Morning Shootaround — Feb. 18

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Report: Raptors interested in Rondo | Reports: Nets pursuing Jack, Hill | Report: Wolves, Grizz talking trade | Report: Knicks interested in Hawks’ Teague | Kidd went against D-Will in recent practice

No. 1: Report: Raptors showing interest in Rondo — Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry, in the midst of a career-best season, has helped Toronto climb to the top of the Atlantic Division standings and has the team poised to end its lengthy playoff drought. But Lowry is also an unrestricted free agent this summer and whether or not he’ll be with Toronto in 2014-15 is very much an unknown (our David Aldridge spelled out some details on his future there a few weeks ago). Lowry remains a target of the New York Knicks (see below) and his current team appears to have eyes on another star point guard. According to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun, the Raptors are in multiple point guard-related trade talks, the foremost being a discussion to bring Celtics All-Star Rajon Rondo to Toronto:

UPDATE, 11:43 a.m. ET: Now, it seems, the Knicks are getting in on the Rondo action, too, per this tweet from ESPN.com’s Marc Stein:

UPDATE, 11:08 a.m. ET: While Rondo continues to have his name tossed about in trade rumors, Sean Devaney of The Sporting News reports that it is unlikely that the All-Star guard will be dealt before Thursday’s deadline:

As has become the custom, any period of NBA trade activity features Celtics guard Rajon Rondo prominently. Also customary, though, is this: Sources told Sporting News this week that there is very little chance the Celtics find a deal involving Rondo this year.

“It really is the same thing, teams call about him but the Celtics want him and he wants to be the leader of that team,” one source said. “It has always been his intention to establish himself in that role, to be part of the rebuilding and to stay in Boston for a long time. Nothing has changed.”

The Toronto Sun reported that the Raptors also inquired about Rondo, but a source told Sporting News that, unless there is a multi-team deal, Toronto does not have the assets to land Rondo. Which has been typical of the conversations involving Rondo for the last two years — teams call and ask, the Celtics give an idea of what it will take to make a deal happen, and the conversation ends there.

Rondo can be a free agent in the summer of 2015, and while preliminary discussions on a contract extension were held, the sides were never close to agreeing to a deal. Boston’s long-term plan is to focus on the summer of ’15, when they might be able to pair Rondo with some member of that year’s free-agent class, which could include Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Roy Hibbert, Marc Gasol, Tyson Chandler, Brook Lopez and DeAndre Jordan — some of the league’s best big men.

Add the Celtics’ two picks in the stocked upcoming draft to that mix, and Boston will be ready to be a playoff team again after just a short retooling.

Of course, if the right deal comes up before that, the Celtics would make it. But it is unlikely that such a deal would include Rondo.

Here’s Wolstat’s earlier report on Rondo:

Ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline, the Raptors have been involved in talks with multiple teams that would change the team’s point guard situation significantly.

With the New York Knicks continuing to aggressively pursue Kyle Lowry, who has turned in a career season, Toronto has explored complicated deals that would bring back a replacement for the soon-to-be free agent.

It’s no secret Boston has dangled four-time all-star Rajon Rondo league-wide and while the asking price is steep, he has piqued the interest of Toronto’s front office, according to multiple sources. Toronto is eager to up its “star” quotient and is also enamoured with Rondo’s resume, particularly his four all-defensive team selections (two all-NBA first team). He has many backers in the organization.

Rondo would not come cheaply. Bulls.com’s Sam Smith said the price is believed to be “two unprotected first rounders” while one source told the Sun the ask is a combination of at least one lottery pick and talented young player.

Knicks owner James Dolan reportedly nixed a deal earlier in the season and Lowry responded by playing the best basketball of his career. He’s sixth in the league in three-pointers made, eighth in assists per game and sixth in win shares. With the future of star forward Carmelo Anthony uncertain, Dolan apparently has reconsidered as New York looks to improve its roster.

