It was an emotional moment.
Doc Rivers pulled out his stars Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen in what may have been their final game together. There were hugs and embraces all around on the Celtics bench.
Then Rondo and Garnett kept walking, all the way back to the locker room before the final buzzer sounded — cameras followed them all the way back to the locker room while there was time on the clock.
They snubbed the Heat and did not take part in the traditional post-game hand congratulations and hand shakes with the other team.
Classless way to end it, guys.
A bunch of you just said, “so what? They were pissed off after losing Game 7 like they should be.” You are all the exact same people who would have ripped LeBron James as a disrespectful jerk if he did it. And in the past, when Lebron did skip the postgame handshake, it became a huge deal and he was shredded for it. This is exactly the same thing. You can’t have it both ways.
I get that they were ticked off but I expect them to be mature adults. I expect them to be able to accept defeat with a modicum of grace — Ray Allen did it, Paul Pierce did it, Doc Rivers did it, the other Celtics did it. You don’t have to be happy but you do have to show the opponents that just beat you some respect.
Struggling on defense — their calling card — then walking out on shaking hands is just a sad way to see a fantastic era of Celtics basketball probably come to an end. I just expected more from KG and Rondo.
Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.
Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.
But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.
LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.
LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.
However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.
For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.
Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.
Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:
Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.