Report: Mavericks and Celtics in ‘substantive discussion’ about Rajon Rondo trade

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BOSTON – The Celtics are reportedly considering trading Rajon Rondo.

Again.

“It’s a way of life since I’ve been here,” Rondo said.

Rondo said he hadn’t spoken with Boston general manager Danny Ainge or anyone else from the front office since the latest round of rumors came out.

But the Celtics are reportedly talking with the Mavericks and Rockets about Rondo, who could leave Boston as an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Boston Celtics, after years of flirting with potential Rajon Rondo deals, are in substantive discussions on a trade that would send Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Celtics and Mavericks have been discussing a swap that would furnish Boston with multiple draft picks — including at least one future first-rounder — as well as blossoming Mavericks center Brandan Wright and other players needed to make the salary-cap math work.

Sources say the Celtics also have been talking to teams such as the Sacramento Kings and New York Knicks about potential Rondo deals‎, but that the most advanced discussions so far have been with Dallas.

Rondo would be an awesome fit with the Mavericks, who are scoring at a historically high rate with Jameer Nelson and Devin Harris running point. No offense to those two, but Rondo would be a huge upgrade.

He could create jumpers for Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons, who’d space the floor in return. Rondo could also run pick-and-roll after pick-and-roll with Tyson Chandler, a great finisher at the rim. Defensively, Dallas could use Rondo’s ball-stopping on defense.

But it’s difficult to see what the Mavericks would give up.

They just signed Chandler Parsons this offseason, made him feel at home and bragged about their commitment to chemistry. Other than Parsons, Dallas doesn’t have a single starter younger than 29 (Monta Ellis). Even its sixth man, Harris, is 31.

Trading Rondo for Brandon Wright and Raymond Felton would meet the league’s cap rules, but that’s obviously not enough for Boston. The Mavericks would have to add a draft pick or two – or three. At least Dallas has all its upcoming first rounders.

Wright, 27, has been extremely successful in limited minutes in Dallas, where he fits the system to a T. His $5 million salary would likely be necessary to facilitate a deal, but his contract is expiring. Do the Celtics think they could get similar production from him in a larger role? Do they think he’d re-sign? Those questions could go a long way in determining whether this deal gets off the ground.

Then, there’s just the matter of haggling over draft picks, no easy task.

The Rockets have a larger collection of young talent – including Patrick Beverley, Donatas Motiejunas, Tarik Black, Kostas Papanikolaou and Terrence Jones – but no single player who wows. Houston also has a valuable first rounder incoming from the Pelicans as a result of the Omer Asik trade.

The Mavericks have been down this road before without finding a deal. So have the Kingsand the Knicks, who don’t have the assets to trade for Rondo now. The Rockets seem to discuss every available player in the league.

The smoke here doesn’t necessarily equal a fire (or a fire sale).

For his part, Rondo said he stills stands by what he said before the season, a claim he reiterated last month: He enjoys playing for the Celtics. In particular, he pointed to his younger and developing teammates adding joy in Boston.

“I’m enjoying life,” Rondo said.

Even if that life includes more trade rumors.

Report: Mavericks’ Jalen Brunson may have torn labrum in his right shoulder

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Dallas’ reserve point guard Jalen Brunson has missed the last two games with a shoulder injury suffered against Atlanta, and he was expected to miss the next three games with the Mavericks out on the road.

It sounds like he may be out longer than that, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

 

Brunson, the former Villanova star, has given Dallas a solid 18 minutes a night off the bench this season, averaging 8.2 points and shooting 35.8 percent from three. In the short term this means more minutes for J.J. Barea, but come the postseason Brunson’s size and defense would be helpful off the bench.

If playing through the injury isn’t going to make it worse or risk long-term damage, then it’s up to Brunson and his level of pain tolerance as to when and how much he plays. The surgery can wait until after the playoffs. Just expect he’s going to miss a little time in the immediate future.

