Celtics

Old Takes Exposed reminds us of a brutal date in Celtics history

Old Takes Exposed reminds us of a brutal date in Celtics history

The 2018-19 season certainly didn't end well for the Celtics, but an important thing to remember is that it could always be worse. The notorious Twitter account Old Takes Exposed reminded us all how true that sentiment can be Sunday.

Today marks the 22nd anniversary of the 1997 NBA Draft Lottery, where the Celtics owned the second-best odds to land the top pick, and generational prospect Tim Duncan. As we know, the Spurs ended up winning while the Celtics fell to the third overall pick. 

Duncan was the ultimate prize in 1997, so losing the lottery was a tough blow to a Celtics franchise that needed a reason for hope after the end of the Larry Bird era and the tragic passing of Reggie Lewis. 

Boston ultimately made out well by selecting future Hall of Fame point guard Chauncey Billups, but Duncan was on another level as a prospect. 

At the time, a Buffalo News column claimed that the Celtics had something better than Tim Duncan; newly hired head coach Rick Pitino. 

Pitino was hired after winning a National Championship with the University of Kentucky, but his six-year run in Boston was not nearly as successful. He posted a 192-220 record as head coach, traded Billups during his rookie season along with Dee Brown for Kenny Anderson, Popeye Jones and Zan Tabak. Not great. 

And of course, there was the famous, "Not walking through that door," rant. 

Pitino at least drafted Celtics legend Paul Pierce, but his tenure as the team's head coach is one of the darker spots in the franchise's history. 

Duncan went on to win five championships with the Spurs and leaves a legacy as arguably the best power forward of all time. 

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NBA Rumors: Grizzlies' Mike Conley trade talks heating up; Jazz a front-runner

NBA Rumors: Grizzlies' Mike Conley trade talks heating up; Jazz a front-runner

Anthony Davis was the first NBA trade domino to fall. Could Mike Conley be next?

The Memphis Grizzlies "are intensifying talks" to potentially trade their veteran point guard, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Monday.

While Conley hasn't been tied to the Celtics, the 31-year-old could be on Boston's radar if Kyrie Irving departs in free agency and Terry Rozier goes elsewhere in restricted free agency.

But Charania reports Memphis has "been in conversations" with the Utah Jazz, who are "a front-runner" to land Conley if the Grizzlies trade him before Thursday's NBA Draft.

Conley is set to make $32.5 million next season, so any team would need to clear serious cap space to acquire him. A Conley trade with Boston would involve the Celtics moving either Gordon Hayward or Al Horford, or the far-fetched option of a sign-and-trade with Irving.

If the Jazz do trade for Conley, it essentially guarantees current point guard Ricky Rubio will sign elsewhere in unrestricted free agency. Rubio recently mentioned Boston as a potential free-agent destination, so Conley-to-Utah might add more fuel to that fire as the Celtics explore their options after missing out on Anthony Davis.

Either way, the C's will be monitoring Memphis' movements closely, as Boston owns the Grizzlies' first-round pick in 2020 that transfers to an unprotected first-rounder in 2021 if they land a top-six pick.

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NBA rumors: Nets' latest move opens more cap space amid Kyrie Irving speculation

NBA rumors: Nets' latest move opens more cap space amid Kyrie Irving speculation

The Brooklyn Nets sure are operating like a superstar (or two) is coming when NBA free agency opens June 30. 

The Nets on Monday declined to make Rondae Hollis-Jefferson a qualifying offer, which makes the young forward eligible for unrestricted free agency and opens up a bit of salary cap space in the process. 

Kyrie Irving is the superstar free agent who's been linked to the Nets most often in rumors over the last month or so, and a report from the Boston Herald last week, citing a source, said Irving is "prepared to sign" with Brooklyn. However, Irving and the Celtics will meet at least once more before free agency to discuss his future, per The Athletic.

The Nets wouldn't be a top contender in the Eastern Conference simply by adding Irving to their talented young core. Another established star would have to join him in Brooklyn for the franchise to have a realistic shot at a championship. Nearly $50 million in cap space isn't enough for two max-contract free agents, but if the Nets didn't extend a qualifying offer to All-Star point guard D'Angelo Russell, they would have a lot more cap space for two marquee free agents.

Russell, who's a restricted free agent this summer, is the Nets' best asset at the moment, so losing him for nothing would be pretty foolish unless the team had assurances two big-name free agents were coming. An Irving/Russell pairing also doesn't make much sense -- both are score-first point guards, and Brooklyn would be wise to have at least one pass-first and/or excellent defensive guard starting in its backcourt.

What we do know is the Nets have tons of financial flexibility to make trades and/or major free-agent signings over the next few weeks. The future appears bright in Brooklyn -- a welcoming sight for a franchise whose draft capital had been crippled for years by the infamous 2013 trade with the Celtics.

Click for the biggest winners and losers from the Anthony Davis trade>>>

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