Tag: Jared Sullinger

Rajon Rondo

Dallas moves into title contender status with addition of Rajon Rondo


This says everything about the Western Conference:

Dallas just pulled off a brilliant trade for Rajon Rondo, one that improves their defense and gives them a big upgrade at the point guard spot. Yet the best you can say about them now is “this makes them one of the five or six teams that could make the Finals out of the conference.”

However, at least now they are in that conversation now.

Thursday Dallas traded Brandan Wright, Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder, a future first (heavily protected) and a future second round pick to Boston for Rajon Rondo. The deal became official Thursday night.

It was a smart move by Dallas, the kind of aggressive move you should expect from a Mark Cuban team.

Dallas has been one of the teams in the West that was very good — they are 19-8, which is a 58 win pace for the season — and yet was clearly a notch below the elite in the conference. They were 0-5 against the rest of the West’s Top 7 and even Dirk Nowitzki admitted they didn’t really look like contenders.

Rondo can change that.

I can hear the critics now — but he can’t shoot! The Mavericks just traded for a point guard who can’t consistently knock down jumpers and three pointers. You go under the pick on Rondo, you let him shoot (except from the left elbow. Here’s his shot chart for this season.


All of that is moot — Dallas doesn’t need him to shoot.

This situation is a lot more like the 2008 Celtics for Rondo — he has three guys around him who can shoot and space the floor, including a 7-footer who will draw other bigs out of the paint. Like with those contending Celtics all he needs to do is draw in the defense and set them up, and that’s what Rondo does well. He is a fantastic ball handler who can get in the lane but when he does he looks to pass first — now he has legit options.

Look at it this way: Rondo leads the league in assists setting up Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger, what is he going to look like setting up Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis and Chandler Parsons? Plus he loves to probe and pass off the pick-and-roll, and now he gets great picks and a good roll-man in Tyson Chandler with real shooters spreading the floor for him. All this makes Rondo just that much more dangerous on offense. He’ll get points but he doesn’t have to carry the scoring load, just orchestrate those who can. And he’ll be getting play designs from the best Xs and Os coach in the game in Rick Carlisle (with all due respect to that guy in San Antonio).

Dallas already has the best offense in the NBA this season — that’s not the end of the court Rondo really helps the most.

Rondo is also a massive defensive upgrade over Nelson. Rondo is long, athletic and a fantastic on-ball defender that gives Dallas a real stopper on the perimeter. Pair that with Chandler as a rim protector and Dallas will move from its current 20th in the league defensively closer to the top 10.

Is it enough? Who knows in the West. Golden State is legit (if Andrew Bogut is healthy). Memphis is legit. The Spurs will likely be back to being the Spurs by the playoffs. The Oklahoma City Thunder are themselves again. The Clippers have holes but also boatloads of talent at key spots and are in the mix if they defend.

Now Dallas can sit down at the big-boy table, too — Rondo puts them there. They have a chance.

As a Mavericks fan, that’s all you can ask.

Jared Sullinger thought he could dunk on Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel, Jared Sullinger

What on earth made Jared Sullinger think he could pull this off? Did he just not see Nerlens Noel, one of the game’s best shot-blockers?

Announcement: ProBasketballTalk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $175,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Tuesday’s NBA games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $15,000. Starts at 7:00pm ET on Tuesday. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Kendrick Perkins: Rajon Rondo should re-sign with Celtics

Oklahoma City Thunder Vs. Boston Celtics At TD Garden

BOSTON – Kendrick Perkins isn’t minding his own business.

Not when it comes to the place he spent a majority of his career and a former teammate with whom he remains close.

Will Rajon Rondo – who, with Perkins, helped the Celtics win the 2008 title – re-sign with Boston as a free agent this summer?

“He should,” said Perkin, now with the Thunder. “He should. I think it’s a great place for him. I think he wanna stay here. We talk on the regular. I think he should stay. If I was him, I would stay.”

But didn’t you leave?

Said Perkins, who was traded to Oklahoma City in 2011: “I didn’t have a choice.”

There’s always a chance Rondo won’t either. He remains the constant subject of trade rumors, and one report even said Rondo asked out this summer. (He denied it, at least for now.)

And if Rondo finishes the season with Boston, he’ll still have plenty of suitors – whether it’s the Lakers or Knicks or anyone else.

