A second tour of duty for former Celtic Shane Larkin?

A second tour of duty for former Celtic Shane Larkin?

BOSTON -- Shane Larkin didn’t get a ton of playing time during his lone season as a Boston Celtic, but more times than not he made the most of those opportunities. 

This past season — with a different team in a different country — was no different for the 5-foot-11 guard, who led Anadolu Efes of the Turkish Basketball Super League into the playoffs where he set postseason EuroLeague shooting and scoring records along the way. 

It was the kind of performance that’s likely to at least turn a few heads in the NBA that maybe — just maybe — the former first-round pick deserves another shot at returning stateside and playing in the NBA. 

With Anadolu Efes, the 26-year-old led them to the EuroLeague Final Four, highlighted by a 30-point, seven-rebound, seven-assist performance in defeating Fenerbahce (the former team of current Celtics Daniel Theis and Brad Wanamaker, with the latter replacing Larkin as the Celtics’ third point guard this past season) in the semi-finals. 

Anadolu Efes wound up losing in the EuroLeague final to European powerhouse CSKA Moscow 91-83, but not before Larkin had tallied a Final Four-record 59 points (29 of which came in the loss to CSKA Moscow), which was part of his EuroLeague postseason-record 18 three-pointers. 

And that was part of his play in setting another EuroLeague Final Four record with a Player Index Rating of 43. PIR is a common statistical measurement used in European basketball circles to track a player’s overall performance. 

Larkin’s strong performances come at a time when the Celtics will surely be looking to add some backcourt depth to a roster that’s likely to look very different next season. 

Adding someone familiar with the system is certainly among the considerations Boston will take into account when piecing together their roster going forward.

As mentioned earlier, with most of the Celtics’ point guards hitting free agency this summer, it’s highly unlikely all three will be back next season. 

Boston could certainly benefit from a return to the lineup by the 5-foot-11 Larkin, who appeared in 54 games for the Celtics during the 2017-2018 and often provided a nice spark off the bench. 

His departure to play overseas was due in part to having a limited role with the Celtics last season, a role that never expanded during the season despite solid play when he was on the floor. 

And while one can certainly see the benefits for the Celtics if he were to return, it’s unclear if his role would be any different in a second tour of duty and because of that, there’s legit uncertainty as to whether Larkin would even entertain the idea of coming back. 

Regardless of whether he stays overseas, returns to Boston or comes back to the NBA with another team, Larkin’s play this past season in Europe was yet another reminder of what he’s capable of doing when given a shot at having a meaningful role. 

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Enes Kanter clowns Kendrick Perkins over bold Celtics trade proposal

Enes Kanter clowns Kendrick Perkins over bold Celtics trade proposal

Here's your friendly reminder that NBA players aren't oblivious to pre-deadline trade chatter.

Former Celtics big man and current ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins tweeted his belief Thursday that if Boston wants to take the next step, it needs to acquire a legitimate center.

Perkins' suggestion: Trade Gordon Hayward to the Oklahoma City Thunder for big man (and former Perkins teammate) Steven Adams.

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Guess who doesn't think the Celtics need a big man upgrade? Current big man Enes Kanter.

Neither participant is really at fault here; Perkins is entitled to dish out hot takes an analyst, while Kanter is entitled to disagree with Perkins' hot takes, especially when they suggest Kanter isn't good enough.

As for the take itself: Perkins isn't the first person to suggest the Celtics should add a big body ahead of the Feb. 8 trade deadline to combat Eastern Conference behemoths like Philadelphia's Joel Embiid and Milwaukee's Brook Lopez.

The C's reportedly have kept tabs on big men like Andre Drummond and Danilo Gallinari, too, so this general scenario isn't out of the question.

Whether Boston would trade Hayward for Adams straight-up is a different story. Adams is averaging 11.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game as OKC's rock-solid rim protector but is due $27.5 million next season with a 7.5 percent trade kicker, and the Celtics reportedly are unwilling to part with any members of their "core," which presumably includes Hayward.

We'll find out between now and Feb. 8 whether Kanter or Perkins gets the last laugh.

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Timberwolves exec makes strong declaration on Karl-Anthony Towns' future

Timberwolves exec makes strong declaration on Karl-Anthony Towns' future

Apologies to NBA fans hoping their team would trade for Minnesota Timberwolves superstar Karl-Anthony Towns. It doesn't sound like the T-Wolves have any desire at all to move the talented center.

Towns signed a five-year, $190 million supermax contract extension with the Timberwolves in September of 2018. Normally, players with lots of term left on their deal are not talked about in trade rumors, but that hasn't stopped speculation over Towns' future in Minnesota.

For example, The Athletic reported in December the Golden State Warriors "have been monitoring Karl-Anthony Towns’ situation in Minnesota."

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Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, who was hired by Minnesota in May of 2019, made it quite clear in recent comments made to ESPN's Eric Woodyard that Towns isn't going anywhere.

"Karl-Anthony Towns is as untouchable as they come. He's the best player on our team and he's the guy we're building around. Everything we do is to help him become the best player and to help us become the best team we can be. He's a special talent that we're going to do anything possible to help him achieve his highest potential."

The Timberwolves have reached the playoffs only once since Towns' 2015-16 rookie season. Minnesota enters Thursday in 13th place in the Western Conference standings and 5.5 games out of a playoff spot. The T-Wolves haven't surrounded Towns with enough talent to complete in the West. Some of the reasons for that include poor drafting, trades that haven't worked out and the fact that Minnesota is not a popular free-agent destination for stars. Andrew Wiggins also has fell short of expectations after he was acquired as the centerpiece of the Kevin Love trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014.

Towns is the type of player you unload many quality trade assets to acquire. He's averaging 26.5 points, 10.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game this season, while shooting 51.3 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from 3-point range. He's also just 24 years old and has a skill set rarely seen from a player listed at 6-foot-11 and 248 pounds.

The Timberwolves would be foolish to trade him. He's absolutely the type of player a franchise builds around, as Rosas noted in his comments to Woodyard. He's also signed long-term, so there's no pressure of upcoming free agency to force the T-Wolves' hand.

There are plenty of teams that would benefit from additional center depth for the playoffs, including the Boston Celtics. Towns, at least right now, doesn't seem to be a realistic option for those teams. 

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