Celtics

Report: Napoli holding out for fourth year from Red Sox

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Report: Napoli holding out for fourth year from Red Sox

Having just signed one right-handed bat, the Red Sox reportedly are negotiating for another.

According to a Tweet by former major league GM Jim Bowden -- who now works for ESPN - the Sox are in contract talks with free agent catcherfirst baseman Mike Napoli, who just completed his second season with the Rangers after spending the first five years of his career with the Angels.

The holdup, reports Bowden, is the length of the contract. The Red Sox apparently are offering three years and Napoli, who turned 31 on Halloween, is looking for a four-year deal. Bowden says the Mariners may be willing to offer a fourth year to Napoli, which could force the Red Sox' hand.

Napoli earned 9.4 million last year, so his price tag won't be cheap. Even though his batting average dropped nearly 100 points in 2012 -- from .320 to .227 -- he still hit 24 homers, extending his streak of consecutive seasons with 20 or more homers to five. And while he's only played 19 career games at Fenway Park, he's hit .306 there (19-for-62) with 8 homers, 22 RBI, a .397 on-base percentage, a .710 slugging percentage and a 1.107 OPS.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

0:41 - Kyle Draper, Brain Scalabrine, Tommy Heinsohn, and Mike Gorman break down the Celtics loss to the Cavs and Gordon Hayward’s injury.

4:22 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions to the gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward and how it impacted the game.

9:39 - Dr. Chris Chihlas joins BST to give his medical opinion on Gordon Hayward and if he thinks there is a chance Hayward could return this season. 

13:40 - Chris Mannix and A. Sherrod Blakely discuss what the feeling was like in the arena when Hayward went down but how there is actually a 'cautious optimism' surrounding the injury.

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

CLEVELAND – Jayson Tatum has seen plenty of games featuring Cleveland’s LeBron James.

And in the Boston Celtics’ preparation for Tuesday night’s matchup, the 19-year-old rookie had seen plenty of James on film.

But facing him, up close and personal, was something entirely different.

“He’s way bigger than I thought,” Tatum said. “He’s way better than I imagined. That’s the reason why he is who he is.”

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James’ play was among the key factors in Cleveland handing Boston a 102-99 loss on Tuesday night.

But Tatum showed he too has some big-time potential by finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds which included some nifty drives to the basket as well as showing the ability to hold his own on the glass in terms of rebounding the basketball.

The last Celtics rookie to post a double-double on opening night?

That was Larry Bird back in 1980, helping the Celtics to a 114-106 win over the Houston Rockets.

What’s even crazier?

Bird had 14 points and 10 rebounds in that Rockets game, too.

Tatum’s solid performance didn’t seem in the making in the first half when Tatum had missed all five of his shot attempts while tallying just two points.

But as the Celtics mounted their comeback, Tatum’s play was a key to the team’s improved play.

“Just being more relaxed” was how Tatum described his improved play in the second half.

Tatum added, “first half, I think I was nervous and anxious. And then the game slowed down for me. That helped out a lot.”

And the Celtics will need even more from Tatum going forward after Gordon Hayward’s left ankle injury that will keep him sidelined indefinitely.

There was plenty of room for him to improve upon following Tuesday’s game.

But for the most part, head coach Brad Stevens liked what he saw from the rookie.

“Jayson was pretty good,” Stevens said. “He did a pretty good job for a first game. That’s pretty hard to do, to be thrown into this environment, first game and play that well.”

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