Recently Danny Ainge out and out told reporters that he’s willing to hear offers for members of the Big 3. Now comes a report from the New York Daily News that takes it a step further.
But with Paul Pierce dealing with heel issues, Kevin Garnett fading, Ray Allen still effective shooting threes but headed for his 37th birthday and the Celtics 5-8 entering the weekend, the team’s owners gave GM Danny Ainge the official go-ahead to move any member of the troika.
“We’ve got to move on,” said one Celtics official. “Let’s face reality.”
Ownership giving Ainge the ability to fire when ready does change the dynamic. Instead of having to do long-term evaluation of any offer, if Ainge gets what he wants, he can pull the trigger. Furthermore, the quote from the Celts official indicates this isn’t a “trade one of the Big 3 and make one more run while looking to the future” and more of a “ABANDON SHIP, THE S.S. UBUNTU IS GOING DOWN!”
The real question is who wants the Big 3? How motivated can any of them be if they’re not competing directly for a championship? Is Paul Pierce going to be more compelled to get into gameshape for a fringe contender? Is Kevin Garnett going to be able to bring the same intensity at this age, or has he burned the fire out? Do you really want to pay Ray Allen to be a spot-up shooter on the perimeter?
So Ainge will be forced to not only break apart a team that considers itself family, but to try and upsell the players he brought together when they were three of the top fifteen players in the league. If the Celtics want to put it together and make a run, now would be the time.
John Wall goes coast-to-coast, behind-the-back for lefty dunk (VIDEO)
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) —Stephen Curry scored 34 points, Klay Thompson added 24 and the short-handed Golden State Warriors overcame a slow start to take a 3-0 lead in their playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers with a 119-113 victory on Saturday night.
The Blazers led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but couldn’t hold off the Warriors, who can clinch the series with a win Monday night in Game 4 at the Moda Center.
Golden State was without Kevin Durant, who was sitting for a second straight game cause of a left calf strain, and coach Steve Kerr stayed back at the team hotel because of illness.
The Warriors took a 108-100 lead after Andre Iguodala‘s dunk with 4:05 to go.
Noah Vonleh‘s dunk got Portland within four at 110-106 with 1:29 left, but Curry answered with a 3-pointer that all but sealed it, sending fans streaming for the exits.
Paul Millsap had 29 points, pulled down 14 boards, got to the line 11 times, and led the Hawks to the win. He got the calls he wanted this game, but Washington’s Markieff Morris was not exactly down with high praise for Millsap.
The key line here: “”He just did more for his team. He’s a crybaby. Get all the calls and you a crybaby.”
Millsap was asked about that comment in his postgame presser — and the best part may be Dennis Schroeder’s reaction.
“It definitely got personal now, yes. I mean, I don’t care. So what? He can take his loss and go back to the hotel and be ready for the next game.”
Kawhi Leonard scored 16 consecutive points for the Spurs down the stretch of regulation to force overtime, then in OT hit a corner three with 7.2 seconds left to tie the game at 108-108. Leonard finished the game with a career playoff high of 43 points.
It wasn’t enough. Because in those final seconds Marc Gasol did this.
The 110-108 Memphis win ties the series at 2-2 as it heads back to San Antonio for Game 5. I might not want to sit next to Gregg Popovich on the flight home.
While Gasol hit the big shot, he never gets the chance if Mike Conley isn’t every kind of amazing through the clutch parts of this game. Conley finished with 35 points, and that includes a floater in the lane that forced OT (although Leonard got a pretty good look to end it in regulation and just missed). I’m surprised the Spurs switched on the pseudo pick on this play.
The Spurs struggled to get stops down the stretch, mostly because they had David Lee and Tony Parker both on the floor and Memphis did a good job getting switches onto those defenders. Spurs starting center and best defensive big Dewayne Dedmon missed the game due to an illness, and that ended up mattering.