NBA News and Rumors – Tuesday June 23 2009

Draft-buzz roundup: What we’re hearing

Give Shaquille O’Neal credit if he can leave the Phoenix Suns, but

Celtics shop Rondo, Allen

Draft buzz and Amare trade talksDraft-buzz roundup: What we’re hearing

The Wizards have gotten at least 10 offers for the pick, but every team I spoke with that’s in the draft was still in the dark about where they stood.

The Knicks have offered Larry Hughes for Thomas and James. The Wolves have reportedly offered Mike Miller. The Celtics would give them Ray Allen. The Rockets would give them Tracy McGrady and Carl Landry. The Bucks would send them Richard Jefferson. The Nets would entertain unloading Vince Carter. The Suns could do something with Shaq. The Blazers could part ways with Steve Blake, Jerryd Bayless or Travis Outlaw.

The question is: Are any of those offers good enough for the No. 5 pick? In most year’s, no. But this year, with the Wizards thinking they’re poised to make a deep playoff run? It might be enough.

• I think it’s time to quit dismissing all of those Rajon Rondo trade rumors. A source in Detroit says the Pistons were approached by a lower level Celtics executive who offered Ray Allen and Rondo for Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey.

The Pistons, of course, said no to the deal — Rondo’s great, but he’s not worth the entire core of the Pistons. But that’s not the news. It’s becoming harder and harder for the Celtics to deny that they aren’t looking to move Rondo. Rondo’s name has come up in rumors with the Suns and Kings. I know Danny Ainge has brushed them off and says the Celtics will probably do nothing, but where there’s smoke …

Give Shaquille O’Neal credit if he can leave the Phoenix Suns, but

John DeShazier, The Times-Picayune

There should be no beef whatsoever from anyone with Shaquille O’Neal turning into a hired gun as his NBA career draws to a close.

f he can wriggle his way out of Phoenix and into a better situation – same as he previously was able to upgrade by leaving Miami (for Phoenix) and Orlando (for the Lakers) – more power to him. Heaven knows that when a pro sports franchise decides it doesn’t want a player anymore (as did the Lakers with Shaq, when he was traded to Miami), due to a drop in production or because he’s a chemistry problem, it’ll find a way to move him.

Undeniably, he’d be a significant gate attraction for the Hornets. And he’d have to just about refuse to show up for work – though, in the last few years, he’s been known to call in sick a little more often than his employers would have liked – to be worse than what New Orleans had at center last season. Tyson Chandler was hobbled (and underperforming when he could play) and Hilton Armstrong spent another lost season absent a clue what it takes to be an NBA player, leaving Sean Marks as the bell cow of the position, playing better than anyone imagined.

But that doesn’t mean O’Neal would make a great addition to the Hornets.

Simply, even if the money fit, the style probably doesn’t. And, certainly, the whole concept crashes if Shaq doesn’t get the amount of touches per game he wants, if the offense doesn’t run through him as he’d prefer, if he’s not on the court in the clutch even though historically he shoots foul shots as if he’s blindfolded and has an arm tied behind his back.

Celtics shop Rondo, Allen

Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports

The Boston Celtics appear willing to make major roster changes to balance a chance for a championship run and future financial flexibility.

The Celtics offered Ray Allen(notes) and Rajon Rondo(notes) to the Detroit Pistons for a package that included Richard Hamilton(notes), Tayshaun Prince(notes) and Rodney Stuckey(notes), league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Boston general manager Danny Ainge and Detroit’s Joe Dumars never spoke, but rather the Celtics had a lower-level executive make the pitch to a Pistons official over the past weekend, league sources said. Detroit immediately rejected the idea, and it never advanced to the two top executives speaking about particulars.

This isn’t an uncommon occurrence for a GM like Ainge to dispatch an underling to make that kind of a call, if for no other reason to give the top executive some level of deniability that he’s shopping his stars.

This isn’t the first time that Allen, a six-time All-Star, has been mentioned in trade talks this summer. Allen, who will soon turn 34, has an expiring contract of nearly $20 million, for next season. Rondo, 24, a rapidly developing point guard, has been publically termed off-limits by Ainge in trade discussion this summer. Nevertheless, his name found a way into this conversation. Rondo averaged 11.9 points, 8.2 assists and 5.2 rebounds in the regular season, and had three triple-doubles in the Celtics’ playoff run this season.

Boston is unlikely to re-sign Allen to a long-term extension next summer, and there is belief around the league that the Celtics have hesitancy about committing a long-term, expensive contract to Rondo.;_ylt=AjyIYqdzzefVFgcDIjbxe.y8vLYF?slug=aw-celticspistons062209&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Draft buzz and Amare trade talks

Ken Berger

* The Wizards are as strong a bet as any team in the top eight to trade down from their current perch at No. 5. Facing luxury-tax consequences and needing to open up a roster spot, the Wiz are considering numerous scenarios. Two people familiar with the talks confirmed that Washington discussed swapping the No. 5 and No. 14 picks with Phoenix in a trade that would’ve sent Amare Stoudemire to the Wizards. Phoenix also would’ve gotten one of the Wizards’ young guards — either Nick Young or Javaris Crittenton. But Washington walked away when the Suns asked for Caron Butler.

* The Timberwolves, who have three first-round picks, appear to be positioning themselves to move up from the sixth spot and assure themselves a shot at Ricky Rubio. A deal with Memphis, which has the No. 2 pick, isn’t out of the question. Another scenario has Minnesota involved with the Wizards in a deal that would send Washington’s No. 5 pick to Minnesota. The T-Wolves would then have the ultimate flexibility — knowing they could get Tyreke Evans or Hasheem Thabeet with the fifth or sixth pick if Rubio is gone and knowing they could parlay the fifth and sixth picks in a deal with Memphis to move up.

* Other than Minnesota, the team in the top 10 that appears the most motivated to move up is the Knicks, although trade talks with Washington involving Larry Hughes are accurate only from the standpoint that Jared Jeffries isn’t involved; the Wizards aren’t interested in adding money beyond next season. The Knicks, who pick eighth, clearly covet Rubio and Stephen Curry and have the assets to assure themselves a shot at one of them by trading up.

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