Celtics

Would Kelly Olynyk still be with Celtics if Gordon Hayward joined Heat instead?

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Would Kelly Olynyk still be with Celtics if Gordon Hayward joined Heat instead?

Kelly Olynyk was the hero for the Boston Celtics in their Game 7 win to eliminate the Washington Wizards in the 2017 Eastern Conference semifinals. Two months later, he was taking his talents to South Beach to play for the Miami Heat.

Olynyk might still be a Celtic if Gordon Hayward, who met with the Heat in free agency in the summer of 2017, decided to pass on the Celtics and join Pat Riley's roster instead.

"I mean, who knows where any of us would be right now otherwise?" Olynyk told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Ira Winderman ahead of Thursday night's Celtics vs. Heat matchup in Miami. 

Olynyk was a restricted free agent that summer as his rookie contract expired. The Heat offered him a four-year, $50 million offer sheet, and he wisely accepted. The Celtics, understandbly, weren't going to match that after agreeing to a max contract with Hayward.

"I don't even know if the Heat would have offered me an offer sheet," Olynyk said, per Winderman. "So you never know what happened. If he didn't sign there, maybe I would be back in Boston now."

It's really impossible to say with any certainty if Olynyk would still be with the Celtics right now had Hayward gone elsewhere. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge turned over nearly his entire 2016-17 roster, headlined by the blockbuster trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers that included swapping point guards Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving. Ainge isn't afraid to trade anyone if it's going to make his team better.

Olynyk was a solid player for Boston, but it's probably for the best he moved on. He's currently averaging 9.7 points per game and shooting just 33.7 percent from 3-point range. The Celtics have a lot of decisions to make in free agency over the next few years, and not having Olynyk's $12-plus million salary cap hit on the books is helpful. The Celtics gave Marcus Smart a very similar four-year contract in July, and he provides much more value than Olynyk.

Olynyk will be squaring off against Hayward as a Celtic for the first time Thursday night. Hayward, of course, missed all the Celtics-Heat meetings last season due to injury. It should provide Olynyk with extra motivation to play well, and improve on his 17.3 points per game average against the C's from last year.

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NBA Rumors: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant won't play for Nets when season resumes

NBA Rumors: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant won't play for Nets when season resumes

Since the NBA's suspended season has given Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant months to recover from their respective injuries, some believed they could return and make the Brooklyn Nets title contenders.

That theory was put to rest on Friday.

Durant confirmed to ESPN's Marc J. Spears he will not be returning to play when the NBA season resumes in Orlando, Fla. next month. As for Irving, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski says the former Boston Celtics guard suggested on Friday's NBPA conference call it's possible he could join the team... as an inactive player.


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Durant missed the entire 2019-20 campaign after rupturing his Achilles tendon in last year's NBA Finals. Irving underwent surgery in March to repair an impingement in his right shoulder that ended his first season with the Nets after only 20 games.

Brooklyn currently holds the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 30-34 record on the season.

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck offers thoughts on NBA's 22-team return plan

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck offers thoughts on NBA's 22-team return plan

On Thursday, the NBA announced a 22-team plan to resume the 2019-20 season in Orlando, Fla.

The plan passed by an overwhelming 29-1 vote among teams, with the Portland Trail Blazers as the only organization to vote against it. Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, obviously, was one of the many in favor of the plan and discussed why Friday on Felger & Mazz.

"The point that seemed the most fair is not to give a team that was lagging farther behind in the East, and that was for example [the Charlotte Hornets] who are seven games back," Grousbeck said. "In the history of the NBA, no one has ever come from seven games back at this point in the season. And so, it's more fair to say no, we can only take so many teams because of safety.

"We don't want to have 500 more people with all 30 teams. We'd just have more of a chance of getting shut down because of the virus. So there was a line to be drawn, and we all decided 29-1 that this was the most fair line."

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With safety as the No. 1 concern going forward, it's a no-brainer to limit the teams heading down to Walt Disney World to only the ones that can fight for a playoff spot.

Grousbeck also suggested that the Eastern Conference No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks could be the C's first opponent when the league returns to action. The Celtics were preparing for a matchup in Milwaukee when the season was suspended in mid-March.

"I think our first game is going to be Milwaukee, which that would be interesting," Grousbeck said. "Because that's what the schedule looks like just from the current schedule. We don't have the new schedule yet. But we'll probably start right off with Milwaukee."

The C's currently have the No. 3 seed in the East as they prepare to return to the court.

You can hear the rest of what Grousbeck had to say in the video above.