Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce

Celtics stuck in limbo without Clippers trade

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If the Celtics-Clippers trade is indeed dead – and like Kurt, I have my doubts – the offseason doesn’t get any easier for the Celtics. Boston is obviously ready to move on from Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers, at least if it nets a certain combination of DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe and first-round picks and the removal of Jason Terry or Courtney Lee.

But has bringing back Rivers and Garnett become preferable to the next alternative, whatever that is?

This trade could have determined the Celtics’ entire direction as a franchise. Now, Boston must regroup and evaluate its course. Persuade Rivers, who’s obviously leery of rebuilding, to come back? Convince Garnett, who’s considering retirement, to make another run? Keep Pierce, trade him or buy out his partially guaranteed contract?

The catalyst seems to be Rivers, and the Celtics are making their preference clear. Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe:

That’s a risky choice, because Rivers could face difficulties coaching players who just received a clear indicator Rivers doesn’t want to coach them. But he’s also a highly respected coach whose best attribute is building relationships with his players.

Of course, Rivers also has a say in whether he’ll coach the Celtics next season. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

After talks in a blockbuster deal fall apart over draft pick compensation, Doc Rivers is unsure about returning to the Boston Celtics as coach, league sources told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday.

The Celtics and Rivers planned to reach a final resolution in the next few days, sources said.

As one source tied to Boston ownership and Rivers said, “You don’t just move on from this and act like nothing happened.”

If Rivers returns, the Celtics should probably push for Garnett and Pierce to return. Once Rajon Rondo gets healthy, that’s likely a team still capable of winning a playoff series, and that would be a fairly satisfying season. Rebuilding can always wait a year.

If Rivers sits out next season, hoping Garnett retires from his big contract and then buying out or trading Pierce might become a better plan. That would give the Celtics flexibility to rebuild around Rondo and Jeff Green, but that plan would work work much better with DeAndre Jordan and an extra first-round draft pick in tow.

That’s why the Celtics have incentive to re-engage the Clipper in trade talks. The alternatives without it just aren’t as appealing and will require some difficult decisions.

Kings’ Rudy Gay suffers apparent torn left Achilles tendon, would be done for season

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This not only changes the Kings dreams of making the playoffs in the West, it also alters the trade deadline and free agency.

Rudy Gay, the Kings wing and second-leading scorer, has been diagnosed with a torn left Achilles tendon, according to the team. During the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers, Gay drove out of the right corner and, untouched, fell to the floor hard. He had to be helped off the court by teammates.

Team doctors made the initial torn Achilles diagnosis, which will need to be confirmed by an MRI scheduled for Thursday. He would be out not only for this season but likely the start of the next one as well.

Without Gay, a lot more will fall on Matt Barnes and, once he returns from his calf injury in a couple of weeks, Omri Casspi. Those two are a drop off from what Gay brought to the Kings,  and with that team’s playoff chances have taken a hit (they are 1.5 games out of the eight seed after Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers). Don’t be surprised if the Kings look to add a scorer at the trade deadline.

Gay was not happy in Sacramento and said he planned to opt out of the $14.3 million final year of his contract to be a free agent next summer, which made him someone potentially traded before the deadline (although the Kings being in the playoff hunt impacted that). Gay averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game for the Kings, and while his game was a little old school — more isolation and midrange shots than teams prefer — he put up points. Enough that he was drawing trade interest heading toward the deadline from Oklahoma City and other squads.

That is all off the table now. At age 30, if Gay does still opt out of his contract for next season this will impact what he would make on the free market.

Zaza Pachulia lays out Russell Westbrook, stands over him (video)

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Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.

Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.

Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.

Report: 76ers’ Ben Simmons sitting entire season still on table

TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK - AUGUST 07:  Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers poses for a portrait during the 2016 NBA Rookie Photoshoot at Madison Square Garden Training Center on August 7, 2016 in Tarrytown, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?

It just won’t die.

Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.

Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.

76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.

It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.

Roy Hibbert passes ball into hoop, reacts with perfect facial expression (video)

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The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.

Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).