The Nets Now Have TWO Max Slots

In a shocking trade, the Brooklyn now have cleared enough cap space to have two max contract slots heading into this free agency. Receiving Taurean Prince and a 2021 2nd round pick from the Atlanta Hawks, the Nets have now successfully flipped Allen Crabbe.

Sure, it also cost them the 17th pick and their 2020 1st round pick, but this is monumental for them. Prince is a good, athletic, defensive forward. While his best position may be small ball power forward, his is a good small forward to have. To top it all off, the Nets are off of Allen Crabbe’s horrible contract, and they will not have the 17th pick’s contract on their books. Sure, they now only have one first round selection with the 27th pick, but that puts them in range of a host of suitable rotation pieces. The real brilliance of the move is that they were able to clear enough cap to have two max slots heading into free agency.

With D-Lo hitting restricted free agency, and with KD and Kyrie both interested in going to the team, the Nets may become the next best team in the league. Possessing a host of young players on small contracts, the Nets are fortunate that they not only have an All-Star, but they have one that actually wants to be on their team and is actively recruiting others to their cause. I’d personally not like to see Kyrie in a Nets uniform, but I am finding it intoxicating thinking about a Dinwiddie-Russell-Durant-Prince-Allen lineup with Lavert and Harris coming off the bench. I am sure they resign Dudley and will add more, seeing as Musa and my boy Kurucs are still a bit a ways away on the ol’ development scale. However, these slots are huge for a franchise that has spent most of the 2000s mired in mediocrity. The Nets went from mortgaging their future for aging stars, to nearly upsetting an underdog title contender. Sure, the process almost took 20 years, but they are beginning to swing back around.

Feb 16, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Team Lebron guard Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics (11) handles the ball against Team Lebron forward Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warrior (35) during NBA All-Star Game practice at the Bojangles Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

I’d like to close this piece by stating two things. First, them landing KD and keeping D-Lo is the best possible thing that could happen to this franchise, since I would hate to see Kyrie mess this up. They should really focus on keeping D-Lo as the face of the franchise, seeing as him and Jared Dudley are now the players Nets’ fans flock to. Secondly, f*** the Knicks.

Kyrie “Done” With Celtics

A report came out the other day that Kyrie has made it known to a few sources that he has no intention to return back to the Celtics. While we may have seen it coming a mile away for awhile based not only on his words off the court, but his play recently for the Celtics indicated that he did not wish to remain with the team. It sets a huge precedent for the future, since this will now be the second time that Kyrie has decided to walk away from from a franchise after insisting to be the face of said franchise. With his third “face of the franchise” tour upcoming, it is interesting to see what will occur. As has remained unchanged, there are three front runners for the services of the All-Star point guard: the Brooklyn Nets, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the New York Knicks.

The least enticing option for Kyrie right now seems to be the Brooklyn Nets, even though the Nets are the second favorites to land Kevin Durant. The Nets possess two amazing guard options and an All-Star guard already. Sure, the organization has said that they can envision an Irving-Russell lineup working for them. However, I don’t think Kyrie can see that working. Having another All-Star, and face of a franchise, at YOUR position will always provide an undercurrent of “the other guy is better than you”, and I don’t think Kyrie can handle that. He couldn’t handle LeBron being the star, and he couldn’t handle being in Celtics’ ecosystem. What makes people think that he will even do more than entertain the option of signing with the Nets?

LeBron and Kyrie, on the other hand, were an amazing pair when they were in Cleveland. After all, they broke up the title curse that hung over the city, and brought the first title to the Cavaliers organization. The Lakers know this, and undoubtedly want to have this be the future of the organization. Sure, the Lakers would love to have a Kyrie-Klay-LeBron-*insert scrub*-AD lineup step on the court next season. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be able to happen due to cap space implications. Klay and AD are their number one priorities heading into the draft and free agency, leaving Kyrie by the wayside. If the Lakers were able to sign Klay, and trade everything not nailed down for AD, that would leave anywhere between $10-20 mil to sign Kyrie. This is not factoring in having to extend AD or sign other players to fill out there roster, and this is with them only acquiring AD in the trade. While LeBron would love to get his “little brother” back to run the court with him, I don’t think the Lakers could afford Kyrie’s asking price contract wise.

