Celtics

Snubbing Sullinger

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Snubbing Sullinger

If you thought losing Rajon Rondo was a tough blow for the Celtics, wait until you get a load of this

Jared Sullinger wasnt selected for this years Rising Stars Challenge.

OK, so maybe (maybe!) thats not quite as bad, but still . . . come on. If anyone on this year's Celtics deserves that kind of recognition, it's Sullinger. He's the highlight of Boston's season. And it's hard to believe there are nine rookies more worthy of the Rising Stars roster.

Hell, Sully should make it on physique alone.

The Widowmaker is serious All-Star material.

Then again, when you look at the guys who did make the cut, the snub is somewhat understandable. You've got Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Dion Waiters, Bradley Beal, Andre Drummond, Harrison Barnes, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Alexey Shved, and Tyler Zeller. All nine are playing more minutes than Sully this season, all nine are averaging more points and the three post players on the roster (Davis, Drummond and Zeller) are all averaging more rebounds as well.

If there's one point of contention, it's Zeller. The UNC product is averaging 8.3 points and 6.2 boards over 27 minutes a night for the Cavs. Meanwhile, Sullinger averages 6.1 points and 6.2 rebounds in only 20 minutes. When you factor in Sully playing in a bigger market for a better team, I think he should have made it.

But here's the good news: He'll probably make it anyways.

I mean what would All-Star weekend be without at least a handful of players dropping out with injuries? We already saw it with Rondo, and it won't end there. Chances are that at least one of these nine rookies will turn an ankle or bang a knee over the next two and a half weeks.

Not that anyone is rooting for that to happen, but it's the nature of the game. And if the Rookies are in need of a replacement, you can bet the Sullinger will get the call.

Just in time for him and the Widowmaker to head off and make All-Star history.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Smart 'not worried' about lack of contract extension with Celtics

Smart 'not worried' about lack of contract extension with Celtics

CLEVELAND – For the third year in a row, a first-round pick of the Boston Celtics is unable to come to terms on a contract extension prior to the deadline.

That means Marcus Smart will become a restricted free agent this summer. Last year it was Kelly Olynyk (now with the Miami Heat) and in 2015 it was Jared Sullinger (now with Shenzhen Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association).

Both the Celtics and Smart's camp intensified their discussions in recent days as the October 16th 6 p.m. EST deadline drew near.

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While there was progress made, there wasn’t enough to get a deal done.

Smart has repeatedly indicated that he wants to re-sign a long-term deal to stay in Boston.

And the market for the 6-foot-4 guard became clearer based on the contracts that some of his fellow rookie class of 2014, were receiving.

Denver’s Gary Harris agreed to a four-year, $84 million contract after establishing himself as one of the better young two-way talents in the NBA last season. And at the other end of the financial spectrum, you would have to look at Phoenix’s T.J. Warren who signed a four-year, $50 million contract.

More than likely, Smart’s deal next summer will fall somewhere between the deals those two players received.

As much as Smart would have preferred to get a deal done heading into the season, it’s not something that he’s going to cause him to lose any sleep.

“Get it done now, or get it done in six months, I’m OK either way,” he told NBC Sports Boston. “I’m not worried about it.”

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All signs point to LeBron James playing against Celtics Tuesday

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All signs point to LeBron James playing against Celtics Tuesday

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- A sprained left ankle injury kept LeBron James out of all but one of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason games, and has created a certain element of uncertainty as to whether he’ll play against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night. 
 
While it has yet to be determined for sure if he’ll play, all indications are that the 15-year veteran will be in the starting lineup as the Cavs kick off their quest to remain the team to beat in the East.

“I never hide stuff from you guys. I really don’t know,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said when asked if James would play against the Celtics. “Depending on how he feels, but I really don’t know.”
 
However, James looked pretty comfortable shooting the ball after practice with a trio of former Celtics in Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and Jeff Green. 
 
And if you listen to the man who would likely start in James’ place -- J.R. Smith -- there’s nothing to worry about Cavs Nation. 
 
According to Smith, James will play. 
 
“We were talking about it, he’s never missed, since he was 8 years old and he started playing, he’s never missed a first game,” Smith said. “I’m preparing for him to play.”
 
Despite having played more than 41,000 minutes -- only 33 players in NBA history have done so -- James has been one of the game’s more durable players. Last season James he sat out only eight games, and that was the most he has missed in a single season.
 
 "He's gonna go [Tuesday]," Smith said. "He's gonna go, trust me [on] that. I don't care what he's gotta do, he's gonna play."