But Boston has its advantages. Celtics president Danny Ainge seems amenable to giving Rondo a max contract, and Rondo’s supporting cast is improving.

Perkins has noticed Boston’s emerging talent – specifically pointing out Jared Sullinger, Jeff Green and “young kid – I can’t pronounce it – with the long hair.” That’d be Kelly Olynyk, and the Celtics also have Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, James Young, Tyler Zeller. Maybe a 28-year-old Rondo wants to win sooner than Boston can, but this team has potential.

Though players would be wary of interfering with someone else’s contract negotiations, Perkins didn’t hesitate to give his opinion here. Maybe that’s just Perkins being outspoken, or maybe frequent conversations with Rondo have given him insight in the point guard’s thinking.

Either way, the expectation for Rondo – and pressure on him – to stay in Boston increases ever so slightly.

Every rookie-contract team option and extension decided by Friday

2013 Cleveland Cavaliers Media Day

Friday was the deadline for a few contract items for first-round picks on the rookie scale.

Third-year options had to be exercised for second-year players, and fourth-year options had to be exercised for third-year players. Any player whose rookie-scale option was declined becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season.

It was also the deadline for fourth-year players to sign extensions that begin in 2015-16. Eligible players who didn’t sign extensions can, at their teams’ discretions, become restricted free agents this summer.

Remember, the salary scale for first-round picks is determined by the year they sign, not the year they’re drafted (those are usually the same).

Here’s how all those decisions were made around the league:

Third-year options

Draft Pick Drafted by Current team Player 2015-16 salary Option
2013 1 CLE MIN Anthony Bennett $5,803,560 Exercised
2013 2 ORL ORL Victor Oladipo $5,192,520 Exercised
2013 3 WAS WAS Otto Porter $4,662,960 Exercised
2013 4 CHA CHA Cody Zeller $4,204,200 Exercised
2013 5 PHO PHO Alex Len $3,807,120 Exercised
2013 6 NOH PHI Nerlens Noel $3,457,800 Exercised
2013 7 SAC SAC Ben McLemore $3,156,600 Exercised
2013 8 DET DET Kentavious Caldwell-Pope $2,891,760 Exercised
2013 9 MIN UTA Trey Burke $2,658,240 Exercised
2013 10 POR POR C.J. McCollum $2,525,160 Exercised
2013 11 PHI PHI Michael Carter-Williams $2,399,040 Exercised
2013 12 OKC OKC Steven Adams $2,279,040 Exercised
2013 13 DAL BOS Kelly Olynyk $2,165,160 Exercised
2013 14 UTA MIN Shabazz Muhammad $2,056,920 Exercised
2013 15 MIL MIL Giannis Antetokounmpo $1,953,960 Exercised
2013 17 ATL ATL Dennis Schröder $1,763,400 Exercised
2013 18 ATL NYK Shane Larkin $1,675,320 Declined
2013 19 CLE BRK Sergey Karasev $1,599,840 Exercised
2013 20 CHI CHI Tony Snell $1,535,880 Exercised
2013 21 UTA MIN Gorgui Dieng $1,474,440 Exercised
2013 22 BRK BRK Mason Plumlee $1,415,520 Exercised
2013 23 IND IND Solomon Hill $1,358,880 Exercised
2013 24 NYK NYK Tim Hardaway $1,304,520 Exercised
2013 25 LAC LAC Reggie Bullock $1,252,440 Exercised
2013 26 MIN OKC Andre Roberson $1,210,800 Exercised
2013 27 DEN UTA Rudy Gobert $1,175,880 Exercised
2013 29 OKC PHO Archie Goodwin $1,160,160 Exercised
2013 30 PHO GSW Nemanja Nedovic $1,151,760 Declined

No. 16 pick Lucas Nogueira signed with the Raptors this summer, and No. 29 pick Livio Jean-Charles, whose rights are held by the Spurs, has yet to sign in the NBA.