The prime frontrunner currently for Kyrie’s services will be Knicks. With the rumored AD package for the Knicks supposed to be “substantial”, a potential Kyrie-KD-AD lineup may be seen in our timeline. However, how will Kyrie handle being third fiddle on said team? I’m his ego, his team, his agent, and the Knicks are convincing him that he won’t be third fiddle, but I can’t see any other way. KD had an under appreciated MVP-caliber season on top of his amazing finals run. Tie in the fact that AD was an amazing player two seasons ago and the dozen games (exaggeration) he played this year, I can’t see Kyrie “The Earth Is Flat” Irving be able to emerge from under their shadows.

If Boston Can’t Keep Kyrie, Then I.T. May Be Time for a Homecoming

For the entire year of 2019, Kyrie Irving has been playing basketball, the media and with all of our hearts. Let’s face it, we will never know how he truly feels about Boston until the offseason and he either re-signs or explores other options.

A very underwhelming Playoff performance has left many Celtics fans with an indifferent opinion of Kyrie. After shooting 8/22 in Game 3 of the Bucks series, he promised that he would never shoot 8/22 ever again. Kyrie is a lot of things, but a liar is not one of them. The next two games he shot 7/22 and 6/21. Worse, but technically living up to his promise. Regardless of how the season ended, he is still a top 3 point guard in the league and we should want a superstar like Uncle Drew back. But, if he decided not to re-sign, these are two options that should keep everyone happy.

If you couldn’t tell from my ever so clever headline, Isaiah Thomas would be an excellent player to fill in the point guard vacancy. I.T. is the epitome of a player that can thrive in the Brad Stevens coaching system. He’s a proven winner and now that LeBron is out of the East, he can lead Boston to the title series. On top of how great of a player he was in Boston, he won every Celtics fans’ heart. Being under 6 foot and still balling out, dropping 28.9 points per game, and of course, the game he played for his sister that brought us all to tears. There is not a single Boston fan that wouldn’t want him back in the green and white.

While we are on the subject of homecomings, Rondo would also be a great addition if we were to lose Terry Rozier. I know “Danny won’t trade me”, but that doesn’t mean he won’t walk away in free agency. Rondo is timeless. During the 2018 championship run, he was a triple-double MACHINE. He’s a champion that would really help a young team with 3 new first round draft picks navigate the Playoffs. He could come off the bench and still contribute his classic Rondo stat line of 6 points, 8 rebounds, and 22 assists.

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The best case scenario for this offseason would be to have a great Draft and hopefully re-sign Kyrie and convince Anthony Davis to join him. But, if that doesn’t work out, I would happily take I.T. or Rondo as a replacement.

Who Really Thought the Celtics Were in Trouble? Couldn’t Be Me

After going 3-7 in their last 10 games, the Celtics looked like their season was over. Everyone thought they were done, expect for me. I totally didn’t have three articles in my drafts with words like “Celtics” and “over” and “done” and “kill me” in the headline. I never once, for even a second, had doubts about our future, especially after last night.

The Celtics WORKED the “best team ever” Warriors 128-95. No, Klay Thompson did not play, but I have a hard time believing he would have had a 33 point impact on the game. Tatum was pinning KD on the backboard, Scary Terry wanted all the smoke from Boogie, Hayward played like he only does against the Timberwolves and most importantly, the Celtics won an important game with Kyrie in the lineup.

