Curran: If Spurs want to send Kawhi to Boston, it's best if they wait

Curran: If Spurs want to send Kawhi to Boston, it's best if they wait

Unless the San Antonio Spurs are a million percent sure they can’t repair their fractured relationship with Kawhi Leonard, I don’t get the urgency in trying to move him. 

Offers between now and the dawn of NBA free agency will tantalize, but there’s no reason for the Spurs to make a panic move just because of tiny clocks in the upper right-hand corners of TVs performing countdowns.

And -- less than a week ago -- Spurs G.M. R.C. Buford still didn’t sound ready to raise the white flag. 

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“We’re going to do what we can to build the best relationship we can with him, and we’ll explore all of our options,” Buford told reporters. “But the first one would be to do what we can to keep Kawhi as a part of our group.” 

Last summer, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich talked LaMarcus Aldridge off the ledge. Different human, different aspirations, different talent level than Kawhi, to be sure, but it is at least a precedent. And a precedent that figured to make it likely San Antonio would draw out the process a bit. 

Today, though, it sounds like Buford’s getting itchy. 

Adrian Wojnarowski reported around noon that . . .

He added  . . .

Finally . . . 

Taking the information piece by piece . . . 

1. San Antonio would likely prefer shipping Kawhi to Boston, where he’s out of the conference and the Spurs will be able to get the most in return in either players (Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart) or picks (next year’s Sacramento pick). That will take the sting from their somehow butchering a relationship with one of the league’s top five players while effectively sending him into pseudo-exile. For San Antonio, it’s best-case scenario.  

2. For the Celtics, there’s no real urgency since they have a terrific team already. That’s why I love the “extremely cautious” portion of Woj’s info. Is Leonard healthy? Has he turned into a head-case? Will he just flee for L.A. after the 2018-19 season anyway and leave Boston sucking on “what ifs”? The upside for Boston has the potential to be fleeting. The only thing that should worry Boston is that Leonard would be the first piece of a newly-formed super team in L.A. If Kawhi goes and Paul George – who seems locked in to the Lakers and will be a free agent this weekend – also goes, then LeBron has his landing spot. Then the Celtics have two Western Conference leviathans to deal with in the Lakers and Golden State. Then again, BFD? Let those two fight to get to the Finals where the Celtics will likely await the winner after getting past the weirdo Sixers. Speaking of the Sixers, that’s another possibility for Leonard and LeBron, as The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor wrote.  In the end, though, one hopes Danny Ainge’s biggest concern wouldn’t be acquiring Leonard in an effort to block a hypothetical super-team forming. Too many variables and presumptions to make that kind of leap. 

3. The urgency is on the Lakers but if they deal half their roster for Kawhi then sign George and pursue LeBron, they will be so top-heavy salary-wise that they’ll be surrounding those three with a dozen minimum-wage players. Might work, sure. But  what if they can’t land LeBron after getting Kawhi for whatever reason. Let the Lakers overextend themselves and take the gamble an ass team should have to take. The Celtics are in too good a position to make a panic move like LA. 

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There’s one other circumstance in which Kawhi could land in Boston without the cost being too outrageous. And that’s if Buford does slow-play the market. The perfect team to do that dance with is Boston. 

What does San Antonio owe Leonard after he pulled the ripcord on them this year? Why should they send him where he ultimately wants to go in exchange for players who probably aren’t exactly Popovich’s cup of tea? Why would they want to send him in-conference, creating another hurdle for them to deal with if they are able to rebuild?

Sit on him until LeBron and Paul George land then ship Kawhi somewhere else. The Spurs might take a little less back but -- if it’s a little less and coming from Boston -- it means Kawhi’s out of their hair and Boston sent them a future All-Star. 

If the Spurs play the waiting game hoping for Boston to cough up what they want, that’s the perfect scenario. Let everybody else flip out about fake deadlines. Now’s the time to play it cool.

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Curran: Price back at it again with the snark ... does it really matter?

Curran: Price back at it again with the snark ... does it really matter?

Sigh Young was back at it again Tuesday night. After the Sox cuffed the Angels around and David Price went six rocking-chair easy innings in an eventual 9-1 win, glum chum piped up when asked about pitching against the Yankees on Sunday.

"I don’t think I’ll be able to go, so I don’t think so," Price deadpanned.

“Fortnite?” a reporter asked.

“Yeah. Fortnite,” Price replied.

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Price was joking. Or maybe “joke” is the wrong word because it connotes humor. This seemed less about being funny and more about mocking a media horde -- the one in front of him and the ones he’s never spoken to directly (like me) -- that dutifully notes that this $217 million pitcher left an April 17 start against New York after one inning then was scratched from another scheduled start vs. New York on May 9.

Sunday will be Price’s fourth start against New York since he got here. Last year, a day after flipping out on our own baseball guy, the ever-cuddly Evan Drellich, Price got shelled in New York, giving up six runs in five innings. He developed a blister during that start, saying after the game, “It's on my ring finger," he said. "I've never had a blister in that spot. I don't even know how it happened, to be honest. That didn't affect me at all."

Price went eight innings in a shutout win over the Yankees last July. And that’s it against the team the Red Sox and their fans have considered their main rivals for more than a century. Three starts. Two of which he left because of injury/ineffectiveness. One scratch. One terrific performance.

It’s noteworthy around here but the Human Eyeroll made it clear in February how he feels about the Yankees preoccupation by again pinning the needle on the sarcasm meter.

"Sure, yeah,” David Price smilingly told a group of reporters that morning at JetBlue Park. “You guys want it, let’s do it: We hate the Yankees. We hate the Yankees. Hate ’em.” 

