Report: Dwight Howard not expected back for playoffs

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First, this report is believable because it’s hard to see how Dwight Howard could bounce back from a herniated disc in his back quickly enough to be a force in the playoffs.

Second, it comes from WKMG’s Dave Pingalore, the guy that said Dwight Howard wanted Stan Van Gundy out the day before Van Gundy confirmed it and the entire situation blew up. (Via Ball Don’t Lie.)

Pingalore says that Howard will not be back, and he still doesn’t like Van Gundy.

Local 6 Sports Director David Pingalore has learned through NBA and Orlando Magic sources that Dwight Howard does not want to play for head coach Stan Van Gundy any longer. According to his sources, Howard is still upset with Van Gundy confirming Pingalore’s report from earlier this month that Howard went to Magic management asking for Van Gundy to be fired…

Howard would also likely sit out the postseason, according to the source.

First off, this story is just oddly written — somebody clearly wrote it for Pingalore, but next time just have him write it nor ghost write it for him. If he hadn’t already broken a story, we would have discarded.

But like I said, it’s believable — nobody thinks Van Gundy lasts the summer because Orlando is desperate to keep Howard (and teams that bend over backwards like this for their stars always get… oh, wait). Secondly, it just seems very unlikely that Howard can come back in any condition that is really going to help the Magic. But the back injury and Van Gundy are not necessarily related issues for Hoard.

Right now, every team in the East is trying to figure out if there is a way they can play the Magic in the first round.

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.