Fourth-year options

Draft Pick Drafted by Current team Player 2015-16 salary Option
2012 1 NOH NOP Anthony Davis $7,070,730 Exercised
2012 2 CHA CHA Michael Kidd-Gilchrist $6,331,404 Exercised
2012 3 WAS WAS Bradley Beal $5,694,674 Exercised
2012 4 CLE CLE Dion Waiters $5,138,430 Exercised
2012 5 SAC POR Thomas Robinson $4,660,482 Declined
2011 5 TOR TOR Jonas Valanciunas $4,660,482 Exercised
2012 6 POR POR Damian Lillard $4,236,287 Exercised
2012 7 GSW GSW Harrison Barnes $3,873,398 Exercised
2012 8 TOR TOR Terrence Ross $3,553,917 Exercised
2012 9 DET DET Andre Drummond $3,272,091 Exercised
2012 10 NOH NOP Austin Rivers $3,110,796 Declined
2012 11 POR POR Meyers Leonard $3,075,880 Exercised
2012 12 HOU OKC Jeremy Lamb $3,034,356 Exercised
2012 13 PHO MIL Kendall Marshall Third-year option declined  
2012 14 MIL MIL John Henson $2,943,221 Exercised
2012 15 PHI ORL Maurice Harkless $2,894,059 Exercised
2012 16 HOU   Royce White Third-year option declined  
2012 17 DAL BOS Tyler Zeller $2,616,975 Exercised
2012 18 HOU HOU Terrence Jones $2,489,530 Exercised
2012 19 ORL ORL Andrew Nicholson $2,380,594 Exercised
2012 20 DEN ORL Evan Fournier $2,288,205 Exercised
2011 20 MIN HOU Donatas Motiejunas $2,288,205 Exercised
2012 21 BOS BOS Jared Sullinger $2,269,260 Exercised
2012 22 BOS   Fab Melo Third-year option declined  
2012 23 ATL ATL John Jenkins $2,228,025 Declined
2012 24 CLE LAC Jared Cunningham Third-year option declined  
2012 25 MEM PHI Tony Wroten $2,179,354 Exercised
2012 26 IND PHO Miles Plumlee $2,109,294 Exercised
2012 27 MIA   Arnett Moultrie $2,049,633 Declined
2012 28 OKC OKC Perry Jones $2,038,206 Exercised
2012 29 CHI   Marquis Teague $2,023,261 Declined
2012 30 GSW GSW Festus Ezeli $2,008,748 Exercised

Contract extensions

Draft Pick Drafted by Current team Player Extension
2011 1 CLE CLE Kyrie Irving Five years, $89 million-$98 million
2011 2 MIN SAC Derrick Williams No extension
2011 3 UTA UTA Enes Kanter No extension
2011 4 CLE CLE Tristan Thompson No extension
2009 5 MIN MIN Ricky Rubio Four years, $55 million
2011 6 WAS   Jan Vesely Fourth-year option declined
2011 7 SAC CHA Bismack Biyombo No extension
2011 8 DET MIL Brandon Knight No extension
2011 9 CHA CHA Kemba Walker Four years, $48 million
2011 10 MIL NOP Jimmer Fredette Fourth-year option declined
2011 11 GSW GSW Klay Thompson Four years, $70 million
2011 12 UTA UTA Alec Burks Four years, $42 million-$45 million
2011 13 PHO PHO Markieff Morris Four years, $32 million
2011 14 HOU PHO Marcus Morris Four years, $20 million
2011 15 IND SAS Kawhi Leonard No extension
2011 16 PHI ORL Nikola Vucevic Four years, $54 million
2011 17 NYK NYK Iman Shumpert No extension
2011 18 WAS   Chris Singleton Fourth-year option declined
2011 19 CHA ORL Tobias Harris No extension
2011 21 POR   Nolan Smith Third-year option declined
2011 22 DEN DEN Kenneth Faried Four years, $50 million
2011 24 OKC OKC Reggie Jackson No extension
2011 25 BOS   MarShon Brooks Fourth-year option declined
2011 26 DAL UTA Jordan Hamilton Fourth-year option declined
2011 27 NJN   JaJuan Johnson Third-year option declined
2011 28 CHI MIA Norris Cole No extension
2011 29 SAS SAS Cory Joseph No extension
2011 30 CHI CHI Jimmy Butler No extension

No. 23 Nikola Mirotic signed this season and not for scale.

PBT’s NBA Power Rankings: Just like last year, Spurs on top while Sixers on bottom

2014 NBA Finals Game Five

They’re baaaaack.

With the NBA season tipping off on Tuesday ProBasketballTalk’s weekly power rankings have returned to frustrate you by not ranking your team nearly high enough. During the season these rankings are a mix of science — yes, there is a formula weighted toward recent games — and a bit of art as teams are moved up and down based on what the formula misses. However, the first week is just projections (I’m not going off preseason stats, those mean less than what your grandmother thinks of your PS4).