It’s hard to pick a side here.

Price’s condescension, while perhaps aimed at the media, absolutely trickles down to a fanbase and region that he believes takes itself a little too seriously, chest-puffs about how “tough” it is to play in Boston and cannibalizes its own team. And that’s not nice to do to your consumer fanbase.

On the other hand, he’s not exactly wrong in that regard. And I’ll be damned if at least half our own TV content isn’t devoted to smarm, derision and contrived pick-pick-picking at teams the audience roots for.

Acknowledging that and that neither Price, the Boston media nor the fanbase is going to change in the immediate future, the question then becomes is  . . . so?

Does it matter that Price likes to send these snark missles at the media and continually exhume the corpse of old agitations? Is it bad for the team, the clubhouse, baseball in general?

Or is it merely an amusing sidelight? David’s thing. The adults with whom he plays are free-thinking individuals who can forge their own relationships with the media and region without being colored by Price’s opinion.  It actually provides cover for the rest of the team who might welcome the diversion.

Misery loves company. Does Price’s Eeyore act bring others down with him? Or is it just the face we see while his teammates enjoy a guy who’s a lot of fun to be around and is a really good player?

Take Tuesday night, for instance. Jackie Bradley Jr. went 3-for-4 with four RBI and -- after going 6-for-7 over the past two games -- is up to . . .  .199. Instead of either a celebration of Jackie or a blind squirrel/nut dismissal, Price will carry the day. And teammates will be asked all day about David.

And that brings me back to . . . so?

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Maybe because of social media, we get the false illusion that these guys want to be friends with the fanbase. Or -- because of our proximity to them in the media -- we get the idea that a collegial relationship should be the default setting. Not necessarily. They want to be admired. They want to be appreciated. And they generally want it on their terms. They aren’t seeking a give-and-take and a healthy discourse with an exchange of ideas.

And if they don’t get it, some players -- like Price -- aren’t going to let it go but will instead use it as fertilizer and fuel. To the good and the bad.

Recently, it’s been to the good. Price is 7-1 in his last nine starts with a 2.72 ERA. You could make the case that crossing swords just because he feels like it has not benefited him.

Thanks to Tuesday’s snark, Price has set himself up for another case study as to whether or not Senor Shrug is helped or hindered by being David Price.

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Curran: A look back shows how much Brady yearns for sixth ring

Curran: A look back shows how much Brady yearns for sixth ring

I spent some time last week trying to reconcile Tom Brady’s “sooner rather than later” statement to Oprah and the ensuing Instagram comment where he re-asserted -- in Spanish -- that 45 was his target retirement date, Brady said a lot last offseason. In more aggressively marketing the TB12 Sports Therapy, he did more national interviews that I recall him ever doing

One was with ESPN’s Ian O’Connor last May

Their conversation was stuffed with interesting quotes, but one that stuck out to me was his open pining for a sixth Lombardi.

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"The great part is the next one for me is No. 6," Brady told O’Connor. "And I'm not on No. 1. I'm trying to reach No. 6 and I'm on No. 5. If I got to No. 6, that would have great meaning to me.

“It's not trying to keep up with my idols,” he added. “It's not Magic, Jeter, Mariano [Rivera], Kobe, Duncan, guys more my age who I always admired. I just want to win because I owe it to my teammates. I'm working this year like I have none, and hopefully it results in a magical season."

While behind-the-scenes friction may have sapped enjoyment from 2017, the chance to get No. 6 was right there in Minnesota. Brady opened up his life in an unprecedented way in 2017 with the Tom vs. Time documentary and myriad interviews like the one with O’Connor in which he seemed to take more stock of what he was in the midst of accomplishing. It was all building to a climax.

And the Patriots didn’t win. And Brady -- despite throwing for 505 yards and three touchdowns -- was stripped with 2:16 left and the Patriots trailing 38-33.

That might be his first lament if he spoke candidly about how crushing it is to get so close and fall short. He had the ball with a chance to go down and score and the Eagles stopped his offense. Stopped him. But at some point, you have to believe he’d get to the absurdity of having to put up 40 on the Eagles to even have a chance at winning. That the Patriots couldn’t get off the field defensively, yet they still left Malcolm Butler holstered all night.

As angry as Patriots fans remain about that game and the lack of explanation for Butler’s benching, imagine Brady’s bitterness. It meant everything to all of them, but Brady -- in his comment to O’Connor -- indicated that No. 6 would have held special meaning for him.  

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Brady bristled when O’Connor suggested he was the greatest player the league’s ever seen, saying, "I don't agree with that. I know myself as a player. I'm really a product of what I've been around, who I was coached by, what I played against, in the era I played in. I really believe if a lot of people were in my shoes they could accomplish the same kinds of things. So I've been very fortunate.”

Still, his resume with No. 6 and a 6-2 record in Super Bowls would have been unassailable and, quite likely, an unbreakable record. Think about it. As brilliant as Aaron Rodgers is, he’s played in one Super Bowl. John Elway, Dan Marino, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre combined for six Lombardis. Six Super Bowl wins would have looked like Cy Young’s 511 wins and Wilt’s 50.4 points per game.  

Another quote from the O’Connor interview that caught my eye was this one. “I don't like conflict,” Brady said. “It's just inherent in who I am."

That was May. He had no way of knowing what the next 10 months would bring. Or that he’d ultimately come tantalizingly close to No. 6, fall short and then realize he’d have to start all over again and play just as well at 41 to even get in position for another shot at a half-dozen. 

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