It’s decision time in Brooklyn — do they re-sign Lopez now?

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If the Dwight Howard trade comes down in the next 24 to 48 hours it is because of this — everybody had to move on with their “Plan B” if Howard wasn’t coming.

Nowhere is that more evident than Brooklyn.

The Nets have been Howard’s preferred destination and the franchise has spent the better part of a year trying to come up with deals to land him. The most recent was maybe the closest — a four-team deal that had 11 players plus four picks flying around. But that deal collapsed under its own weight when Cleveland pulled out.

Now the Nets face a choice, is it time to move on? Is it time to say Brook Lopez is their guy? Stephen Bondy laid it out at the New York Daily News.

If Lopez re-signs with the Nets and doesn’t agree to a sign and trade, it would kill any deal for Howard until at least Dec. 15 (when players can be traded after signing contracts in the offseason), or maybe forever (if Howard is dealt elsewhere).

So as the clock ticks on this never-ending saga — and while separate trade proposals involving the Rockets and Lakers were gaining traction — the Magic was being forced to take a harder look at their 7-foot question: is Lopez, a strong offensive player with a limited presence in the paint, worth taking the leap for?

Not at the max deal reportedly being discussed, if you ask me. Lopez can score around the basket and has a nice midrange touch — his offensive game has never been in question. But he doesn’t rebound well for his position and is not a shot-blocking help defender like the Nets need. He’s good, he’s just not a max guy, to me.

But the Nets are reportedly working to get insurance (Lopez missed much of last season with a foot issue) on a max deal. Once that offer goes on the table and he signs it, it may forever kill the Dwight Howard plan.

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.