Sources confirmed that Atlanta is also aggressively shopping young point guard Jeff Teague, despite matching Milwaukee’s four-year, $32-million offer sheet to Teague last summer. Teague, who had a tremendous start to the season, has struggled mightily since the Hawks lost all-star big man Al Horford to injury. Teague could be a cheaper, fallback option in either Toronto or New York, should those team’s preferred choices fall through.

On the Boston side of things, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is still mulling what to do with Rondo and the team’s many other assets:

“The public probably views us more as sellers than as buyers,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Boston Globe recently. “But I do think that people around the league know that we have some good players — good veteran players, good young players — and lots of draft picks. I’ve had calls for both.

“I’ve had teams contact me with the idea of trying to acquire young players and draft picks, and I’ve had teams that have called that are looking to get some of those. And I’ve had teams that have called looking for some of our veteran players as well. I think it just depends on who you talk to, but I think everybody knows that we have a lot of young assets.”

Assets, yes. The Celtics potentially have as many as 17 draft picks over the next five years, 10 in the first round.

“Again, I think that we’ll be opportunistic. We’re just waiting for an opportunity to do something good. And I think it’s important, again — you can’t force these opportunities. You can’t just be so hungry for a deal that you try to do a deal. You’ve got to be patient. At the same time, you’ve got to be aggressive.”

In previous years, the Celtics were looking to add a piece or two that could help with a postseason push, but that isn’t the case now with the team 19-35, the sixth-worst record in the NBA.

“I think the difference between other years and this year is that there’s a lot of different directions we could go,” Ainge said. “In past years, we’re focusing on just getting better for the playoff run. And now, we’re looking for possibilities of flexibility, young assets, things of that nature, but, at the same time, [we’re] opportunistic for any deals that could come along and speed up our rebuilding process.”

Said Ainge: “If our record were reversed, I think there would clearly be a different role at this point. But we are what we are. I think that I’m more concerned with how we’re playing, how individuals approach their job, who’s developing as a player and fitting in with our new coach and our system and how that will work. There’s a lot of things to consider.”


VIDEO: The TNT crew discusses Rajon Rondo working himself back into game shape

***

No. 2: Report: Nets interested in Cavs’ Jack, Lakers’ Hill — Neither the Cleveland Cavaliers nor the Brooklyn Nets are where they’d thought they’d be in the Eastern Conference playoff race when the season began. As such, both teams are reportedly interested in making trades and may end up doing business with each other — with the Los Angeles Lakers also thrown into the mix — as the trade deadline draws closer. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports has news on a potential Lakers-Nets swap while ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Ohm Youngmisuk has info on a Cavs-Nets trade being bandied about

Here’s Wojnarowski on a potential trade that could bring Jordan Hill to Brooklyn:

The Los Angeles Lakers have had discussions on a deal to send forward Jordan Hill to the Brooklyn Nets, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Nets have a $5.25 million disabled player exception that they can use in a trade or free-agent transaction until March 10, and could use a portion to absorb the remaining $3.5 million on Hill’s expiring contract.

Nevertheless, the luxury tax penalty on absorbing Hill’s contract would be extraordinary for Brooklyn: Nearly $17 million. Hill could give the Nets a capable power forward and center replacement for a run at the postseason, but ultimately ownership would have to be willing to sign off on expanding its record $190 million-plus combined payroll and luxury tax.

And here’s Stein and Youngmisuk on a trade between Cleveland and Brooklyn that would land Jarrett Jack in Brooklyn and Jason Terry in Cleveland:

The Brooklyn Nets are interested in acquiring Cavaliers point guard Jarrett Jack and have had discussions about a potential trade with Cleveland involving Jason Terry, according to sources briefed on the talks.

The Nets (24-27) emerged from the All-Star break sitting 3½ games behind the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors and want to upgrade their bench and backcourt.

Jack, 30, is averaging just 8.5 points on 39.7 percent shooting in 25 minutes a game in his first season with the Cavs after a strong 2012-13 season with Golden State.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Nets, eager to add a proven ballhandler and backcourt scorer to their bench rotation, are willing to take on the two remaining guaranteed seasons worth in excess of $12 million left on Jack’s contract despite the luxury-tax implications.

