Celtics

Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca 'almost crashed my car' when he heard of Kemba's interest

Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca 'almost crashed my car' when he heard of Kemba's interest

This offseason, the Boston Celtics were in a state of flux. With the impending departures of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, it seemed that the team was entering a rebuilding phase in which they would have to build around their young talent.

Instead, the team was able to retool. That was largely thanks to Kemba Walker's interest in joining the team. Walker's interest surprised their co-owner, Steve Pagliuca, who shared how he reacted when he heard the news.

"I almost crashed my car when I heard that," Pagliuca said, per Nicole Yang of The Boston Globe.

It's easy to understand why Pagliuca was so surprised. Walker, who had spent his entire nine-year NBA career with the Charlotte Hornets, could've gotten a supermax to stay put with the Hornets. Instead, he wanted to join a winner and evidently was impressed with the Celtics.

Walker should be the perfect replacement for Kyrie Irving and should help to build better chemistry in a locker room that dealt with numerous issues last year. And Walker's addition plus the acquisition of rookies Grant Williams, Romeo Langford, Carsen Edwards, and Tremont Waters has done a lot to transform the Celtics' personality, as Pagliuca noted.

"There’s just really a positive attitude from everybody this year," Pagliuca said, per Yang. "We’ve got a bunch of hard-working players that really want to achieve. We couldn’t ask for anything more."

After last season, that should be refreshing to Celtics fans, especially if they can stay competitive in what should be a wide-open Eastern Conference outside of the favored No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks.

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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.

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"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.