When Tim Duncan paid Brent Barry $100 to kiss David Stern

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This may qualify as my new favorite NBA story. Ever.

It goes all the way back to the fall of 2005, back when if it was an odd year you could count on the Spurs winning an NBA title. Brent Barry was part of that team, as of course was Tim Duncan.

And that’s where we pick up the story Barry told Buzzfeed (hat tip to SLAM) — Duncan and Barry are standing there moments before the tip-off of the’05-06 season, soaking in the adoration from winning a title, waiting for their name to be called so they can go up and get their ring from David Stern.

As I basked in that satisfaction I stood next to Tim Duncan. I said something like “Well that was fun last year, we should try to do this again!” He giggled his goofy giggle. And then I asked him how much he would give me if I kissed David Stern upon getting my ring.

He offered a sum, I considered it and waited for my name to be called. As I approached the Commish I felt like I couldn’t let my captain down. So after a quick ‘Congratulations Brent’ from David I hugged him and planted one right on his cheek. To this day, I swear he and grandma have the same skin.

As I moved slowly from the spotlight as it found the next player, I casually glanced over to Tim and, wiping my tongue with my finger tips as if something flakey remained from my time with Mr. Stern, I mouthed the words: “You owe me a hundred bucks!”

Maybe the best part of this is that Barry and Duncan are on the 2007 title team for the Spurs as well and before that ring ceremony David Stern pulled Barry aside in the Spurs locker room and said there would be no kiss.

Actually, no. The statement Stern’s skin feels like his grandmother’s is the best part. Going away.

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.