Report: Celtics trading Avery Bradley to Pistons for Marcus Morris

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The Celtics’ twisting-and-turning pursuit of max space for Gordon Hayward is over.

Trade talks that included Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart will end with Avery Bradley going to the Pistons.

Jeff Goodman of ESPN:

The Celtics downgrade in the short-term in the trade, but clearing the way for Hayward more than makes up for it.

Bradley is an elite perimeter defender with more than enough offensive skills. He’ll provide an immediate upgrade at shooting guard in Detroit – even over Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who remains a restricted free agent.

The Pistons hard-capped themselves by signing combo guard Langston Galloway, drafted shooting guard Luke Kennard and now traded for Bradley (who also reduces Detroit’s room under the hard cap). It sure seems Caldwell-Pope’s days in Detroit are numbered.

Bradley’s $8,808,989 salary this season is far less than Caldwell-Pope could get, and that matters for the Pistons, who are up against the luxury tax. But Bradley is on an expiring contract and due for a massive raise next season.

There’s a ton of risk in jettisoning Caldwell-Pope, who’s just 24, for a 26-year-old Bradley who can leave in a year. Either the Pistons lose Bradley to unrestricted free agency or give him a huge contract that becomes problematic with all their other salary commitments.

But that’s next year’s problem. For now, Detroit is better and less likely to pay the luxury tax this season.

The Celtics are also better with Morris and Hayward, who factored into this deal.

Morris is another combo forward on a team with Hayward, Jae Crowder, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. But Morris is most equipped to play power forward, a position of need in Boston.

The Celtics are weaker on the perimeter, though Marcus Smart can handle some of Bradley’s defensive responsibilities. Maybe Terry Rozier is ready for a bigger role.

Boston avoids dealing with Bradley’s free agency. Al Horford and Hayward are already maxed out on multi-year deals, and Isaiah Thomas — maybe even up to the max himself — and Smart are headed for big raises next season. Bird Rights would have allowed the Celtics to keep everyone, but actually paying everyone might have been cost prohibitive to ownership.

Morris, due $10,375,000 over the next two years, is a bargain. Even if he’s not as good as Bradley, Morris allows Boston to sign Hayward and have an easier time affording Thomas next summer.

 

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade on time they faced off 1-on-1: “We was out there killing each other”

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LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are good friends, they go together like peanut butter and jelly. They and their families hang out and ride banana boats together in the off-season.

They are also both incredibly competitive men.

So you had to figure they went 1-on-1 against each other at some point. It happened, once. Wade and LeBron talked about it on Channing Frye’s Road Trippin’ podcast(transcription via the USA Today).

James: “We played 1-on-1 one time in our whole life, and it was during the finals. Eastern Conference finals 2010 (they meant the 2010-11 season, that ECF was in May 2011). Our first year.”

Wade: “It was more-so to set a precedent for our teammates because we got our ass kicked the game before, Game 1 by Chicago. They tore us.”

James: “MVP Rose tore our ass up in Chicago, and we came in the next day, we was like we need to set the tone, so we was out there killing each other playing 1-on-1.”

Wade: “We never finished.”

James: “We never finished. We got to the point where (head coach Erik Spoelstra) blew the whistle, like bring it in.”

Wade: “Everybody was just watching us. We was going at it. We competitive, we was going at it, but we was setting a tone for this is how it’s gotta go. You gotta be able to go at this. We’re two of the best players in this game. We going at each other in the Eastern Conference finals right now. We out there killing each other, and this is what ya’ll better do tomorrow. Because we got beat on the boards by 20-something and we have to come with it, and we won four in a row.”

A 2011 Heat practice? There has to be video of this somewhere.

Miami did win that Eastern Conference Finals, but LeBron and Wade should have gone at it again during the NBA Finals, where the Heat lost to Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks.

Report: Rockets’ Luc Mbah a Moute expected to miss 2-3 weeks

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The Rockets’ rotation is excellent, and their deep bench is lacking.

That’s part of the reason Luc Richard Mbah a Moute posted a ridiculous +57 in a 30-point win earlier this season.

But Houston will miss the forward for a while after he injured his shoulder against the Hornets yesterday.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni’s first inclination might be to shorten his rotation. He should mostly resist it.

Home-court advantage is important, and P.J. Tucker and Trevor Ariza can play more power forward (with Eric Gordon absorbing more minutes at small forward). But it’s also better to play Troy Williams more now than to wear down the players Houston will rely on in the playoffs, when D’Antoni will surely keep his rotation tight.

PBT Podcast: Early trade deadline breakdown with Dan Feldman

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The NBA’s trade market did not collapse after the Jahlil Okafor trade.

There’s more to come, but with the trade deadline is less than two months away, we have more questions than answers. DeAndre Jordan very likely could be on the move from the Clippers (and Lou Williams, too). But what is Memphis going to do about Mark Gasol? New Orleans with DeMarcus Cousins? Oklahoma City with Paul George? And if any of those guys are available, who is a buyer? Cleveland? Milwaukee? Portland?

Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman of NBC Sports break down the high end of the trade market, plus talk about other guys who could be on the move — maybe Nikola Mirotic from Chicago, and what about someone like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from Charlotte — before Feb. 8 gets here. The last couple of trade deadlines have been interesting, but will we see a move that changes the landscape of the NBA playoffs in a meaningful way?

As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.

Joel Embiid calls out Karl Anthony-Towns’ defense during Instagram trash talk

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Joel Embiid often gloats on Instagram after 76ers wins.

Of course he did after Philadelphia beat Minnesota on Tuesday, specifically calling attention to this move on Karl-Anthony Towns (and this 76ers fan custom):

Embiid:

Towns commented:

That caption was as trash as your picture quality

Embiid replied:

Better quality than your defense

Embiid insisted it’s all in good fun.

Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia:

https://twitter.com/JCameratoNBCS/status/941395953113804800

I’m not sure Towns is having as much fun as Towns. But I know this:

Embiid had a valid point.