LeBron James

Bean: Don't you dare start criticizing the Kyrie Irving trade now

Bean: Don't you dare start criticizing the Kyrie Irving trade now

You should never think the Celtics shouldn't have done the Kyrie Irving trade.

That's a double negative, but you'd have to be quadruple negative to think trading for Kyrie Irving was the wrong move for the Celtics. 

Here's the argument you'll probably hear over the next few days (if you haven't already) against the trade: The Celtics gave up a lottery pick and other assets for a player who didn't make it through his first season with the team and, given the nature of knee injuries, might not ever be the same. 

First off, the Brooklyn pick is projected to be No. 7. Relax. 

Second, the health argument is partially disingenuous. Yes, the knee was bad. Bad enough to get surgery. But to say Irving would not make it through his first season with the team is to presume the Celtics would have opted to take the screws out of Irving's knee even if Gordon Hayward was healthy. What if Hayward hadn't gotten hurt and the Celtics were currently running away with the East? You don't think they would have just opted to manage it throughout the playoffs and then get the surgery after? 

Now take a step back and look at the whole package: The Brooklyn pick, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a 2020 second-rounder for Irving. 

We all know the story with Thomas. His stock couldn't be lower, as he failed his physical with the Cavs, took forever to return and quickly wore out his welcome when he did. Now he's recovering from a second hip surgery in less than a year and looking at a much smaller contract in free agency than the one for which he'd hoped when he was in Boston. 

Crowder's contract is great, but it wasn't great enough to keep him in Cleveland through one season. He's in Utah now. Zizic? We'll see. He hasn't really done anything so far. 

So the Brooklyn pick is intriguing, but know what's still more intriguing? A five-time All-Star who just turned 26. If you could go back right now and even just do the Brooklyn pick straight-up for Irving, you'd do it.  

Even if you're one of those sillies who only measure a trade by which team won a championship next, are you really betting on Cleveland for that? The Cavs will for sure win the East because they have LeBron and the conference is now bereft of challengers, but they'll get smoked by whatever team represents the West. 

So yes, you can be disappointed that Irving showed how great he could be but in an ultimately doomed season for the Celtics, you can't hate the trade. It was just too lopsided in favor of the Celtics. Really, as long as something crazy doesn't happen during his surgery Saturday, it still is. 
 

Brady at bottom of ESPN's 'Dominant 20' list

Brady at bottom of ESPN's 'Dominant 20' list

Yet another ESPN list is out and Tom Brady - despite five Super Bowl titles and his position as arguably the greatest player in America's most popular sport - again can't break into its upper echelon.

Brady, who was deemed the 21st most popular athlete by the network last year in the "Fame 100", comes in at the bottom of its "Dominant 20, a list of the most dominant athletes of the past 20 years put together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of ESPN The Magazine.

So, Brady checks in at the final spot, with a "Dominance Ranking" of 6.3, just behind boxer Manny Pacquiao (6.5). 

Here's part of their mathematical formula for the rankings, which must've hurt their heads to come up with as much as it will hurt yours to read.

"...Then we rated those sports' athletes in each of the past 20 regular seasons by the best single performance metric available, adjusted these ratings to normalize athletes' scores in each sport across time, narrowed our focus to the top four athletes each year in every sport, then adjusted the data again to put these players, across sports, on a common baseline..."

Oh, and Peyton Manning is No. 3 (Dominance Ranking of 12.7) on the list.

Here's the full 20:
1. Tiger Woods, golf (17.0)
2. LeBron James, NBA (15.6)
3. Peyton Manning, NFL (12.7)
4. Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR (12.0)
5. Roger Federer, tennis (10.6)
6. Annika Sorenstam, golf (10.3)
7. Michael Schumacher, Formula 1 (10.2)
8. Floyd Mayweather, boxing (10.1)
9. Marta, soccer (9.8)
10. Usain Bolt, track (9.5)
11. Lionel Messi, soccer (8.9)
12. Serena Williams, tennis (8.9)
13. Lauren Jackson, WNBA (8.3)
14. Cristiano Rinaldo, soccer (8.2)
15. Novak Djokovic, tennis (8.0)
16. Alyson Felix, track (7.3)
17. Barry Bonds, MLB (7.1)
18. Mike Trout, MLB (7.1)
19. Manny Pacquiao, boxing (6.5)
20. Tom Brady, NFL (6.3)

ESPN also ranked the most dominant teams of the past 20 years, based on their single-season dominance figured into another mind-numbing formula. Last season's Golden State Warriors take the title, just ahead of the legendary 2003-02 Australian men's national cricket team (really) and the 1998 New York Yankees.   

First from New England on the list are UConn's undefeated 2014 women's basketball national champs at No. 6. Geno Auriemma's 2000 champs, who went 36-1, are 20th. Brady's 2004 Pats, who beat the Eagles in Super Bowl 39, take the 15th spot, just ahead of the 2007 Red Sox, who swept the Colorado Rockies for their second World Series title of that decade. 

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Chest pains and lack of sleep lead to medical leave for Cavs coach Lue

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File photo

Chest pains and lack of sleep lead to medical leave for Cavs coach Lue

CLEVELAND - Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is taking a leave of absence from the team to address health issues that have included chest pains and loss of sleep.

Lue said Monday in a statement that tests have offered no conclusion about what the issue is and offered no timetable for his return. The coach said he feels he needs to step away "and focus on trying to establish a stronger and healthier foundation" from which to coach the rest of the season.

Here's a portion of Lue's statement:

I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is.

"While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team. I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season," Lue said. "My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the championship we are all working towards."

A stress-filled season for the Cavs has taken a toll on the Lue, 40, a former Celtics assistant under Doc Rivers who led them to the 2016 NBA championship after taking over for David Blatt midway through that season. They are j40-29, third in the Eastern Conference, behind the second-place Celtics and East-leading Toronto Raptors, and have endured roster shake-ups, injuries and other distractions as they try to return to the NBA Finals.

David Aldridge of TNT reports that the plan is for Lue to return in a week. The NBA playoffs begin April 14. 

"We all want great players, we all want the best teams, but with that comes a lot of pressure as well. And what Ty Lue has had to go through this year with that team, with the trades and the injuries and the pressure, it's unrelenting," Denver coach Michael Malone said. "So I hope that he gets healthy and is able to get back in time for the playoffs and help that team win as many games as possible."

Lue spent the second half of Cleveland's victory in Chicago on Saturday in the locker room because of an illness, the second time this season he left a game because he wasn't feeling well. The former NBA guard also sat one out against Chicago at home in December.

Associate head coach Larry Drew coached the second half of Saturday's game, the finale of a six-game, 11-day road trip. Cleveland is back home to host Milwaukee on Monday.

"We know how difficult these circumstances are for Coach Lue and we support him totally in this focused approach to addressing his health issues," general manager Koby Altman said.

Charlotte coach Steve Clifford also left his team to address his health this season. He took six weeks off. Medical tests revealed that the 56-year-old Clifford did not have any internal problems, but the doctor's diagnosis was the coach was suffering from severe sleep deprivation.

AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.

© 2018 by The Associated Press