Thursday And-1 links: Comparing Kobe and CP3

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Here is our daily look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul, compared by their fellow Olympians in Beijing and coaches. My takeaway is guys love playing with CP3, which is great news for the Clippers.

• Mohammad El Akkari scored 113 points in a Lebenese league game. Jim Buss now wants to draft him.

• The Bulls have signed Mike James for the rest of this season.

• Dennis Rodman may play in the Bulgarian All-Star game. No, sadly we are serious.

• John Calipari went to the Spurs at the Celtics game last night. Don’t read anything into that — if he does come to coach in the NBA next season it will not be because he deposed Doc Rivers or Gregg Popovich. My guess, he was coming to see if Rajon Rondo had any eligibility left.

• The Rockets have inked Earl Boykins to a second 10-day contract.

• Metta World Peace said after the Lakers win that he is playing through some minor ankle pain suffered in the OKC game.

• Happy birthday Matt Bonner. Today your sandwich is on me.

• NBA agent Aaron Mintz resigned from Priority Sports & Entertainment (Mark Bartelstein’s group) and signed with Creative Artists Agency (CAA). And now Mintz has filed a lawsuit against his former employer.

• How James Harden could end up a Wizards next summer. (Not going to happen, but here’s how it could.)

• Gerald Wallace said he was surprised Portland traded him at the deadline.

• Al Thornton is working hard to get healthy and get back to the NBA.

• Trey Burke, the small and quick Michigan point guard, has declared for the draft after his freshman season. He’s strong and has some skills but is considered a second round pick right now by most scouts. Going to need some monster workouts to change that.

• Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month for March Pierce averaged 22.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists for the month. This is two in a row for Durant.

• Magic Johnson talks about the NBA, but also about this cool new toy he bought.

• Justin Dentmon could get a call up from the D-League by the Raptors.

• Check out this video of an artist painting a portrait of Jeremy Lin while dancing during the halftime of a Knicks game. (Hat tip to IamaGM.com.)

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.