But it’s believed that the Cavs, if they decided to go ahead with such a move, would try to find a third team to absorb Terry’s contract. Terry, 36, has one season left on his deal after this one at $5.85 million and is averaging just 4.5 points on 36.2 percent shooting in 16 minutes per game.

***

No. 3: Report: Wolves, Grizz talking trade –The Memphis Grizzlies bolstered their team a few weeks ago with the additions of NBA D-League standout James Johnson and by pulling a trade for Celtics guard Courtney Lee. Both players have infused energy and 3-point shooting, respectively, to Memphis’ season and have helped get the Grizzlies back into the playoff mix out West. But despite that turnaround, Memphis is exploring a trade with the Minnesota that would send veteran small forward Tayshaun Prince and fan favorite Tony Allen to the Wolves for small forward Chase Budinger and guard J.J. Barea. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports has more:

The Memphis Grizzlies are discussing a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves centered on forward Chase Budinger and guard J.J. Barea, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Memphis wants to include forward Tayshaun Prince into the package and the deal could be expanded to include guard Tony Allen, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Components of a proposed deal are still fluid.

Memphis has been furiously trying to unload Prince and the remaining $7.2 million (2013-’14) and $7.7 million (2014-’15) on his contract, league sources said.

Minnesota general manager Flip Saunders is believed to want to add defensive toughness to his roster, and that would make Allen a natural to fill the Wolves’ void.

***

No. 4: Report: Knicks eye Hawks’ Teague, remain interested in Lowry– Back in mid-December, the Knicks nearly pulled off a trade for Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry, but that deal fell apart when New York’s brass balked at Toronto’s request for a future first-round pick. Despite that, the Knicks remain interested in trying to work a trade for the near-All-Star guard and have also shown interest in Hawks point guard Jeff Teague as well.

Marc Stein of ESPN.com has the scoop on the Teague talks:

Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague has emerged as an appealing trade target for the New York Knicks, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Knicks, leading into Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline, are calling all over the league in an attempt to upgrade at point guard.

Teague’s name has surfaced as a prime target given the Knicks’ increasing fears that their longstanding top choice — Toronto’s Kyle Lowry — will not be made available before the deadline, according to sources.

The Knicks have been chasing Lowry all season, as ESPN.com first reported in November. But sources indicate that Lowry and his advisers expect to finish the season in Toronto with the playoff-bound Raptors before he becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1.

Teague’s name has thus surfaced as a prime alternative, provided that the Hawks are willing to part with him.

The Hawks would have to be interested in Iman Shumpert – and eager to shed Teague’s long-term contract — to give New York any hope of assembling a package to land the point guard.

And Ian Bagley of ESPNNewYork.com has more on the Knicks’ continued interest in Lowry:

With the NBA trade deadline three days away, the Knicks continue to try to engage the Raptors in an attempt to acquire point guard Kyle Lowry, according to league sources.

The Knicks are offering packages including Iman Shumpert, Raymond Felton and Beno Udrih, sources say. They have been reluctant to include sharpshooting rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. or a future first-round draft pick in any deal. One of those two pieces is believed to be a prerequisite for Toronto to consider giving up Lowry.

“It comes down to, can they talk themselves into getting rid of a first-rounder or Hardaway Jr. for Lowry?” one league source said.

Recent reports have stated the Raptors are no longer willing to deal Lowry, content to see how the rest of the season plays out. Lowry has been one of Toronto’s best players, and dealing him would send a bad message to the fan base.

One scenario to keep an eye on, though, is the possibility of a three-team deal involving the Hawks and point guard Jeff Teague. Atlanta has all of its first-round picks in the next four drafts and could conceivably send one to Toronto to satisfy the Raptors’ demand for a draft pick.

