The Knicks have expressed interest in acquiring Celtics…

More on Marcus Smart Trade?

The Celtics could make Smart available as they try to clear salary cap space to sign Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $128-million deal. But it’s unclear if the Celtics will have to or want to part with Smart if they can work out a sign-and-trade with Utah for Hayward.
Boston has already renounced its rights to Kelly Olynyk, a key offensive spark off the bench with his ability to score from the perimeter. Now it looks as though the Celtics will have to trade away one of its elite defenders in order to continue shedding salary. And the three targets most teams have focused on, are Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart. Terry Rozier is also available, but the market for the aforementioned players has been much stronger.
Because the salary cap did not rise as much as projected, they will likely have to trade one or more of those three players to sign Hayward. Sources told ESPN that Boston has discussed trade concepts involving those players with at least half a dozen teams on Wednesday.
Ian Begley: Boston reached out to people with NYK about Marcus Smart, per sources. The Knicks' level of interest in Smart at the moment is unclear.
Ian Begley: The Knicks continue to be in touch with Rajon Rondo. ESPN reported on the first day of free agency that the Knicks touched base with both Rondo and Darren Collison, though there was no substantive conversation regarding either player. The Knicks have continued to be in touch with Rondo, sources confirm. But there is no scheduled meeting yet. Some people in touch with the Knicks recently came away with the impression that NYK didn't have strong interest in Rondo. The Knicks are looking for a point guard to mentor Frank Ntilikina, according to sources. Derrick Rose and Shelvin Mack are other point guards on their radar. The Knicks heard from the Celtics, who are open to trading Marcus Smart. The club's interest in Smart is not know. The Knicks' most-recent contact with Rondo was first reported by Basketball Insiders.
GM Danny Ainge wanted to acquire another lottery selection in addition to the team’s top-3 pick and he dangled everyone on the team in trade discussions, including Isaiah Thomas, ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan reports. “Before the draft last year, Danny was trying to get two picks, not just Jaylen Brown,” ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan told Bob Ryan on his podcast (h/t Comcast Sportsnet). “He was on the phone with everybody from coast to coast, and he was offering everybody. That includes Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas, and anything else they needed to get where he wanted to go. There were no untouchables on that team last year.”
The Celtics have talked intermittently with the Clippers about Blake Griffin, per several league sources, but a deal is extremely unlikely. Griffin will be a free agent this summer, and Boston would probably need official permission to talk to him about his future -- a concession Minnesota allowed Cleveland before the Kevin Love trade. The Clips would ask for a bounty, starting with Jae Crowder and one of the Avery Bradley/Marcus Smart duo, plus picks, per league sources.
There are rival executives who believe the Bulls and Celtics will rekindle trade talks centered on Jimmy Butler before the Feb. 23 deadline. The teams held serious talks in June, and the Celtics own the same assets — Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, the Nets' first-round picks in 2017 and 2018 — the teams discussed then.
The Celtics have one of the NBA’s better backcourts, a nice blend of offense (Isaiah Thomas), defense (Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier) and a burgeoning star capable of both (Avery Bradley). It’s also one of the league’s most affordable, with Bradley ($8.3 million) and Thomas ($6.6 million) making well below market value, and Smart and Rozier on rookie deals. That will change soon. Smart is eligible for an extension in 2017. A $10 million-plus offer will be the starting point of negotiations. Thomas and Bradley will be free agents in 2018, eligible for max salaries of $32.4 million per season. Neither will likely come near that, but understand: This is the ballpark Boston is playing in. The Celtics won’t pay all of them. They can’t pay all of them, not if they want to continue to pursue another impact player. If the Celtics make a significant trade, it will undoubtedly include one or more of their star guards.
Storyline: Marcus Smart Trade?
More HoopsHype Rumors
September 16, 2021 | 8:59 am EDT Update

Pascal Siakam wants to stay in Toronto long-term

With the understanding that things can change — it’s a business, things can change with you, things change with the organization — as we sit here right now, do you see yourself in Toronto long term? Pascal Siakam: I do. I’m a really prideful person and I always want to be the best player that I can be, and the bubble wasn’t that. So I get it, I understand it, but also for me what really hurt me is one of those things about my dad or like, “Oh, your dad wouldn’t have been proud of this.” [Siakam’s father died in a car accident in 2014.]
Was there any irritation from you toward the Raptors that your name was surfacing so much in trade rumors? Pascal Siakam: It didn’t bother me really, because I never really heard anything from the Raptors. Even all the news I was seeing it was never like: “Oh. The Raptors wanted to give up Siakam for this.” It was always like, “The Warriors like Pascal,” or it was always, “The Kings like Pascal,” or this. There was never nothing where it was like, “The Raptors wanted to give away Pascal.”
Were you surprised that Kyle Lowry left for Miami? Pascal Siakam: I wouldn’t say I was surprised by it because obviously I could see it coming. When I was a rookie, these were the people that we look up to, right? It was Kyle. It was DeMar [DeRozan]. Kyle was like our big brother. We looked up to him and DeMar. So it was weird, obviously, to see them go. Sometimes, I’ll be thinking, “OK, Kyle is not here anymore, right?” You don’t really put it in perspective. Some of the questions obviously about what the team wants to do and things like that, they ask you. And before you felt like all those questions, I didn’t really have to answer them, because I felt like Kyle was there and now he’s not there.
How is rehab going? Pascal Siakam: I was expecting it to be worse, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I would say just, I think the first two weeks or three weeks was the worst, just because I couldn’t sleep. I have to find a position to get comfortable. I had to sleep on the couch for two weeks because I couldn’t sleep on the bed. I’m a side sleeper. So I couldn’t do that. Are you even shooting or doing anything basketball-wise? Pascal Siakam: Yes. I’m shooting, ball handling. I think at this point in the process I look better than I thought I was expecting at least or I’m doing more than I thought I would do at that time.
Storyline: Pascal Siakam Injury
September 16, 2021 | 8:32 am EDT Update
Pau Gasol: “I keep thinking about my future, I don’t see myself on any team other than Barça.” On retirement: “I keep thinking about whether to continue or not. It will not be an easy decision and when I know it I will let you know. I have been a professional for 23 years and I am considering all the factors to make a decision soon and be able to communicate it. I have not made a decision 100 percent. If I look back it has been many years enjoying very interesting things.”

Mike James to France

AS Monaco is adding guard Mike James to their bolstered roster for the 2021-22 season, as first reported by Home of Glory and Donatas Urbonas, also confirmed by Eurohoops sources. James, 31, who recently parted ways with CSKA Moscow was on the lookout for a new team while training individually in Moscow in the meantime.