Dwight Howard out Sunday against Pistons

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UPDATE Feb. 3 11:30 a.m. ET: Howard is out for Sunday’s game against the Pistons, according to multiple reports. He still has pain in that right shoulder, and as we speculated yesterday, it makes more sense for him to get a couple of extra days of rest in advance of the game against the Nets in Brooklyn on Tuesday.

Dwight Howard’s latest re-aggravation of the torn labrum in his right shoulder came Wednesday night in a loss to the Suns, and it appeared to be pretty serious afterward. Howard said it was the most pain he’s felt since the original injury occurred, and he missed the Lakers win over the Timberwolves on Friday to get PRP treatment on the shoulder back in Los Angeles.

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Feb 2: Howard must be feeling a little better, as he traveled on Saturday to rejoin the team in Detroit, and is listed as a game-time decision for the Lakers 1 p.m. ET contest against the Pistons on Sunday.

Despite the official designation, he’s expected to play, according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.

Detroit has some quality big men in Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, so L.A. could certainly use Howard if he’s ready. It wouldn’t hurt to rest him one more game, however, to ensure he’ll be ready for a bigger test against the Nets in Brooklyn on Tuesday.

The Pistons are awaiting the debut of Jose Calderon, who they acquired as part of the trade that landed Rudy Gay in Toronto. Calderon was unable to make his debut on Friday due to visa issues, but Detroit had no trouble blowing out the Cavaliers at home nonetheless.

Pau Gasol started in place of Howard in Minnesota, and looked every bit the All-Star who was a part of two championship teams in Los Angeles. He’ll likely return to a reserve role when Howard returns, as Mike D’Antoni prefers to use Gasol at center while Howard is on the bench.

Howard is averaging 16.5 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 2.4 blocked shots in 34.7 minutes per game this season.

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.