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The latest on Nate 02.17.10 at 8:39 pm ET
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UPDATE (12:48 P.M.): ESPN’S Chris Sheridan is reporting that the teams have a tentative agreement that will send Eddie House, Bill Walker and J.R. Giddens to New York for Nate Robinson and an unidentified second player. It’s likely that that the other player is coming from somewhere other than New York, since none of the other Knicks make the salary cap math work.

The Knicks have been engaged with the Rockets, and now the Kings, on a deal for Tracy McGrady. Keep an eye on those two teams as the afternoon progresses toward the 3 p.m. deadline.

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The Celtics want Nate Robinson. The Knicks want Eddie House. That’s the easy part.

House told reporters in Los Angeles, where the Celtics are getting ready to play the Lakers Thursday, that he expects to be traded before Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline. Robinson also reportedly cleaned out his locker in New York and was scratched from the Knicks game against the Bulls with what the team said was the flu.

The Celtics have targeted Robinson for a month and House has a relationship with Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni going back to their days together in Phoenix. And yet, it’s still not done.

The problem, as it’s been from the start, is that Robinson’s contract status as a base year compensation player makes him difficult to trade. The Knicks won’t take back anything for Robinson other than expiring contracts and while the Celtics have many players who fit that bill, none of them make the math work in a straight-up trade.

The Celtics can’t trade House straight-up for Robinson. They can’t trade Tony Allen or Brian Scalabrine straight-up for him. Draft picks won’t help either. That leaves them with two options.

They can start to assemble a deal with multiple players involved — and reports have had everyone from J.R. Giddens to Bill Walker in the mix. Or, they can try to find a third team to bring into it who would then absorb some of the salaries. To date, no third team has been identified.

It’s also worth noting that the Knicks are at the 15-player maximum, which doesn’t leave them with a lot of wiggle room. The Celtics have had an open roster spot since the release of Lester Hudson. In other words, the Knicks can’t take back more players than they trade. (Minor update to this: The Knicks worked out a trade that sent Darko Milicic to Minnesota for Brian Cardinal and they are expected to waive Cardinal, which would free up a roster spot).

There is every reason to believe that the Celtics will wind up with Robinson in their backcourt. It’s just not clear how yet.

Read More: eddie house, Nate Robinson, Rumors,
What to make of Nate at 12:03 pm ET
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UPDATE: Reports that Nate Robinson have been traded to the Celtics are premature according to a source, but it is still likely to happen at some point.

The rumors are swirling that the Celtics may be closing in on New York Knicks guard Nate Robinson at the trade deadline. The Celtics may have competition for Robinson in the form of the Lakers. Both teams have also been said to be in on Chicago guard Kirk Hinrich, but the Lakers seem reluctant to take on more salary obligations and Hinrich’s deal extends for two more seasons beyond this one.

For now, let’s take a look at what Robinson would actually bring to the Celtics. Even though he is only listed at 5-foot-9, Robinson is one of the NBA’s premier athletes as evidenced by his status as a three-time dunk champion. He also played football at the University of Washington, starting six games at corner before deciding to concentrate on basketball.

Robinson’s biggest strength is as a scorer. He has started only 61 times in 312 games, but he averages 12.5 points for his career in about 24 minutes a night. He is also a decent 3-point shooter, although certainly not the caliber of Eddie House, whose minutes he would presumably take.

Robinson has had his problems with Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni. He was benched for 14 games in the middle of the season before rallying the Knicks to a comeback win over the Wizards in early February with 23 points. Robinson lasted only three more games before falling out of favor again. He hasn’t played for the Knicks since Feb. 9.

The Celtics second unit has suffered from a lack of a true lead guard. Marquis Daniels has performed the task capably since he returned from his injury, but he is more of a facilitator on offense. While Daniels was out, Doc Rivers often had Ray Allen or Paul Pierce initiate the offense for the second unit and he experimented with Rajon Rondo in that role with the second team as well. But those are merely stop-gap solutions.

Robinson is in the final year of his contract, which presents a few minor problems. He is what is known as a base year compensation player, which makes it difficult, but not impossible to make the trade math work. He also has veto power over a trade, but he is believed to be open to a trade to the Celtics and for good reason. The Globe’s Gary Washburn reported that Robinson would earn a $1 million bonus if he is on a playoff team.

