Rondo, who was traded to the Dallas Mavericks hours before, professed his love for the Boston Celtics organization and its fans through a series of tweets. The All-Star point guard spent the first eight-plus years of his career in Boston, winning an NBA championship in 2008.
Rondo now will join the likes of Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler, Chandler Parsons and Monta Ellis with the hopes of bringing a title to Dallas. It’s clear he’ll never forget the time he spent in Boston, though, even if it involved both highs and lows.

My time in Boston has meant so much. I’ve grown up with this city both as a basketball player and person. The love I have for the most loyal
— Rajon Rondo (@RajonRondo) December 19, 2014

And supportive fans in the league is unmatched. My teammates have shown nothing but heart the last couple of seasons.
— Rajon Rondo (@RajonRondo) December 19, 2014

They are some of the hardest working guys I have played

View full post on Yardbarker: NBA

Wolves trade Corey Brewer to the Rockets

A couple teams in the state of Texas are sure looking to shake up the NBA’s Western Conference. A day after the Dallas Mavericks acquired Rajon Rondo, it appears that the division-rival Houston Rockets have picked up a solid piece.
According to Yahoo Sports NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Rockets have acquired forward Corey Brewer from the Minnesota Timberwolves in a three-player deal. 
Brewer, an original lottery pick of the Timberwolves back in 2007, is averaging 10.5 points and nearly four rebounds per outing this season. He also leads the Association with 2.3 steals per game.
The veteran will likely play an important reserve role behind Trevor Ariza at the three, but he can also play shooting guard when asked to.
Houston used the trade exception it acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers in the Jeremy Lin deal to pick up Brewer’s contract.
Heading to Minnesota is veteran guard Troy Daniels, backup forward Ronny Turiaf, a second-round pick in 2015 and a future second-round pick.
Turiaf is expe

View full post on Yardbarker: NBA

T’wolves, Rockets land Brewer trade

The Timberwolves’ rebuilding continues as the Rockets add veteran depth for a title push.

      
 

 

View full post on USATODAY – NBA Top Stories

Corey Brewer is now firmly entrenched on the trade block

A month after first offering him up to other teams as a useful veteran, the Minnesota Timberwolves have put swingman Corey Brewer back on the trading block yet again as the team enters a rebuilding mode in the wake of star forward Kevin Love’s trade departure this offseason.
Brewer, 28, isn’t a star by any means but is a long small forward who can provide a contending team with another body who can match up well and hit open shots (averaging 10.5 points a game this season) when called upon. He’s also not a very expensive bench option for teams, as he is owed $4.7 million this season and has a player option for next season at $4.9 million.
According to the report by ESPN, the Rockets and Cavaliers–both right in the middle of the playoff bracket in their respective conference if the postseason started today–are the two teams most interested in bringing Brewer on with the Clippers as another intrigued team. The common point between those three teams is their relatively weak benches, wh…

View full post on Yardbarker: NBA

Next Page »