After Ben Simmons' extension, the Sixers are in a familiar place the Celtics were a year ago

After Ben Simmons' extension, the Sixers are in a familiar place the Celtics were a year ago

BOSTON -- So Philly went out and got Al Horford this summer, bolstering its title aspirations for the present. And now the Sixers have reportedly just cut another fat check -  a five-year, $170 million dollar one - to Ben Simmons which on the surface strengthens their core for a basketball eternity like, you know, the next three or four years. 

In looking at their core of Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and now Simmons all signed to deals that’ll last through the 2023 season, there’s no question they’ll be in the conversation as the team to beat in the East. 

And as you start to look at their success being fueled in large part by their young core, you look over at Boston’s youth movement and … the optimism isn’t nearly as bright. 

Jayson Tatum remains the one member of the Celtics’ youth group who has shown flashes of having all-star makeup. You love what Jaylen Brown does most nights, and how he has shown progress as a player every year he has been in the NBA. 

But an All-Star in the making? 

Probably not. 

And we won’t even get into Robert Williams III whose promise ranges from being a starter to not playing at all. 

The rookies they drafted are all nice players.

But high impact players in the NBA?

Not really.

It all adds up to a Celtics team that when you talk about youthful talent, is not on the same level as the Sixers whose young core of Embiid, Harris and Simmons are all either All-Stars or in the case of Harris, a player with All-Star caliber talent. 

Boston’s hopes of remaining in the conversation for years to come in the East will hinge on more than just the development of its young players. Even more invaluable will be Danny Ainge’s ability to wheel and deal his way to building another title contender via trades and free agency. 

The addition of Kemba Walker who signed a four-year, $141 million deal certainly helps. The same could be said for Gordon Hayward bouncing back and playing more like last-year-in-Utah Gordon Hayward versus up-and-down, on-the-mend Gordon Hayward we saw last season. 

The reality is this. 

The Sixers have built a team that is poised to compete both in the present and future, but Celtics fans know all too well how quickly that can all come crashing down in a hurry. 

First Gordon Hayward got hurt, followed by the team’s up and down start. Kyrie Irving struggled to be the kind of leader this team needed, only to leave this summer for Brooklyn and soon after, so did Al Horford for Philly. 

I give the Sixers credit for doing all the things a franchise needs to do to best position themselves for long-term success. 

But even with Simmons locked into a long-term deal, how long will it be before rumors start to be floated that Simmons is making goo-goo eyes at playing with the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James and Anthony Davis? 

The fact that Simmons has signed a long-term deal means nothing; not in this NBA era when players with years - plural not singular - left on their contracts all but force a trade to the team of their choice if they don’t like the team they’re on as much. 

There are a series of other plausible factors that could torpedo the efforts Philly has made to insulate itself from the teams coming at them both now and in the future, similar to what the Celtics just experienced. 

And that’s why while the rest of the East should definitely be on guard for the Sixers building themselves into a potent squad, by no means should their core group be deemed an insurmountable unit that’s impervious to change. 

They have a good team, one that on paper is clearly better than Boston is right now in terms of their overall unit and their youthful core. 

But things change in a hurry in the NBA, where teams built upon talented youth are suddenly torn down by too many egos and not enough shine to go around. 

We’ll see if the Sixers become the latest to succumb to that, or if their young core of Embiid, Harris and Simmons will lead them into an era where that youth comes of age in time to win a title. 

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Celtics fail to execute down the stretch in Summer League loss to Grizzlies

Celtics fail to execute down the stretch in Summer League loss to Grizzlies

BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics’ summer league dream of a championship has come to a crashing half following a 94-88 loss to Memphis in their summer league quarterfinal matchup. 

After trailing most of the game, top-seeded Boston had multiple possessions to tie the game or take the lead when they were down 89-87.

They finally trimmed the lead after Carsen Edwards was fouled. 

He made the second of two free throws that cut the Memphis lead to 89-88 with 37.9 seconds to play. 

But a series of Celtics miscues and big plays by the eighth-seed Grizzlies catapulted them to a 5-0 run to end the game. 

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s summer season-ending loss.


Tyler Harvey: The Grizzlies had several players step up after having been smashed by the Celtics just 48 hours earlier. Leading that charge was Harvey who had a team-high 20 points.

Tremont Waters: Regardless of what he did on the floor, simply willing himself to play made him a star tonight. Less than 48 hours after the death of his father, the Connecticut native was back on the floor starting for the Celtics summer league team. He still managed to play a solid game, scoring 16 points and three assists.

Brandon Clarke: A huge tip-in late in the game was a key factor Memphis holding off a late surge by Boston. But Clarke was involved in several other key plays for the Grizzlies as he finished with a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Carsen Edwards: The shots just keep falling, one big one after another for Edwards who came off the bench and led all scorers with 25 points. 


Bruno Caboclo: His activity on the glass was a huge factor in the game’s outcome as he finished with a near double-double of nine points and 10 rebounds. 

Robert Williams III: He scored just one point, but his ability to effectively patrol the paint was a major factor in Boston staying within striking distance. He would finish with one point but grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds. 

Javonte Green: He had a huge gaffe on a late-game in-bounds play which on some levels masked what was an otherwise solid night in which he scored 17 points and grabbed six rebounds. 


Grant Williams: The struggle was real for Grant Williams, who could never get his game going offensively while providing very little impact at the other end of the court. He would tally 11 points on 3-for-9 shooting. But more telling was his plus/minus was a minus-8 for the game. 

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Counting down the NBA's top 'Power Couples'

File photos

Counting down the NBA's top 'Power Couples'

Beyonce and Jay-Z. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez. 

Power couples have been the "in" thing for quite some time. 

But when it came to NBA teams, the preference was to create super teams instead. 

However, Kawhi Leonard’s decision to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers and bring Paul George with him after George demanded a trade from Oklahoma City, has rocked the NBA landscape on many levels. 

Among them?

The return of the power couple to the NBA. 

Here we take a look at the top 10 tandems in the NBA in what has been an offseason that truth be told, has yet to slow down … not even a little bit.