Reports: Chris Paul won’t sign in Boston; Pacers talk to Celtics

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There is a lot of smoke around the Chris Paul to the Celtics rumors, enough to make you think there is some fire. But that is a very, very different thing than saying this trade is going to happen.

More likely it is not.

Why? For one, take this tweet from Chris Broussard of ESPN.

Let all the CP3-to-Boston chatter cease. CP will not sign long-term ext with Celtics, according to source close to situation.

Paul controls his own destiny in the same way Carmelo Anthony did last year when he held the Nuggets hostage for a season — no team will trade for him if he will not sign an extension.

Which is why it is interesting that the Indiana Pacers are trying to get in on the talks as a facilitator. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo has the details.

The Pacers and Celtics have discussed the preliminary framework of a deal, but two sources said Indiana would need a third team to provide Boston with the talent it wants to do a deal. The Celtics are likely trying to gather the necessary pieces to make a bid for Ainge’s ultimate target: New Orleans point guard Chris Paul sources said.

Watch the Pacers — a team with a lot of cap room who is looking for pieces for the future — during the preseason and up to the trade deadline. They might be willing to be a facilitator of a deal for Paul or Dwight Howard if they get some good pieces to go with the bad contract they absorb.

One other note — ESPN reports that the Celtics almost shipped Rondo to the Oklahoma City Thunder last year.

After last season’s playoffs, the Celtics offered Rajon Rondo and Green to Oklahoma City for Russell Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins, sources told Broussard. The Celtics, looking for another scorer who can create his own offense, thought Westbrook might be available after his erratic postseason play. But Oklahoma was not interested in the deal.

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

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James Harden had a historic season in Houston.

Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

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Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.

That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.

Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.

Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.

Marc Gasol: If Grizzlies don’t share my goal of continued growth, we might have to revisit things

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The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.

Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.

Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:

I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.

Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.

But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.

Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction

On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.