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ESPN’s Jeff Goodman on D&C: LeBron James ‘probably gone’ from Miami after opting out of contract 06.24.14 at 10:15 am ET
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Jeff Goodman

Jeff Goodman

ESPN basketball analyst Jeff Goodman checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to discuss LeBron James‘ decision to opt out of his contract with the Heat and become a free agent, and if there is any chance James might end up in Boston. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The question on people’s minds is why James — who still could re-sign with Miami — would opt out of his deal with a team that has reached four straight NBA Finals (winning two).

“Because he’s LeBron. He’s LeBron and he’s got people around him that just don’t know how to deal with these things, as proven by a few years ago,” Goodman said. “Whether it’s Rich Paul, his agent, or Nike, or whoever’s telling him to do these things …

“I agree, I think he’s probably gone. Because you don’t make this move publicly and put yourself out there unless you’re ready to leave. Miami’s made it clear they obviously want him. They’ll do whatever it takes to keep him. Again, it comes back to it’s a dumb move to put yourself out there like this. You could be the hero by just saying, ‘Hey, listen, I’m not opting out, I’m just coming back, I want to be in Miami.’

“But you guys are right, listen, if he’s opting out at this point it certainly means he’d rather be elsewhere. He’s got questions with Miami — which he should have, to be honest, in some regards. Because Dwyane Wade looked like the broken-down Dwyane Wade. They don’t have enough help around him right now, with Wade at the level he’s at. When Wade was a top-15 player in the league you could see them continue to win titles. But how are they going to do it now if Wade — who I think will probably finish his career in Miami — sticks around. You don’t have a lot of flexibility.”

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Rajon Rondo
Weekly NBA Draft Watch: Could Carmelo Anthony be a fit with Celtics? 06.06.14 at 12:10 pm ET
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Jeff Green (8) and the Celtics were all over Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks early. (AP)

Carmelo Anthony might be inspired to change his game if he joined a contending team with complementary players around him. (AP)

In case you missed it, Kevin Love pretty much became a member of the Celtics this past weekend. Ben Rohrbach filled us in on the worst-kept secret in Boston, as Love was essentially a public attraction all weekend long.

Operating under the assumption that Love indeed ends up in Boston, the search for the third member of the next ‘€œBig Three’€ already is underway. And unless you’€™ve been sleeping under a rock, you’re aware that Carmelo Anthony is the hot name to join forces with Love and Rajon Rondo and generate the next great era of Celtics basketball.

The problem is that many of us don’€™t like Melo as a team player, myself included. Despite his unique talent, he can be selfish and tends to have tunnel vision toward scoring the ball, blocking out the rest of the intangibles that result in … what’€™s the word I’€™m looing for? Oh yeah, winning.

So obviously the Celtics have no reason to add a player like that to their roster, right? Wrong. There is no alternative out there to Anthony, so Danny Ainge has to take what he can get. From there, the goal is to make Anthony fit in Boston, and here’€™s how you do it.

Melo clearly would be relied upon to score in Boston, it’€™s the most natural part of his game. But guess what? Anthony also is a good rebounder and passer who has the tools be a good defender. Similar to Paul Pierce, bringing those skills out of him is what could transform Anthony into a winning player late in his career.

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Danny Ainge, Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo
Irish Coffee: The Celtics’ Carmelo Anthony conundrum 06.04.14 at 12:55 pm ET
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As a disclaimer, “an insider at RealGM.com” isn’t a source worth lending any credence, so let’s take Bert A. Ramirez’s bizarre rumor bringing both Kevin Love and Carmelo Anthony to Boston with enough salt to warrant Seabass spitting in your burger, but we might as well examine whether it’s even possible under the NBA salary cap.

Using the Bill Simmons trade proposal as a jumping off point (both 2014 picks, both 2015 picks, Jared Sullinger, Keith Bogans and Brandon Bass for Love), here is the imaginary Celtics salary structure for 2014-15.

Kevin Love: $15.7M
Rajon Rondo: $12.9M
Gerald Wallace: $10.1M
Jeff Green: $9.2M
Avery Bradley: $6.3M (RFA hold)
Joel Anthony: $3.8M
Vitor Faverani: $2.0M
Kelly Olynyk: $2.0M
Chris Johnson: $0.9M
Phil Pressey: $0.8M
Chris Babb: $0.8M
TOTAL: $64.5M

That number exceeds the projected salary cap of $63.2 million, so the Celtics could not sign Anthony, even if he opts out, relinquishing an additional $33.2 million in potential guaranteed money from the Knicks. In this scenario, the Celtics would have to clear $23.8 million off the books in order to give Melo the maximum contract of four years and $95.9 million (2014-15: $22.5M; 2015-16: $23.5M; 2016-17: $24.5M; 2017-18: $25.5M). Here goes.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, NBA
Double ’07: Carmelo Anthony, Ray Allen and Celtics triumvirates 05.08.14 at 3:01 pm ET
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This is the third in a series on the parallels between Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge‘s last team to miss the NBA playoffs and this year’s lottery-bound squad. A deeper look at the C’s player personnel, potential trade packages and financial flexibility should offer insight into whether or not Ainge can recreate the 2007 magic of acquiring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen seven years later in 2014. (Hence, Double ’07.)

