NBA Rumors, News 2014: Knicks, Cavs, Heat, Lakers, Celtics, Rockets, Bucks, Clippers, Pelicans; Latest on Rajon Rondo

The NBA rumors and news keep coming this offseason, including about Rajon Rondo and the recent Kevin Love-Andrew Wiggins trade.

Check out the latest buzz below.

Celtics Not Looking to Trade Rondo

Trading Rajon Rondo isn’t a priority for the Celtics right now, according to the Boston Globe.

“While the Celtics are trying to figure out ways to clear roster space before training camp, moving Rondo is not a high priority. First off, Rondo will be a free agent next summer and fully intends on taking the LeBron James-Carmelo Anthony tour of teams and extending the negotiation process deep into next summer,” it reported.

“It is highly unlikely Rondo would sign an extension this season with an interested team, especially the Sacramento Kings. Second, the Celtics don’t feel pressed to deal Rondo because they are still trying to determine if he’s part of the future and they are intrigued to see him in action a full 18 months following ACL surgery.”

Rondo is certain to be the subject of many trade rumors this year.

Rockets Looking to Land Sessions

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Milwaukee Bucks’ Ramon Sessions, left, drives against Miami Heat’s James Jones during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 29, 2014, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

The Houston Rockets are looking to obtain guard Ramon Sessions.

Sources told Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders that the Rockets are discussing a sign-and-trade with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Sessions, 28, averaged 15.8 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.1 rebounds for the Bucks in 28 games last season. He played 32.5 minutes per game.

Sessions is a unrestricted free agent. He would help the Rockets replace Jeremy Lin, who was traded to the Lakers earlier this offseason.

Knicks: Thanasis Antetokounmpo took discount

A report from SI.com says that Thanasis Antetokounmpo, the second-round pick for the New York Knicks, turned down a two-year contract of $550,000 to play for $25,000 in the D-league.

He said he got offers from Greek and Spanish clubs.

“Amazing isn’t it?,” his agent, Tim Lotsos, told NY Post. “To my surprise, he passed on it. He’s very ambitious and determined to make the NBA. It’s a big sacrifice. It could’ve really put him ahead of schedule in his career. I didn’t try to force him. I wanted him to make his own decision.”

Reason Heat Don’t Want Beasley Back

The Miami Herald obtained new details about why the Miami Heat don’t want to re-sign Michael Beasley.

“One veteran NBA scout said Michael Beasley is a far better player than journeyman Shawne Williams and questioned the Heat for signing Williams to guaranteed money. So why hasn’t the Heat tried to re-sign Beasley when it could use his offense?” it reported.

“A person with direct knowledge cited several reasons for the Heat’s lack of interest: Inconsistency, lack of trust in his defense (and ability to execute the Heat’s defensive system), and maturity/focus issues, which are still a concern even though he improved somewhat in that regard last season.”

The Los Angeles Lakers have been linked to Beasley as of late.

Heat and Cavs Among Teams Interested in Okafor

Emeka Okafor has registered interest from roughly half of the teams in the NBA, sources told ESPN.

Among the teams: the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Heat.

But Okafor is unlikely to sign anywhere until midseason as he continues to recover from his herniated disk.

“He’ll be in high demand when he’s back,” one of the sources said.

Wiggins, new Wolves receive warm welcome in MN

Epoch Times Photo

New Minnesota Timberwolves NBA basketball players, from left, Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Thaddeus Young, Zach LaVine attend a news conference at the Minnesota State Fair on Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, in Falcon Heights, Minn. (AP Photo/Star Tribune, Brian Mark Peterson)

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn.—Andrew Wiggins spent the previous month seemingly in hiding, side-stepping questions about a trade that was all but finished and coming to the realization he was not going to be teammates with LeBron James.

On Tuesday — finally — Wiggins and the rest of the new Minnesota Timberwolves got to address the issue head on and have their moment in the sun.