We will be here each week on Monday to rank NBA teams from 1-30, in what is ultimately a meaningless exercise because the playoffs sort it all out anyway. Still, it’s a fun discussion, so we do it.

To start the season, as always the defending champions are on the top, while the Sixers have done nothing to move out of the basement.

source:  1. Spurs (Last season 62-20). They will set the bar: Want to win the NBA title? You need to be better than San Antonio. They are not coming back to the pack, you need to pass them. Gregg Popovich says his team didn’t look interested during 2-5 preseason. He’s right, although the best explanation is it’s the preseason. Nobody cares. Expect that to change starting Tuesday night against Dallas.

source:  2. Cavaliers (33-49). LeBron James and teammates already have bought into coach David Blatt’s offensive system — creating space and open looks with cuts/ball movement. That will keep Cleveland from getting off to the slow start LeBron’s Miami bit three did their first year together.

source:  3. Clippers (57-25). Another team that had a rough preseason, but it won’t matter when the games get real. The one preseason concern worth watching is the Clippers didn’t rebound particularly well, if that carries over it can be trouble. L.A. needs a big season out of its bench bigs (we’re looking at you, Spencer Hawes).

source:  4. Bulls (48-34). As we suggested this summer, Derrick Rose’s time with Team USA was good for him because he got to knock the rust off and return to form. I’m not sure Bulls fans are on board yet, but they will be. Maybe by Christmas. This team is a serious contender and can beat the Cavaliers if they just stay healthy.

source:  5. Thunder (59-23).. Kevin Durant has missed five games in the last five seasons, which makes this Durant-less Thunder the hardest team to predict in the rankings. They’ll be good, but how good? One other thing to watch: Can Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb cover for Thabo Sefolosha’s defense over the course of the season?

source:  6. Mavericks (49-33). Count me among the fans of the Chandler Parsons and Tyson Chandler additions this summer, I think Dallas may be top four in the West. The question is can they get enough out of the three-headed point guard monster of Jameer Nelson, Devin Harris and Raymond Felton (once Felton’s healthy). Look for them to add J.J. Barea to the mix.

source:  7. Warriors (51-31). I’m going to side with Klay Thompson’s camp here: If you will not trade the man for Kevin Love and you say he’s half of the best backcourt in basketball, then cough up the max contract extension. On the court, I love the motion and smarter sets the Warriors are running under Steve Kerr.

source:  8. Rockets (54-28). I’m not one that buys Trevor Ariza is as good as Chandler Parsons, but he’s a quality pick up. The real interesting addition is Kostas Papanikolaou as a reserve big man, he could give them some of the depth certain of us think they are lacking after a rough summer.

source:  9. Trail Blazers (54-28). With Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge leading the way the Blazers starting five can hang with just about anybody, the question remains what they get off the bench. Can new additions Steve Blake and Chris Kaman really change that dynamic? I’m not sold.

source:  10. Grizzlies (50-32).  They have won 50 games each of the last two seasons, plus now they add Vince Carter to provide some outside shooting and scoring depth. They will win 50+ again and be a tough out come the playoffs, but they are going to have to deal with Marc Gasol free agency questions all season.

source:  11. Pelicans (34-48). If any of the top eight teams that made the playoffs in the West slips far for any reason, this is the team I think leapfrogs them. The addition of Omer Asik was brilliant, they just need to keep the key backcourt guys (Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans) healthy.

source:  12. Suns (48-34). I think they are going to miss Channing Frye a lot considering their style of play. Phoenix added Isaiah Thomas and Zoran Dragic this summer, two good players but they play the same positions as the best players already on the Suns’ roster.

source:  13. Nuggets (36-46). This team is more dangerous than people realize: Kenneth Faried is poised for a breakout year coming off his Team USA experience, they get Danilo Gallinari back and added Arron Afflalo. Plus Ty Lawson is underrated. Brian Shaw doesn’t get a pass this year, this team needs to push for a playoff spot out West.

source:  14. Raptors (48-34). This rating may be too low for them. It will come down to Toronto and Washington for the third best team in the East. Lots of focus on Kyle Lowry’s big payday, but Jonas Valanciunas’ improvement is the key to the Raptors taking a step forward.

