Ray Allen

Ray Allen says Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett haven’t spoken to him since he left Celtics for Heat

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The players and coaches of the Celtics team that won a title in 2008 and contended for a few years afterward pretended as though there was a bond in place that was more special than it was anywhere else.

But once the business side of things began to take precedent over the basketball side, things changed.

Ray Allen was the subject of multiple trade rumors leading up to his decision to leave the Celtics and join the Miami Heat in the summer of 2012. He had no guarantees from the front office as to what his future would be in Boston, and perhaps seeing the writing on the wall that the Celtics’ window to win another title had already slammed shut, he hopped onto the roster of the defending champs.

That didn’t sit well with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, who wanted to keep the band together for one more tour. And they still apparently haven’t forgiven Allen for his decision, even now that more than an entire season has passed.

From Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald:

“They haven’t spoken to me,” Allen said before last night’s game against what remained of his former team. Allen played 24 minutes and had five points with three assists as the Celtics stunned the defending champion Heat, 111-110. …

“For them to be so upset with me is disappointing because of how everything happened,” Allen said. “That banner in 2008 is still going to be there, and we’re still going to be tied to it.

“Look, I have a feeling they were in the same predicament I was in this summer. Even with Doc (Rivers), he had to make a decision that was best for himself. I was in the same situation. I’m happy they were put into the same situation as I was. Anytime you get traded there’s no telling where you could end up. They’re in a situation now where they can contend. Kevin had to make that decision, and that was the predicament I was in.”

The whole thing seems fairly hypocritical of Pierce and Garnett now that they’ve also left Boston, albeit via trade instead. But Garnett had to waive his no-trade clause to go, so one could easily argue that he chose to leave, as well.

Then there’s Doc Rivers, of course, who forced his way out of Boston to coach the Clippers after admitting to not wanting to stick around for the rebuilding process — even after he signed a contract extension in 2011 that he knew would take him well past a point where the core players at the time would still be playing at a level where competing for a title was possible.

Maybe that bond wasn’t so special after all.

Enjoy 50-best circus shots of last NBA season

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As of tomorrow, training camps around the league open, and all the focus goes to the 2016-17 season.

For fun, let’s look back one more time at last season — the 50 top circus shots of last season.

Stephen Curry driving the lane and throwing up prayers once he draws contact (and hitting them), there is Russell Westbrook throwing the inbounds pass off an opponent’s back, and so much more. Enjoy. Then let’s get on with next season.

To avoid trash talk, Steven Adams told Kevin Garnett he didn’t speak English

Kevin Garnett
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Kevin Garnett intimidates people. In the machismo-fueled world of professional sports nobody comfortably admits they were intimidated, but in the wake of Garnett announcing his retirement, a number of players stepped forward to say exactly that. And that KG trashed talked them fearlessly.

Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams found a way to avoid that — tell KG he didn’t speak English.

Brilliant.

Adams was lucky, KG had a reputation for going harder at foreign-born players with his trash talk and intimidation. Then again Adams is not the kind of guy prone to be intimidated.

Pistons’ Stan Van Gundy “encouraged” by players speaking out, protesting social issues

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 17: Head coach Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons yells to his players during the first half of the NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on April 17, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)  *** Local Caption ***Stan Van Gundy
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Athletes are injecting themselves into the needed national conversation about race, violence, and policing in this nation. That has taken some very public forms, including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony speaking at the ESPYs, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem and leading others to do so. Some NBA players likely will follow Kaepernick’s lead.

Pistons coach/GM Stan Van Gundy likes seeing players speak out.

A couple of his Detroit players — Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris — said they backed the 49ers quarterback. Here is what the never shy Van Gundy said about all of it, via Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.

“I’m encouraged by the fact of what some of those guys stood up and did at the ESPYs and had a conversation,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we have guys that not only see the problem, but want to try to do something about it…

“To me, in some ways, (police brutality is) just the most visible to focus on and it goes to deeper inequities in our criminal justice system, our education system so there’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”

Van Gundy has been telling his players part of that solution is to vote.

The players union and NBA sent out a release saying they wanted to work together to create positive change, but details are still vague on what that might be. The only thing we know for sure as we head into the NBA season — with as divided a nation and election as anyone can remember as a backdrop — is that some NBA players are going to try and keep the conversation going.

Sunday is 16th anniversary of greatest dunk ever: Vince Carter over Frederic Weis

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It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.

But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.

Best. Dunk. Ever.

By anyone.

Weis was never the same.

In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.

Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.