Celtics

Does Alex Cora deserve a second chance? Danny Ainge defends ex-Red Sox manager

Does Alex Cora deserve a second chance? Danny Ainge defends ex-Red Sox manager

Alex Cora is out of a job and likely faces a multi-year suspension for his role in illegal sign-stealing operations with the 2017 Houston Astros and 2018 Boston Red Sox.

That begs the question: Will Cora ever manage in Major League Baseball again?

We may not know the answer for quite some time, but Cora has a supporter in Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, who said Thursday he would hypothetically consider hiring Cora after the former Red Sox manager serves his punishment.

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"Yes. I would consider doing it," Ainge told 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich." "I'm not saying I would for sure. I mean, there's a time and a place that maybe it's just not worth the distractions and what might come. But I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand."

Ainge admittedly is biased: He believes Cora was a "terrific manager" in Boston and is disappointed this sign-stealing scandal will taint the young manager's legacy.

"What I don't like about it is, we'll judge him and remember him on something that wasn't so good: the scandal that happened in Houston and Boston," Ainge said. "And it's unfortunate, because I'll remember Alex as being a really good guy who got us a championship in 2018. I won't remember him for this."

But as a former MLB player who spent three years with the Toronto Blue Jays before beginning his NBA career, Ainge also doesn't necessarily believe Cora committed an unforgivable crime.

"In baseball, there is this culture of trying to steal signs," Ainge said. "Everybody's doing it. I'm not saying that what (the Red Sox) did is right by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a 100-year culture of gaining an advantage at all times, of stealing the signs of other teams."

"It's wrong, what was done. But I think that center field cameras, and when you have Eck (Red Sox color analyst Dennis Eckersley) calling which pitch is coming when he's doing broadcasts of the game because he can see the signs, I think there's some responsibility there."

The Red Sox were quick to take action Tuesday by parting ways with Cora based solely on his involvement in Houston's cheating scandal.

Ainge doesn't believe a sign-stealing operation should result in the 44-year-old being blacklisted from baseball, though.

How Tremont Waters fared for Maine Red Claws vs. Lakeland Magic

How Tremont Waters fared for Maine Red Claws vs. Lakeland Magic

With Tacko Fall out due to a toe injury, Tremont Waters was the center of attention for the Maine Red Claws on Thursday night.

Unfortunately for Maine, Waters was unable to propel them to victory as they fell to the Lakeland Magic, 106-103.

It was a rather inefficient day for Waters, as the Boston Celtics rookie had 14 points on 5-for-17 shooting to go along with 11 turnovers.

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He did provide a few nice highlights, though, which you can watch below:

With Waters struggling, it was Bryce Brown leading the way for the Red Claws with 27 points and 5 rebounds.

Waters and the Red Claws will look to bounce back Saturday at 7 p.m. with a home matchup against the Erie Bayhawks.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Rockets-Celtics, which begins Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.

Kemba Walker explains keeping No. 8 to honor Kobe Bryant: 'We want to keep his legacy going'

Kemba Walker explains keeping No. 8 to honor Kobe Bryant: 'We want to keep his legacy going'

Whenever Kemba Walker looks down at the No. 8 on his jersey, he'll be reminded of the Mamba Mentality.

While others in the NBA switched their jersey numbers in the wake of Kobe Bryant's tragic death, Walker instead decided to honor the Los Angeles Lakers legend by keeping his No. 8. The Boston Celtics guard spoke with ESPN's Rachel Nichols about what it means to wear that number going forward.

"Now, that number means even more. So every time I step on the court, I just want to give 100 percent for him," Walker told Nichols. "That's my goal for the rest of the year and for the rest of my career."

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In the immediate aftermath of Bryant's passing, Walker considered a number change. Evidently, he decided the best way for him to honor Bryant was to continue wearing No. 8 while putting 100-percent effort into every game, just as Kobe would.

"I had a talk about it with some close people in my circle," Walker said. "I definitely thought about giving it up but then I thought, I think Kobe would want me and allow me to wear it. We want to keep his legacy going. I know of a few of us that's kept it. We're all just going to go out there and do what we can to play as hard as possible for Kobe."

Watch below:

In 46 games this season, Walker has averaged 21.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 5.0 assists while earning his fourth All-Star selection.

A knee injury has kept Walker out of commission for the last few games, but the Celtics are hopeful they'll have him back in the lineup sooner rather than later.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Rockets-Celtics, which begins Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.