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Could Jared Sullinger become rookie starter for Celtics?


Jared Sullinger slid down the draft board back in June because doctors had red-flagged his back. There might be surgery needed.

He fell all the way to the Celtics, a team with a solid veteran power forward in Brandon Bass — a guy who hit some big shots and played a role in the team reaching the Eastern Conference finals.

Looks like Sullinger may slide right past Bass into the starting lineup.

Sullinger started Sunday for Boston in its second preseason game. You want to be careful reading too much into preseason lineup changes, but Sullinger was running with the starters in practice and coach Doc Rivers said he would consider it, according to Gary Washburn at the Boston Globe.

“I’m going to try (Sullinger) a couple of games, and then I’ll throw Brandon in and then I’ll put Darko (Milicic) in a couple of times,” Rivers said following the team’s workout Wednesday. “You can read into it whatever you want. But there’s been no decision made on anything.”

That’s a coach talking. In coach speak. But clearly Sullinger has caught his eye.

“I don’t really want to get into who’s starting who’s not yet. We’ll see. I’m not worried about our starting lineup. I’m far more worried about our second lineup, and that’s the lineup that we’re going to keep moving guys around.”

That second unit could really use a steady, smart, pick-and-pop big to provide some points. Someone just like Brandon Bass.

LeBron says “get it done” message was for both Cavaliers, Thompson

LeBron James
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Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.

So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.

When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.

At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.

The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.

China basketball qualifies for 2016 Olympics

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China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.

China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.

Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.

The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.