Atlanta Hawks v Boston Celtics - Game Three

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.

Joel Embiid: “I feel 100 percent”

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 30: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on prior to the game against the Utah Jazz on October 30, 2015 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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After missing two entire seasons, all signs are pointing to 2014 No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid finally taking the court this season. Last week, Sixers coach Brett Brown said that Embiid has looked great in his workouts and is on track to play in the preseason, and Embiid himself echoed that sentiment over the weekend. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Marc Narducci that he feels “100 percent.”

There’s always a possibility and fear that Embiid’s recurring foot problems will come back, but for now, all indications are that he’s feeling good and will be able to contribute this season, which should make Sixers fans excited.

Evan Fournier pokes fun at his ‘NBA 2K’ likeness

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 07:  Evan Fournier #10 of the Orlando Magic dribbles the ball against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on March 7, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.

Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.

At least they’re having fun with it.

Report: Sixers expected to waive Tibor Pleiss after trade with Jazz

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 30: Tibor Pleiss #21 of the Utah Jazz controls the ball in the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on October 30, 2015 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.

Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.

Jordan releases new Russell Westbrook ad, may include a shot at Kevin Durant

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 28:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (L) and Russell Westbrook #0 look on during a press conference after the Golden State Warriors defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 108-101 in game six of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 28, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
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As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”

Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.