Report: Raptors want to make real run at Rudy Gay trade

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Memphis is shopping Rudy Gay around, seeing if they can find a deal they like — one that gets them under the luxury tax line and helps them start to reshape a roster they know as good but not a contender.

The Raptors want in on these talks, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.

Sources told ESPN.com this week that the Raptors — who tried to make a play for Gay before the 2012 NBA Draft — remain seriously “interested” in the Grizzlies’ leading scorer and are trying to assemble trade packages to bring the 26-year-old to Toronto after preliminary talks with Memphis.

Among the trade chips that the Raptors are believed to be dangling, in addition to draft considerations, are veteran point guard Jose Calderon (who possesses an expiring contract worth $10.6 million) and young big man Ed Davis.

The Grizzlies will hear worse offers — Calderon is a solid backup guard and Ed Davis has stepped up and played well since Andrea Bargnani went down.

There are also reportedly talks with the Phoenix Suns and the Sacramento Kings (the latter of which may include Zach Randolph).

But Memphis can also do better. The real question in what kind of deal Memphis would take is what kind of team they are trying to become — what is the big picture here. You can’t just throw pieces together and expect it to work (see the Lakers), you need to know what style of team you want to build then get role players that fit it.

In the end, this may be a move Memphis makes next summer. A thought Stein echoed.

Word is that the Grizzlies’ new regime is adamant that it won’t merely try to dump salary by dealing Gay in-season if it severely weakens their team in the process… Said another GM: “I think keeping Gay is still on the table for them, too.”

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.