The Timberwolves unveiled the bounty they got for All-Star Kevin Love at the Minnesota State Fair, and Wiggins wore an ear-to-ear smile for most of the day as hundreds of fans followed him around the fairgrounds. It was a warm welcome after the disappointment of being drafted No. 1 overall by Cleveland, only to be shipped out when the Cavaliers decided to acquire the veteran Love to help James chase down a championship.

“It’s been a crazy summer, really up and down. Kind of lost, not really knowing where I’m going,” Wiggins said. “But I wanted to play for a team that wanted me. I felt the love as soon as I got off the plane at the airport, so it’s all good now. I’m excited for this season.”

Wiggins made the remarks while sitting on a stage with Anthony Bennett and Thaddeus Young — the two other players that came to Minnesota in the three-team blockbuster — and Timberwolves first-round draft pick Zach LaVine.

Truth be told, Wiggins has known for weeks that he was never going to play for the Cavs — becoming just the second No. 1 overall pick since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976 to be traded without ever playing a game for the team that drafted him. But a seldom-used rule in the collective bargaining agreement prevented the deal from being consummated for 30 days.

“I’ve been hearing all the talks for a while now,” said Bennett, the No. 1 overall pick in 2013. “So me being here in Minnesota, it’s a great (state). It’s a great fan base, great team coming up where everybody’s young. We have some vets, too. I’m just here to learn from everybody.”

Reports leaked out long before the deadline that the deal was agreed upon and Wiggins had to make a couple of awkward promotional appearances where he bobbed and weaved around questions about his uncertain future. When it was made official, Wiggins had to hear about moving from a team that expected to contend for a title with the NBA’s best player on board to a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs in 10 years.

For a 19-year-old, that could be tough to swallow.

“For me it’s not really hard to accept it,” Wiggins said flatly. “I’m the type of guy that I go to where I’m needed. I go to where I’m wanted, really. That’s what I like.”

He handed out autographed photos at the fair and was followed from station to station by dozens of giddy fans. Wiggins and LaVine went down a giant slide, Bennett ate some deep fried alligator meat and Young reveled in the festive atmosphere.

“I’ve never been a part of something this big before,” said Young, a seven-year veteran.

Love struck: Kevin Love pledges commitment to Cavs

Epoch Times Photo

In this Jan. 12, 2014, file photo, Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love (42) shoots against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half on an NBA basketball game in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio—Kevin Love’s phone rang in July and LeBron James asked the All-Star forward if he wanted to play with him in Cleveland.

“I’m in,” Love told James.

For the long haul.

Getting used to a new city and new team after being acquired by the Cavaliers on Saturday, Love said he’s committed to winning an NBA title with the Cavaliers — however long it takes.

Love, who didn’t make the playoffs during six sometimes rocky seasons with Minnesota, can opt out of his contract and become a free agent next summer. But 25-year-old Love, regarded as the game’s top “spacing” forward, said he intends to stay with James and the Cavs.

“I’m committed to this team, committed long term to the end goal and that’s to win championships,” he said.

Cleveland is smitten with its newest superstar.

Love was introduced Tuesday by the Cavs, who acquired him in a blockbuster, three-team trade that instantly turned Cleveland, which won just 33 games last season, into an NBA championship favorite. The deal also gives the team a star-powered trio in Love, James and Kyrie Irving.

Love and James became friends two summers ago as U.S. Olympic teammates in London. It was there, while chasing a gold medal together, that James began recruiting Love, who wasn’t sure what to make of the four-time league MVP’s overtures.

“Sitting next to me, a locker really close to me and he would always tell me how good he thought I was,” Love said. “For me I would just kind of brush it off and shake it off because I was standoffish because I didn’t know him well.”

James persisted and after more conversations, Love realized there could be a time when their careers could intersect again.

“I thought that one day maybe I could play with LeBron James,” he said.

And now that Love is gone, the Timberwolves are left to rebuild around No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins and last year’s top pick, Anthony Bennett, two young players they were able to pry from Cleveland.

