Celtics

New York tabloids had a fitting reaction to Kevin Durant's devastating injury

New York tabloids had a fitting reaction to Kevin Durant's devastating injury

So much for that master plan.

For much of 2019, Knicks fans have had grand visions of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving riding into Madison Square Garden on white horses and saving the franchise by signing with New York this summer.

But those visions were clouded Monday when Durant went down in Game 5 of the NBA Finals with what reportedly could be a torn Achilles.

If Durant is forced to miss significant time, it could alter the entire NBA offseason, most notably the Knicks' pursuit of the Golden State Warriors star and their chances of bringing Irving with KD.

And judging by the Tuesday morning tabloids, it appears the city of New York is well aware of this fact.

It's already been a rough spring for the Knicks, who missed out on Zion Williamson by finishing third in the NBA Draft Lottery and have watched the Brooklyn Nets eclipse them as the reported favorites to land Irving in free agency.

Now, it appears Durant's entire 2019-20 season could be in jeopardy, and if the Knicks are no longer willing or able to sign him in free agency, it could force them to explore a "Plan B" that may not include Irving, either.

At least the New York tabloids are getting creative in their misery.

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NBA Rumors: Nets remain Kyrie Irving's 'preferred choice' in free agency

NBA Rumors: Nets remain Kyrie Irving's 'preferred choice' in free agency

With five days remaining until NBA free agency begins, there's a clear frontrunner in the Kyrie Irving sweepstakes.

The Brooklyn Nets remain Irving's "preferred choice" in free agency, ESPN's Zach Lowe reported Tuesday, citing both "plugged-in reporters" and "sources around the league."

The Nets, Lowe wrote, have "telegraphed their intention" of signing both Irving and superstar Kevin Durant, even after the latter tore his Achilles in the NBA Finals.

Irving himself apparently is joining in that effort, as the (soon-to-be) former Boston Celtics guard reportedly met with Durant twice in recent weeks to pitch him on coming to Brooklyn.

The New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers were initially reported as contenders to land Irving in unrestricted free agency, but the Nets, armed with a roster of young overachievers and the flexibility to add two maximum-salary players, appear to have overtaken both.

The only questions now are 1) whether Durant would join Kyrie in Brooklyn or sign elsewhere and 2) what the Nets plan to do with pending restricted free agent D'Angelo Russell.

Lowe polled about 30 NBA executives who nearly all agreed Brooklyn should replace Russell with Irving, but some executives did note "concerns about chemistry" with Irving that would give them pause on signing the 27-year-old if Durant didn't come with him.

All of this is to say Irving seems as good as gone from Boston after June 30, with the Celtics' Atlantic Division rival his likely destination.

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Danny Ainge congratulates Larry Bird, Marcus Smart for NBA Awards

Danny Ainge congratulates Larry Bird, Marcus Smart for NBA Awards

Though they struck out on the major awards, the Boston Celtics have plenty to be proud of after last night's annual NBA Awards show. 

Former Celtics legend Larry Bird was honored — alongside rival and friend Magic Johnson — with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his accomplishments on and off the court as well as their role in popularizing the league. Bird, a three-time MVP and three-time NBA champion with the Celtics, thanked the many great teammates he played with during his 13-year career in Boston. 

https://twitter.com/NBAonTNT/status/1143357803504926720

In his acceptance speech, Bird also praised the level of skill of today's NBA while shutting down the clamors of many former players (looking at you, Chuck) who romanticize the NBA of yesteryear. "The game's in a good place," Bird said. "What I tell players coming in today: keep the game the way you found it, and it can go on for generations to come." Without Bird and Magic's contributions in the 1980's, the NBA wouldn't be in the spot it is. 

Nobody realizes Bird's impact better than former teammate and current Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge.

Ainge also has great admiration for current Celtics guard Marcus Smart, who won the NBA's Hustle Award. Smart is exactly the type of hard-nosed, team-first player Ainge covets. 

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