Celtics

Report: Napoli holding out for 4th year from Red Sox

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Report: Napoli holding out for 4th year from Red Sox

The Red Sox could be on the verge of another free agent signing, that is if they want to commit to four years of Mike Napoli.

Jim Bowden of ESPN reports via Twitter that the Red Sox have shown serious interest in the former Rangers catcherfirst baseman, but Napoli may want one year too many.

Mike Napoli holding out for 4th year from Red Sox...meeting with Mariners who might be willing to give the extra year according to sources

JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) November 22, 2012

Napoli is a career .259 hitter with 146 homers and 380 RBI. His best season came in 2011 with the Rangers when he hit .320 with a .414 OBP and 1.045 OPS.

But Napoli has crushed it in Fenway over the last three seasons. In 41 at-bats, Napoli is hitting .366 with six home runs, 15 RBI, and eight runs.

Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford

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Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford

PHILADELPHIA – For the third time in as many games, the Boston Celtics will field a different lineup.

It will have a domino effect on Boston’s usual starters, but no one more than Al Horford who will slide over to power forward with Aron Baynes inserted into the starting lineup where he’ll be charged with trying to defend Sixers 7-footer Joel Embiid.

Meanwhile, Horford will be assigned to defend Robert Covington who is one of Philadelphia’s better perimeter scorers.

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“I feel like one of my strengths is being able to play multiple positions,” Horford told NBC Sports Boston. “It presents a different challenge for me, which is making sure I do a good job of covering him out on the perimeter, staying between him and the basket.”

In Philadelphia’s 120-115 season-opening loss to Washington, Covington led all Sixers with 29 points which included him going 7-for-11 from 3-point range in addition to grabbing seven rebounds.

While Covington will be Horford’s first defensive assignment, he knows he will also be called upon at times to defend Embiid who ranks among the best centers in the NBA despite having played just 32 games over the course of three NBA seasons.

In the loss to the Wizards, Embiid had a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Horford’s defense will be critical for Boston (0-2) to get its first win of the season, but the Celtics will also need him to take advantage of scoring opportunities as well.

“We have some guys down, but that creates opportunities for other guys to step up and contribute,” Horford said. “It’s going to all of us, the veterans, the young players, all of us to get that first win.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens agreed.

“I think that’s how we have to look at it,” Stevens said. “We’re going to have to make a few tweaks on how we do things, obviously. Hey, it’s gonna be something that we’re going to have to do really, really well on the fly.”

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