Read More: Nate Robinson, Rumors,
New rumor: Nate Robinson 02.16.10 at 10:17 pm ET
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Reports from the New York Daily News and the Herald have the Celtics talking to the Knicks on a deal for guard Nate Robinson. The Celtics reportedly tried to acquire Robinson in January when the offensive-minded guard had fallen out of favor with Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni.

Robinson is in the last year of his contract and he isn’t part of their long-term plans. The Celtics would presumably offer up  expiring contracts in exchange.

Acquiring Robinson would be tricky, however, because he is a Base Year Compensation player, or BYC. That which means that his trade value isn’t worth as much as his $4 million contract. Salary cap guru Larry Coon addressed this in a December entry on the New York Times Off the Dribble blog.

The key takeaway:

“Robinson made $2,020,179 last season, and re-signed for $4 million, triggering BYC. This means his outgoing salary for trade purposes is $2,020,179. Since teams can only acquire as much as 125 percent (plus $100,000) of their outgoing salary, the Knicks can accept no more than $2,625,223 in exchange for Robinson.

“The team at the other end of the transaction would use Robinson’€™s full $4 million salary, rather than his BYC amount. Working the math the other way, this means that another team would have to trade away at least $3.12 million in order to acquire Robinson.”

So yes, it gets a little complicated.

If the Celtics were able to pull this off, they would acquire a scoring threat who is averaging 13.2 points and 3.7 assists in 30 games this season.

Read More: Nate Robinson, Rumors,
Mavs moving in on Butler 02.13.10 at 11:19 am ET
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Reports out of Dallas and Washington indicate that the Mavericks are closing in on a deal that would get them Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson in exchange for Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, James Singleton and Quinton Ross. (The Washington Post had a could of different names at the end of the deal, but the principles, Butler and Howard, are the same).

The hot rumor Friday morning involved the Celtics trading Ray Allen to the Wizards for Butler and Antawn Jamison.

Jamison is still very available and has been linked to the Cavaliers among other teams.

Read More: Caron Butler, Ray Allen, Rumors,
New rumor: Ray for Jamison, Butler 02.12.10 at 10:42 am ET
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UPDATE: Say this for the rumored trade between the Wizards and Celtics involving Ray Allen, Caron Butler and Antwan Jamison, it certainly got a lot of people talking.

Danny Ainge shot it down, telling the Globe that he has not talked with the Wizards. It also prompted Allen to post the following on Twitter: “I have no control over trade rumors people. Let’s just focus on being positive. I am a Celtic. Green all day.”

Washington Post beat man Michael Lee also took to Twitter to knock it down.

There is some thought that the rumor was put out there as a way to get other teams to sweeten their offers for Butler and Jamison. The Cavaliers, for example, have been rumored to be in pursuit of Jamison, but are said to be unwilling to part with second-year forward J.J. Hickson.

The following is the initial reaction to the rumor:

Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski offers up an intriguing trade rumor with the Celtics potentially dealing Ray Allen, Brian Scalabrine and J.R. Giddens to the Wizards for Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison. If it happens the deal would fundamentally make over both teams.

Wojnarowski writes that “the trade isn’t imminent.” The Wizards have been talking with several teams, notably the Mavericks, about dealing Butler but this is the first scenario involving both Butler and Jamison.

Washington’s motivation is simple. The franchise is a mess in the wake of the Gilbert Arenas fiasco and it is loaded down with huge contracts for its veteran stars. Allen, Scalabrine and Giddens all have expiring contracts and a deal like this wouldn’t just be the first step in blowing it up and starting over, it would be the T.N.T. and the dynamite.

Butler is signed through next season at over $10 million and Jamison is signed through 2012 where he will make over $15 million. For the Celtics, a move like this would add significant money to the payroll, but it would also accomplish Danny Ainge’s stated goal of a trade that would help them win now and in the future. They would be getting two former All-Stars, and with Allen’s decline this season, the two best players in the deal.

