Celtics

Isaiah at Cavs' intro: 'Excited to play with the best player in the world'

Isaiah at Cavs' intro: 'Excited to play with the best player in the world'

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio – It was only fitting that the introductory press conference for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic being introduced as Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t go quite as planned.
 
But just like the trade eventually getting done after some pretty tense moments, the players eventually showed up together (Jae Crowder’s flight was delayed) and said all the right things in their first official appearance as Cleveland Cavaliers.

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In addition to the players, the press conference also included Cavs general manager Koby Altman and coach (and former Celtics assistant) Tyronn Lue.

“It’s a great day for our franchise, adding these players to our team,” Altman said.
 
And while Thomas has acknowledged since the trade that he will miss Boston and its fan base dearly, he said he's also looking forward to playing with LeBron James.

“I’m excited to play with the best player in the world,” Thomas said. “I’ve been in situations before where things were tough, but we just kept fighting and worked for what we had. Being put in this situation on the court is everything. To play with the best player in the world, to play with a guy like Kevin Love and J.R. Smith and Derrick Rose and be coached by a guy like Tyronn Lue, who played in this league a long time, it’s like...a match made in heaven.”
 
The two teams came to an agreement on Aug. 22 to trade Kyrie Irving to Boston in exchange for Thomas, Crowder, Zizic and a 2018 unprotected first-round pick from Brooklyn, pending physicals.
 
Thomas suffered a hip injury last season that sidelined him for Boston’s final three playoff games against the Cavs and has yet to fully heal.
 
Danny Ainge, the Celtics president of basketball operations, said on a conference call shortly after the trade that Thomas might miss “some” time this season and added that his hip injury did play a role in the decision to trade him.
 
After the Cavs brought Thomas in for a physical, their doctors were concerned that he would miss more games than they had anticipated. Because of that, they felt they were due additional compensation from the Celtics in the form of a first-round pick.
 
Boston initially balked at the idea of giving more compensation.
 
Eventually, the two teams reached a compromise on Aug. 31 with Boston providing a 2020 second-round pick from Miami.
 
Altman declined to get into specifics regarding Thomas’ hip injury or a timeline for his return, but did indicate that the approach to dealing with Thomas’ injury is “a non-surgical plan.”
 
Thomas led all scorers in the Eastern Conference last season, averaging a career-high 28.9 points per game.
 
It was good enough to land him a spot on the All-Star team for the second consecutive season as well as a spot on the All-NBA second team.
 
Crowder is coming off a season in which he set several career highs with the Celtics, including minutes played (32.4), field-goal percentage (.463), 3-point percentage (.398), rebounds (5.8) and assists (2.2).
 
Zizic, drafted by the Celtics with the No. 23 pick in the 2016 NBA draft, is a high energy 7-footer who showed significant promise overseas while playing under former Cavs coach and Framingham, Mass., native David Blatt.
 
While the players were embracing their new team for the first time publicly, there’s no mistaking the impact Crowder and Thomas – Thomas specifically – made on Boston and his former coach Brad Stevens.
 
“What Isaiah did was special; Isaiah’s impact was special,” Stevens told CSN’s Kyle Draper. “I love Isaiah and he’ll always have that here; he’ll always have an impact in Boston that way. That’s the really hard part about this from a player or coaches’ perspective. With any change there’s an emotional cost attached; that’s a pretty significant emotional cost. I look forward to seeing him; not on the court, not against him because he’s a dynamite player. But I’m happy to have had a chance to work with him.

Stevens added, “Isaiah will always be special to me.”
 
The feeling goes both ways.
 
“That’s a guy that’s been in my corner since Day One,” Thomas said. “That’s a guy that allowed me to be great, and love me for who I was. He’s a special person in my life.”
 

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Bleacher Report puts Jayson Tatum on 'overhyped' list

Bleacher Report puts Jayson Tatum on 'overhyped' list

Bleacher Report ran a piece Tuesday listing the NBA's five "most overhyped players" entering the coming season. Jayson Tatum leads the list. Hold me back. 

