Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has spent the last week aggressively shopping the No. 3 pick in Thursday's draft, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. Boston owns the pick thanks to its 2013 fleecing of the Nets. But with his team coming off a 48-win season and on the cusp to title contention, Ainge has made it clear that he'd prefer to add a player who could immediately improve the Celtics' roster and gel with the core of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder.
Ainge, according to Stein, has offered deals centered around the No. 3 pick to the Bulls for Jimmy Butler, the Jazz for Gordon Hayward and the Bucks for either Jabari Parker or Khris Middleton, but all of his offers have been rebuffed.
One team reportedly interested in working out a trade with the Celtics is the Sixers. Philadelphia -- who has reportedly promised Ben Simmons that it will take him No. 1 overall and has last year's lottery pick, Joel Embiid, set to return from injury -- would like to ship either Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel to Boston in exchange for the No. 3 pick, according to Stein. But thus far, Ainge has rejected the Sixers' offers.
The Celtics also own the No. 16 and No. 23 picks in the draft, along with five second rounders. How Ainge decides to handle things should his offers continue to be turned down will be the primary storyline of the draft.
The Bucks and Pistons are down for Delly
Today, he's still celebrating the Cavaliers title -- and cleaning the beer off his house floor following Tuesday's team beer pong Olympics. But in a few weeks, Matthew Dellavedova will be an unrestricted free agent, and an interesting one at that.
Delly, who the Cavaliers signed in 2013 after he went undrafted out of St. Mary's, is coming off a season in which he averaged 7.5 points and 4.4 assists in just under 25 minutes per game. He also shot an impressive 41 percent from deep. Thanks to his tenacious defense, Dellavedova also boasted one of the top net ratings on the team.
That said, Delly saw just 12 minutes per game during the postseason and was relegated to the bench for the majority of the Finals. Does that mean he's not part of Cleveland's future? If so, ESPN's Brian Windhorst believes that there are at least two other teams interested in inking him to a long term deal.
They could've signed Matthew Dellavedova to a $2 or $3 million a year contract and now I think someone is coming in with a $10 million offer sheet. For some reason, (chuckles) and I got a pretty good idea why, the Milwaukee Bucks attended Cavs games in the playoffs like they were a fan of the team. They had scouts there...Jason Kidd came to one of the games. I think the Bucks have zeroed in on Dellavedova. I think they intend to offer him a bunch of money. The Detroit Pistons were hanging around in the playoffs a lot, sending scouts. They weren't sending scouts to evaluate J.R. (Smith), I think they intend to go after Dellavedova.
"A bunch of money?" Delly is feisty and projects as a solid backup. But if Milwaukee is expecting more from him, they team could be in trouble.
The Rockets actually did want to keep Dwight Howard
On Tuesday, Dwight Howard declined the one-year, $23.1 million player option on his contract, making him an unrestricted free agent. This decision surprised no one. Howard's time in Houston did not go well. He clashed with coaches, teammates, fans and management.
And yet, according to ESPN's Calvin Watkins, the Rockets still tried to convince Howard to stay:
Before Dwight Howard decided to decline his $23.2 million player option, Houston Rockets officials tried to convince him to remain with the team according to a source.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey spoke with Howard's agent Perry Rogers and team CEO Tad Brown talked to Howard himself expressing his support as well.
The team values Howard's defensive abilities and the potential of what he can do on the offensive end in a new scheme under just hired coach Mike D'Antoni as the reasoning for retaining him.
That's all fine and dandy, but there was just no way a man who recently turned a TV appearance into a therapy session because he was so hurt by how things have gone over the past couple of years was ever going to stay in town. Here's guessing that this conversation between Howard and Rockets CEO Tad Brown was a very short one.
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