Part 1: Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Celtics captaincy
Part 2: Kevin Garnett, Kevin Love and Celtics restoration

As if acquiring Kevin Love or another perennial All-Star to pair with Rajon Rondo weren’t difficult enough, in order to restore the Celtics to championship caliber, Danny Ainge faces the harsh reality that Love is not enough.

In today’s NBA, three isn’t a crowd. It’s a necessity. The Celtics don’t win the 2008 title without Ray Allen, just as the Heat don’t win the past two without Chris Bosh (or Allen, for that matter). Making matters worse, few — if any — elite players will realistically change teams in the next couple years. Other than Love, of course.

Of the top-25 players listed on ESPN’s NBA Rank this past season, only Love, Kyrie IrvingCarmelo Anthony and an injured Kobe Bryant failed to make the playoffs. Irving remains on his rookie contract through next season, and Bryant just signed an obscene two-year, $48.5 million deal, leaving Anthony as the next most likely candidate.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Carmelo Anthony, Gordon Hayward, NBA
Those pesky Rajon Rondo to New York Knicks trade rumors won’t go away 02.09.14 at 1:10 pm ET
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Apparently the New York Knicks don’t want to believe Danny Ainge.

A report in the USA Today indicates that the Knicks, who stand 20-30 heading into Sunday, still believe they can pry away superstar point guard Rajon Rondo for the right package.

Part of their desperation, Sam Amick’s report suggests, has to do with the desire to keep another superstar – Carmelo Anthony – from bolting Broadway.

“The Knicks have a strong belief that he can be had,” Amick writes.

Amick points out the Knicks can offer Amar’e Stoudemire, who has one season remaining after this one, at $23.4 million, while also taking future money back, i.e. Gerald Wallace (two years/$20 million) and/or Jeff Green (two years/$18.4 million). This would help Ainge clear the way for the summer of 2015 when he can add free agents to a possibly lottery pick or two.

The Knicks can’t offer any first round draft picks until 2018 but they could include point guard Raymond Felton, promising young swingman Iman Shumpert and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr.

Earlier this season it was reported that Anthony was trying to lure Rondo, a former teammate at Oak Hill Academy, to the Knicks.

Read More: Amare Stoudemire, Boston Celtics, Carmelo Anthony, gerald wallace
Knicks reportedly holding out hope to acquire Rajon Rondo 12.26.13 at 9:25 am ET
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Reports emerged earlier this season that the Knicks were interested in injured Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, with Knicks star Carmelo Anthony allegedly trying to talk Rondo into making the move to New York when his contract with the C’s expires after next season.

Now, an ESPN report indicates the desperate Knicks are hoping to acquire Rondo even earlier. The team is said to be hoping Rondo will follow the path Anthony took out of Denver in 2011, when he forced a trade to the Knicks by refusing to sign an extension.

Of course, the Knicks still would need to have something reasonable to present to Boston. A rumor in November had New York considering offering a subpar package of Iman Shumpert, Raymond Felton and Amar’e Stoudemire. At that time, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge insisted: “I haven’t talked to any teams about Rajon Rondo.”

Rondo recently started practicing with the Celtics as he continues to recover from a torn ACL suffered in January, but he said last week that he might not return in January, as had been speculated.

Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo,
Carmelo Anthony recruiting Rajon Rondo to Knicks? 12.06.13 at 9:55 am ET
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In an interview with USA Today’s Jason Jordan, Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill Academy boys basketball coach Steve Smith, whose teams featured Rajon Rondo and Carmelo Anthony at the prep level, claimed the Knicks superstar is lobbying the Celtics point guard to join him in New York.

JJ: Are you confident that he’ll be just as good, if not better, coming off of the ACL tear?

SS: No, I think he should be fine. He took a long time off and he’s rehabbed the right way. Whether he stays in Boston or not who knows. I know, talking to Melo , he’s recruiting Rajon to come to New York. Melo thinks he’ll come, too. You never know about that stuff though. I think either way, Rajon will be fine.

Last month, New York Daily News writer Frank Isola reported the Knicks eyed Rondo as their “primary target” and attempted to package Iman Shumpert, Raymond Felton and Amar’e Stoudemire in a deal for the three-time NBA All-Star — a preposterous proposal that Celtics president Danny Ainge said never reached his desk. Even if Ainge was willing to trade Rondo within the division, New York cannot currently trade a first-round pick earlier than 2018 and seemingly does not have the assets to acquire Rondo no matter how creative the offer.

Likewise, Rondo is signed through next season, when he could command a maximum contract on the free agent market, but the Celtics would be able to offer a significantly better deal than the Knicks should Ainge deem his rehabbing star a centerpiece worth building around. However, all of New York’s burdensome contracts, including Anthony’s, expire at the end of next season as well, so it’s not out of the question for the two former Oak Hill Academy stars to join forces. Rondo didn’t transfer to play for Smith until two years after Anthony graduated.

Of course, the NBA has strict rules against any form of tampering with players under contract for other teams.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Carmelo Anthony, NBA, New York Knicks
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