Brad Stevens, Rajon Rondo

Celtics coach Brad Stevens on latest Rajon Rondo trade rumors: ‘It’s all speculation’

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Rajon Rondo has been the subject of multiple trade rumors over the past few seasons, for a variety of ever-changing reasons. His name once again came up, in a report saying that his availability in a deal may be at an all-time high, mainly because Rondo will be an unrestricted free agent following the conclusion of next season.

With the Celtics in the middle of what may be a lengthy rebuilding process, there will be tough decisions made on both sides. Boston will need to determine if Rondo will be worth the near max deal he’ll require, and Rondo will need to figure out whether he wants to stick around while the team tries to improve, or bolt to try to be a part of a more immediate winning situation somewhere else.

Celtics GM Danny Ainge would be wise to pursue all of his options to avoid seeing Rondo leave without getting anything in return, but that doesn’t mean Rondo is likely to be dealt. Ainge refuted the latest report, while Celtics head coach Brad Stevens chalked it up to his team’s being out of playoff contention, and people needing something to talk about.

“I think as far as the rumor mill goes, we were out out it early,” Stevens said, in an interview with A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com. “We didn’t make the playoffs, so we’ve got to have something to speculate about, I guess, right? But it’s all speculation. Nothing has come across my plate. We’re excited about having him, excited about him really having a great year next year.”

Due to Rondo’s impending free agency, the speculation isn’t going to go away anytime soon, and in fact, it will continue throughout next season — or at least until the trade deadline passes.

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.