Brad Stevens is just 36 years old and has never coached a single minute of NBA basketball. None of that mattered to the Boston Celtics, of course, who hired Stevens as the head coach that will succeed Doc Rivers, and will hopefully return the storied franchise to relevance sooner rather than later.
Stevens is beginning his tenure wisely — by reaching out to former players and welcoming them with open arms.
From longtime NBA scribe Peter Vecsey:
Brad Stevens sent letter 2 former Celtic players. Said if they ever want 2 attend practice or home/away games, call his office…cont..
…Stevens said they’re always welcome to continue to be part of the Celtics’ tradition.
It’s a smart move by Stevens, and it’s easy to understand why he’d go to the trouble of doing such a thing.
Having former players around a young team in a rebuilding phase is an instant way to gain credibility with the guys he’s currently coaching. It can’t be easy to enter an NBA locker room with no prior experience at that level, and by ingratiating himself with legends of seasons past, Stevens will create a franchise culture that should translate immediately to a minimal level of respect.
It’ll be up to Stevens to cultivate those player relationships, but if nothing else, opening the door for Celtics veterans to participate in his program could give him a decent head start.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.
CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Bulls acquired Dinwiddie in a trade with Detroit last month and waived him three weeks ago. He spent two years with the Pistons and appeared in 12 games last season, averaging 4.8 points and 13.3 minutes.
The Bulls announced the move Thursday.