League sources say a scenario in which Teague ends up in Toronto, Shumpert goes to Atlanta and Lowry winds up in New York has been discussed. Another scenario could have Teague ending up in New York. The conversations are believed to be preliminary.


VIDEO: Raptors coach Dwane Casey talks about trade deadline day nearing

***

No. 5: Kidd squares off against D-Will at Nets practiceTry as he might, Nets point guard Deron Williams hasn’t been able to consistently recapture in Brooklyn the style of play that made him an All-Star during his days with the Utah Jazz and the Nets’ days in New Jersey. In an effort to try and spark some of those old juices in his star, Nets coach Jason Kidd reportedly took to the court at a recent practice and squared off against D-Will, writes Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

Don’t let the tight suit fool you: Jason Kidd can still ball and still has those juices flowing.

During another disappointing and injury-riddled season for Deron Williams, Kidd stepped on the court and went head-to-head with the point guard in a spirited exchange at a recent practice, a source told the Daily News.

That’s one way to get through to the underachieving star: challenge him with Hall of Fame skills.

Exactly three years ago next week, the Nets acquired Williams in the franchise-altering deal with the Jazz, giving up a top prospect and two first-round picks for what GM Billy King called “the best point guard in the NBA.” It led to a debate about who acquired the better player at the 2011 trade deadline — the Nets with Williams, or the Knicks with Anthony.

But Williams has failed to live up to any expectations while battling injuries and confidence issues. Considering the MVP talk last summer, this season is probably the 29-year-old’s most disappointing, as he is averaging 13.3 points and 6.6 assists on 45% shooting. According to ESPN, the Nets turned down an offer to trade Williams to the Rockets, who were trying to package Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik.

“(Williams) is never going to get back to where he was in Utah,” Charles Barkley said recently. “His best days are behind him.”

***

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Pelicans coach Monty Williams doesn’t think Tyreke Evans or Eric Gordon will be dealt anytime soon … Sixers swingman Evan Turner is watching and waiting out the trade talks surrounding him … The Bulls still aren’t expected to do much at the trade deadline … Former Sixth Man of the Year Award winner Lamar Odom has signed with a team in Spain … The Celtics reportedly talked about trading Rajon Rondo to the Kings, but that discussion fizzled out … Portland is reportedly out of the running for the 2017 All-Star Game

ICYMI of The Night: The LeBron James All-Star Interview aired on NBA TV last night and it’s quite compelling, especially LeBron’s explanation of his early years with the Heat …


VIDEO: LeBron James opens up about his first season in Miami

38 Comments

  1. Daniel says:

    Chris Broussard says that Rondo won’t resign with Raptors if traded there. However, we Raptor fans should keep in mind that ESPN systematically tries to sabotage the Raptors. Why? Because they don’t show any Raptor games. There is nothing in it for them if Rondo gets traded to Toronto.

  2. Jerico Raquepo says:

    i think someone like jarett jack or andre miller would fit the Knicks.. they need a good facilitator in the court, Felton is good but he’s got a hold of an injury bug.. the knicks are depending too much on melo letting him be the facilitator and the scorer that doesn’t really fit him and only makes it worse.. and shumpert playing sf in cleveland or shumpert starting sg for denver would be a win-win for both teams..

  3. George sey says:

    Lowry for Knicks. New York is the NBA Stars graveyard. You go there and you are finished. Can we count the good players who went there and became nobody. They are they most unstable team in professional sports since Alan Houston era. They killed Stephan Marbury, Q. Rich etc

  4. Connorf says:

    Hey everybody! Why do you think the Celtics are interested in trading Rondo, especially to Toronto, our division rival? That will never happen. Rondo is happy to be out from Doc Rivers’ overcritical scrutiny, likes Brad Stevens, and is happy to be the Celtics captain now. Danny Ainge will not trade him because he will be the point guard for all the good young players we have and will get in futuree drafts. Rondo has gotten bad press but he is actually a good guy and a great player. Next year he will be back at full strength. It is all the other NBA teams that want him and are gossiping about him; not Danny willing to trade him. Rondo will be with the Celtics for the rest of his career.

