Celtics

30 teams in 30 days: Raptors opt to bring the band back

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30 teams in 30 days: Raptors opt to bring the band back

We’ll take a look at all 30 teams in the next 30 days as they prepare for the 2017-2018 regular season, which is when the real fireworks begin! Today's team: Toronto Raptors 

BOSTON –  At a time when most teams are looking to bring in new blood, the Toronto Raptors instead opt to bring the band back together.

The major moves made by the Raptors this offseason centered around re-signing their own top free agents, specifically Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka with three-year deals worth $100 million and $65 million, respectively.

MORE: No longer the little team that could, Celtics may need time to jell

They join a core group that consists of All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan and center Jonas Valanciunas.

Despite finishing with a 51-31 record for the third-best record in the Eastern Conference last season, the Raptors’ season was viewed by many as a disappointment.

Coming into the season, they were viewed as the greatest threat to Cleveland’s supremacy in the Eastern Conference.

They got off to a great start, but lost 11 of 15 games during the month of January and part of February. It put them in the kind of hole that proved to be too deep for them to fully climb their way out of to claim the top spot in the East.

But the Raptors certainly made things interesting as they closed out the season with wins in 12 of their last 14 games and finished just two games behind the Celtics for the best record in the East.

Closing out the season strong with their core group intact provided the kind of confidence boost that made keeping the main guys together a logical move for Toronto.

By doing so, the Raptors have doubled-down on a roster that’s heavy on chemistry at a time when the two leaders in the East, Cleveland and Boston, have made significant changes and will most likely take some time to get on the same page.

So while the Cavs and Celtics have grabbed the headlines most of the offseason, the Raptors are not a team to look past especially with most of the band back together.

Key free agent/draft/trade addition:  C.J. Miles (Indiana)

Key losses: DeMarre Carroll (Brooklyn); Cory Joseph (Indiana); Patrick Patterson (Oklahoma City); P.J. Tucker (Houston).

Rookies of note: O.G. Anunoby.

Expectations: 45-37 (Second in the Atlantic Division, fifth in the East)

Does Kyrie regret exchange with fan in Philly? 'Hell, no'

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Does Kyrie regret exchange with fan in Philly? 'Hell, no'

WALTHAM, Mass. – The NBA has talked with  Celtics guard Kyrie Irving about disparaging comments he made to a fan at halftime that have since gone viral.

Irving said the incident happened as the Celtics were heading back to the locker room at halftime after the Celtics fell behind 50-46 to the Sixers.

MORE:

“Kyrie, where’s LeBron?” yelled the fan.

Irving replied with a lewd suggestion. 

After practice on Saturday, Irving acknowledged that he did say something to a fan and that he had a conversation with the league regarding the incident.

Regrets?

“Hell no,” Irving said. “Man enough to record it on video, that’s on him. I’m glad he got his ad name out there, and his five seconds of fame and it’s gone viral. That’s the social media platform we live on.

Irving added, “I take full responsibility for what I said. You move on.”

The league has not officially announced a fine for Irving, but it’s more a matter of when not if that will be forthcoming.

In fact, earlier today, the league fined New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins $25,000 for “inappropriate language” towards a fan in the Pelicans’ 103-91 loss at Memphis on Wednesday.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens had not seen the video in question but was aware that Irving had been in conversations with the league office regarding the incident.

“Guys know what the right thing to do is,” Stevens said. “People make mistakes; hopefully learn from them and move on. There’s a right and wrong. And if you’re in the wrong you have to own up to it and that’s that.”