Jaylen Brown

Here’s Knicks’ reported asking price from Celtics in Kristaps Porzingis trade

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Knicks president Phil Jackson’s asking price for Kristaps Porzingis is reportedly “massive.”

Just what does that mean?

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

According to a Knicks source, Jackson is asking for the third overall pick in Thursday’s draft as well as next year’s Brooklyn pick along with Jaylen Brown and Jae Crowder. This version of the deal would not include Boston taking on Joakim Noah‘s contract.

All the Knicks fans who threatened to relinquish their fandom if the team traded Porzingis – most would love this deal.

Would the Celtics? I doubt it.

The question is whether there’s a middle ground between what New York wants and what Boston would do. It’s possible Jackson won’t budge and is just shopping Porzingis on the off chance someone accepts outlandish requests like these and to teach Porzingis a lesson for skipping his exit meeting.

Was Boston’s moving No. 1 pick first step in aggressive summer chasing stars?

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It’s obvious what the Philadelphia 76ers are thinking trading for the No. 1 pick in the 2017 Draft: make Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz their big three of the future.

However, what was Danny Ainge thinking moving Boston’s No. 1 pick?

It’s a big risk, Fultz could turn out to be a stud Celtics fans will regret passing on for years. The Boston Celtics have a crowded backcourt, and that factored into their decision to trade the No. 1 pick to Philadelphia for this year’s number three pick, plus either the Lakers’ pick next year (if it falls 2-5) or the Sacramento Kings 2019 pick.

The question now is, will the Celtics draft Josh Jackson out of Kansas No. 3 (they are rumored to like him), keep him and continue their slow build? Or has the plan been to flip this pick and other assets to land a star to go after the Cavaliers sooner rather than later?

The sense is Boston is looking to move this pick and other assets to get a star.

This would be an elite player to go next to Gordon Hayward (or maybe Blake Griffin) in a revamped starting lineup in Boston.

We know there are targets the Celtics have an interest in, starting with Jimmy Butler in Chicago. The Bulls have reportedly been asking for ransom in return, but if they are willing to break this team up and rebuild, the Celtics have the pieces to jump-start that.

Boston could go after Paul George, but because he is a free agent next summer expected to at least test the market, Ainge will offer less to rent him. The Pacers had been reluctant to move George at the trade deadline, but with Larry Bird out and Kevin Prichard in running the show, has the dynamic changed?

Maybe the Celtics can talk about Kevin Love with Cleveland, or if they want to think young D'Angelo Russell with the Lakers (assuming L.A. drafts Lonzo Ball), although either of them moving are long shots. There will be other names that surprisingly pop up as available as well.

Getting a trade made is hard. This may not come together.

Drafting Jackson, or Jayson Tatum (the other guy they reportedly are high on), and keeping the pick seems like the fallback option for Boston. It’s not a bad one, they add another quality young player to the core, for example, Jackson and Jaylen Brown might pair well together.

But Boston seems poised to make a big move now, and this trade of the No. 1 pick is just the first step in an aggressive summer.

Report: Celtics in ‘serious talks’ with Sixers about trade for No. 1 pick

Associated Press
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Boston has the No. 1 pick, and it’s been expected GM Danny Ainge would take Markelle Fultz and have him as part of — and ideally lead — their young core into the future.

However, Boston may be looking to trade out of that slot and give it to Philadelphia for a series of picks, something reported by Marc Stein and Zach Lowe of ESPN.

Reports suggest there is a lot of momentum with this trade and it is likely to happen.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports confirms the Sixers and Celtics would swap picks No. 1 and No. 3 this year, plus the Sixers would send future first-round picks to Boston. The Sixers have a number of future first rounders, including the Lakers’ unprotected first rounder next year, although that would be a very steep a price. That said, most teams see a step down in player quality from 1 to 3, so it’s going to take a lot to get Boston to give it up.

This is a big gamble by the Celtics — if you trade away the No. 1 pick and he turns out to be an absolute stud, it looks very bad. The fan base would turn on Ainge.

The Sixers would get their point guard of the future in Fultz, someone who can share ball handling duties with Ben Simmons (who coach Brett Brown has said will get time at the point). Fultz’s has a very well-rounded game and can work off the ball, too.

A core of Fultz, Simmons, and Joel Embiid could be powerful in a few years.

The Celtics likely would take Kansas’ Josh Jackson at three (assuming the Lakers take Lonzo Ball, as expected despite all the smoke screens). The Celtics reportedly have been high on Jackson, although if the Lakers take Jackson at two Boston would have to choose between Lonzo Ball and Jayson Tatum who they like as a stretch four. Boston also would create $1.38 million in additional cap space, leaving them less than $2 million short of the $30.3 million in cap space they would need to offer Gordon Hayward a max contract.

This suggests Ainge is willing to make a longer-term bet on Isaiah Thomas, a free agent in 2018.

Pairing Josh Jackson with Jaylen Brown in a few years could give the Celtics two athletic, long, defensive forwards who could switch almost anything and guard multiple positions.

Mike Brown thinks it’s “cute” Tyronn Lue thinks Celtics’ sets harder to defend than Warriors

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Celtics’ coach Brad Steven is already one of the best in the NBA. His out of time out plays are brilliant, and his Boston team’s flow of ball and player movement is among the best in the league.

It’s those things that were giving the Cavaliers trouble in the first half of Game 4 Tuesday, and ultimately prompted this comment from Tyronn Lue.

“We’re just focused on Boston. The stuff they’re running, it’s harder to defend than Golden State’s [offense] for me.”

Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle asked Mike Brown about that.

You can certainly make the case that the Celtics have a wider variety in their offense, and that with Isaiah Thomas out the rather balanced, anyone can score nature of the Celtics is challenging to defend for a team with inconsistent help defense like the Cavaliers.

But Boston is running these sets with Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown and Kelly Olynyk. Golden State will use ball and player movement to create space for Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. Which is to say, Golden State is tougher to defend because the space they need to make you pay is much smaller. And even if you do everything right the Warriors may just score anyway.

I get what Lue was trying to say, but don’t give the Warriors more motivation.

Report: John Wall left Game 7 loss to Celtics still talking about Wizards’ bench

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Early in the season, Wizards starting center Marcin Gortat said Washington had one of the worst benches in the NBA.

He apologized, but he was right and the Wizards upgraded. They traded for Bojan Bogdanovic, signed Brandon Jennings and waited for Ian Mahinmi to get healthy.

But by the time Washington got eliminated by the Celtics in the second round, its bench had devolved. Kelly Olynyk (26 points), Marcus Smart (13 points) and Jaylen Brown (nine points) each outscored the the Wizards’ reserves – producing a 48-5 overall edge in bench scoring.

Jeff Goodman of ESPN:

“Forty-eight to five,” were Wall’s last words as he took the final walk to the bus.

“Forty-eight to five,” he repeated. “Our bench had five points.”

Wall was terrific throughout the playoffs – until completely running out of gas in Game 7. In the final 19 minutes, he went scoreless on 0-for-11 shooting.

It’s probably safe to say where Wall feels Washington must improve this offseason.

Impressing Wall will be particularly important, as he’s now eligible for a designated-veteran-player extension.