Deron Williams signs with new agent, Jeff Schwartz

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It’s been a year of changes for Deron Williams. He had a baby girl, he got traded from the Jazz to the Nets, he had wrist surgery; it was a whirlwind year. And now another change has come. Williams has signed with a new agent, Jeff Schwartz. It’s almost as big of a deal for who he didn’t sign with as who he did.

Williams was rumored to be leaning towards Leon Rose. You know, that Leon Rose, part architect of The Decision, CAA representative, member of that shadowy collective that everyone hates that includes the Miami Big 3. Williams being under CAA threatened to resurrect nightmares of the 2010 free agency period with both Williams and Chris Paul under their belt.

Instead, Williams has chosen Schwartz, who already has a diverse and intriguing collection of clients, including Blake Griffin, Paul Pierce, Tyson Chandler, Lamar Odom, Kevin Love, Kemba Walker, and of course, Ricky Davis. But there’s one other star that raises an eyebrow in the selection of Schwartz: Jason Kidd. Kidd and Williams have grown tight through USA Basketball, where Kidd mentored Williams in tricks to become a veteran point guard. It’s also the third current or former Maverick in Schwartz’ stable.

After Game 4 of the Finals, a baseball-hat clad Deron Williams quietly slipped into the locker room while most of the media was preoccupied with the press conference room, and hugged and shook hands with various members of the Mavericks, spending the most time with Jason Kidd.

Now, before you go bonkers on how massively incomplete and rumor-monger-esque this seems, throttle down a bit. Williams is from Dallas, he lives in Dallas. Popping into a locker room to see an old friend during his Finals run is nothing of note. Not like he was hanging out with Cuban getting liquored up in advance of the 2012 free agency period a year away. Additionally, Schwartz also represents three current or former Timberwolves (Love, Al Jefferson, and Mike Beasley) and two Pistons (Chris Wilcox and Charlie Villanueva). And Williams sure isn’t winding up either one of those places. It’s just anecdotal information.

However, it is a coup for Schwartz, who will get the fun of soliciting offers in 2012 (presuming Williams opts out), with a great number of teams clearing space to make a run for him, including the team looking to sign him to an extension to avoid looking like complete idiots, the Nets.

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

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BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

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Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

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The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.