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Basketball Insiders: Week In Review 2/1/14

Basketball Insiders takes a look at some of the articles from the last week in case you missed them the first time around.

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Rajon Rondo and the Houston Rockets?

By Bill Ingram

Now that Boston Celtics All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo is back on the NBA hardwoods following an ACL injury that kept him out of action for almost a year, trade rumors are again starting to swirl. Those rumors always seem to be coming from places other than Boston, where Celtics GM Danny Ainge has been consistent in saying he’s not looking to trade Rondo. The fact that he took the court for thee first time this season sporting a team captain’s “C” on his jersey would seem to add credence to the idea that Rondo is not quite finished as a Celtic.

Still, Rondo’s name does keep coming up, which means someone has discussed moving him on some level, even if that level is simply the Celtics organization gauging his value.

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3-Point Contest Field Coming Together

By Eric Pincus

The NBA announced the starting lineups for the Eastern and Western Conference All-Stars on Thursday.

The pool for the three-point shootout has yet to be named but the early list, subject to change, includes Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Marco Belinelli (San Antonio Spurs) representing the West.

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Why Exum Is a Top Draft Prospect

By Yannis Koutroupis

Australia’s Dante Exum, the premier international draft prospect, signed with agent Rob Pelinka today, confirming that he will declare for the 2014 NBA Draft. Exum was eligible to play in the NCAA this semester due to graduating at the end of 2013 and he originally left the possibility of attending a college for the 2014-15 school year open. However, with his stock already close to peaking, he’s going to bypass college and go straight to the NBA.

How has Exum vaulted to the top of the draft boards, in contention with the likes of Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker? Those players are on national TV regularly, but as Steve Kyler noted in the NBA AM this morning, sometimes it pays to be out of the spotlight. It certainly has in Exum’s case.

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Kobe Bryant on Carmelo Anthony’s Talent and Future

By Moke Hamilton

With the Los Angeles Lakers having won just four of their last 19 games, Laker Nation is anxiously awaiting the return of Kobe Bryant. Bryant has been out of the lineup since fracturing the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee back on December 17, but the shooting guard is inching closer to a return.

Addressing the media in New York on Sunday, Bryant refused to put a timetable on his exact return date, but he will be reevaluated upon the team’s return to Los Angeles.

One thing Bryant was not tight-lipped on, though, was Carmelo Anthony. New York City is still abuzz over Anthony’s epic performance on Friday night, when he turned in a 62-point effort on 23-for-35 shooting. Aside from being Anthony’s career-best scoring night, it was also the night that Bryant became second to Anthony, at least in one regard.

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Could a Carmelo Trade Benefit Bulls and Knicks?

By Tommy Beer

After posting this piece last week, which advocated the New York Knicks making the risky decision to trade their best player, one of the most common responses we received was some variation of: “What could the Knicks realistically hope to get in return for Carmelo Anthony?”

So, today we’ll examine one potential deal that might make sense for both parties involved. (We will also examine a few other possible destinations in a follow-up piece.)

Again, as was detailed in the original story, if the Knicks decide to deal Anthony, they will have to enter trade talks with the full understanding that they’ll likely have to accept far less than market value in return. This is because Anthony holds a player option next summer that will allow him to become a free agent on July 1 and all indications point toward Anthony opting out.

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Are The Lakers Still A Desired Destination?

By Steve Kyler

There is little doubt that where a player plays matters. As much as teams try and make it a money discussion there does come a time when money is not the only motivator, especially in free agency.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant did his part yesterday to keep the pot stirring with regards to New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, suggesting that everyone wants to play in LA.

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10 Memorable Moments from Pierce, Garnett’s Return

By Jessica Camerato

I’m coming home
I’m coming home
Tell the world I’m coming home

The slow, methodical lyrics blared through the TD Garden as images of Paul Pierce emerged on the Jumbotron above the parquet. Fifteen years of history, infamous moments and a triumphant championship would be captured in a matter of minutes in front of over 18,000 people, including the future Hall of Famer himself.

I’m back where I belong
I never felt so strong
I’m feeling like there’s nothing that I can’t try
And if you’re with me put your hands high

On Sunday, Pierce returned to the place he called home his entire NBA career for the first time since being traded to the Brooklyn Nets last summer. Cheers and emotions flooded the building as the former Celtics captain received a hero’s welcome in front of the crowd he energized since being drafted by the organization in 1998.

