Celtics

Shane Larkin remains optimistic in the face of adversity

Shane Larkin remains optimistic in the face of adversity

BOSTON – Shane Larkin is optimistic.

You have to be when you’ve traveled as complicated a road playing professionally as he has.

While disappointed with his left shoulder injury suffered in Boston’s Game 4 loss at Philadelphia, Larkin remains hopeful that his injury will heal enough to where he can contribute at some point during Boston’s upcoming Eastern Conference finals series against Cleveland.

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“I’m not ruling anything out,” said Larkin in an interview with NBC Sports Boston and the Boston Globe. “It’s still fresh, it’s still sore. I can’t really do much. It’s frustrating but you have to stay positive.”

Larkin added, “It’s just an unfortunate thing.”

Especially when it appears Larkin’s season could potentially be over now.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said he did not anticipate Larkin back anytime soon.

Surgery at this point is not an option being seriously considered.

“Not from anything we’ve been told, but he got hit pretty good,” Stevens said. “The imaging suggested surgery probably won’t be needed.”

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While Larkin hasn’t put up big numbers for Boston, there’s no mistaking the fact that he has been an X-factor in a few games this season by tipping the scales of success in Boston’s favor with his play-making and surprisingly solid defense.

“That’s something that just kind of came after a while,” Larkin said in an earlier interview with NBC Sports Boston. “Every team has scorers, but not every team has guys who want to defend and do so at a high level.  That’s kind of where I’m at now.”

And the Celtics clearly benefited from that aspect of his game.

“He’s done a lot of great things for us all year and through the playoffs,” Stevens said of Larkin. “So, it’s a bummer for him. That’s where you always start in these scenarios. And then we’ll figure it out.”

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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.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

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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Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Magic, which begins Friday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

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."

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

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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