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Report: Celtics shopping Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart to clear room for Gordon Hayward

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The Celtics can renounce all their free agents – including Kelly Olynyk, whose qualifying offer they already pulled – waive unguaranteed Jordan Mickey, convince Guerschon Yabusele to remain overseas another year and trade Terry Rozier and Demetrius Jackson.

Boston still wouldn’t have enough cap space to give Gordon Hayward the max contract he intends to sign.

That always left three potential trade candidates: Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart. Which will the Celtics deal?

Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Boston Celtics have been aggressively trying to create enough salary-cap room to give Gordon Hayward the four-year, $128 million maximum contract he agreed upon by discussing trades involving Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley, sources told ESPN.

The Celtics are wise to shop all three rather than picking one to dump. The right choice depends on the return each would generate.

Crowder is the most valuable of the three. Turning 27 tomorrow, he’s locked into an absurdly cheap contract that pays him just $21,917,475 over the next three years. Crowder is a versatile and fiercely competitive defender who shoots 3-pointers efficiently, an awesome combination in the modern NBA. Even though he said he wanted to stay in Boston, Crowder seemed to know the Celtics signing Hayward could signal his exit. That’s even more likely after Boston drafted Jayson Tatum to join Jaylen Brown at forward.

Bradley is entering a contract year at age 26. He’s a lockdown perimeter defender who can make 3-pointers and has become increasingly adept as a penetrator. The only problem: He’s in line for a massive raise next summer (or a lucrative renegotiation-and-extension this summer if he lands on a team with sufficient cap space).

Smart is also entering the final year of his contract, eligible for a rookie-scale extension this offseason. He’s an aggressive defender who can handle point guards, shooting guards and small forwards. His offense remains a work in progress, and it’s unclear whether can eventually settle in as a lead guard on that end. His spotty outside shooting leaves plenty to be desired off the ball.

Again, it just depends how much other teams offer for each player. Then, Boston can pick the best net return – and sign Hayward.

Nets’ Jeremy Lin: ‘We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says’

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The Nets went 20-62 then traded their best player (Brook Lopez) for a worse player (D'Angelo Russell). Brooklyn’s biggest free-agent signing this summer (Otto Porter) plays for the Wizards. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are nice developmental pieces but hardly seem on the verge of breakthroughs.

Still, Nets guard Jeremy Lin expects big things next season.

He set expectations in an Instagram Live video (hat tip: AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today):

We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says.

The Nets are on the right track given their asset constraints. Though worse than Lopez now, Russell – eight years younger and on a low-paying rookie-scale deal – is more valuable. Brooklyn made the favorable swap by absorbing Timofey Mozgov‘s awful contract, a wise use of assets considering the difficulty of attracting free agents. An aggressive offer sheet for Porter was a reasonable swing in that situation, as well.

But that’s all helpful in the long run. In the short term, the Nets are almost certainly stuck as lousy. Maybe they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, but even that is a huge longshot.

Not that Lin cares what I say.

Check out Top 10 blocks from Summer League (VIDEO)

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When you think of Summer League basketball, sharp defensive rotations is not the first thing that comes to mind. Defense, in general, tends to be an after thought.

But there were some great blocks.

Here are the top 10 blocks from the Las Vegas Summer League. Enjoy the flashes of defense from Vegas.

 

Memphis Grizzlies sign former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Brooks was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 45th overall pick. The Grizzlies acquired him in exchange for a future second-round pick.

Brooks, 21, averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Oregon last season. He was named the Pac-12 player of the year and helped Oregon earn its first Final Four berth since 1939.

 

Report: Even after Kyrie Irving requests trade, Carmelo Anthony still focused on Rockets, not Cavaliers

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Carmelo Anthony was reportedly willing to waive his no-trade clause for the Rockets or Cavaliers. Cleveland never seemed overly interested, but Houston was. Anthony became set on the Rockets, even reportedly expecting a trade to Houston.

Then, Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavs.

That has thrown everything for a loop. Maybe Cleveland is more keen on trading for Anthony now? The Knicks are reportedly interested in trading Anthony and draft picks for Irving.

But any deal still depends on Anthony’s approval, and it’s now unclear he’d still grant that for the Cavaliers.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

However, a source close to Anthony said late Friday that the All Star forward is focused on getting a deal done with Houston.

Consider this another indication LeBron James will leave Cleveland next summer. Of course, Anthony might have other reasons for preferring Houston. But when reading tea leaves on LeBron’s future, this is a clue.

I doubt LeBron has completely decided his plan, and he hasn’t even necessarily shared his thinking with Anthony, a close friend. Remember, LeBron edited his coming-home essay while on a flight with an unknowing Dwyane Wade, another close friend. But it was one thing for LeBron to strand Wade in Miami, a desirable city where Wade was happy even before LeBron arrived. It’d be something else entirely for LeBron to ditch Anthony in Cleveland. If LeBron is considering leaving, maybe he’d tell Anthony to stay clear.

Anthony could also be operating without hearing directly from LeBron. But if LeBron’s friend believes LeBron might leave, that’d still say something (though obviously not as much).

Back to the possibility that Anthony prefers the Rockets for other reasons. What happens if New York and Cleveland agree to a trade? Does Anthony still hold out for his top choice? Or does he relent and accept what was once his second choice? For now, it seems as if he’s still angling for Houston and will cross other bridges if he reaches them.