It's two days before the trade deadline and Rajon Rondo's name is popping up everywhere. Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge, though, recently said his team could go a number of different directions at the deadline, via the Boston Globe's Baxter Holmes:
"Yeah, you never know," Ainge said. "You always hope that something could happen, but I'm not holding my breath on it at this trade deadline. It might not be the right time for us to do something."
"I think the difference between other years and this year is that there's a lot of different directions we could go," Ainge said. "In past years, we're focusing on just getting better for the playoff run. And now, we're looking for possibilities of flexibility, young assets, things of that nature, but, at the same time, [we're] opportunistic for any deals that could come along and speed up our rebuilding process."
It was reported on Monday that Rondo could be had in exchange for two first-round picks, the Sacramento Kings made a huge offer and the Toronto Raptors are interested in him. According to Holmes, multiple sources said the only time the Celtics had a serious conversation about moving him involved Chris Paul and, unless a star was coming to Boston, it would take multiple first-round picks for the Celtics to even think about a deal.
Ainge told the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett on Friday that he'd be willing to give up numerous assets to require a "top of the rotation player," and Bulpett reported that as of Monday night the team had fielded calls about Rondo and a handful of other players, but there were no ongoing talks. As it gets closer Thursday's 3 p.m. ET deadline, it will become clear whether or not all these rumors are just noise.
Clippers searching for a big man
In the "duh" category, Los Angeles Clippers head coach and senior vice president of basketball operations Doc Rivers is trying to make a deal for a big man to take pressure off of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan in the frontcourt, via Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski:
Clippers GM/coach Doc Rivers on the search for a big man to bolster his bench, league sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 18, 2014
The backup bigs were an obvious weakness for the Clippers coming into the season, and they haven't addressed it at all, instead using roster spots on forwards Stephen Jackson (since waived) and Hedo Turkoglu and giving a 10-day contract to guard Sasha Vujacic.
Last summer's offseason acquisitions at power forward, Antawn Jamison and Byron Mullens, have appeared in just 22 and 27 games, respectively. Neither can provide any semblance of basket protection. Center Ryan Hollins plays almost every night, but has not proven he can be a rotation player on a team with championship aspirations, forcing Rivers to play Griffin at center and use Matt Barnes, Jared Dudley and Turkoglu at power forward. There were rumors earlier this season that Lamar Odom could end up back in Los Angeles, but on Monday he agreed to a deal with a Spanish team.
Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans think they'll stay in New Orleans
New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Gordon has been the subject of speculation since the day New Orleans matched his maximum offer sheet two summers ago. Approaching the trade deadline, he said the Pelicans told him he'd still be on the team at the end of the week, via the New Orleans Times Picayune's John Reid:
Gordon said he was told by team officials that he's not on the trading block. However, speculation still persists that he could be moved if the Pelicans can find a team willing to take on his enormous contract.
Gordon has averaged 15.8 points, 3.3 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game, shooting 43 percent from the field. Those numbers don't reflect the $14 million he'll be making this season, or the fact that he was seen as a rising star when he signed the contract.
New Orleans' Tyreke Evans has also been rumored to be on the go, mere months after he signed a four-year, $44 million deal with the Pelicans. He, too, expects to stick around, via Reid:
Evans admits the trade situation is out of his hands, but he thinks Thursday's deadline will pass without him getting moved.
''I just care about basketball and this team you know,'' said Evans, who is averaging 12.6 points but is making only 41 percent of his shots as a backup swingman.''I can't control anything happening that's out of my hands. I just try to come work hard every day and help us get better.''
Bobcats and Bucks discussed deal involving Caron Butler, Gary Neal
Charlotte had traction on deal to bring it Milwaukee's Caron Butler and Gary Neal, but talks crumbled in recent days, league sources tell Y!— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 18, 2014
Butler expressed his frustration with his role and the rebuilding process in Milwaukee earlier this season, but said shortly thereafter that he was committed to the organization, via Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times. Neal has been mostly out of the rotation since December, and he and his agent have discussed trade options with the Bucks, according to Woelfel.
It is unclear what Charlotte was offering in exchange for the veterans before the discussions broke down, but the 23-30 Bobcats are trying to hold on to the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Minnesota Timberwolves and Memphis Grizzlies are involved in trade talks that could include Timberwolves swingman Chase Budinger and guard J.J. Barea, with Memphis' Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince mentioned as pieces who could be going the Wolves' way, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski:
Memphis wants to include forward Tayshaun Prince into the package and the deal could be expanded to include guard Tony Allen, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Components of a proposed deal are still fluid.
Memphis has been furiously trying to unload Prince and the remaining $7.2 million (2013-'14) and $7.7 million (2014-'15) on his contract, league sources said.
Miller, who yelled at Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw on the sideline in his last appearance with the team on Dec. 30, recently worked out with Denver, according to CBS Sports' Ken Berger. The Nuggets have been riddled with injuries at his position, but Miller and Shaw have no intention of working together again, according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears.