OFFSEASON

Rondo named to All NBA Third Team

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Rondo named to All NBA Third Team

BOSTON In yet another example of Rajon Rondo's growth as a player, the Boston Celtics point guard was named to the All-NBA Third team on Thursday.

For Rondo, this is the first time being on one of the All-NBA teams.

During the regular season, he averaged 11.9 points and a career-high 11.7 assists which led the NBA this season. The 6-foot-2 guard is a three-time all-star, and four-time selection to the NBA's All-defensive team.

He was the lone Celtic named All-NBA this season, but teammates Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett also garnered some all-NBA votes.

The first-team All-NBA was led by league MVP LeBron James of Miami. He was joined by Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, Orlando's Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant who earned his 10th All-NBA First-team selection which is tied for second-all time. The all-time leader is former Utah Jazz star Karl Malone, who was a first team selection 11 times.

Here's the actual voting numbers for the 15 players chosen to be All-NBA, as well as those who received votes that did not make one of the three All-NBA teams.

2011-12 ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM

Forward LeBron James,
Forward Kevin Durant,
Center Dwight Howard,
Guard Kobe Bryant,
Guard Chris Paul,

2011-12 ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM

Forward Kevin Love
Forward Blake Griffin
Center Andrew Bynum
Guard Tony Parker
Guard Russell Westbrook

2011-12 ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM

Forward Carmelo Anthony
Forward Dirk Nowitzki
Center Tyson Chandler
Guard Dwyane Wade
Guard Rajon Rondo

OFFSEASON

Kevin Durant solidifying invitations for free agent meetings, including Celtics

Kevin Durant solidifying invitations for free agent meetings, including Celtics

The wheels of the Kevin Durant free agent train have been set in motion.

"Durant’s representatives at Roc Nation are working to solidify invitations" for meetings with a list of six teams, which includes the Boston Celtics, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski. The other teams listed are the Warriors, Clippers, Heat, Spurs and Thunder. The Nuggets, Knicks, Lakers, Rockets, and Wizards could "could still find audiences with him," but they are considered outsiders.

Wojnarowski says the Thunder remain the frontrunners, but "the Warriors have Durant's attention."

If Durant chooses the Warriors, it could happen very quickly. Warriors restricted free agent Harrison Barnes could sign an offer sheet for a contract on July 1, which would mean the Warriors would have only have three days to match the deal. They'd likely need a decision from Durant before then, or they'd risk losing one of their valuable pieces without being able to fill his role.

Durant plans on making his decision before July 9 anyway, according to Wojnarowski, because that's when he's leaving for a publicity tour in the Far East.

The fact the Celtics are even on Durant's primary list shouldn't come as a surprise considering his actions after his game in Boston against the Celtics earlier this year. They do have tough competition though. Both the Warriors and Heat have the cap space to absorb Durant's likely max contract worth about $26.4 million, and the Spurs can easily create the space if necessary.

The Clippers are interesting though, because they'd have to deal one of their stars (Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, or Blake Griffin) to free the cap space to sign Durant. If he does choose the Clippers, maybe Danny Ainge could help Doc Rivers swing a deal. How about something involving Blake Griffin and Jae Crowder?

But the Celtics have an edge. They're the only team listed that can sign two max contract free agents. If Durant wants to play with his buddy Al Horford, or anyone else for that matter, the Celtics can make it happen. How about a 2007 draft class reunion with Durant, Horford, and Jared Dudley? It's an odd trio, but Dudley has already expressed interest in joining the Celtics.

No matter what happens though, the Celtics are in the race. Fans might be disappointed after Thursday night, but we're just getting started, folks.

Kevin O’Connor can be followed on Twitter: @KevinOConnorNBA