Brad Stevens, Rajon Rondo

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

32 Comments

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.

Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)

4 Comments

TORONTO — Zach LaVine won the NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest, but in an epic night for my money this was the single best dunk.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon broke ground with this one — guys have jumped over mascots and other players before (and a Kia hood), but by splitting their legs apart. Gordon just put both legs over Stuff (that’s the mascot’s name, Stuff the Magic Dragon, I don’t make this up) — and took the ball off the mascot’s head, went under his legs, and threw it down.

Insane.

Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

9 Comments

TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

“I was prepared for four (second round dunks),” LaVine said. “To tell the truth, he came with something that no one else has done. He did two dunks that were just crazy with the mascots, jumping over them. We just kept pushing each other until the last dunk. I’ve got to give it up to my boy Will “The Thrill” Barton. It’s because of him I think I won. Because he said try to go from the free-throw line. I’d never done that before, and I just tried it. So I guess it was a great dunk. I think it was the best one ever.”

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

“If I knew it was going to be like that, I would have prepared better and we would have been here dunking all night, going back 50 after 50 after 50 after 50,” Gordon said. “We would have been here all night. I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I was just hoping Zach was going to miss, and it wasn’t going to happen. You could see as my facial expressions when Zach dunks it, it’s like okay, that’s a 50. Like I know we’re going to have to dunk again.”

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect.

Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

2 Comments

TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. 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.
1 Comment

TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:

Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates: