The Atlanta Hawks and Josh Smith:
- While the Spurs, Wizards, Celtics and Nets appear to be interested in trading for Smith, the Milwaukee Bucks seem to have made the most progress. According to Sam Amick and Zillgitt of USA Today, the Bucks are considering putting Monte Ellis on the table. Smith is believed to be open to re-signing in Milwaukee (what?) but prefers they do not dump too many assets (Ellis) to get him: “The Bucks are considering putting Monta Ellis in a deal for Smith. There is some concern that Ellis will opt out of the final year of his $11 million deal and go where he wants in free agency. But, that’s serious money to walk away from, and it’s unlikely Ellis walks away from that for a long term deal. Ellis, 27, can collect $11 million next season, and still get the similar long-term deal starting with the 2014-15 season.”
- ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard, meanwhile, reported Wednesday morning on “SportsCenter” that Smith would be interested in playing with both Jennings and Ellis if he wound up in Milwaukee, leading the Bucks to try Wednesday to make the deal without surrendering Ellis.
The Boston Celtics and Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce:
There have been conflicting reports out of Boston about the availability of Rondo, Garnett and Pierce. Most notably is Rondo. While the All-Star point guard is out for the season with a torn ACL, many did not believe he would become available this fast (or at all). The overall belief is that Rondo will not be dealt before the deadline, but ESPN’s Chris Broussard does not believe that to be definitive:
- But according to Amick and Zillgitt, that is not the case: “Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo has been assured by President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge that he won’t be traded, according to Rondo’s agent. “He was emphatic that they would not trade Rajon Rondo,” Bill Duffy told USA TODAY Sports. “He said, ‘We love him, and he’s our guy moving forward.’ Everybody is trade-able, and there’s always a bunch of dialogue with every player in the league who doesn’t have a no-trade clause, or LeBron James and a few other guys. In this particular case, Danny Ainge was emphatic that ‘we are not trading Rajon Rondo.’”
- More on Rondo: “League executives, though, continue to call Ainge about Rondo’s availability even though Rondo is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, an NBA executive told USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about ongoing negotiations.”