Danny Ainge Doc Rivers

Celtics plan Doc Rivers press conference, call it off. What does that mean? Who knows.


At this point, the Celtics might as well invite the Ringling Brothers into this process, because their talks with the Clippers are already a circus.

Here is what we do know:

• The Clippers still want to do a deal with Boston that would pass muster with the league, something where the Clippers send picks in compensation for the rights to sign Doc Rivers right now. Then in a few weeks they would revisit any Kevin Garnett for DeAndre Jordan trade talks. But that would be totally separate. What could possibly give you the idea they are connected?

• The Celtics called a press conference for noon Eastern on Monday where Doc Rivers and GM Danny Ainge were to address the media (and you don’t really do that if the guy is leaving). But then that presser was abruptly called off and re-scheduled for Monday. That buys the Celtics and Clippers 72 more hours to talk, at least.

All that leaves us with is a ton of questions.

Was the Boston press conference a bluff to force the Clippers back to the table? If so, it worked, apparently.

Are the two sides really any closer to a deal?

Is there a deal the two sides could reach that the league would sign off on, or in three weeks or a month would the league squash a Garnett for Jordan trade?

Is there any way Rivers, Garnett and Paul Pierce could still come back to Boston for one more year? Does Rivers even want to come back?

How badly do the Clippers really want to do a deal? There is a theory among some around the league that the Clippers restarted talks because Chris Paul asked them to and they want to keep him happy so he will re-sign, but they don’t really want to give up this much so they are just going through the motions. People around the Clippers don’t buy that, but it’s out there.

This entire situation is a circus.

I will add this — if this doesn’t come together the teams have nobody to blame but themselves. There have been more leaks around this trade than the Titanic. Because of that it’s been in the media as a connected deal — Rivers, Garnett and Pierce to the Clippers for a variety of different packages headed back East — everyone knows what they were trying to do. Including the league office. If the sides had been quiet and the Clippers traded Jordan and a couple picks for Garnett, then a couple of weeks later Doc Rivers was let go and just ended up in Los Angeles, they might have been fine. But by te time everything had been leaked and there were all these discussions, it was obvious it was all linked.

They shot themselves in the foot on this one.


Kobe Bryant went from DeMar DeRozan’s idol to his friend

Kobe Bryant, DeMar DeRozan
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TORONTO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan was 16 when he was invited to Kobe Bryant‘s camp for the top 25 American high school shooting guards.

A friendship grew between the youngster who would become an All-Star for the Toronto Raptors and the player who would become the third-leading scorer in NBA history.

DeRozan talked at length Sunday night about Bryant, who announced on The Players’ Tribune that he’ll retire after the season, capping a 20-year NBA career.

“The knowledge that he tended to give me every time I got the chance to be around him, especially at a young age, carrying over to the league, it was definitely an honor,” DeRozan said after the Raptors’ 107-102 loss Sunday night to Phoenix. “I tried to listen as much as possible, soak in as much as I could all of the time. It’s crazy how much time flies.”

Bryant was DeRozan’s favorite player while growing up in Compton, Calif.

“I’ve tried to emulate and learn so much from him ever since I was a kid, watching every single game growing up in Los Angeles, having a chance to get with him and learn from him, from conversations even when I was in high school from playing against him, completing against him, being in big games with him,” said DeRozan, who scored 29 points in Sunday’s loss. “It’s definitely a sad, sad day, but he’s been in the game a long time.”

Bryant’s announcement came just before the Lakers’ game against the visiting Indiana Pacers. Fans at the game received a letter of thanks from the 37-year-old player in a black envelope embossed with gold.

Bryant has struggled mightily with injuries the past several years, and is shooting a career-worst 32 percent this season.

“It don’t matter. That man has five rings, 17 all-stars, MVP,” DeRozan said. “There’s nothing he hasn’t done. It’s just father time catching up with him, injuries catching up with him this past year. People will appreciate it when he’s away from the game.”

DeRozan has his favorite Kobe memory – Bryant scoring 81 points against Toronto in 2006. DeRozan, who would join the Raptors as a rookie three years later, said he felt as if he was playing a video game watching the high-scoring spectacle unfold on TV.

DeRozan is in his seventh season with Toronto. He can’t imagine playing 20 years.

“Especially playing at a high level, doing the things he was doing … people don’t understand how hard that is,” DeRozan said. “Even now, a lot of us find ourselves tired (on) back-to-backs. It’s tough. It’s really tough. To do it 20 years at a high level, you have to give that man every credit in the world.”

Hornets’ Al Jefferson out 2-3 weeks with strained calf

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The Hornets have been playing well of late, going 7-3 in their last 10 and outscoring opponents by 6.3 points per 100 possessions. They are solidly in the playoff picture out East, in the six slot right now.

This is not going to help matters.

The team announced that an MRI confirmed center Al Jefferson will be out two to three weeks with a strained left calf muscle, suffered during Charlotte’s 87-82 win over Milwaukee on Sunday.

Jefferson missing a few weeks due to injury at some point during the season is an annual event, like the Rose Parade or the Head of the Charles Regatta — but this year the Hornets are better prepared to deal with it. This is the deepest Charlotte team in recent memory.

Tyler Hansbrough, Cody Zeller, and Frank Kaminsky will get more run — plus Spencer Hawes may be back in the rotation — and if they can step up the Hornets will not slow down much.

This season the Hornets defense has been downright stingy when Jefferson is on the bench, giving up 94.2 points per 100 possessions (which is 10 better than when he is on the court). However, the Hornet offense and rebounding efforts are stronger when he plays.

PBT Extra: How did Thunder, Pacers move up in PBT Power Rankings?

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As they do every Monday during the season, the PBT Power Rankings came out and while the top three remained the same there were some climbers.

Specifically, the Thunder at No. 4 and the Pacers at No. 5.

Why they are there is the latest PBT Extra topic with Jenna Corrado. The simple answer is they are both excellent teams. Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Paul George are all playing like Top 10 players.

PBT Podcast: We’re back talking Kobe, 76ers, Warriors, Pistons, more

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The ProBasketballTalk NBA podcast is back.

Sure we’re a month into the season, but we’re going to get this podcast rolling again and you can expect us on each Monday and Thursday, with a variety of guests talking everything around the NBA.

Today NBC’s own Dan Feldman joins Kurt Helin to talk Kobe Bryant‘s retirement announcement, and what that means both for the Lakers going forward this season and beyond, but also what that could mean for Byron Scott’s future as the Lakers’ coach.

We also delve into the “showdown” between the Lakers and Sixers on Thursday, talk about the job Brett Brown is doing there as coach (a good one), we talk some Warriors, some Draymond Green, Pistons, Spurs and Pacers to round it all out.

Listen to the podcast below or you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.