Celtics

NBA rumors: Kawhi Leonard, Clippers agree to max deal worth $142 million; Clips acquire Paul George

NBA rumors: Kawhi Leonard, Clippers agree to max deal worth $142 million; Clips acquire Paul George

Kawhi Leonard finally has made his free-agent decision.

The reigning NBA Finals MVP has elected to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers on a four-year deal worth $142 million, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Contracts and trades agreed to since NBA free agency opened June 30 won't become official until July 6 at 12:00 p.m.

Leonard was the last superstar in free agency to decide his future. The Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors were rumored to be the other teams the 28-year-old forward was considering joining, and he reportedly had meetings with all three.

Leonard was traded to the Raptors from the San Antonio Spurs in July of last year. He helped lead the Raptors to their first championship in team history with a five-game triumph over the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals. He averaged 26.6 points per game for the Raptors in the 2018-19 regular season and 30.5 points in the playoffs.

In addition to landing Leonard, the Clippers were able to swing a deal to bring a second superstar to Los Angeles. Per Wojnarowski, they reportedly agreed to trade Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and a treasure trove of draft capital to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Paul George. Leonard reportedly had recruited George to join the Clippers, and George asked the Thunder to be traded to play alongside Leonard. That duo should make the Clippers very competitive in the Western Conference.

Here's the draft pick haul the Thunder are getting from the Clippers for George, per ESPN's Bobby Marks:

It will be interesting to see how Leonard's choice impacts the other free agents still unsigned. Danny Green, who played with Leonard in Toronto last season, has already agreed to a two-year, $30 million deal with the Lakers. Versatile forward Marcus Morris, who played well for the Boston Celtics in each of the last two seasons, arguably is the best unrestricted free agent remaining.

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NBA Rumors: GMs in favor of play-in tournament when season resumes

NBA Rumors: GMs in favor of play-in tournament when season resumes

On Thursday, the NBA took another step toward figuring out the best way to return to action.

Commissioner Adam Silver held a conference call with the league's general managers to review a survey that was delivered to teams last week. In the survey, GMs voted on potential formats to resume play.

Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer reports about 75 percent of GMs were in favor of a play-in tournament between bubble teams rather than a World Cup-style group stage. Front-running teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks favored the play-in tourney as it would give them a far easier path to the NBA Finals.

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More from O'Connor:

General managers were surveyed about a 'playoffs-plus' format—either a play-in tournament between the bubble teams to determine the final seeds in the playoffs, or a World Cup–style group stage, which would replace the end of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs with a round-robin format. About 75 percent of teams voted in favor of a play-in tournament, sources said, while 25 percent of teams voted in favor of the group stage.

Although many GMs are in favor of the play-in tournament, that doesn't mean the league will go in that direction.

“Adam [Silver] isn’t taking the results seriously,” a team executive told O'Connor. “Every team is obviously gonna vote for what’s best for them.”

Still, it's a noteworthy development and one that could not only impact how the NBA proceeds with its 2019-20 campaign, but also how it approaches future playoff formats.

For more details from O'Connor, check out his full article here.

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Celtics At Home: Daniel Theis recalls experience playing games without fans

Celtics At Home: Daniel Theis recalls experience playing games without fans

The Boston Celtics hosting a playoff game in an empty arena would be a bizarre experience.

Take it from the guy who's played in front of empty arenas.

Celtics big man Daniel Theis played several years of professional basketball in his native Germany before joining the C's in 2017. On the latest episode of NBC Sports Boston's "Celtics At Home," Theis explained that preseason games often didn't have fans, which created an atmosphere he didn't exactly enjoy.

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"It's definitely weird just thinking about it," Theis told host Brian Scalabrine. "Thinking back for me, playing in Germany in preseason games when you have scrimmages and no fans in there. You hear every voice, every word, every step. It's annoying."

Games without fans could be the NBA's new reality as it aims to safely resume play amid the coronavirus pandemic. Germany's top soccer league, the Bundesliga -- which Theis has been following intently -- is already playing games in empty arenas.

But while Theis wants to get back on the court, he doesn't sound thrilled about playing games without fans again -- especially if that means losing the home-crowd advantage that Boston provides.

"When I watched the soccer games this weekend, it was just -- it didn't feel right," Theis said. "Especially in Boston, when it comes to the playoffs and the fans at TD Garden are so important and so loud ... Then I can imagine now just playing a playoff game with nobody in there, it feels probably like a practice game or scrimmage."

Theis also discussed some of the Celtics' best Zoom guest speakers during Episode Three of "Celtics At Home," which includes guest appearances from C's legends Tommy Heinsohn and Bill Walton.

Check out the full episode of "Celtics At Home" below or on our YouTube page: