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Rajon Rondo reportedly told Celtics he wants to be traded

Rajon RondoRajon Rondo has been mentioned in trade rumors for the past few years, and it looks like that is for good reason: he wants out of Boston.

ESPN Boston reporter Jackie MacMullan, who is a regular panelist on ESPN talk show “Around the Horn,” said in a behind-the-scenes conversation recorded by the show last week that Rondo has told the Celtics he wants out.

The problem, as MacMullan says, is that the Celtics would not be able to get good value for him in return. She mentions the Kings as a possible trade partner, but says Rondo told Sacramento he would never re-sign with them. They also mention the Knicks, but New York doesn’t have much to offer.

Rondo is set to earn $12.9 million next season and will be a free agent after that. In an interview with The Boston Globe back in July, Rondo indicated he was looking forward to exploring free agency.

“It just depends,” Rondo said about his free agency plans. “I don’t know if I’m going to do 10 teams. I may do a lot. I don’t know. It’s kind of like college all over again, with recruiting, only times 50 because they have a ton of money to throw at the guys and they don’t have any restrictions on what they can do. No [NCAA] rules.

It might just make sense for the Celtics to trade him rather than lose him in free agency.

Donald Sterling, his gut, and wife Shelly hang out at Bellagio

Donald Shelly Sterling

Looks like Donald and Shelly Sterling aren’t exactly on the worst of terms despite their intense legal battles over ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Twitter user Tommy Lorenzo of TheVegasParlay.com shared the photo seen above of the Sterlings together at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Check out Donnie boy all decked out in the horizontal striped shirt and sweater around the neck. He’s only a dunce cap away from perfecting the Captain Smee look. Guess nobody told him it’s 105 degrees in the desert this weekend. And we know he likes spending time out by the pool, too.

Just a reminder that in court, Donnie had this to say about wife Shelly.

“My wife is beautiful but she can’t run anything.”

Good to know that sort of verbal praise had no affect on their relationship.

Brandon Jennings and girlfriend Tae Heckard broke up

Brandon Jennings Lashontae Heckard

Looks like the relationship between Brandon Jennings and Tae Heckard is over.

We told you back in May that Jennings and Heckard were together and even engaged. What was interesting about the boyfriend-girlfriend relationship is that Heckard was previously in a domestic partnership with another woman. After that woman, there were rumors that she got with rapper Nelly, who seems to be getting with everyone these days.

Jennings tweeted Friday about his relationship with Heckard and confirmed the engagement was off.

He also said Heckard tried to play him.

Did Heckard cheat on him? He’s making it sound like it by saying unless you’re married, the girl can still get with everyone else. There were some rumors that Heckard hooked up with Nelly when he was in town, which wouldn’t be the first time he was accused of breaking up an athlete’s relationship.

It could also explain this tweet:

Ashanti is Nelly’s ex. Maybe Jennings wants revenge.

[Previously: Brandon Jennings denies dating Chris Brown's ex]

Iman Shumpert looking forward to not just ‘standing in the corner’ on offense

Iman ShumpertCount Iman Shumpert as one of the players looking forward to all the changes the New York Knicks made.

Speaking at his Citi Basketball Procamp at House of Sports on Tuesday, Shump said he was looking forward to the team’s new coach Derek Fisher and president Phil Jackson implementing the triangle offense.

“The way it’s set up, you can start three guards, it really doesn’t matter. Everybody’s going to get touches, everybody gets opportunities to cut,” Shumpert said of the triangle offense. “It’s constant action going on. So I think that I’ll be able to capitalize on that and I’ll be able to use my athleticism a lot more than standing in the corner. I know this year in the offense I will have a lot more opportunities to cut and get to the basket.”

Shumpert averaged 6.7 points on 37.8 percent shooting playing 26.5 minutes per game last season in the Knicks’ offense, which was mostly an iso offense that centered around Carmelo Anthony. ‘Melo is still on the team despite flirting with the Bulls and Lakers in free agency, but he may be sharing a little more now that they have a new offensive system. Still, Shumpert has to recover from knee surgery and will still share minutes with My Name Is Earl and Tim Hardaway Jr. Don’t expect some sort of huge boost to his stats.

Kevin Love to Glen Taylor: Focus on your own team

Kevin-Love-bald-headMinnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor took some parting shots at Kevin Love on Tuesday, pointing out some shortcomings in the star forward’s game and wondering out loud if he will be a good fit for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Love responded on Wednesday by basically telling Taylor to worry about himself.

