Danny Ainge Doc Rivers

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

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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.

 

Monty Williams is back coaching with Team USA, ready to get back on NBA sidelines

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 18:  Draymond Green #14 of the 2016 USA Basketball Men's National Team drives against assistant coach Monty Williams of the 2016 USA Basketball Men's National Team during a practice session at the Mendenhall Center on July 18, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Watching Monty Williams back on the court at the USA basketball camp/practices in Las Vegas, you could see he was at home. He’s easily the best 44-year-old defender on the planet — he went toe-to-toe with Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, and the rest, was physical, and made them work for buckets. Then he’d instruct. He’s just a natural.

Back in February, Williams’ wife was killed in an auto accident. It devastated the devout family man, in ways it’s hard for us to understand who have never experienced it. He walked away from coaching the rest of the NBA season with the Thunder, and nobody questioned it for a second.

Now, after getting his feet wet with Team USA (where he is an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski), he told Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman he is ready to get back on the sidelines.

“I wouldn’t even think that if I didn’t know, one, my wife would want me to; my kids talk about it all the time. And there have been some things that have happened in my life lately that have allowed me to get that back. I’m so juiced up and ready to get back into it again.”

He is one of the better respected assistant coaches in the league, and a guy who will get another shot at a top spot someday. Soon. Can’t wait to see him back on the sidelines.

Ben Simmons says he plans to work on shooting, handles, getting stronger before camp

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons cheers from the bunch during the first half of the team's NBA summer league basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Thursday, July 14, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Associated Press
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The leap from college — even high-level college programs — to the NBA can be hard to describe. Now everybody is bigger, longer, and far more athletic — the guy at the end of the bench barely getting any burn was one of the best players on his college team.

Players get their first taste of that at Summer League. The Sixers’ No. 1 pick Ben Simmons looked pretty good when he got that taste, but you can see the development that needs to go on as well.

He’s spending the time between now and the start of training camp working on his shooting and getting stronger, among other things, he told Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com.

“I think just getting in the gym and making sure I’m getting reps up, shooting-wise, dribbling,” Simmons said earlier this week after an appearance at Sixers Camp in Wayne, Pennsylvania. “The weight room as well, making sure I get my strength back and my weight up.”

All good things. Handles and shooting in particular — he’s about to start seeing much better defenders nightly. It’s going to take time, and we’ll see how far he can go, but Simmons unquestionably brings a lot of skill and potential to the table. That he’s putting in the work is a good sign — that was one of the concerns about him heading into the draft.

New GM Bryan Colangelo is going to benefit from Sam Hinkie’s process. So long as he doesn’t screw it up.

Report: Warriors sign JaVale McGee to make-good training camp contract

JaVale McGee
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JaVale McGee is getting another shot in the NBA.

He played just 34 games off the bench for Dallas last season. He played 23 games the season before that due to injury.

But the Golden State Warriors are thin up front — Zaza Pachulia will get the bulk of the minutes at the five (when the Warriors use a traditional center), and there is the often-injured Anderson Varejao behind him. The Warriors could use another big. So they are giving McGee a look, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

This is a low-risk move by the Warriors, and it’s worth the gamble. Vintage McGee, for all his Shaqtin’ a Fool flaws, is far more athletic and a better rim protector than any of the guys the Warriors now have at the five. If it doesn’t work out — and the odds are it will not — they cut him, if it does they pay him a minimum deal.

I hope he makes it, just because the league is more fun when McGee is in it.

Russell Westbrook laughs off question about Kevin Durant

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 21:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant #35 discuss play during the first half against the Los Angeles ClipperLos Angeles Kingsat Staples Center on December 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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At some point, Russell Westbrook will sit down with members of the media and discuss Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder, how he felt about the move, and how it impacted him both personally and professionally.

But not right now. He remains silent.

This Vine making its way around, where Westbrook laughs — probably at the question, although read into that whatever you want — when asked about Durant sums up where we are.

https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js

In the full Facebook clip, Westbrook walks away, too. It’s his right. He can talk about it on his schedule.