Stephen A. Smith says Rasheed Wallace will return to Celtics

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UPDATE #2, 5:08 pm: Rasheed Wallace’s agent is now the latest to say his return does not appear likely, although like a good agent should Bill Strickland left the door open a crack when talking to FanHouse:

“I don’t think that’s the case — for now anyway,” Strickland told FanHouse. “He has a period of time to where he may be thinking about it, but he has not given me any indication of his intent to return. … He’s still saying that for now he’s good, that he’s OK where he is.”

UPDATE 3:53 pm: Doc Rivers threw cold water on this bit of reporting/speculation when speaking to the media on Wednesday, saying “there have been no discussions” along these lines, as tweeted by Comcast New England‘s A. Sherrod Blakely. Which is probably the truth but not nearly as much fun as making up scenarios where ‘Sheed returns to Boston (although the only logical one is an ugly rash of injuries, so we’re trying to come up with better ones). Just leave us to daydreaming, thank you.

1: 09 pm: Honestly, we’d laugh this off if it weren’t for the fact months before LeBron James announced where he was taking is talents, Stephen A. Smith was calling Miami. We all laughed it off then, turns out he was right.

So with that, we bring you what Smith said on the Dan Patrick show Wednesday:

Smith said that the Celtics counter the Heat’s athleticism with “brute size” and Rasheed Wallace will come out of retirement to come back to the Celtics.

Smith said Wallace told him that’s the plan, because he wants another shot at the Lakers in the NBA Finals.

The idea of a retired Sheed returning halfway through the season was a hot rumor last season during the finals. He still lives in the Boston area and has shown up at some Celtics practices. Wallace walked away from $12 million on his contract because he didn’t like playing through injuries, he didn’t have another full season and that grind in him. But he showed in Game 7 — forced to start due to the injury to Kendrick Perkins — that he still has some game, scoring 11 points of 5-11 shooting and grabbing 8 rebounds. In a game where everyone seemed tight, Wallace and Ron Artest of the Lakers were the two seemingly unaffected by the moment.

One little problem with this grand return (and not just that the Lakers and Celtics may not make the finals) — the Celtics already have 15 guys under contract. To bring in Wallace means to buy out someone else, like Von Wafer. And that’s just not likely to happen. But we’re not ruling anything out.

Report: Celtics focused on adding All-Star-caliber frontcourt player

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Isaiah Thomas said he he’d happily forgo a renegotiation-and-extension if the Celtics use their cap space to upgrade their roster.

Where are they looking?

A. Sherrod Blakey of CSN New England:

Multiple league sources have told CSNNE.com in recent weeks that the Celtics are focused on landing an All-Star caliber talent in the frontcourt.

In the last three years, 22 frontcourt players have been All-Stars. Boston already has one: Al Horford. Could the Celtics land any of the other 22?

Almost certainly unavailable

Free agency

Trade

Free agency or trade

  • Pau Gasol (Though Gasol said he’d opt in, San Antonio might try pushing him out to pursue Paul. If Gasol opts in, the Spurs could also trade him to clear space for Paul.)
  • Dirk Nowitzki (The Mavericks have a $25 million team option on Nowitzki for next season. Nowitzki going to Boston, via trade or free agency, would probably require a mutual agreement between Dallas and him that pursuing a title elsewhere is the right way for him to end his career.)

Report: Spurs exploring Chris Paul pursuit

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The Clippers are taking the Chris Paul-to-Spurs rumors seriously.

And apparently so are the Spurs.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The San Antonio Spurs are exploring the feasibility of making a free-agent run at All-Star point guard Chris Paul, league sources told ESPN.

San Antonio must complete three difficult objectives to land Paul:

  • Clear cap space. Even if they trim their roster to Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Danny Green and Tony Parker, the Spurs would still have to dump two of them to clear max room. Can they convince Gasol to reverse course and opt out, maybe re-signing at a major discount? Would they trade Parker, who has meant so much to the franchise? Would they deal Aldridge or Green, players who would make major contributions to a Leonard/Paul-led team?
  • Convince Paul to accept a projected max of $152 million over four years rather than the projected $205 million he could get over five years from the Clippers. Although the annual difference is just $3 million and Paul could sign another deal in four years, it’s unlikely he recoups that at age 36.
  • Convince Paul to leave big-market L.A. for small-market San Antonio. Remember, Paul forced his way from small-market New Orleans then ascended into one of the NBA’s biggest endorsement stars.

The Spurs boast a fantastic basketball culture, and Leonard and Popovich make great partners in a championship chase. There are reasons San Antonio is gaining traction with Paul.

But there’s still a lot for the Spurs to overcome. Will they? At least they’re trying rather than just dismissing the plot as unfeasible.

Cleveland GM David Griffin: “I hope everybody says we have no chance”

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The Golden State Warriors are heavy favorites to win the NBA title. According to bovda.lv, bet $100 on the Warriors to win the title and you get $41.7 dollars. Bet $100 on the Cavaliers and you get $200. And that number is likely to get worse for Warriors fans.

The Cavaliers are okay with that. They like being the underdogs. Look at what GM David Griffin said in a televised interview after they eliminated the Celtics in Game 5, via Cleveland.com.

“I hope everybody says we have no chance,” General Manager David Griffin said during a TV interview following the Cavaliers’ 135-102 win Thursday night against the Boston Celtics, clinching a third straight NBA Finals appearance.

“Obviously the team we’re playing is as good as you can possibly put together, it’s going to be an unbelievable battle for us, but I think [the Cavs] love battling together. The greater the odds, the better we seem to play together. We really do rally around each other in that sense.”

There is some truth to that.

There’s also a difference between that truth and slowing Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. How the Cavaliers are going to do that will be the interesting part of these playoffs.

Detroit’s Van Gundy honored for cooperation with media, fans

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons has won the Rudy Tomjanovich Award, which honors an NBA coach for his cooperation with media and fans, as well as excellence on the court.

The Professional Basketball Writers Association announced the winner Friday. Van Gundy was one of five finalists for the award. The others were Steve Clifford of the Charlotte Hornets, Mike D’Antoni of the Houston Rockets, David Fizdale of the Memphis Grizzlies and Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics.

Dwane Casey of the Toronto Raptors won the award last season.