Love’s message during an appearance on “Mike and Mike” was that Taylor received enough of a haul in the trade that he should be focusing on the Timberwolves and nothing else.

“I think emotions are definitely running high right now,” Love said. “For Glen to say that, I just think that he should be focusing on the players that he just received. I mean, he has two of the No. 1 picks in the last two drafts: Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. He has another guy who can really play in Thaddeus Young.

“I think he got a lot for me. So I’d be focusing even more on that. More than anything, I’m just excited to start my time in Cleveland, get to work with my new teammates, and start with this new family here.”

Taylor is obviously bitter that he was unable to keep Love. He admitted that he regrets not giving Love the deal the three-time NBA All-Star sought back in 2012, but in the next breath he questioned whether Love can stay healthy and handle not being the biggest star on his team.

Personally, I agree with Love. Minnesota got a player in Wiggins that many feel could be the next Kobe Bryant. If you can’t keep your biggest star, you might as well get one with no ceiling in return. Taylor has nothing to be angry about after the way the Love era ended.

T-Wolves owner Glen Taylor takes parting shots at Kevin Love

Kevin Love mustache

Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is kicking himself for not signing Kevin Love to a maximum five-year contract extension, but the team owner still has some criticism for the franchise’s former top player.

Though Taylor admitted at a press conference Tuesday that he regrets not giving Love the deal the forward sought in 2012, he did mention some shortcomings in the forward’s game.

Let’s start with the concerns over Love’s health.

“The only thing I still have a question mark about is his health,” Taylor said via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “I had that concern then. I still have that concern, and Cleveland should have that concern, too: if he can keep his health. If they sign him to a five-year contract like they’re thinking about, that’s a big contract on a guy who’s had some times when he has missed games.”

That’s fair considering Love has gone through multiple wrist injuries and a knee surgery.

Taylor then took a shot at Love’s defense, which has widely been acknowledged as a weakness. He also said Love would be the No. 3 player on the Cleveland Cavaliers behind LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

“I question Kevin if this is going to be the best deal for him,” Taylor said of Love. “I think he’ll be the third player on a team. I don’t think he’ll get a lot of credit if they do really well. I think he’ll get the blame if they don’t do well. He’ll have to learn to handle that. He’s around a couple guys who are awful good.

“Now I’m not saying Kevin isn’t good. I think where he maybe got away with some stuff not playing defense on our team, I’m not sure how it’s going to work in Cleveland. I guess they will ask him to play more defense.”

Way to kick a guy on his way out!

If Taylor doesn’t think Love will be a key player on the Cavs and get a lot of credit for the team’s success — and they will succeed — then he’s every bit as nuts as I thought he was and that helps explain why his team has sucked for so long. This may be good for Love. Taylor’s thoughts could motivate him.

Shabazz Napier having trouble adjusting to ball the NBA uses

Shabazz NapierShabazz Napier did not look sharp in his professional debut during the NBA summer league. The former UConn star, who led his team to an improbable national championship back in April, shot 28-for-102 from the field and turned the ball over 38 times. Napier had eight turnovers in his first summer league game, which is more than he had during any single game in his 143-game collegiate career.

While nerves may have played a role in Napier’s shaky play, he said the biggest issue he is having is a physical one — he can’t get used to playing with a different basketball.

“I just want to continue to get better at everything,” Napier told Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. “But my biggest thing is getting comfortable with that basketball. That’s one of my biggest problems and it’s kind of ironic, because it’s a basketball. But it’s different than a college basketball.”

[Related: Shabazz Napier calls himself best point guard in NBA Draft]

Napier, who used a Nike ball at UConn, said he never wanted to touch an NBA ball for the same reason some guys won’t lay a finger on a championship trophy until they have earned it.

“The funny thing is, I never really touched an NBA ball until I left school,” he said. “I told myself I never wanted to. I felt like it was superstitious, like something bad was going to happen, like I had to earn it. I never touched it and it’s definitely different. This ball is leather and the biggest thing for me now is getting comfortable with it.”

That excuse will only fly for so long, as I’m sure Napier knows. In addition to adjusting to the NBA ball, Napier is likely going to have some issues with shot selection. He was the clear-cut leader of the Huskies and had plenty of hot and cold streaks. While Napier was incredibly clutch, some of the shots he took were downright ridiculous. That won’t fly at the NBA level, no matter what the balls are made out of.