Celtics

Pistons coach embraces trade talk surrounding his best player, Andre Drummond

Pistons coach embraces trade talk surrounding his best player, Andre Drummond

BOSTON -- When Dwane Casey was in Seattle, he remembers hearing rumors about Gary Payton being on the trade block. 

Assistant coaching stints in Dallas and Minnesota included rumors about Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Garnett being on the move as well. 

So as the trade rumor mill continues to churn out speculation about Detroit’s Andre Drummond being on the trade block - and Boston being viewed as a possible destination - Casey tries to keep it all in perspective. 

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“If you’re doing anything in this league your name is going to be out there,” Casey, the Pistons' head coach, said prior to Detroit’s 116-103 upset of the Celtics on Wednesday night. “At the end of the day on the 1st and the 15th, you’re getting paid by the team you’re with. So, you have to do your job each and every day. There’s no reason to be upset with anybody. It’s a business; we understand that. We’re all professionals. We have a job to do.”

And on Wednesday, Drummond indeed did his job in helping the Pistons (15-27) come away with a surprisingly lopsided victory. 

He would finish with 13 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists while also racking up a trio of steals, too. 

The final stats for Drummond are good, but his overall play wasn’t nearly as dominant as the final numbers might suggest. 

He also turned the ball over five times - more than any other player on the floor - in addition to missing four of his five free-throw attempts. 

That said, the Pistons were still an impressive plus-26 when he was on the floor. 

No one questions whether he has the talent to help a team be successful. 

But the issue with him, as with most players widely considered on the trading block, is the cost involved in acquiring them. 

While the Celtics respect what Drummond can do on the floor, there are no signs as of now that they are giving serious thought to putting together a trade package that would put him in a Celtics jersey. 

That’s because most of the assets that the Celtics would have to include in a deal for Drummond they are not willing to part with at this point.

And then there’s the fact that most of the teams that Drummond has played for in the past in Detroit struggled to win, with this season being no exception. 

The Celtics' Kemba Walker arrived with a similar track record based on his play in Charlotte the previous eight seasons. 

But here’s the difference - the Celtics acquired Walker via a sign-and-trade for Terry Rozier.

In other words, they acquired an asset (Walker) while giving up one (Rozier) that they weren’t planning to keep around. 

But in trading for Drummond, the Celtics would have to include a player or players that they believe will aid them in their quest to make a deep playoff run more than the addition of Drummond.

You also have to take into account that one of the reasons Boston would do the deal would be to have someone to compete with Philly center Joel Embiid. 

But 6-foot-10 Drummond has historically not been at his best when facing the 7-foot Embiid in the past and Embiid has consistently played at an uber-All-Star level when facing Drummond. 

In fact, Embiid has averaged 27.7 points per game in his career against Detroit. That is Embiid’s highest scoring average against any team he has faced at least seven times in his career, with most of those games pitting him against Drummond. 

Still, all that is a moot point right now. 

Drummond plays for the Pistons, a team that’s clearly in rebuilding mode. 

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Is Drummond part of that process?

He is … for now. 

And the way Casey sees it, that’s the only thing Drummond, or any other Pistons whose names have been talked about as potentially being on the move, should concern themselves with. 

“For me, I hope everybody gets rewarded,” Casey said. “You know in this league to get rewarded, you win. You’re rewarded when you win more than anything else.”

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

 

Celtics' Jayson Tatum reflects on 'surreal' workouts with Kobe Bryant

Celtics' Jayson Tatum reflects on 'surreal' workouts with Kobe Bryant

Jayson Tatum has already accomplished plenty in his young NBA career, and there are many more memorable moments to come for the Boston Celtics superstar.

But it'll be difficult for anything to top his unforgettable experience working out with his idol, Kobe Bryant.

Two years ago, the late Los Angeles Lakers legend reached out to Tatum and took him under his wing. Tatum opened up about the amazing opportunity on a recent episode of New Orleans Pelicans guard J.J. Redick's "The Old Man & the Three" podcast.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-76ers, which begins Monday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 6:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

"It started back when we were in the playoffs. Kobe was doing the 'Detail' documentary thing on ESPN," Tatum said. "We were playing Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals. We just played Game 1. So we got practice the next day to get ready for Game 2. Come back, sit down at my locker, look at my phone and he would tweet the link out. I saw Kobe tweeted me, I was like 'Oh, [expletive].'

"I literally sat there and watched it like 20 times in a row. He did a 'Detail' of me in Game 1. And then I guess he went through my agent and texted me. He said, 'Young fella, happy for your success. Stay focused. Keep going. If you're in L.A. this summer and you want to work out, just let me know.' I was like, I can't believe it ..."

Tatum even went as far as to call his workout with Bryant the second-best day of his life.

"It was just a surreal moment," Tatum said. "Just looking at him, remembering myself when I was a toddler, just a young kid watching him on TV and being like 'That's who I want to be like. This is why I love basketball.' He inspired me.

"Fast-forward, now I'm 20 and I'm having a one-on-one interaction with him ... Besides my son being born, that's like the best day of my life just to be in that gym with him and work out with him and learn some tips. I'll never forget that day, how I felt going into the workout, how I felt afterward. I just felt like that was the coolest thing ever for me. I'll never forget that."

Watch the full clip below:

It's clear Tatum will forever cherish that time spent with his hero. And there's no doubt Bryant would be proud of the player Tatum already has developed into at 22 years old.

Tatum and the Celtics will begin their quest for Banner 18 when they take on the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live starting right here on NBC Sports Boston at 5:30 p.m.

NBA odds: Celtics already huge favorites in playoff series vs. 76ers

NBA odds: Celtics already huge favorites in playoff series vs. 76ers

The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers will renew their rivalry with a first-round series in the 2020 NBA playoffs, and the C's already are massive betting favorites to advance.

The Celtics went 5-3 in the seeding games and played really well overall, highlighted by a dominant win over the second-place Toronto Raptors. Boston also has a healthy roster entering the postseason with several of its best players performing at a very high level, most notably Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of the Celtics-76ers first-round playoff series. You can also stream all games on the MyTeams App.

The seeding games haven't gone well for the Sixers. They have a 3-4 seeding game record entering Friday's finale versus the Raptors, and All-Star point guard Ben Simmons recently left the league's bubble to undergo knee surgery. Simmons reportedly is expected to miss the remainder of the season, and without him, the Sixers are losing an elite player at both ends of the court. He averaged 18.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists in four games against the Celtics during the regular season, and Philadelphia won three of those matchups.

Sixers superstar center Joel Embiid picked up an ankle injury last Sunday and missed Tuesday's game before returning to Philly's lineup Wednesday night. 

Oddsmakers are pretty confident the Celtics will win their fifth straight playoff series versus the Sixers. Here are the latest betting lines for this Round 1 matchup, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

Celtics to win series: -375
76ers to win series: +270

ESPN’s Basketball Power Index also likes the Celtics to advance, giving Boston a 72 percent chance of eliminating the Sixers. In fairness to the 76ers, they do still have a talented team without Simmons. Embiid is one of the league's best centers, Tobais Harris can score 20-plus points any night and Al Horford does a little bit of everything. 

That said, the Celtics absolutely should beat the shorthanded Sixers in Round 1. Boston has more shooting, a deeper roster, much better coaching and is playing better in the bubble than its longtime rival.