Celtics

Clippers trading Blake Griffin to Pistons has ripple effect on Celtics

Clippers trading Blake Griffin to Pistons has ripple effect on Celtics

The first blockbuster major deal of the trade season went down Monday night with the Detroit Pistons agreeing to terms on a six-player deal headlined by Blake Griffin going to Detroit. Ex-Celtic Avery Bradley was among those players moved from Detroit to the Los Angeles Clippers where he will reunite with his coach in Boston, Doc Rivers.

The Boston Celtics are among the teams particularly interested in this trade for a couple of different reasons. 

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For starters, Boston is owed a 2019 first-round pick from the Clippers, a pick that’s lottery-protected (top-14). If the pick isn’t conveyed in 2019, Boston will then be owed the Clippers’ 2020 first-round pick that’s also lottery (top-14) protected. 

If the pick isn’t sent Boston’s way by 2020, it’s converted to a second-round pick in 2022. 

While the Clippers add quality depth with a pair of starters (Bradley and Tobias Harris from Detroit), they will be hard-pressed to remain anything more than a team fighting for one of the last playoff spots. 

Which brings me back to that first-round pick the Clippers owe the Celtics. 

If the Clippers believe this trade will keep them relevant as a playoff team, they may be inclined to try and re-claim the pick they owe the Celtics and use it to help add depth to their roster. 

And the cost? 

It would have to be a package (Marcus Smart? Terry Rozier?) that brings Lou Williams to Boston. 

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Williams, who is having a career season and is on the short list of Sixth Man of the Year candidates, is averaging a career-best 23.5 points per game and would address the Celtics’ biggest need – another big-time scorer besides Kyrie Irving.

And with Bradley’s arrival and ability to play both ends of the floor, the Clippers might be more inclined to part ways with Williams who will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, if they can get their first-round pick back and add a young prospect like Smart or Rozier to the fold.

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Kyrie gets the last laugh against Horford and Team Steph

Kyrie gets the last laugh against Horford and Team Steph

LOS ANGELES – Kyrie Irving and Al Horford were on different teams for the NBA's All-Star game pitting Team LeBron vs Team Steph, so somebody was coming back a loser.

But considering how competitive the game was for longer stretches than usual, both players came away feeling good in a relatively close all-star game that ended with Team LeBron edging Team Steph 148-145.

LeBron James led all scorers with 29 points along wit 10 rebounds and eight assists and walked away with Game MVP honors for the third time.

Irving, who played for Team LeBron, had a near double-double with 13 points and nine assists along with seven rebounds.

And Horford, who came off the bench for Team Steph, had six points and five rebounds along with two assists.  

“This was pretty fun,” Irving said. “I think that we showcased that tonight with an incredible competitive spirit. The game was kind of getting away, but I think a few of us took it a little personal that we wanted to keep the game still competitive and at a high level. Fans and everyone across so many different countries want to see the best players in the world showcase their talent.”

Horford echoed similar sentiments about the game which had a different format this year, with LeBron James and Stephen Curry each picking the two teams from the 22-player pool of players from both the Eastern and Western Conferences.

“Early, guys were making (defensive) plays,” Horford said. “Guys were making a point, they weren’t going to let it be a dunk fest.

Horford added, “Even last year and the year before, there was a lot of heat on how bad the game was. I felt like this game was, it was good.”

Irving, a five-time all-star, also acknowledged how he and some of the players wanted to change the perception of the all-star game as being nothing more than a glorified lay-up line.

“I think we all took it kind of personal,” Irving said. “Individually we wanted to come out and be competitive. Last year it was (192-182), tat’s just not as fun as communicating with guys that you don’t necessarily play with every single day, bouncing ideas off in the time-outs. It’s just that competitive fire that we all share.”

And then there’s the payday for winning.

Not only will various charities benefit from the game – LeBron James’ charity of choice gets $350,000 because his team won and Steph Curry’s charity of choice gets $150,000 – but the players on the winning team get a pretty nice check as well.

The winning team members each get $100,000 while the players on the losing team come away with $25,000.

“There was something that, something that we could look forward to if we got the win,” Irving acknowledged. “You know, they’ll probably bring up the cash prize, but … $100,000 to $25,000, I think everybody in this room would be doing the same things we were doing.”

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LeBron James savors first opportunity to build NBA roster

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LeBron James savors first opportunity to build NBA roster

LOS ANGELES – LeBron James had been mum on the process he used in selecting Team LeBron … until now.

Following Team LeBron’s 148-145 win over Team Steph, James revealed how he went about assembling is roster which included Boston’s Kyrie Irving who asked for a trade out of Cleveland last summer.

“I took Kevin (Durant) first, then I took (New Orleans) Anthony Davis, and I followed that with Kyrie and DeMarcus (Cousins).”

While this year’s all-star game had been billed as the ultimate pick-up game, it was clear that James put a tremendous amount of thought into assembling his team akin to what an NBA General Manager might do.

“I know who I like watching and I had a draft board,” James said. “I had a process. Some of it went to … it almost went according to plan. A couple of them fell through, but I was satisfied and happy with all the guys that I got.”

A reporter later asked James where was this draft board.

“Ain’t none of your business,” said James, grinning. “You’re going too far, man.”

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