It does raise some interesting scenarios, however, because Butler and Jamison play the same positions as Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

Butler’s career has read sort of like Pierce-lite and while he has played some 2-guard, he is not the same caliber of long-range shooter as Allen (Butler is a career 31 percent shooter from 3-point range). According to 82games.com, he has played 72 percent of his minutes at the small forward position this season. Jamison will turn 34 this summer, but he has been remarkably durable during his career, playing 82 games five times in his 12-year career.

Both players have shown versatility during their careers. Jamison came off the bench during his one season with the Mavericks in 2003-04 and wound up winning the Sixth Man of the Year award. He would obviously be a significant upgrade to the second unit if Garnett is healthy, and provide better Garnett insurance then Rasheed Wallace has been able to give.

If Butler can make the transition to playing alongside Pierce it would give the Celtics two rugged scorers and defenders on the wing. It’s worth noting that he has played alongside Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant at various points in his career.

Of all the rumors that have been presented, this one has the most realistic and interesting possibilities.

(Note: The preceding sentence was written before the denials started rolling in. The “realistic” part was a bad read on my part.)

Read More: Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler, Ray Allen, Rumors
Danny Ainge on The Big Show: We’re going to try to do something 02.10.10 at 5:24 pm ET
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Danny Ainge joined Glenn Ordway and The Big Show to talk about trade rumors, Kevin Garnett’s health, what he thought about while watching the Magic go on a 19-0 run and more trade rumors.

There have been new trade rumors since the last time we talked. What about this Glen Davis to Charlotte rumor? Any truth?

Any truth to what? That he’s going to Charlotte? No.

Any truth to it?

None. I haven’t had any discussions with Charlotte.

You have had zero conversations with Charlotte?

Right, I haven’t had any conversation with Charlotte. There was speculation that they were looking for 4 and we were looking for a backup [point guard]. People try to put things together, but I have not had conversations. I like the player mentioned in the trade rumor [D.J. Augustin] but we like Glen Davis a lot, too.

The fact that rumors get out there, do you get more calls from other teams when rumors get out there?

Well, there’s so much media people so there’s so many distractions. People from the media try to verify every rumor.

No, that’s not what I meant. Other teams?

No, it does not instigate more calls. Maybe something bigger might, but no. It has not.

What was your feeling watching the Magic go on a 19-0 run? Did it disturb you?

Yeah, it’s frustrating to watch because it didn’t feel like we wanted to fight through it. The NBA is a game of runs. When a team is hot that’s one thing. But when you’re giving up easy baskets and then not doing what it takes to execute. You’re not paying the price. We all go through offensive droughts during the course of game but I just didn’t feel like there was any fight in getting back in the game. I think our guys are resting on their past experiences and think they can turn it on and win games. I’m not saying they’re making conscious decisions to do that, but that’s just the way it appears. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Big Show, Danny Ainge, Rumors,
New rumors: Glen Davis and DJ Augustin at 10:52 am ET
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The latest Celtics trade rumor involves the Charlotte Bobcats and point guard D.J. Augustin. You may remember Augustin as the rookie point guard who suggested last season that the C’s try to intimidate people and if that doesn’t work, they fold. The kid gives good quote if nothing else.

The initial rumor from Chris Broussard on ESPN involved Augustin and Glen Davis, but as others have already noted, that wouldn’t work straight up because Davis is what is known as a base-year compensation player. The short version is that Davis’ $3 million contracts counts half in trade scenarios, but counts for real against another team’s cap.

Charlotte Observer beat man Rick Bonnell checks in to suggest that Davis may not be the object of the Bobcats interest and that maybe, Larry Brown would like to be reunited with Rasheed Wallace. There has been nothing to suggest that the Celtics are interested in moving Sheed, despite his less-than-stellar play this season.

That’s a lot of smoke, but not exactly a fire, and as Zach Lowe from Celtics Hub suggests perhaps all of this is a small part of a much larger move. It certainly has that feel.

So, who is D.J. Augustin? He’s a shortish point guard with a scorer’s mentality who has fallen out of favor after a strong rookie season. This is a pattern for Brown who falls in and out of love with young players, particularly point guards, all the time. From the Celtics perspective, Augustin could be a younger version of Eddie House with better ball-handling skills, so he is an intriguing player.

Read More: DJ Augustin, Glen Davis, Rumors,
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