Reggie Lewis passed away 18 years ago today

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In the coming few years, Boston’s “big three” are going to walk away from the game, and Rajon Rondo is going to be the bridge to the future, the guy they start building around.

Reggie Lewis was going to be that guy in Boston in the early 1990s, when Boston’s first Big Three stepped away. Lewis was an All-Star and an immense talent, a gritty and talented player who had earned the love of his teammates and the city.

Then in Game 1 of the 1993 NBA playoffs, Lewis collapsed and shocked everyone, scared everyone but survived. He did not return those playoffs and that turned out to be his final NBA game. On July 27 of that summer, playing some pickup at Brandeis University, he collapsed again and this time never got up. Lewis was just 27 and entering the prime of his career.

He is still missed in Boston and in many places. Muggsy Bogues was a high school teammate and talked to SLAM about Lewis.

Words can’t describe the pain. Reg was such a great friend of ours, such a great person, so humble, and he was just starting to reach his stardom. That was his team, the Boston Celtics. The Big Three (Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish), had passed the torch down to him and that was something that he felt so grateful for, so respected, because he respected those guys and he earned their respect—it wasn’t something that they just gave him, he earned it. He’s always been that type of humble guy. Even though he was the sixth man on a high school team, you know Reg could start on anybody’s team, but he was able to accept that role to allow us to do what we was able to do—to win the national championship two years in a row. And he always had been that way, and that’s one of the reasons why he was able to put Boston on his shoulders and able to do the things he was able to do and get the respect from the Big Three, as he called it. So now I know he’s smiling up there, watching over his kids, just wishing everybody can continue to keep doing what their supposed to do, because that’s what he would want us to do.

Rich Levine of the Standing Room Only blog at CSNNE.com, reminded us of this clip, which will remind — or maybe for younger readers show you for the first time — just how special Lewis was as a player.

Report: Timberwolves active in trying to land Paul George or Jimmy Butler

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Minnesota is one of the NBA’s best positioned up-and-coming teams. They have a franchise cornerstone in Karl-Anthony Towns, a quality No. 2 in Andrew Wiggins, maybe like Zach LaVine can blossom into an All-Star, and players such as Gorgui Dieng and Nemanja Bjelica could be part of the picture. Maybe Ricky Rubio, too, although he’s further along his career arc. A lot of people look at this team and think around 2020, when the Warriors fade (or break apart), the Timberwolves can step up to elite.

Tom Thibodeau is apparently not willing to be that patient — he’s looking to get in the Paul George/Jimmy Butler talks, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Thibodeau helped develop Butler in Chicago and they have a great relationship, he certainly makes the Timberwolves better next season. Same with George, although he’s a rental who almost certainly bolts after the coming season

My question to the Timberwolves: Why?

What was wrong with the building trajectory they are on? I get it, they haven’t been to the playoffs since 2004, a ton of money was just sunk into upgrades at the Target Center, and the owner is not getting younger. Those are all non-basketball reasons to screw up what the basketball side is doing right. It’s the mistake of poor franchises to let that happen.

Could the Timberwolves use a point guard of the future, more depth on the wings and better defenders all around? You bet. But they don’t need to rush the development program either. If Minnesota can land Butler only giving up Rubio and a protected future first or something, sure, but the Bulls continue to ask a very high price for a deal.

Outside of personal feelings, why would the Timberwolves do that?

Report: LaMarcus Aldridge unhappy playing for Spurs

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The Spurs trading LaMarcus Aldridge – they’re reportedly shopping him – could open enough cap space to sign Chris Paul.

But that isn’t the only reason San Antonio is trying to move Aldridge.

Sam Amick of USA Today:

According to a person with knowledge of the Spurs forward’s situation, it’s the 31-year-old’s unhappiness in San Antonio that is the driving force behind the Spurs’ trade talks on Thursday. The five-time All-Star, according to the person, is hopeful that San Antonio can find a better fit for his talents.

Rumors about the Spurs trading Aldridge emerged early in the season, as he was reportedly unhappy about Kawhi Leonard getting the spotlight. When Aldridge signed with San Antonio, it seemed Leonard could do the heavy lifting as the team’s best player and Aldridge could get outsized credit as the leading scorer. But Leonard has emerged as the go-to offensive player, pushing Aldridge into a supporting role both in reality and reputation. Gregg Popovich calling out Aldridge publicly during the playoffs surely didn’t improve relations.

Aldridge turns 32 this summer and will likely become a free agent after next season. Wanting to leave the Spurs – held up as the NBA’s best culture – will raise additional red flags.

San Antonio might not get as much as it hopes in a trade for Aldridge. If Chris Paul is coming, the Spurs wouldn’t need as much for Aldridge. But they won’t know about Paul until July.

San Antonio also values building a roster of players who’ve, as Popovich puts it, “gotten over themselves.” If that’s not Aldridge, the Spurs might not want to keep him around.

There are numerous factors to weigh and incomplete information, but this is the twisting road San Antonio is navigating.

Here’s Knicks’ reported asking price from Celtics in Kristaps Porzingis trade

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Knicks president Phil Jackson’s asking price for Kristaps Porzingis is reportedly “massive.”

Just what does that mean?

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

According to a Knicks source, Jackson is asking for the third overall pick in Thursday’s draft as well as next year’s Brooklyn pick along with Jaylen Brown and Jae Crowder. This version of the deal would not include Boston taking on Joakim Noah‘s contract.

All the Knicks fans who threatened to relinquish their fandom if the team traded Porzingis – most would love this deal.

Would the Celtics? I doubt it.

The question is whether there’s a middle ground between what New York wants and what Boston would do. It’s possible Jackson won’t budge and is just shopping Porzingis on the off chance someone accepts outlandish requests like these and to teach Porzingis a lesson for skipping his exit meeting.

Report: First-round draft prospect says Phil Jackson fell asleep during his workout

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Like I said, there are better reasons to criticize Phil Jackson than him saying his priority was the Knicks and that he had discussed trading Kristaps Porzingis.

Jay Williams of ESPN:

A top-15 draft pick told me the other day, because we were involved in this out of this conversation about Phil Jackson and the Knicks, and he said, “Phil Jackson was falling in and out of sleep in my workout.”

Yes. “Falling in and out of sleep at my workout.” This is what this guy told me.

Especially given Jackson’s salary and reputation for not being a diligent worker, this story is too good to check out.