Report: Lakers, Pacers engaged in Paul George trade talks

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The Lakers were reportedly resisting trading for Paul George. Why would they surrender assets for someone with his sights set them in 2018 free agency, anyway?

But the Pacers have apparently drummed up enough of a trade market where the Lakers will at least discuss a deal.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Pacers are backed into a corner, whether they trade with the Lakers or any other team. Everyone believes George will sign with the Lakers in 2018 and is proposing trades accordingly.

George still has value as a rental to teams like the Cavaliers, who are ready to win now. That shouldn’t apply to the Lakers, though they could get impatient.

The Lakers would trade for George to protect against him going elsewhere and falling for his new team. They’d also block the (remote) possibility of George playing out the season in Indiana, making an All-NBA team then signing a lucrative designated-veteran-player contract to stay.

There’s risk in trading for George on an expiring contract. He could get to Los Angeles, hate it and leave in a year. See Dwight Howard.

But there’s more value in securing George’s Bird Rights (i.e., the ability to pay him more than anyone else next season), keeping him from a contender that might tempt him to re-sign and eliminating the threat of a designated-veteran-player deal with the Pacers.

The Lakers wouldn’t have to trade much for him. It’s a narrow market given George’s clear plan to get to Los Angeles anyway.

The Pacers would prefer to get something for him rather than losing him for nothing next year.

So, maybe there’s common ground. It’s at least worth exploring.

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

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BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

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Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

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The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.