These pieces are obviously subjective as hell, as they rely on "people probably think X," which may or may not be the reality of the situation. In the case of Tatum, writer Grant Hughes acknowledges that he feels Tatum is a franchise player, but that he could be a victim of the team for which he plays. 

Writes Hughes

Kyrie Irving has never been one to take a backseat, and with him back on the floor, it'll be much harder for Tatum to build on his postseason takeover. Throw Gordon Hayward into the mix, and there will be even fewer touches for the 20-year-old wing. And that's to say nothing of Jaylen Brown, who's a superior defender at the moment and averaged 18 points per game in the playoffs on more efficient shooting than Tatum managed. He's due for an increased role as well.

C's fans can first breathe at the fact that Hughes most certainly is not calling Tatum overrated. Then, if they're rational, they can wonder whether Hughes has a point. 

Tatum's five best scoring games of the regular season came with Kyrie out of the lineup, one of which was prior to Irving being shut down for the season. He obviously went on to average over four and a half points more in the postseason without Irving (18.5) than he did in the regular season (13.9). 

No, Tatum is not going to be the Celtics' top scorer this season. He also won't be a rookie again. Dude looked like he tacked on like 80 pounds of muscle like a month after the season ended. He's been in gyms destroying everyone from Joel Embiid to a hilarious assortment of camp-going children. He's out here mentoring Kobe

Even if Brad Stevens wants to get creative and have Tatum come off the bench (that doesn't need to happen; he can start the five best players), Tatum is a lethal enough offensive player to put up 20 a night. 

But back to the idea of him being overhyped. I don't think anyone's putting the kid in the MVP conversation. They probably just saw the third overall pick have a really good rookie year and figure that he'll continue to blossom into a star, if he isn't one already. 

The other players listed in the piece were DeMarcus Cousins, Zach LaVine, Josh Jackson and Kawhi Leonard. Leonard falls into the rule of thumb that if you're one of the five best players in the league, as Kawhi is, it's really easy for people to overhype you. That's not Leonard's fault. 

But the other guys? Who the heck is hyping -- let alone overhyping -- Zach LaVine? The only time Zach LaVine made headlines this summer was when he was given an offersheet by the Kings that most felt was too much and the Bulls matched it. Everyone thinks he's a stinky defensive player who's coming off an ACL injury. Unless there's some expectation that he's going to start averaging six or seven more points a night than he ever has, he isn't being overhyped. He's just overpaid. 

The Cousins pick could very well be fair. As Hughes writes, Boogie is a "luxury, not a game-changer for the Warriors." It's very possible that his impact on the Warriors won't be as significant as the league fears. Maybe he takes longer than expected to come back. Maybe when he does come back, he proves to be a divisive player with that group. Then again, maybe he gives them 25 and 12 a night and the Warriors go undefeated in the postseason. 

Selling Jackson as overhyped is tough. He's a second-year player who finished his rookie year on fire, including a 36-point performance against the Warriors. He sure as hell won't average 22.6 points like he did over his last 10 games as a rookie, but does anyone think he will? Nobody thinks he's a great shooter, but it's reasonable to expect something approaching the 18.7 he averaged post All-Star break, plus his usual strong defending.

Anyway, this Hughes fellow should have put Ben Simmons on the list. Guy never shoots threes. 

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Knicks, Nets reportedly in mix for Kyrie-Butler combo in '19

Knicks, Nets reportedly in mix for Kyrie-Butler combo in '19

Remember those rumors of Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler teaming up in free agency next year? Well, that buzz is back and Boston isn't the rumored destination.

Two league sources told Business Insider that the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets could be well-positioned to land the two players, with one source saying the chatter is "substantial."

"It wouldn't surprise me if either New York team or potentially both New York teams hit it big next summer," one source said.

That echoes a Chicago Sun-Times report from July which said the Celtics and Timberwolves stars had been talking about how they could team up. Each player can opt out after this season and Irving has made it known he'll be heading to free agency. The Kyrie-to-the-Knicks rumors have been around for a while. 

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