Celtics

NBA rumors: Kyrie Irving, Nets agree to four-year max contract

NBA rumors: Kyrie Irving, Nets agree to four-year max contract

The Kyrie Irving era in Boston has come to a close.

The Celtics point guard will agree to a four-year, $141 million max contract with the Brooklyn Nets early in the NBA free agency period Sunday night. Players (with few exceptions) are not able to officially sign their new deals until July 6. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Irving will be joined by free agents Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan.

Irving arrived in Boston after a surprising trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers in August of 2017. He played well for the C's in 2017-18 but was unable to take part in the team's playoff run to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals after undergoing season-ending knee surgery in April of 2018.

The Celtics went into 2018-19 with expectations of competing for an NBA championship with Irving and Gordon Hayward each returning from season-ending injuries. Irving told fans at a season ticket holder event in October that he planned to re-sign the team, which was a sigh of relief for many Celtics supporters.

Unfortunately for the C's, everything that could have gone wrong following that October event actually did go wrong. The team struggled out of the gate, earning a 10-10 record through 20 games. Irving played a part in the team chemistry issues that seemed to plague the club throughout the campaign, and his performance as a team leader also was poor. When pressed about his commitment to the franchise, Irving told reporters Feb. 1 to "ask me July 1."

The Celtics, despite an excellent statistical season from Irving, limped through the regular season as the No. 4 seed in the East entering the playoffs, where they ultimately were eliminated in a five-game second-round series by the Milwaukee Bucks. 

The Irving era in Boston had so much potential when it started, but by the end, it was clear that both sides needed to move on.

Luckily for the Celtics, it looks like they've found an excellent replacement for Irving in Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker. Walker reportedly will agree to a four-year, $141 million contract with the C's on Sunday night.

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Tacko Fall discusses Africa-to-America basketball pipeline on 60 Minutes

Tacko Fall discusses Africa-to-America basketball pipeline on 60 Minutes

When Tacko Fall was 16, he left Senegal for the first time. The big man came to the United States on a special visa to attend high school and develop as a basketball player.

There was only one problem. Fall wasn't very familiar with the game of basketball. And as he described in an interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Jon Wertheim, that was part of his tough adjustment to life in the USA.

"I was a big kid. I was huge. I was 7' 2". But I didn't know what I was doing on the basketball court. I had no idea," Fall said, as transcribed by CBS News' Keith Zubrow. "I didn't even know if I belonged in there. Some [of] it was a tough time getting adjusted to that. Just playing every day, working out, practicing, having the regimen. And it was also tough mentally, not having my mom, not having my family around."

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Though Fall had his share of issues at first, including moving to several different states before ultimately landing at Liberty Christian Prep, nearby Orlando, Fla., he ultimately figured everything out. He went to play for the UCF Golden Knights where he was one of their team's best players and the NCAA's best shot blockers. 

While Fall went undrafted after a four-year career at UCF, he caught on with the Boston Celtics during the Las Vegas Summer League. He became an instant fan-favorite and found a perfect role with the squad as a two-way player. And before the NBA shut down, he spent most of his time with the Maine Red Claws continuing to develop his game while averaging 12.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks and making better than 70 percent of his shots.

But Fall knows that there are some that aren't so lucky. And he's hoping that the NBA getting involved with the program will improve conditions for all involved.

"[There's] been many times where I feel like some people have been taken advantage of," Fall said. "They bring them here, then that's it. Then they're just left for their own. And if things don't work out, then they are pretty much screwed. It's getting better. I feel like now that they know what's going on, people are being more careful… especially now with the NBA being involved. And it's only gonna keep getting better."

Hopefully, it does continue to get better as Fall says. And maybe he can work with the NBA to help shape a program that helps all parties involved attain a desirable outcome.

Celtics-Timberwolves simulation: Jaylen Brown's heroics help C's extend win streak

Celtics-Timberwolves simulation: Jaylen Brown's heroics help C's extend win streak

The NBA season has been put on hold due to the coronavirus crisis, meaning we may have to wait until mid-April at the earliest to watch the Boston Celtics again.

As a way to make up for the loss of Celtics action, we'll be using the NBA 2K20 video game to simulate each game on the schedule until they finally return.

PREVIOUS FIVE SIMULATIONS

The Celtics were supposed to be taking on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday at TD Garden. Here's how our simulation of the matchup went:

CELTICS STATS

It's no surprise to see Kemba Walker as the Celtics' leading scorer yet again. He's by far been Boston's best offensive player since we've started these simulations. This time, he led the way with 39 points.

But the hero in this game was Jaylen Brown. Late in the fourth quarter, Brown nailed a clutch shot to tie the game at 106. With two seconds remaining, Brown put Minnesota away with the game-winner. He finished with 26 points on 10-for-16 shooting.

Jayson Tatum had a nice performance of his own with 20 points and nine rebounds.

TIMBERWOLVES STATS

Karl-Anthony Towns gave the C's plenty of trouble in this one. The Timberwolves big man led his team in scoring with 30 points and was a force on the glass with 16 rebounds. He also tied the game at 110 with only five seconds left on the clock.

James Johnson, D'Angelo Russell, Jarrett Culver and ex-Celtic Evan Turner each did their part by scoring in double figures, but it wasn't enough to finish the job.

TEAM STATS

Minnesota actually had the edge in most categories, but their 3-point woes proved costly. They shot a putrid 19 percent from beyond the arc while the Celtics shot 41 percent. That's why Boston was able to storm back from an 11-point deficit and earn the W.

FINAL SCORE: Celtics 112, Timberwolves 110

The NBA 2K Celtics are on fire as that's now eight straight wins. Tune in Tuesday for their next matchup vs. the Miami Heat.