source:  15. Wizards (44-38). I think they will finish the season as the third best team in the East, but Bradley Beal’s wrist injury to start the season slides Washington down my rankings a little. They need to keep Nene healthy but Marcin Gortat being there helps a lot to keep his minutes under control.

source:  16. Hawks (38-44). With a healthy Al Horford the Hawks are a solid playoff team in the Eastern Conference, landing somewhere in the middle of the pack. Like always. The big question around this team is who buys them.

source:  17. Heat (54-28). Another team in the East that is hard to predict — they will be good, a playoff team, but how good? Chris Bosh is the focal point, plus Luol Deng and Josh McRoberts are quality additions. But it’s simply not the same without the best player on the planet. Going to be interesting to see where they land in the middle of the Eastern pack.

source:  18. Hornets (43-39). We expect that they are again going to be a defensive force, like last season, and the addition of Lance Stephenson helps that. The question is how good the offense becomes with Stephenson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s new shot, Kemba Walker at the point and Al Jefferson in the block. Better than last season, I bet.

source:  19. Nets (44-38). This ranking may be low for a healthy Nets team… except already they are not healthy. Brook Lopez is a question mark for opening night. Lionel Hollins needs to win games but keeps these guys fresh for the playoffs, a tough line to walk.

source:  20. Pistons (29-53). Stan Van Gundy’s coaching will make this team better — Josh Smith took less than one three a game in the preseason. That’s a start. Detroit really needs Jodie Meeks to get healthy and provide more outside shooting before things can really start to click. The Greg Monroe saga will hang over this team all season.

source:  21. Knicks (37-45). All the talk is about the triangle offense, how Carmelo Anthony fits in it and J.R. Smith doesn’t. The real work Phil Jackson needs to do over the next couple years is to revamp this roster, which both doesn’t fit the triangle and just isn’t very good period.

source:  22. Kings (28-54). DeMarcus Cousins, coming off a big summer with Team USA in Spain (he was great in the title game), is poised to make another leap forward. But more than just on the court, he has to be a leader on a young roster that has some talent. Not sure that improvement and Rudy Gay having another banner year can get this team 20 more wins and near the playoffs.

source:  23. Pacers (56-26). The team that likely will out-lose the Heat on their way to the biggest drop in the NBA this season. The good news is they do have their lottery pick for next season. Going to be lots of questions about Roy Hibbert’s future during the season.

source:  24. Timberwolves (40-42). They are not going to be good but this is going to be a fun team to watch — Ricky Rubio throwing lobs to Andrew Wiggins, and Nikola Pekovic knows how to score in the post. How much will Flip Saunders lean on some veterans trying to get a win over the youth he needs to develop? That’s why it’s hard to be coach and GM

source:  25. Lakers (27-55). Kobe Bryant is going to put up a lot of inefficient points and draw the headlines, but the Lakers bench will be more fun to watch — Jeremy Lin, Nick Young (once healthy in December), Julius Randle and Ed Davis. They can’t defend but they’ll be entertaining.

source:  26. Jazz (25-57). Quin Snyder was brought in to develop talent, so we need to see what kind of strides guys like Derrick Favors, Trey Burke and even Gordon Hayward make this season. I expect the Jazz will be a much better team at the end of the season than the start.

source:  27. Bucks (15-67). Milwaukee brought in Jason Kidd to develop young talent like Jabari Parker, John Henson, Larry Sanders and Giannis Antetokounmpo. The New York based new Bucks owners brought in a big name as coach, but his he the right guy? Still, watch the Bucks for Parker, very possibly your Rookie of the Year, and of course the Greek Freak.

source:  28. Celtics (25-57). There’s just not that much talent on the roster, a few nice rotation guys like Jared Sullinger and guys with potential like Marcus Smart. But the real question is how much talent could they really add with a Rajon Rondo trade? Enough to make it worth it?

source:  29. Magic (23-59). Losing Victor Oladipo for the first month of the season is a huge setback for a team already going to struggle this year. Do they give veterans like Channing Frye (once he gets healthy) and Luke Ridnour run to try and maybe pick up a couple wins, or just suffer with more losses?

source:  30. 76ers (19-63). They have already won their biggest game of the season — the NBA did not alter the Draft Lottery format to thwart them. I like Nerlens Noel and at some point they get Michael Carter Williams back, but even with that this team will at best get into the teens in wins.