After the All-Star Break, Boston was doing significantly better without Kyrie in the lineup. It looked like he had already exercised his player option with 20 games remaining in the season. Players claimed there were “too many egos” and that the locker room was “toxic”, but all that has seemed too change. Before last night, I would have assumed that Kyrie was 30/70 staying to going. Now, it’s at 60/40. There is hope.

The biggest story though is definitely Gordon Hayward. He dropped 30 off the bench which is a beatdown he normally reserves just for the T-wolves. The Celtic’s biggest strength (and Warriors biggest weakness) is their bench and Hayward is the reason why. Versus the Golden State bench, the final score was 32-30. Hayward was only outscored by 2 points.

It is time for everyone to stop worrying about the Celtics… unless we hit another losing streak.

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Trade Deadline Scaries: Boston Celtics’ Future in Jeopardy

A true double whammy has hit Boston in a matter of a couple minutes. Several reports have been released that threaten the Celtics’ chances at a championship any time soon.

Recently, Kyrie Irving was asked by reporters if he would be re-signing with Boston this offseason. He answered like a true politician. We have no more information than we started with, but for some reason, it seemed very ominous. In dodging the question, he said, “Ask me July 1.” Then, “I don’t owe anybody s***.” And last, “Obviously Boston is still at the head of that race.” Absolutely nothing answers.

On October 4th, 2018, Kyrie said to Celtics fans at the TD Garden that he wants to re-sign. Now, he isn’t so sure. Irving even said he would want to play with LeBron again. The NBA is turning into a soap opera, especially as we approach the trade deadline. We already knew that Ainge wasn’t going to deal Kyrie by the trade deadline. Danny doesn’t believe in mid-season trades even if it would help the team win a championship.

It is no secret that any team other than the Warriors winning the NBA title is almost impossible. No team will be able to take Golden State down until someone builds a competitive super team or Durant and Klay leave this offseason. Anthony Davis could be traded at any second, but Pelicans GM Dell Demps isn’t picking up his phone… Certainly any team that gets AD would become a super team. Unfortunately, the Celtics can’t get Davis until the offseason because of the Rose Rule.

So, why would Kyrie have such a change of heart?

Well, I assume it has something to do with another report that came out moments earlier. According to Shams, Anthony Davis does not want to go to Boston. He sees them as just a rental and never a long-term destination. He would not be there for more than a year. Now, I would not put a lot of faith in a publication that literally calls themselves a sham, but the timing of these reports should scare my fellow Celtics fans. They for sure scare the hell out of me.

Kyrie and AD are both in “win-now” mode. They both want what is best for their careers. Money does not seem to be a deciding factor in where they play next year. I am normally never this pessimistic about the Celtics, but there is something so eerie about what is happening right now. The Trade Deadline Scaries are getting to me.

One thing is for sure though. No matter who is on the Celtics, Brad Stevens will make us competitive and keep us in in the Eastern Conference Finals conversation every year.

Are the Celtics Too Talented? Or Too Selfish?

I never like using the “Oh we are too talented and we couldn’t mesh as a team since we are too talented” argument. I mean, it is slightly a pointless one. Are you saying that you are resting on your laurels, and not trusting your teammates? Or are you saying that you believe you are more talented than everyone else on said talented team? Or wait, I know, it is a lot simpler. Well, sort of…

In the news recently, the Celtics have had a lot of players come out and say that their team is “too talented”. Chief among these players are the younger ones, like Jaylen Brown in recent memory, who have come out and said, “Some of us have never played on a team this good, and it’s really hard getting used to playing as a team.”

…what?

I can understand part of said line since, for two of the young players (Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier) played on awful college teams. However, many former players have not only dismissed the claim, but have called out saying that it is these young player’s faults. In fact, a few players (Charles Barkley, Shaq, and Kenny Smith in particular) have all said that a trade may need to happen.

