Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Clippers

Report: Clippers and Celtics still discussing a Kevin Garnett trade

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You may remember hearing some rumblings about this a few weeks back, but apparently the interest hasn’t died down. The Celtics and Clippers have been rumored as potential trade partners before, and that makes some sense. Boston is going to need to rebuild at some point, and the Clippers have a chance at a title for the first time in…well…forever.

With the trade deadline looming and every GM rubbing shoulders in Houston, it’s no surprise talks have been rekindled.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics are still discussing a trade for Kevin Garnett. This time, however, there’s a new wrinkle:

The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers have been discussing a deal to trade forward Kevin Garnett for guard Eric Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

There are differing factions within the Celtics and Clippers on the prudence of the deal, but the two teams have been in regular contact about the possibility, sources said.

Nevertheless, the biggest hurdle could ultimately center on Garnett’s willingness to waive his no-trade clause and accept a deal to the Clippers.

Because of his home in Malibu, and a close relationship with Clippers guard Chauncey Billups, there’s hope that Garnett, a 15-time All-Star, could be coaxed into accepting a trade if an agreement is reached, sources said.

Via Adrian Wojnarowski | Yahoo! Sports

Now this is a little different. Clippers small forward Caron Butler was mentioned in the original rumors, but he’s been replaced by DeAndre Jordan — which would obviously be a huge talent upgrade for Boston and an even bigger long term risk for the Clippers.

I’ve discussed my thoughts on trading Eric Bledsoe in this space before, but the inclusion of DeAndre Jordan would make this the ultimate “all-in” move for the Clippers, for better or worse. While no one denies the greatness of Garnett and the potential positive effect he could have on the Clippers this season, it’s a scary proposition for the Clippers to go into the offseason with Blake Griffin and no other player under the age of 31 under contract.

The “differing factions” Wojnarowski mentions loom pretty large here. Celtics GM Danny Ainge may love a deal like this, but that doesn’t mean Paul Pierce or Rajon Rondo would. Chris Paul and Vinny Del Negro, both on one year contracts, may like it, but Clippers management may not be doing backflips about it.

Stay tuned — if one thing is certain, it’s that there is interest on both sides in some capacity.

Sunday is 16th anniversary of greatest dunk ever: Vince Carter over Frederic Weis

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It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.

But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.

Best. Dunk. Ever.

By anyone.

Weis was never the same.

In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.

Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.

Hornets coach Steve Clifford suggests allowing teams to advance ball in final two minutes without timeout

Steve Clifford
AP Photo/Chuck Burton
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The final minutes of a close NBA game rank among the best moments in sports – which is pretty remarkable, considering frequent stoppages interrupt and impede enjoyment of the game.

Clutch play. Timeout. Clutch play. Timeout. Clutch play. Timeout.

Coaches should probably call fewer timeouts, because drawing up a play also allows the defense to set. But timeouts give the offense the option of advancing the inbound spot into the frontcourt, a key advantage. So, teams will keep calling timeouts.

Unless…

Steve Aschburner of NBA.com:

For Charlotte’s Steve Clifford, the ability in the final two minutes of a game to advance the ball without requiring a timeout to be called could speed up the action. That has been used on a trial basis in the D League and in Summer League, and several coaches felt it worked well.

“The game is at an all-time high in popularity, but a lot of people complain about the last two minutes,” Clifford said. “I think it would add a different dimension but it would also be a good thing in addressing our biggest issue.”

Not that the coaches would be willing to lose any of their timeouts, though. They just wouldn’t save them specifically for that purpose.

I’m here for that.

I’m unsurprised control-seeking coaches want to keep all their timeouts, and reducing those seems unlikely, anyway. The NBA pays its bills through commercial breaks.

Would moving those advertising opportunities earlier in the game pay off? Audiences are probably larger in crunch time, but an action-packed closing stretch could hook fans and grow overall audiences. It’s always a difficult decision to forgo maximizing immediate revenue in pursuit of more later.

But I’m fairly certain fans would appreciate the change, which is at least a starting point in considering it.

Kyrie Irving feels validated after hitting game-winning shot to bring title to Cleveland

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Back in July during the pre-Olympics USA Camp in Las Vegas, I asked Kyrie Irving what had changed for him, what was different for him after winning an NBA title. His answer was about the doors it opened, the possibilities that suddenly felt available to him. A month after winning the title he still seemed a little overwhelmed by the experience, and he hadn’t fully processed it yet. Which is completely understandable.

Now, as training camp is set to open for the Cavaliers and their defense of that title, Irving clearly has gotten used to being a champion — and he feels validated. Look at what he told Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“Yes, my life’s changed drastically,” Irving told cleveland.com Saturday, during Irving’s friendship walk and basketball challenge downtown for Best Buddies, Ohio — an organization that gives social growth and employment opportunities to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“It’s kind of, you’re waiting for that validation from everyone, I guess, to be considered one of the top players in the league at the highest stage,” Irving said. “That kind of changed. I was just trying to earn everyone’s respect as much as I could.”

It’s amazing to think of the impact one shot — Irving’s three over Stephen Curry with 53 seconds left in Game 7 — can have. If he misses, there is less pressure on the Warriors to answer with a three, maybe they come down and get a bucket inside for two (one could argue they should have done that anyway rather than hunt for the three), from there maybe the Warriors win. If so, that could change everything from Kevin Durant‘s summer plans to what the Cavaliers’ roster looks like today — there’s a good chance Cleveland’s lineup would have changed if they lost to the Warriors two Finals in a row.

One shot can have that kind of impact on a player, too.

Kyrie Irving was one of the top five point guards in the NBA for a while, a score first guy but one who had some floor general in him and got some steals. A lot of time seemed to be spent focusing on his flaws defensively and passing. But with that shot, he feels validated. If he carries that confidence into next season, the Cavaliers just got better.

Check out top 50 plays from Kevin Garnett’s Hall of Fame career (VIDEO)

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First Kobe Bryant. Then Tim Duncan.

Now Kevin Garnett. The Hall of Fame class in five years is going to be stacked.

But before we move on from Garnett’s announcement this week that he is retiring after 21 years in the NBA, let’s look back at his greatest plays (compiled by the folks at NBA.com). Enjoy this for 11 minutes rather than watching your NFL fantasy team flounder. Again.