Rajon Rondo trade rumors pop up again
It’s December, which means it’s time for rumors about Rajon Rondo’s future. This time, though, the Celtics may finally be serious about moving him.
Interest in point guard Rajon Rondo has begun to ramp up again, but Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge will do nothing but hold his tongue, as evidenced during a Thursday morning interview with CBS Sports Radio’s Toucher and Rich.
“From the middle of December to the middle of February, there’s a lot of discussion between teams,” Ainge said, broadly speaking. “Yeah, we’re having a lot of discussions like we do every year.”
Ainge joined the show with rumors swirling around Rondo. ESPN’s Marc Stein was first to report that the Dallas Mavericks lead a list of teams that Boston has contacted regarding Rondo trades. That list has grown to include the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Sacramento Kings and the Indiana Pacers, according to reports from Stein and USA Today’s Sam Amick.
But the more pertinent news came from CBS Sports’ Ken Berger, who reported that Rondo would be open to re-signing long-term with both the Mavericks and Rockets. Berger is quick to point out that the Lakers could have leverage in any deals considering they have a top-5 protected pick that might be appealing to the Celtics. They also could offer the Celtics the expiring contract of injured point guard Steve Nash, which will keep Boston’s payroll down in the future. Plus, Rondo could be persuaded to sign in Los Angeles to play with friend Kobe Bryant.
None of that means Rondo, like Ainge, will publicly hint about where he could or wants to end up. On Wednesday night after the Celtics’ win against the Orlando Magic, the point guard said the trade rumors are “just a way of life” and reiterated that he’s enjoying himself in Boston.
Rondo may not be actively pushing to be traded, but if Boston’s inquisitions with other teams mean anything, he may have to make a choice.
Dallas and Houston both have championship potentials as well as the pieces to make a deal. The Mavericks could offer Brandan Wright, a few more players for salary purposes and at least one first-round draft pick, Stein reports. Houston has an $8.4 million trade exception from the Jeremy Lin trade that it can use to acquire a player who will then be included in a Rondo deal, according to Berger. What the Rockets have to offer probably won’t be clear until they acquire a player with that trade exception.
What is clear is that the Rondo rumors will continue until the trade deadline passes or a trade is made.
Market for Stephenson still dry
Free agent signing Lance Stephenson has been part of the problem. After he signed a three-year, $27 million deal that included a team option in the third year, Stephenson has struggled by shooting 39 percent overall and 15 percent from three.
Stephenson is already on the trading block, and his former team, the Indiana Pacers, and his hometown Brooklyn Nets are possible trade targets, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports. Indiana, however, would want a first-round pick in the trade and three days after the initial report came out, Wojnarowski says there isn’t much budging. Brooklyn could send Brook Lopez or Joe Johnson away in a Stephenson deal, but there aren’t many rumors in that direction, either.
There don’t seem to be many teams willing to take the risk of signing the enigmatic guard, who has rubbed his new teammates the wrong way, Wojnarowski reports.
But that could perhaps give more power to the Pacers, who know they have a lot of leverage if other teams can’t offer anything and if Charlotte is so desperate to deal Stephenson.
Clippers jump in Brewer chase
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets could both use an addition at wing, and their interest in Timberwolves guard Corey Brewer remains as Minnesota has put Brewer back on the trading block. But ESPN reports that the Los Angeles Clippers are also hoping to make a run at the athletic swingman.
What the Clippers can round up in any offer might be their biggest hurdle. Cleveland and Houston have trade exceptions that would fit Brewer’s salary that pays him $4.7 million this season, meaning they can send back draft picks or a different salary value.
Los Angeles doesn’t have as much wiggle room and would have to part with a salary or two to make a trade work.