Rajon Rondo

Danny Ainge tries to squash any Rajon Rondo trade rumors

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No, Celtics power broker Danny Ainge doesn’t want to trade Rajon Rondo. Why would you think that? Oh, because he’s looked at it seriously in the past… well that’s the past. Things are different now; Rondo is the cornerstone of this team.

At least, that’s what Ainge is selling.

After a weekend of Rondo to the Knicks rumors that came out of NYC and had about as much grounding in reality as “The Legend of Zelda,” Danny Ainge tried to squash all the Rondo trade rumors that were out there, speaking to the Boston Globe.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Monday that he has not received any inquiries from other teams interested in acquiring Rajon Rondo….

“Rondo is coming off an injury and I think people know how much we love Rondo, so I don’t expect anybody to inquire, quite honestly,” Ainge said. “People know that Rondo is a big part of our future and that we’re not going to trade him…

“What’s real is, he’s going nowhere,” Ainge said. “That’s what’s real.”

Two thoughts here.

First, I really do think Ainge wants to see if Rondo can step up and lead this team, if he really can be that cornerstone, a No. 1 kind of player. Maybe he can, maybe he can’t, but with him still out due to an ACL injury it could be next season before we have any real kind of way to answer that question.

Second, Ainge always says this but you can bet if teams call with a serious offer he’ll listen. Ainge can say no team has contacted him because these trades percolate up before GMs just start talking to one another most of the time, and so far nothing has reached that level. But Ainge’s history is that he’ll listen and keep an open mind to anything, so to think that is not the case with Rondo seems foolish.

But any deal for Rondo, if it comes, is going to send a lot of quality back to Boston. Way more than anything rumored so far.

PBT Extra: Who do you want to see most in first All-Star Game?

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Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.

This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.

The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.

Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.

Russell Westbrook: ‘Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—’ (video)

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Did Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant talk during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night? Westbrook said no, though video and first-hand accounts indicate otherwise.

Even more clearly: Westbrook – who walked near teammates Enes Kanter, Anthony Morrow and Jerami Grant – didn’t want someone talking to someone as they left the floor after the game. ESPN caught Westbrook saying, “Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—.”

You will never convince anyone Westbrook is referring to anyone but Durant.

Russell Westbrook commits epic travel (video)

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Between getting laid out by Zaza Pachulia and apparently talking with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook committed a travel for the ages.

The Thunder guard took an inbound pass against the Warriors and just started walking up court without dribbling. The violation was so blatant, NBA officials even called the travel.

And it’s not as if they’re inclined to blow a whistle in that situation. Before Westbrook, Kemba Walker set a high bar last season, but he got away with this walk:

Are Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant on speaking terms after apparent conversation? Westbrook: ‘Nah’ (video)

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Russell Westbrook deleted Kevin Durant‘s goodbye text and, months later, told the whole world they still hadn’t talked.

That apparently changed during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder yesterday – though not if you ask Westbrook.

Westbrook dunked in the third quarter, and according to ESPN commentator Mark Jackson, Westbrook told Durant, “Don’t jump.” Anthony Slater of The Mercury News also wrote of the same quote.

ESPN’s telecast caught Durant clearly speaking to Westbrook shortly after. It appears Westbrook is talking back, but his back is to the camera.

After the game, Westbrook denied the exchange:

 

  • Reporter: “Are you and KD on speaking terms?”
  • Westbrook: “Nah.”
  • Reporter: “You guys had a little exchange in the third quarter.”
  • Westbrook: “What exchange?”
  • Reporter: “You and KD said something to each other.”
  • Westbrook: “Oh. You gotta maybe sit closer to the game. You maybe didn’t see clearly.”

This is so Westbrook – stubborn to the point of denying reality.

That approach worked for him when everyone rightly told him he was a significantly lesser player than Durant. Westbrook ignored that fact until it became false.

I suspect he wants to forget this exchange so he can maintain a cold animosity toward someone he prefers to resent.