Why not another Clippers/Celtics trade update: Maybe tomorrow

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The Clippers and Celtics keep inching toward a deal.

A much-discussed one that would send Kevin Garnett and the rights to sign coach Doc Rivers to Los Angeles. The Celtics would get DeAndre Jordan and a pick or two.

The sides are close but there is no deal yet so they will talk again Tuesday, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

For the Los Angeles Clippers to bring Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers to chase the franchise’s first NBA championship, the price to complete a deal could come down to a willingness to include an additional first-round draft pick in the package to the Boston Celtics, league sources told Yahoo! Sports on Monday night.

After pushing for the Clippers to take back long-term contracts, the Celtics relented and have shown willingness to complete the deal for DeAndre Jordanand two first-round draft picks, sources said. The Clippers are willing to give the Celtics Jordan and one draft pick, but were resisting a second future pick, sources said.

A previous iteration of the deal had the Clippers taking on the contracts of Jason Terry or Courtney Lee in exchange of Caron Butler, but that seems to be off the table Wojnaroski said. At first the Celtics wanted Eric Bledsoe in the trade, but that was a deal breaker and the Celtics have backed off that demand also.

If this deal goes down the Clippers take another step toward contender — if Garnett and Paul Pierce (who the Celtics will buy out and likely signs with Los Angeles) can stay healthy. Rivers brings credibility, and if KG and Pierce are healthy they would bring some more offensive diversity as well as some defensive stability.

Chris Paul is going to sign with the Clippers anyway, but this would make it a lock.

To do this Clippers owner Donald Sterling will have to agree to a five-year, $35 million deal as coach, plus pay part of Jordan’s trade kicker. To his credit, he seems very willing to do this (something out of character with his past as an owner, but he has gotten the taste of winning and seems to like it).

This is all very fragile, but if the Celtics are going to blow it up I’m not sure they get much of a better deal.

Joel Embiid upgrades himself from 69% to 81%: ‘Shoutout to Jalen Rose’

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A story in three parts:

1. After posting 46-15-7-7 in a win over the Lakers, frequently injured 76ers center Joe Embiid declared himself to be 69%:

2. ESPN analyst Jalen Rose called that joke “unprofessional:”

3. Embiid upgraded his status to 81% with a “shoutout to Jalen Rose:”

In case you didn’t get the joke.

Celtics’ Kyrie Irving: “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”

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The Celtics established themselves as one of the NBA’s elite teams, a contender for the Eastern Conference title, during their 16-game win streak.

However, that hot streak to start the season will matter as much as Thanksgiving leftovers in the back of the refrigerator in April by the time the playoffs roll around. This is a team that still has work to do.

Which is what Kyrie Irving was getting at in this post-loss quote from Friday night, via Israel Gutierrez of ESPN.

“There’s still a lot to accomplish going forward,” Irving said. “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”

This team still needs to get better and more consistent. The Celtics had to come from behind in the fourth quarter in eight of the 16 wins, and while the team defense was impressive the offense still can be hit and miss. Al Horford and Kyrie Irving play well off each other, but this is still the 20th ranked offense in the NBA. They are taking more long midrange jumpers than most coaches want, but the bigger challenge is they have not been finishing around the basket.

Titles are not won in November. Irving gets that. Jayson Tatum will hit the rookie wall at some point (they all do) and he needs to prove he can break through. Al Horford is playing maybe the best ball of his career and needs to keep it up. The Celtics need to keep their defensive focus (the fundamentals are there to have a top five defense). I could go on but you get the point, and so does Irving — there is a lot of work for this team to do.

Boston is off to a fantastic start, but it’s just that.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: I’ve never seen injury like Kawhi Leonard’s

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Gregg Popovich is a basketball lifer.

He’s the NBA’s most experienced active head coach. Before that, he was the Spurs’ general manager. Before that, he was an NBA assistant. Before that, he was a college head coach and assistant. Before that, he was a college player. Before that, he was a youth player.

The San Antonio coach has seen everything.

Except the right quadriceps tendinopathy suffered by Kawhi Leonard, whom Popovich said more than a week would return “sooner rather than later.” Yet, Leonard still hasn’t played this season.

Popovich, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

“Never, never,” Popovich said when asked whether he has seen such a condition hampering one of his players. “What’s really strange is that [point guard] Tony [Parker] has the same injury, but even worse. They had to go operate on his quad tendon and put it back together or whatever they did to it. So to have two guys, that’s pretty incredible. I had never seen it before those guys.”

“I keep saying sooner rather than later,” Popovich said jokingly. “It’s kind of like being a politician. It’s all baloney, doesn’t mean anything.”

The 26-year-old Leonard is one of the NBA’s biggest on-court stars. He might be the league’s best defender, and he has built himself into an offensive force. The Spurs (11-7) have fared fine without him so far, but they’ll need him to accomplish their main goals – this year and beyond.

Hopefully, Leonard’s health is better than it sounds here, because Popovich’s answer sure isn’t encouraging.

Tim Hardaway Jr. calls fallen ref safe rather than defend shot (video)

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The Knicks went on a 28-0 run.

They earned the right to showboat late in their win over the Raptors last night.

Tim Hardaway Jr. called a ref, who slipped on the baseline, safe rather than contest Serge Ibaka‘s 3-pointer. Perfection!