Celtics

After a day of confusion, Gordon Hayward announces he's joining Celtics

After a day of confusion, Gordon Hayward announces he's joining Celtics

SALT LAKE CITY - Celtics fans can officially light the Fourth of July basketball fireworks.
 
Gordon Hayward confirmed in a Player's Tribune article on Saturday night with the title "Thank you, Utah."

MORE: 

 
He chose between Boston, Miami and the only team he has played for in the NBA, the Utah Jazz.

Three years ago, Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck talked about Danny Ainge and the Celtics being well-positioned to have an offseason full of “fireworks” only to see that summer – and the two afterward never quite live up to the offseason explosion he was talking about.
 
The Celtics convincing Hayward to leave Utah and sign with Boston is a “fireworks-like” move, for sure.
 
Although a league source did tell CSNNE.com that the 27-year-old will sign a four-year, $127.8 million deal that will likely include a player option after the third season, there were conflicting reports that the deal wasn't quite done. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Hayward hadn't informed the Jazz of his decision.

Hayward's 10 years in the league qualify for a max contract that’s worth as much as 35 percent of the salary cap.
 
But more than the money, Hayward joins a Celtics squad that with him on board now, has increased its chances of advancing past the Cleveland Cavaliers and get to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.

And that latter point, competing for an NBA title, was very much the driving force behind his decision.
 
In conversations with league officials earlier in the day prior to Hayward’s decision, the Jazz were very concerned about losing him more so to Boston because of the Celtics’ success last season and the fact that the main guys from that team were still around.
 
Boston had the best record in the East (53-29) last season and advanced to the Eastern Conference finals where they lost to Cleveland in five games.
 
Key guys from that team still around include All-Stars Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford, as well as defensive standouts Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley.
 
Boston also returns Jaylen Brown who saw more time as the postseason progressed, and put his improved overall game on display during Boston’s 89-88 summer league win against Philadelphia with 29 points and 13 rebounds to go with a last-second blocked shot to preserve the win.
 
And by adding Hayward without having to give up any of its draft picks, Boston finds itself having improved its team from a year ago while enhancing its already well-stocked treasure trove of draft picks that (we think) Ainge will be willing to empty out for the right player.

Is Jaylen Brown the NBA's best shooting guard? Kendrick Perkins makes case

Is Jaylen Brown the NBA's best shooting guard? Kendrick Perkins makes case

Jaylen Brown didn't make the All-Star team this year, and you likely won't find him on a 2020 All-NBA squad.

But if you ask Kendrick Perkins, the voters should re-evaluate their choices.

After Brown dropped 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting and played impressive defense against Raptors star Pascal Siakam in the Boston Celtics' 122-100 dismantling of Toronto on Friday night, Perkins went on NBC Sports Boston's "Celtics Postgame Live" to drop a spicy take.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Magic, which begins Sunday at 4 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 5 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

"Jaylen Brown, to me, is the best all-around shooting guard in the league," Perkins said. "Pure point blank."

Brown is enjoying a career season, averaging 20.6 points on 48.8 percent shooting with 6.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game while continuing to play elite defense. The 23-year-old has been particularly hot of late, scoring 20 or more points in nine of Boston's last 10 games.

But is Perkins saying Brown is the best shooting guard in the NBA -- better than All-Stars like Bradley Beal and Devin Booker, not to mention MVP finalist James Harden?

Here's Perk's explanation:

He don't search for shots. He's not a high-volume scorer. But when you look up at the end of the night, he's got his 20 points on over 50 percent shooting. And he locks up the best guy every single night. You can't find that. And his playmaking is underrated. He's got a very high (basketball) IQ.

There are better scorers at the position -- including Harden, the NBA's most prolific scorer -- but you could argue Brown has become one of the league's strongest two-way shooting guards.

And Perkins very much would like to make that argument.

Perkins might take heat for declaring Brown the cream of the shooting guard crop, but his bold take shouldn't distract from the fact that the fourth-year wing is becoming an elite NBA player before our eyes.

Report: 76ers star Ben Simmons to leave NBA bubble for knee surgery

Report: 76ers star Ben Simmons to leave NBA bubble for knee surgery

Is the Philadelphia 76ers' worst-case scenario playing out?

All-Star guard Ben Simmons will leave the NBA bubble to undergo surgery on his left knee, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Saturday.

The procedure will "remove a loose body" from Simmons' knee, per Charania. The timetable for his recovery is unclear, but ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski suggested he'll at least miss the first round or two of the NBA playoffs.

Simmons injured his knee Wednesday during Philly's win over the Washington Wizards and was diagnosed with a subluxation of his left patella, or kneecap.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Magic, which begins Sunday at 4 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 5 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

His injury obviously has massive implications for the Sixers and the rest of the Eastern Conference -- particularly the Boston Celtics, who would match up with Philly in the first round if the season ended today.

Boston currently is the No. 3 seed in the East, while the Sixers are the No. 6 seed but have the same record as the No. 5 Indiana Pacers with four seeding games remaining.

Simmons is averaging 16.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, eight assists and a league-high 2.1 steals for Philly and is the team's best player outside big man Joel Embiid. His absence changes the entire dynamic of Philly's offense and makes the Sixers a much less formidable playoff opponent.