The NBA trade deadline is set for Thursday, and rumors are circulating around several teams that are looking to improve. In such a weak Eastern Conference, one big deal could be the difference between home-court advantage in the first round and missing the playoffs.
The latest reports have the Boston Celtics fielding calls about the availability of Rajon Rondo. The point guard is under contract through 2015, and is very reasonably paid at less than $13 million next season. The Celtics have reportedly been thinking about dealing Rondo for the past few years, but never have pulled the trigger. This year, though, they likely aren’t headed towards the postseason.
According to Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports, the Sacramento Kings recently discussed a serious offer for the four-time All-star. The Celtics and Kings reportedly talked about a package that included Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore and a draft pick. Rondo was reportedly unwilling to sign a contract extension, and Sacramento is very high on McLemore, forcing the proposed deal off the table.
The New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors have also been reported to have interest in Rondo. While ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that the Knicks want the 27-year-old, they don’t have much to offer Boston. The best package they could come up with would be to take on some of the Celtics bad contracts, like Gerald Wallace or Brandon Bass. According to the Toronto Sun, the Raptors would like Rondo to replace Kyle Lowry, who’ll be a free agent in the summer, though it’s unclear if the Celtics are interested.
If Rondo stays put, the Knicks might look to acquire Lowry. New York reportedly could have had the point guard a few months ago, but turned down an offer that would’ve included Tim Hardaway Jr. or a future first-round pick. Now that Lowry has played as good as any point guard in the East, Toronto may not be open to the same deal. The two clubs have done business together recently. The Raptors sent Andrea Bargnani to the Knicks in the offseason.
Rondo is one of the most coveted players on the market, even though he’s played just 10 games since returning from ACL surgery. He would only be attainable at a hefty price. Austin Rivers, on the other hand, can likely be had for not much of value. The second-year guard could be traded, according to Spears, by the New Orleans Pelicans. Since being drafted in 2012, Rivers has been one of the worst players in the NBA. In 101 games he’s averaging 6.1 points on 37.4 percent shooting in 20.3 minutes per game.
New Orleans could also trade Pierre Jackson. He’s currently in the D-League, but the Pelicans own his rights.