Celtics

Danny Ainge reveals when he had an idea Celtics would lose Kyrie Irving in free agency

Danny Ainge reveals when he had an idea Celtics would lose Kyrie Irving in free agency

Kyrie Irving chose to take his talents to the Brooklyn Nets in NBA free agency instead of re-signing with the Boston Celtics, and C's president of basketball of operations Danny Ainge had a feeling late in the regular season that the superstar point guard ultimately would not sign an extension with the franchise.

"I think I had a pretty good idea in March or April," Ainge told reporters Wednesday after the team's introductory press conference for free-agent signings Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter. "Not for sure, though. Not certain. But I was obviously thinking about moving in a different direction at that point. Thinking of the different options."

Ainge added: "It's a tough business. You got to have lots of different directions to go. You have to be ready. We had others -- if this one that we had today, we're sitting here with two guys that chose to come to us that we're very fortunate to have -- but if it hadn't happened, we would've had another plan."

New York Knicks forward Bobby Portis recently told The Athletic that players around the league knew in February that Irving and Kevin Durant would be going to the Nets this summer. So, it doens't sound like Irving's intentions were much of a secret to anyone inside the game.

Irving famously told C's season ticket holders back in October that he planned to re-sign with the team. He even made a Nike commercial about being the last player to wear No. 11 in Celtic green. However, the Celtics fell woefully short of expectations during the 2018-19 season, and Irving's lack of quality leadership contributed to the team's disappointing second-round playoff exit. When the season had ended, many fans didn't even want Irving to come back to Boston.

The Celtics pivoted quickly and effectively, though. Walker is an excellent replacement for Irving as the team's starting point guard and primary scorer. He's coming off the best season of his career in which he averaged a personal best 25.6 points and was named an All-Star starter and an all-NBA third team member.

Enes Kanter trolls Kyrie Irving with hilarious comment>>>

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2019 FIBA World Cup live stream: How to watch Team USA vs. Australia exhibition

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USA TODAY Sports photo

2019 FIBA World Cup live stream: How to watch Team USA vs. Australia exhibition

After drawing the largest crowd for a basketball game ever in Australia on Thursday (51,218), Team USA and Australia return to Marvel Stadium late tonight (2 p.m. Saturday in Melbourne) to play another tuneup for the FIBA World Cup.

A trio of Celtics - part of "Team Shamrock" for the US - all played key roles in helping the US defeat the Aussies 102-86. Kemba Walker scored a game-high 23 points, and Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown each scored 11. The fourth Celtic on Team USA, Marcus Smart, who hasn't played because of a calf injury, didn't play in that game but has been cleared to return and could be back tonight.

Team Australia includes a former Celtic, Aron Baynes.

The Americans have one more tuneup in Australia, Monday against Team Canada, before the FIBA World Cup opens in China against the Czech Republic on Sept. 1. 

Here's how to watch tonight's game:

When: Saturday, Aug. 24, midnight
TV Channel: NBA TV
Live Stream: Twitch and NBA.com

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Enes Kanter considering 'American name' when he becomes U.S. citizen

Enes Kanter considering 'American name' when he becomes U.S. citizen

Enes Kanter has big plans for the next couple of years that extend far beyond basketball.

The new Boston Celtics big man recently told TMZ Sports he plans on becoming a United States citizen two years from now. Kanter has been vocal about human rights issues in his home country of Turkey, to the point where Turkish prosecutors are seeking the arrest of the 27-year-old for his criticism of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Kanter's citizenship may not be the only major change he makes in two years. He says he's also considering a switch to an "American name."

"I'm actually becoming a U.S. citizen in two years," Kanter told TMZ. "I'm actually thinking about adding an American name. I'm still thinking about it. I don't know yet."

Watch below:

But what names are under consideration? That's the next question that needs to be posed to the 6-foot-11 forward.

Kanter, who signed a two-year deal worth $10 million this offseason, will be counted on to play a sizable role for the Celtics. He and fellow newcomer Kemba Walker are expected to help replenish the team chemistry that was missing throughout the 2018-19 campaign.

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