  5. Jamal M says:

    Kyle lowry to the knicks for a first round pick and tim hardaway/ Ivan shumpert and then 2 first round draft picks to boston for Rondo ?

  6. dustydreamnz says:

    I don’t think the Raptors need Rondo although I think he’s matured the last few years.

  7. T Dot says:

    Raptors wont trade Lowry, he’s the best point guard in the east and the team chemistry around him is at a all time high but i can see them moving vazquez, fields and maybe novak

  8. pacers fan says:

    Toronto is doing great i wouldn’t change a thing

    • Daniel says:

      I seen that other article suggesting Celtics and Pacers should do a deal involving Rondo. That has no chance of happening as detailed. Not what Ainge wants at all. I am sure there are those (not saying you personally) that would love to see Rondo traded there instead of Toronto because they televise Pacer games and they are a prime time team this year. I do think Lowry is playing amazing though. He is great competitor. Thanks for saying they are playing so good. Lowry is yet to say he is most likely to resign in Toronto so if he gets traded it won’t be because Ujiri or Raptor fans are unhappy with him. As Lowry will say in any post trade news conference…it’s a business.

  9. kanuk says:

    rondo’s ego is too big for the raptors and the ‘team’ identity they have built.

  10. JDL says:

    Personally I dont think Ujiri is really planning on trading Lowry at the moment. I believe this potential trade for Rondo was just a ploy to get Lowry to accept an extension around the 9-11 Million per season mark ( Roughly a little less than what Rondo makes now). If he cant get Lowry to sign before the deadline then he has no choice but to try and trade him.

    • Daniel says:

      Lowry can’t sign a deal before the deadline. It isn’t in the rules. Tim Leiweke wants stars to promote so I wouldn’t doubt at all the seriousness of the talks.

  11. SuperCactus82 says:

    The Raptors don’t need Rondo at this point. We are set at the PG with a solid Lowry/Vasquez combo, we are set at the two guard with DeRozan and Ross, good enough at the four with Pat-Pat, Amir and Hansbrough, and Jonas is untouchable at this point because he is developing quite well. So it looks like the Raps are back at ground zero when it comes to having a good, starting small forward. This guy doesn’t have to be a great player. just a solid starting three who can defend. Think Marvin Williams on the Jazz, Corey Brewer on the Wolves…

  12. Angel Alvarez San Fernando ca says:

    I think that Carmelo Anthony will end up being a Portland Trail Blazer and that everybody will be the a serious Contender that maybe could take it all. I could be wrong but it all make sense if he goes to Portland. That team is ready for him…

    • Kyle says:

      Lebron or Carmelo a Blazer!! Yesss! Get rid of Batum for his lack of offense and keep LA and DL with backup from WM and good to go!

      Trade Batum & Myers Leonard. Get one more AMAZING 6th man that takes it hard to the rim and boards and seriously good to go.

  13. GRRR says:

    wait wait…WWWHAA?
    D.Williams to the Rockets for Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik………AND NETS TURNED IT DOWN???
    congrats Nets GM..you should be just fired.

    • okc bandwagones sinse 2011 says:

      deron williams is 10 X better than those 2 comined
      remember 2 years ago deron was 25 10 guy

      • Rob says:

        D-Will is not the same player and the Nets should have taken that deal. As a Rockets fan, I am happy that deal fell though.

  14. AI says:

    Rono for Westbrook makes sense…

  15. smokinpro says:

    I understand the thinking of Ujiri to want to get something for Kyle Lowry, but Rondo is not it. He is still a premier point guard in the league, but he is a prima donna, and part of the reason why the raptors are doing well is because there is no ego in the locker room. this move will set the raptors back considerably, they should find a way to keep Kyle, he is worth it! or maybe Rondo will pull an ‘Alonzo Mourning’…get traded here and decide not to play, or a ‘hedo Turglu’ get that big pay day to come here and tank his season with little to no effort. Leave Rondo where he is!

