Rajon Rondo, Pau Gasol

Lakers, Celtics talk then kill Gasol for Rondo; LA still looking

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Pau Gasol and Rajon Rondo have both traveled a similar path this season. Both were offered up in a trade for Chris Paul, and when that didn’t work out they became the names fans of the Lakers and Celtics talked about shopping. For their part, both teams said they wanted to keep the guy publically, but on the market told teams they would move him for an elite star.

Then there were the Rondo for Gasol rumors. Those came up again and the two teams talked last week and killed the idea, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The Lakers are unwilling to trade Pau Gasol for Rondo, making a deal with Boston unlikely before the trade deadline Thursday.

“Unless they give up Gasol, they’re not going to get a top-level point guard,” said a person familiar with the situation but not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Take note, that is clearly from a Los Angeles source. Talk to a Celtics source and you would get that they were not going to trade Rondo in that scenario. (Remember that principle this week — all rumor leaks are spin, so figure out who gains from it when you hear it.)

The Lakers may be slow to part with Gasol to make a major overhaul (unless ownership in Orlando changes its mind about Dwight Howard), but expect them to move one of their two first round picks for someone.

That someone could be Michael Beasley, reports the Times. He can provide scoring punch and is an expiring contract.

A more likely scenario is the Lakers giving up one of their picks — their own and Dallas’ first rounder, part of the Lamar Odom trade (think Dallas would like that pick back now?) — for a point guard. If I were a betting man I’d guess Ramon Sessions out of Cleveland, but a number of other guys like Detroit’s Will Bynum can be had for less if the Lakers want to hold on to those first rounders.

Watch it again: Epic dunk contest duel between Zach LaVine, Aaron Gordon

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TORONTO — I am always hesitant to say a player/team/situation is one of the best of ever because the history of the NBA is filled with greats. We tend to overstate how good something current can be.  That said…

That was one of the best dunk contests ever.

Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon put on a show for the ages. Gordon had the best dunks of the night (in my opinion), but LaVine is consistently amazing, every dunk he does is flat out ridiculous.

Officially, LaVine won. In reality, we all won. Enjoy watching it one more time.

Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)

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TORONTO — Zach LaVine won the NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest, but in an epic night for my money this was the single best dunk.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon broke ground with this one — guys have jumped over mascots and other players before (and a Kia hood), but by splitting their legs apart. Gordon just put both legs over Stuff (that’s the mascot’s name, Stuff the Magic Dragon, I don’t make this up) — and took the ball off the mascot’s head, went under his legs, and threw it down.

Insane.

Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

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TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

“I was prepared for four (second round dunks),” LaVine said. “To tell the truth, he came with something that no one else has done. He did two dunks that were just crazy with the mascots, jumping over them. We just kept pushing each other until the last dunk. I’ve got to give it up to my boy Will “The Thrill” Barton. It’s because of him I think I won. Because he said try to go from the free-throw line. I’d never done that before, and I just tried it. So I guess it was a great dunk. I think it was the best one ever.”

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

“If I knew it was going to be like that, I would have prepared better and we would have been here dunking all night, going back 50 after 50 after 50 after 50,” Gordon said. “We would have been here all night. I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I was just hoping Zach was going to miss, and it wasn’t going to happen. You could see as my facial expressions when Zach dunks it, it’s like okay, that’s a 50. Like I know we’re going to have to dunk again.”

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect.

Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

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TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.