Why you may ask? I mean, at first glance, there is no reason to trade anyone from said team. Why trade away talent when you are the most talented team in the NBA? Well, simple really…

Most of the players on the Celtics believe THEIR selfish “hero ball” is the best thing for the team, and that THEY need to take the last shot. However, much to my delight, Kyrie is now faced with the issue that LeBron had to deal with when they both were in Cleveland. Kyrie is now the super-skilled vet that has to deal with the talented young players that believe this is their team. Hell, he even called LeBron to apologize since he now sees the role that LeBron was in when both were in Cleveland. After all, Terry Rozier even said, in a quote, “Young guys who can play, guys who did things in their career, the group that was together last year, then you bring Kyrie and Hayward back, it’s a lot with it.”

While some may not have diagnosed said quote down to the bare bones like I have, but something should be taken notice here and now. Terry Rozier is speaking from his belief, yes, but the very first thing he says is “young guys who can play…”

Again, this is the most important thing about Terry speaking. He is the only player on the team with a negative NET rating, and yet he is saying that the young guys on the team (so pretty much meaning him, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum, even though I am sure he would agree Semi Ojeleye, Guerschon Yabusele, and Robert Williams are all good) should take precedent over the other 2 groups. Other two you say? But there are 4 groups Terry lists?

And this is why I am of the same belief that Charles and the others at TNT are, that a trade/change needs to be made. Terry Rozier, in the 4 groups he lists on the team, has two of those be the same. If you look at what he said, he listed “young guys who can play” and “the group that was together last year”, WHICH ARE ESSENTIALLY THE SAME THING. He is implying that the young players on the team are better than the approach they are taking currently, where those that buy into Brad Stevens system play more. Shockingly, I say sarcastically, those players happen to be the ones that not only start/get the most minutes, but also have gotten the best contracts from the Celtics. It is not weird to consider that three players (Marcus Smart, Marcus Morris, and Aron Baynes) make almost $23 mil and consider to be integral pieces in their team. It’s also not weird to think that the three players who have made an All-Star team (Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving, and Al Horford) play the most AND make the most. The ONLY people that are complaining are the three young players that have finally faced a reduction of time due to infinitely better players returning, and they are pouting about it. Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown are essentially complaining that Kyrie ‘Ice in His Veins’ Irving and Gordon ‘Larry Bird Reincarnated’ Hayward are back.

I am all for getting rid of players, but this will go down as one the most disappointing seasons for the Celtics. The “Super Team” experiment has failed, and the team is starting to slide into a weird state. I mean, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris got into a verbal altercation DURING A FREAKING GAME. Jesus, something needs to happen, or this season (and possibly Anthony Davis’ interest in the team) is scrapped.

Kyrie Irving on Christmas

We’ve all heard of Kyrie Irving, the flat-earth believing, clutch shot swishing Celtic with ice in his veins. We all know “Untucked-jersey Kyrie”. He only comes out in close games and like “Wheelchair Paul Pierce” and “Gang Sign John Wall” may be a top 5 player all time. This past Summer, we met Uncle Drew, but Kyrie’s multiple alter egos were not done yet. We met another one last night.

In what may have been a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics took on the Philadelphia 76ers on Christmas night. We were given the best present ever of more basketball as regulation ended 108-108. Kyrie was already in full untucked-jersey mode when he made the shot that extended the game, but he hit a new level in overtime. Crucial shot after crucial shot, Irving entered what many are calling Khristmas Kyrie mode. The Kyrie that has a clear path the basket, but schwaps 3 instead. The Kyrie that drops 40 and 10 on maybe the best team in the East all while being guarded by an NBA All-Defensive Team member. The Kyrie that dominates so much that the 3 other double-doubles in the game don’t even get a mention in the game recap.

That’s right. Joel Embiid had 34 points and 16 rebounds, Simmons had 11 and 14 and Butler had 24 and 5. On Kyrie’s own team he overshadowed Tatum’s 23 and 10 and Morris’ 23 and 6. These performances were just afterthoughts compared to Kyrie. He was just that dominant.

And to think some Celtics fans wanted to trade him away…