Joe Dumars denies Brandon Knight-for-Rajon Rondo, Brandon Jennings trade talks

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The Pistons talking to the Celtics about trading Brandon Knight for Rajon Rondo or the Bucks about Brandon Jennings in general – not true, according to Joe Dumars. Via Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

“Never happened, never even a conversation about Brandon,” Dumars said of the Boston Globe report over the weekend. “And today I saw something about Brandon Jennings.

“John Hammond and I were on the phone talking about our dogs.”

The Pistons have several options at point guard, none of them overwhelmingly appealing. Jennings or Rondo would likely upgrade the position for Detroit, but either would require a larger financial commitment plus giving up assets (though Jennings is a free agent, the Pistons no longer have the cap room to sign him outright, so a sign-and-trade would be necessary).

If the Pistons are serious about making the playoffs, they should be at least exploring ways to get Rondo or Jennings. That doesn’t mean there’s a good trade available, but it’s at least worth investigating.

So, why wouldn’t Dumars talk to Danny Ainge about Knight? And why wouldn’t he talk to Hammond about Jennings? There is no good reason, just as there’s no good reason to alienate Knight over a trade that probably won’t happen.

Dumars isn’t under oath. General managers mislead the media all the time, sometimes going as far as outright lying. Is that the case here? I have no idea, but it’s standard protocol for general managers to deny all trade talks until a deal is actually reached.

Likely, we’ll never find out whether Dumars discussed these options with the Bucks and Celtics.

Though he’d be a marginal upgrade, Jennings isn’t a great fit with a frontline of non-shooters in Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, and Jennings would cost much more than Knight, who has two years remaining on his rookie deal.  Rondo would be a much bigger upgrade, especially defensively, but again, his lack of shooting doesn’t mesh well. A Rondo trade might change Detroit’s need for backcourt shooting if the deal involves Drummond (really doubt the Pistons does that) or Monroe (possibly workable) going to the Celtics. But a deal based on Knight for Rondo? I can’t see how Ainge accepts that.

At best, these were probably discussions that went nowhere. Or perhaps, Dumars is being completely forthright. Either way, the result will be the same.

Did Reggie Jackson distract Jimmy Butler into missing game-tying free throw? (video)

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With the Timberwolves trailing the Pistons by three and 6.2 seconds left, Jimmy Butler drew a foul on a 3-pointer.

Butler made the first two free throws then, just before he got the ball for the third, Reggie Jackson interrupted to talk to Stanley Johnson, who was in rebounding position. Butler missed the free throw, and Detroit won 100-97 after an intentional foul.

Butler said Jackson didn’t affect him, but Butler’s side eye during the delay at least appeared to speak loudly.

Bulls’ Kris Dunn dunks on T.J. Warren after savvy/explosive halfcourt drive (video)

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Kris Dunn had a nice weekend – 39 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as the Bulls beat the Hornets and lost to the Suns – punctuated by this dunk in Chicago’s 113-105 loss to the Suns last night.

T.J. Warren paid the price for Tyler Ulis overplaying a Robin Lopez screen Dunn cleverly never used.

Orlando Magic will no longer host summer league

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Magic has decided to end their annual summer league.

Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said Sunday the trend of NBA teams playing in the Las Vegas Summer League led to the decision end Orlando Pro Summer League. Orlando’s Summer League, which showcased rookies and young players, began in 2002.

Las Vegas will host all 30 teams for the summer league beginning in the summer of 2018. The Orlando Pro Summer League began as a 10-team tournament but there were just eight participating teams this past summer.

The summer league in Orlando, which is played in the Magic’s practice gym, was the only one of three summer leagues that did not allow fans to come in to watch.

Kevin Durant misses game vs. Nets with sprained ankle, status vs. Thunder in doubt

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Not that the Warriors needed him with Stephen Curry going off again, but Golden State was without Kevin Durant on Sunday in Brooklyn due to a sprained ankle.

Durant is officially day-to-day, but that brings up the question of whether he will be ready to go Wednesday night when the Warriors travel to Oklahoma City to take on his former team. Chris Haynes of ESPN asked Durant about it.

While some blowhards will talk about him dodging the Thunder, the Warriors course here is obvious — they do not want to rush him back for any game in November. Even one against Russell Westbrook. Ankles with stretched ligaments are easy to re-injure if not fully healed, and the Warriors don’t want this to be chronic and last through more of the season.

Durant is averaging 24.9 points per game, 7 rebounds, and 4.7 assists, and — with all due respect to fellow former MVP Curry — he is the best player on the Warriors. Maybe the best player in the world right now, period. Durant can score at will, and he had become a key part of the Warriors’ fifth-ranked defense blocking 2.2 shots per game (their offense is No. 1 in the league).