Timberwolves fined $25,000 for resting healthy D’Angelo Russell against Denver

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Sunday, in a game against Denver, the Minnesota Timberwolves rested D'Angelo Russell. He was healthy, they just gave him the night off, and nobody around the NBA thought twice about it.

Except for the folks in Manhattan at the NBA’s league office.

The league fined the Timberwolves $25,000 as an organization for “violating the league’s player resting policy.”

The Timberwolves response? Basically, ¯_(ツ)_/¯

The new management team in Minnesota is very focused on modernizing the health and player development programs in the organization. Resting Russell was part of that, and if they felt the need to make sure Russell was good to go for future games they were not going to be dissuaded from sitting him.

Especially if the cost is just $25,000.

Some teams have gone to great lengths to make sure the league knew their player medically needed days off, the most prominent among those being the Clippers with Kawhi Leonard on back-to-backs. Then Doc Rivers admitted the truth — that they were resting him at times when Leonard was healthy and could play — and he got hit with a $50,000 fine.

The league has become very sensitive to the idea of “load management,” that healthy players are being rested during the regular season. From a PR perspective, it’s bad for business and is seen as devaluing the regular season. However, coaches and team sports scientists have seen the value, particularly in preventing injuries and having players relatively fresh for the playoffs, so they will continue to do it.

At this point in the season, every player is a little banged up. These kinds of fines by the league will push teams to say Russell — or whomever — is out for a game due to a sore knee, or ankle, or back, or whatever. Every player has some ailment that could use a little rest. This is how it was done before the league became more transparent and let teams just call it “rest.” The practice is not going to change with teams, it may just have a new name.

Kobe Bryant memorabilia, including game-worn Finals jerseys, going up for auction

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NEW YORK — Some key Kobe Bryant memorabilia, including two of his Los Angeles Lakers uniforms and cement handprints from his induction into the Grauman’s Chinese Theater hall of fame gallery, are going up for sale in April.

Julien’s Auctions said Thursday that the items would be up for sale on April 30 as part of its annual sports auction that includes a silver medal from the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and a 2002 FIFA World Cup gold winner’s medal.

Bryant’s items were already being planned for auction when he, his daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26.

“We are honored to include this collection of his items and pay tribute to this giant who was an inspiration not only to basketball fans but to the entire world,” said Darren Julien, Julien’s Auctions’ president and CEO.

The Lakers uniforms up for sale are one worn during the 2000 NBA Finals, with his original number 8. The uniform included a black armband which marked the memory of Wilt Chamberlain, who died that season.

The other uniform was from his 2007 season, when his number was 24.

Other Bryant items include Adidas game shoes signed by the late legend; and a basketball signed by the 2010-11 Lakers including Bryant and other stars such as Ron Artest and Pau Gasol.

Juliens said the Bryant items were being sold by a collector in Kentucky. Fans can view what’s up for sale between April 27 and April 30 in Beverly Hills, California, before the auction takes place at Juliens Auctions Beverly Hills.

Bryant, who was 41, and his daughter were remembered Monday at the Staples Center with a memorial that included a performance from Beyoncé and tributes by Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal.

Raptors coach Nick Nurse to perform musically next month

Raptors coach Nick Nurse
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On his way to guiding the Raptors to a championship, Nick Nurse earned viral fame by arriving in Milwaukee for the Eastern Conference finals with a guitar slung over his back:

Now, Nurse is preparing for a different stage.

Nurse, via CityNews:

I’m working on four songs right now that I’m getting ready to – I’m getting ready to have a little performance. Actually, March 11th, I’m having a kickoff for my foundation – Nick Nurse Foundation – in support of music programs for kids around the Toronto area. So, we have a lot of bands coming in, and I’m going to sit in with, well, at least one of them.

Nurse is doing this while building a strong case for Coach of the Year.

Excelling in the NBA and music, Nurse is a regular Damian Lillard.