Boston open to Rondo trade, but Chris Paul hard to land

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It shocked some Celtics followers and a lot of basketball fans around the globe when it was reported Boston was open to trading Rajon Rondo.

However, it didn’t shock those around the team.

Boston has been open to the idea of moving Rondo for a couple of years, but only for a perfect deal, reports A. Sherrod Blakely at CSNNE.com.

For the right deal — and I can’t stress enough how difficult ”the right deal” would be to come by for Rondo and his unique skillet — the C’s have been open to trading most of their players. Speaking with a couple front-office officials who have made deals with Danny Ainge in the past, they said his position in terms of his Big 4 is no different now than it was a year ago.

“He’s not pushing really hard to move any of his guys now,” one official said. “But he’s definitely interested in hearing what others think.”

If you are going to move Rondo for a better point guard, there are only a couple of options, so it’s no shock that the guy Ainge really covets is Chris Paul. Paul is a better player and could be a cornerstone of a fast rebuild of the Celtics. That said, it would be a real challenge to land Paul, reports Sam Amick at Sports Illustrated.

Ainge, the sources say, has recently discussed trading Rondo in a deal that nets Paul, but the Hornets don’t appear interested in a two-team deal in which Rondo — who has four years worth approximately $46 million left on his contract — and Paul would switch places. So Ainge has been on the prowl for a third team that could provide the sort of young pieces Hornets general manager Dell Demps would covet as part of his possible rebuilding plan. The more pressing question, of course, is whether Paul, who can become a free agent after this season, would consider signing an extension with Boston.

Boston would be a good spot for CP3, but if he has his heart set on another destination (hello Knicks!) it may well not matter. For that matter, Paul said Tuesday his heart is in New Orleans. Which is the right thing to say but nobody expects him to say otherwise.

The other problem remains that the Hornets are owned by the league right now. Can you imagine the furor from other teams if Chris Paul were traded to Boston (or New York or Los Angeles)? Until a new owner is in place for the Hornets it’s hard to see any kind of big trade.

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

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BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

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Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

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The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.