Love didn’t leave the Timberwolves on the best of terms. He was the face of the franchise, and Minnesota is where he developed into one of the game’s top rebounders and scorers, a dual threat from inside and out. But the years of losing wore on him and it was no secret that he wanted out.

Still, Love said he’ll look back on his first NBA home as a positive experience.

“The people of Minnesota were great, the fans were great, they showed up, win, lose or draw, and I really developed a lot of relationships all the way down through the organization,” he said. “It was a great six years, and I enjoyed my time, and I can’t say enough good things about it.”

Knicks May Trade Shumpert

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New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert (21) and forward Amar’e Stoudemire (1) look on during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Sunday, April 6, 2014 in Miami. The Heat defeated the Knicks 102-91. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The blog Yellow Jacked Up notes that Iman Shumpert has been a constant in trade rumors, being the Knicks’ favorite bargaining chip.

The Knicks’ have only made one trade but have been linked to many others.

One of the rumors was Shumpert to the thunder for two first-round draft picks.

Shumpert was also reportedly dangled to the Timberwolves along with Tim Hardaway Jr. and Amare Stoudamire for Kevin Love. Or as part of a four-team trade with the Sixers, T-Wolves, and Cavs that would send Shumpert away.

“You would think with the kind of versatility that Shumpert brings, the Knicks would be interested in keeping him and possibly extending him. He plays pretty solid defense and would actually be a pretty decent fit in the “triangle offense” that the Knicks will run next season,” the blog said.

“The flip side to Shumpert though is the knee injury history that he has. Phil Jackson is leery about offering an extension to another knee injury prone Knickerbocker. Knicks fans would probably crucify Phil Jackson if he did extend a contract to Shumpert’s knee issues, especially since the whole reason why the Knicks are in the fiscal mess they are in is because of the big money that was spent on Amare Stoudamire’s leg hinges.

“Shumpert and trade rumors are going to go hand and hand for the forseeable future. More than likely he is going to end up playing out the 2014 season with New York and be a free agent, but that is not for a lack of trying to make a deal.”

Oklahoma City trades C Thabeet to 76ers 

OKLAHOMA CITY—The Oklahoma City Thunder have traded center Hasheem Thabeet and cash to the Philadelphia 76ers for a protected second-round draft pick in 2015 and a trade exception.

The deal was announced on Tuesday. The Thunder have a year to use the trade exception.

Thabeet, a 7-foot-3 defensive specialist from Tanzania, played in 66 games in 2012 and averaged nearly a block per contest. His playing time was reduced last season when first-round pick Steven Adams emerged as the backup center.

The Grizzlies made Thabeet the second overall pick in the 2009 draft. The former Connecticut star also has played for the Houston Rockets and the Portland Trail Blazers.

Pelicans acquire veteran 6-foot-6 F John Salmons

METAIRIE, La.—The New Orleans Pelicans have signed veteran small forward John Salmons to a free agent contract.

Salmons, whose acquisition was announced by the club Tuesday, has played 12 seasons in the NBA. He has averaged 9.4 points, 3 rebounds and 2.5 assists during his career.

The 34-year-old Salmons entered the NBA with Philadelphia after being selected 26th overall in the 2002 draft. He has twice played with Sacramento and also spent time with Chicago, Milwaukee and most recently Toronto.

Salmons, 6-foot-6, has appeared in 874 games with 429 starts.

The Pelicans have been looking to add depth at small forward since Al-Farouq Aminu left for Dallas in free agency this offseason.

Bucks acquire Jared Dudley from Clippers 

MILWAUKEE—Small forward Jared Dudley is going to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The seven-year veteran was dealt by the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday in exchange for forward Carlos Delfino, backup center Miroslav Raduljica and a 2015 second-round draft pick. The Bucks are also receiving a conditional 2017 first-round pick.

Dudley averaged 6.9 points last year in his only season with the Clippers. The former Boston College star is averaging 8.7 points a game in his career.

Delfino signed as a free agent last year with Milwaukee but never played a game because of a foot injury.

The 7-foot-1 Raduljica averaged 3.8 points in 2013-14.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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