Report: Celtics say they won’t trade Rajon Rondo

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All reports regarding a team’s trade intentions at this time of year should be read very carefully until any deal is actually completed.

But this one regarding what the Celtics are planning to do with Rajon Rondo as Thursday’s deadline approches seems as close as we can get to a true assurance.

From Sam Amick of USA Today:

 [A]ccording to Rondo’s agent, Bill Duffy, Ainge said on Wednesday that Rondo will not be traded.

“He was emphatic that they would not trade Rajon Rondo,” Duffy told USA TODAY Sports. “He said, ‘We love him, and he’s our guy moving forward.’ Everybody is trade-able, and there’s always a bunch of dialogue with every player in the league who doesn’t have a no-trade clause, or LeBron James and a few other guys. In this particular case, Danny Ainge was emphatic that ‘we are not trading Rajon Rondo.'”

Ainge also said on Tuesday that the Celtics aren’t in the market for a major deal.

Rondo is out for the season with a torn ACL, and while he’s expected back at or near the start of next season, there’s always a bit of a risk involved in trading for a player that is coming off of a major injury.

In Rondo’s case, the Celtics know they have one of the top point guards in the league when he’s healthy, and are going to demand players in return that would match or exceed that level of talent.

A report from Ken Berger of CBSSports.com gives an idea of what that might look like.

Chris Paul is better than Rondo by most people’s estimation, especially those living outside of the greater Boston area. The Clippers, meanwhile, are considered to be contenders in the West who would only make a deal involving a bench player (like Eric Bledsoe) in order to solidify the team’s chances at a title this season.

Dwight Howard has been struggling to find his fit with the Lakers, but he’s been told, and Mitch Kupchak has confirmed, that the Lakers won’t deal him this season.

As for the “massive haul of assets,” that’s not likely either, based on Rondo’s injury situation that we previously mentioned.

All of this is to say that this report is about as solid as they get a little more than 24 hours from the trade deadline. Rondo is not getting traded, and will still be on the Celtics roster as of 12:01 p.m. ET on Thursday.

Report: Knicks’ Joakim Noah to be suspended 20 games for violating league drug policy

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Joakim Noah hasn’t set foot on an NBA court since Feb. 4, and his season was all but ended when he had knee surgery at the end of February. Last summer, Phil Jackson took a $72 million gamble on an aging Noah that has not worked at all, and left New York with an anchor of a contract for three more seasons after this one.

Tomorrow it will be official Noah is done for this season, but not because of the Knicks or his injury.

During his recovery, Noah violated the NBA’s drug policy and will pay for a 20-game suspension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Noah tested positive for an over-the-counter supplement that is prohibited under the outgoing Collective Bargaining Agreement, league sources said.

Noah, 32, is expected to serve 10 games of the suspension to finish out the 2016-17 regular season and 10 games to start the 2017-18 season, league sources said.

The National Basketball Players Association’s investigation concluded that Noah hadn’t “knowingly or willingly” violated the policy and cooperated fully with the league’s probe, league sources said.

According to reports, this is not a substance banned in the new CBA that kicks in July 1, but was covered in the previous CBA. Over-the-counter supplements could be something put in his regular workout recovery drinks that he was unaware of, although we are unsure of the details.

Traditionally, the player has to be healthy enough to play before the league starts the suspension. Noah has been out for more than a month, but if a league doctor says he is healthy enough to play the then the clock on the suspension can start. The 10 games this season is no big deal for the Knicks, he wasn’t going to play anyway, but the 10 at the start of next season could sting (depending on how they plan to use him).

 

 

Devin Booker drops 70 points for Suns in loss to Celtics (VIDEO)

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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.

Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.

His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.

Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies to finish amazing alley-oop (VIDEO)

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Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.

As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.

Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.

Former Hawk Pero Antic’s celebration accidentally punches teammate in face in Eruoleague (VIDEO)

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Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.

Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.

Maybe a little too pumped.

Ouch.

That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.

Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.

(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)