Rajon Rondo is still recovering from an ACL injury suffered last February, and hasn’t appeared in a Boston Celtics jersey yet this season.
That hasn’t stopped any speculation or rumors about a trade sending the All-Star point guard and top NBA assist man to such teams as the New York Knicks.
Beleaguered with locker room issues and a lackluster effort to start the season, New York has tried to tempt Boston into sending Rondo to the Garden, in exchange for guards Iman Shumpert and Raymond Felton, along with oft-injured power forward Amar’e Stoudemire, according to the New York Daily News.
The Celtics have rebuffed the trade, and what further complicates the Knicks sending that package to any other team are two apparently secret knee surgeries undergone by Shumpert and Stoudemire over the summer. Neither surgery had come to light until the Daily News's report.
Shumpert tore his ACL in the first round of the 2012 playoffs against Miami, and didn’t return until January of this year. He reportedly played through some pain during the season, but his show of heart hasn’t turned into a jump in production, hovering around his typical output with averages of 8.6 points and 4.9 rebounds this season.
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New York has tried to dump Stoudemire and the $44 million remaining on his contract for the last two years, but to no avail. Head coach Mike Woodson has closely monitored the 31-year-old’s minutes due to numerous knee surgeries over the last five years, with Stoudemire appearing in seven of the Knicks 13 games.
Celtics team president Danny Ainge denied to the Boston Herald that Rondo was part of any deal, but did say he’s been pelted with offers. The root of the rumors isn’t entirely without merit since Boston tried to move Rondo to New Orleans and the Los Angeles Lakers in years past, and nearly everyone was on the block until Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were shipped out in tandem in the summer.
There is no reported timetable for Rondo’s return to the court, but his services along with the expiring contract of Kris Humphries, are trade chips that Ainge and the Celtics can use in the near future.
As for Shumpert, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, he and the Knicks believe a trade is “inevitable” but the destination remains unclear.
“Anyone But Valanciunas”
That phrase was reportedly uttered by someone in the Toronto Raptors front office to Stein earlier this month, regarding the seven-footer Jonas Valanciunas, but there has been very little movement since then.
If that’s still the mantra held by the NBA’s lone team to the north then swingmen DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay could have a new address in the next couple of months.
Gay’s $17 million cap number this season is a big reason Toronto has the league’s sixth highest payroll this season, and the $19 million player option he holds for the 2014-15 season could seriously hinder any team taking him on, even if it does mean a guaranteed 20 points a game.
DeRozan hasn’t exactly panned out as the franchise-altering player the Raptors had hoped for when they selected him ninth overall in 2009, but his age (24) and hyper-athleticism could be a welcome addition to a number of teams. He’s averaging a career-high 20.5 points and more than a steal per game this season, but the four-year $38 million extension he signed last year could scare off trade partners.
One Move Away?
The 7-5 Minnesota Timberwolves have latched on to the final playoff spot in the West, thanks to Kevin Love’s monumental start and the NBA’s third most potent offense tallying 107.8 points per game.
Looking to make the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade, the Timberwolves could be one trade away from adding another piece to make a push up conference. That trade could involve forward Derrick Williams.
ESPN’s Chad Ford stated in a chat that the Sacramento Kings have reportedly shown interest in Williams, perhaps for a big like Jason Thompson or Chuck Hayes.
Shooting 39 percent from the field, Williams has struggled in his third season and has played a total of three minutes in Minnesota’s last three games.
Actively working the phones, the Kings are reportedly looking to exchange “picks and prospects” for veterans, according to NBA.com. Other than big man DeMarcus Cousins and Ben McLemore, the Kings are wide open for a move.