  16. Miljac says:

    Paul Pierce for Jordan Hill.
    Bring Paul home.

  17. WHHHYYYY??? says:

    Toronto needs to pay Lowry. The Raps are 22-12 since the Rudy Gay trade, all while having the hardest schedule in the East up to this point. With their bolstered bench the Raps have been a force, and they have the easiest schedule the rest of the way. I don’t see why a four year, $38 Million contract with bonus incentives wouldn’t work.

    A guy like Rondo is more expensive, yet doesn’t add the Raps 3 point threat, which has been one of their strengths. Lowry, however, does.

    Lowry is playing All-Star caliber ball. Unless he doesn’t want to be here, he should stay here.

  18. Apex Predator says:

    Dealing Lowry is not a good idea in my opinion. TOR has done well with him at the point, he’s playing a career year and could have been an All-Star with Derozan and Ross. Let him finish the season and see what he could do in the playoffs.

    It took luck for the Cavs to bring in Deng, so with there collapsed season they need to have a strong veteran with playoff experience. Dealing him would add to the other bad deals they have done. Plus Deng won’t fit in TOR because Derozan is there, one of them would have to be bench or move position to play a quicker lineup.

    Teague or Lowry would however be good for NY if it goes this way and TOR decides to trade. You obtain a low liability PG that will help in ball control. Down side Teague is a weak defender and adds to the non-defense NY (except for TChandler). It might make Melo stay but he’s gone at the end of the season. I see him FINALLY realising that he needs to sacrifice and go to a team with an established championship contention.

    No one cares about Shumpert, an active SG with no particular background except dunking. Playing a sub-par season. Okay for bench play and low contract.

    • Apex Predator says:

      Note: Ross was not named an All-Star but could have been.

      • No arguments here says:

        Raptors would be stupid to break up a team with chemistry, guts & and talent that is growing into a playoff team to be reckoned with. Firstly, they stand to isolate their fan-base – who would never forgive them for breaking things up.. just as the Raptors are on the up ‘n up.

  19. Shawn Kemp no. 1 says:

    all these trades sound a bit weird to me on their own. i think there may be a big one between 3-4 teams

  20. Why is Raptors need a trade right now?They are playing like a team now!

  21. wew says:

    no don’t trade rondo! he is the face of the celtics since paul pierce and KG were traded by the celtics. he would be a good leader to the draft picks that the celtics might acquire in the future!

  22. keek says:

    Does new york have anything to offer atlanta besides Iman Shumpert? They have no draft picks, and I dont see anyone wanna take on amares contract, new york are screwed for atleast one more year, and after that they should fire their entire frontoffice, I would not trust those idiots with all that cap room.

  23. Drew says:

    Best deal for the Toronto Raptors would be to get point guard Jarrett Jack. He was the the undisputed aggressive, stabilizer and court leader for the Golden State Warriors last season with Curry hobbling with ankle injuries. Along with Jack, Toronto should bring ex-Bull Luol Dang, also from the Cavs.

    Jack and Deng to Toronto Raptors, good fit for a playoff team sitting 3rd in the Atlantic Division. Both players are amongst the hardest working in the NBA, within the right fit.

    • Joey says:

      Spencer Hawes for Tyler Hansbrough so he can teach JV and Amir how to shoot 3s

    • BillyRay says:

      um the cavs took a chance to bring deng in to be the future along with kyrie. why would they consider giving him up for kyle lowry? you make a lot of sense buddy.

  24. steppx says:

    Ujiri isnt going to bring teague in. Not a chance. He’d pull the trigger on Rondo though. If atlanta moves teague its to NY, and shump goes to atlanta…OR….i can see toronto wanting Shumpert. But not at the cost of Lowry. I dont think the raps make any move unless its a big move for Rondo. Ujiri is smart and wont take on guys who cant play defense like Teague. Teague doesnt make the raptors better. Im not sure he even makes the Knicks better, but maybe.