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Which Players Are Still Free Agents?

By Alex Kennedy

Around this time of year, NBA fans are scouring the rumor mill and looking for ways to improve their favorite team. Most scenarios are related to trades, but a midseason free-agent signing could also do the trick.

In recent years, there have been a number of productive players who were added in the middle of the season. Look no further than Chris Andersen of the Miami HEAT, Kenyon Martin of the New York Knicks and Patrick Beverley of the Houston Rockets for proof that a midseason signee can become a key rotation member if put in the right situation.

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Q&A: Warriors GM Bob Myers, Part 1

By Nate Duncan

Nine months after engineering the Golden State Warriors’ first playoff appearance and series victory since 2007, General Manager Bob Myers sat down with Basketball Insiders’ Nate Duncan in the midst of another solid season.  In part one of a two-part interview, Myers discusses the Warriors’ approach in building from his hiring in 2011 to their 2013 playoff success.

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Who Replaces Kobe Bryant in All-Star Game?

By Jabari Davis

Tonight, the Los Angeles Lakers announced that shooting guard Kobe Bryant will be out at least three more weeks due to pain and swelling in his left knee. That means that the NBA will have to find a replacement for Bryant in the 2014 All-Star Game. Bryant, despite being injured, was selected a starter for the Western Conference after receiving 988,884 All-Star votes from fans.

Now, it seems soon-to-be NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will have his first ‘official’ decision to make in choosing a replacement for Bryant. While the NBA’s head coaches select the All-Star reserves, the commissioner’s office has traditionally been responsible for replacing an injured player.

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Celtics Won’t Move Rondo At Deadline?

By Lang Greene

The 2013-14 NBA trade deadline is set for 3:00 p.m. (ET) on February 20, which is roughly just three weeks away. The buildup to the deadline will undoubtedly be filled with a plethora of rumors floating in the media, well rehearsed cliché answers from players on the trading block and executives around the league tirelessly working the phone lines behind the scenes.

While the number of deals completed at the deadline rarely matches the hype in the weeks leading up to the frenzy, this year’s crop of players to watch will continue to make things interesting.

One of the marquee names who has routinely surfaced in trade rumors this season is Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. The four-time All-Star recently returned to action after suffering a torn ACL in January 2013, but has long been considered one of the Celtics’ prime trade chips during their ongoing rebuilding project.

However, a source with direct knowledge of the situation has informed Basketball Insiders that the Celtics have demonstrated little activity as it relates to potentially moving Rondo at the deadline. The team has stopped short of giving Rondo a no-trade guarantee, but has made it clear it would take a substantial offer for the team to deal away its floor general.

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Six Things to Know About the Minnesota Timberwolves

By Jesse Blancarte

The Minnesota Timberwolves are a curious team. With a solid roster and proven head coach, the Wolves on paper look like a team that should be competing for a playoff seed, but instead are currently ranked 11th in the competitive Western Conference. Here are six things you need to know about this team.

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Six Glaring Snubs from 2014 Rising Stars

By Joel Brigham

The BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge participants were announced on Thursday, with many of the expected names showing up on the list of rookies and sophomores.

However, as happens every year with these exhibitions, some relatively big names were left off the list. Anthony Bennett of the Cleveland Cavaliers was the most surprising name left off, if only because he was the No. 1 overall pick (not necessarily because of how he has played).

Some other high draft picks from the 2013 NBA Draft, like Otto Porter (#3), Alex Len (#5), Nerlens Noel (#6) and C.J. McCollum (#10th) also didn’t make it due largely in part to the injury-riddled start to their careers, but some players were just flat out snubbed:

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Do You Really Want The Truth From Athletes?

By Travis Heath

We always say we want the truth. We say there is nothing more boring than an athlete who rattles off clichés such as: “Nothing comes easy in this league,” or “Our backs were against the wall and guys really stepped up tonight.”

What the fallout from Seattle Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman’s comments after the NFC Championship game demonstrates is that we really don’t want the truth. It seems that most people only want a version of the truth that makes them feel comfortable. Thing is, the truth is often the very opposite.

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Kyle Cape-Lindelin is based out of Portland, OR covering the NBA while being one of the newsline editors and contributor to "Out of Bounds."

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