The first part of this week is shaping up just like those slow days between the end of the conference finals and the start of the NBA Finals. You’re literally waiting for something to happen before the main event — in this case, the NBA Draft on Thursday — and every media outlet jumps on even the smallest story/rumor just to have something to talk about. But the headline story that broke yesterday was anything but small, and had nothing to do with the soon-to-be draftees … According to the infamous “league sources” and Yahoo! Sports, the Celtics proposed a trade to the Pistons: Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo to Detroit for Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey. And the Pistons shut it down ASAP. Now why exactly would the Celtics want to trade the starting backcourt of a team that just won a championship one year ago? It can’t just be a money thing; Ray’s $19.7 million salary comes off the books in 2010, dwarfing Rip’s $11M expiring deal, and Prince is still owed $11 million in 2010-11. Stuckey has a team-option in 2010 for less than $3 million, and Rondo will be a restricted free agent that summer, meaning Boston would have given up $22 million of potential cap space to get back $14M at the most. So maybe the thought was that the Celtics needed to get something for Rondo rather than lose him in free agency. Otherwise, Ray and Rip are about even in terms of what they have left in the tank, Rip has shown he takes a while to adapt to change (i.e. the Billups/Iverson trade), Rondo is flat-out better than Stuckey, and Tayshaun plays the same position as Paul Pierce, who the Celtics could be paying $21M in 2010-11 … And for that matter, why did Detroit reject this so quickly? Joe Dumars has been promising big changes, and a bunch of cap space along with an aging but still effective All-Star and a 24-year-old potential franchise PG who’s an upgrade over Stuckey seems like a good move … About the Draft, the Clippers say they’re not trading the #1 pick, which everyone figured out a couple weeks ago. Blake Griffin still makes the most sense for them, even if it’s not what Zach Randolph wants to hear. That’s not to say teams like Oklahoma City and Sacramento won’t still try to bowl L.A. over with trade offers during the draft, but for now it looks like they’ve settled on Griffin as their guy … Hasheem Thabeet looks like a near-lock to go #2 to Memphis (even if he doesn’t want to be there), but could Thabeet’s UConn teammate Jeff Adrien be the one who makes a bigger impact in the League? One of our writers thinks it could happen … Remember Luol Deng? It’s easy to forget him; dude got almost zero mention throughout the Bulls/Celtics series, yet injured Kevin Garnett got more face time than the midcourt leprechaun in Boston. Anyway, Deng is recovering from a stress fracture in his leg that ended his season, getting back in the gym this week to run and get some shots up. It’s crazy how Deng isn’t even talked about as part of the Bulls’ core anymore; it’s all about Derrick Rose, Ben Gordon, Tyrus Thomas, Joakim Noah, even Brad Miller and Kirk Hinrich, with John Salmons jacking Deng’s spot as the high-scoring small forward. If BG leaves in free agency everything will probably work out fine; Salmons splitting time with Hinrich at the two and Deng getting his SF spot back. Do you think Deng can still hit that All-Star/superstar level the Bulls envisioned when they signed him to a $70 million-plus deal? … The NBA Has Changed, Part 721: Kevin Love had a meeting with Wolves GM David Kahn about his Twitter habit. K-Love prematurely broke the news last week that coach Kevin McHale had been fired, but after his meeting with Kahn, said it was all cool. Of course, Love broke that news on Twitter: “[Kahn] wasn’t mad at my tweet, he wants me to more often.” We hear Dave Cowens has a similar meeting with Red Auerbach once upon a time. If Twitter doesn’t die out as a fad by next season, we’re waiting for the first big-name player to do his pre-game media session strictly by tweeting … We’re out like Z-Bo …
Smack / Jun 23, 2009 / 4:57 am
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