Celtics

Could the Celtics find a trade with the Houston Rockets?

Could the Celtics find a trade with the Houston Rockets?

The Houston Rockets essentially declared themselves open for trade business earlier this week, but is there any sort of deal to be made with the Boston Celtics?

ESPN reported that Houston general manager Daryl Morey has made his entire roster available in trade talks with hopes of reshaping a Rockets team that hasn’t been able to get over the hump out west.

Despite the minuscule chance that the Rockets would actually move James Harden, the Celtics will call about him, even if just for due diligence. Danny Ainge has a longstanding lust for Chris Paul, but probably not the one who’s set to make more than $1 million for each of his 34 years of age next season (Paul will earn a staggering $38.5 million in 2019-20). 

Players like P.J. Tucker and Eric Gordon are intriguing, particularly on manageable money, but unless the Rockets decide to embrace a youth movement, the Celtics don’t have the win-now assets to necessarily find that sort of deal.

Here, however, is one intriguing scenario in which the teams could potentially do business. If Kyrie Irving elects to sign elsewhere this summer, the Celtics might be more willing to embrace their own youth movement. That doesn’t necessarily mean a rebuild, but it’s a longer path to Finals contention if you throw the keys to the car to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Under that scenario, Al Horford might be more intrigued by win-now possibilities than sticking around to see if Boston’s 2018 playoff core — albeit with a now-healthy Gordon Hayward — could find that old Kyrie-less magic. He might alert Boston that he’d prefer to play for a more surefire contender, but is willing to help the team recoup assets in that process.

Horford could either opt into the $30.1 million final year of his contract and be dealt to Houston in a deal that could bring back, say, Clint Capela and assets. Or Horford could opt out and the teams could try to find a workable sign-and-trade in which Horford still gets longer-term security and a chance to chase a ring.

It’s still a long shot, but remember that Horford was mighty intrigued by the Rockets before he elected to sign with Boston in the summer of 2016. The Rockets brought Harden, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Clyde Drexler to their July sales pitch with Horford and made him strongly consider the team.

“It was a privilege,” Horford said in 2016. “[Olajuwon] and Clyde were there, and my dad went to high school here in Houston, and he was pushing Houston hard. Hakeem, to him, was a big deal, and for me to be able to talk with him and spend some time. At the end of the day, just looking at the future and everything, I felt like here in Boston was going to be a better fit for me in the long run.”

If Irving departs and Horford’s future gets murkier, the Rockets might just be a team that’s worth talking to more.

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Jayson Tatum shouts out Celtics' Kara Lawson for landing Duke head coach job

Jayson Tatum shouts out Celtics' Kara Lawson for landing Duke head coach job

Kara Lawson is pulling a reverse Jayson Tatum.

The Duke women's basketball team announced Saturday it has named Lawson its new head coach, meaning she'll leave her role as a Boston Celtics assistant coach after this season to join the Blue Devils.

The Celtics will be sad to see Lawson go after her lone season as the first female assistant coach in franchise history. But Tatum, who starred at Duke before coming to Boston, approves of her next gig.

From one Tatum "family" to another.

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Lawson technically leaves behind two Duke alumni, as Celtics forward Semi Ojeleye played two seasons for the Blue Devils from 2013 to 2015 before transferring to SMU.

Tatum is a proud supporter of his alma mater -- where he spent just one season in 2016-17 before the Celtics drafted him No. 3 overall -- so his excitement for Lawson is understandable.

Tatum also will be hoping Lawson can help the Blue Devils back on track after they failed to reach the NCAA Tournament last season for just the second time in 25 years.

Celtics' Kara Lawson accepts Duke women's basketball head coach job

Celtics' Kara Lawson accepts Duke women's basketball head coach job

UPDATE (1:40 p.m. ET): Duke officially announced Kara Lawson as its next women's basketball head coach Saturday on social media.

-- End of update -- 

Kara Lawson indeed won't return for a second season with the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics assistant coach has accepted the Duke women's basketball head coaching job, NBC Sports Boston's A. Sherrod Blakely has confirmed. 

The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn first reported Saturday that Lawson accepted the Duke job, which became available after Blue Devils head coach Joanne McAllie announced last week she wouldn't return for a 14th season.

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Lawson made history last July when the Celtics hired her as the first female assistant coach in franchise history. The former University of Tennessee star and 13-year WNBA veteran -- who also served as an ESPN analyst after her WNBA career -- now can add "head coach" to her impressive basketball résumé.

Lawson also will break a barrier at Duke as the first Black head coach in the women's basketball program's history. If her comments last July are any indication, the Virginia native will work tirelessly to restore the Blue Devils to prominence after they failed to reach the NCAA Tournament in 2019.

"My mindset is being the first to do something is great; I want to be the best," Lawson said after joining the Celtics. “I don’t want to be the best of my gender. I want to be the best in the league."

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