Kurt Helin

al horford
Associated Press

Al Horford: “I think at the end Boston just felt it was the best fit for me”

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To hear Al Horford tell it to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Al Horford wanted to stay in Atlanta. That was the plan. But then the Hawks wouldn’t give him the full five-year contract he wanted, he seriously considered other options.

And the Celtics impressed him.

“I think that in Atlanta I was hoping that things would have worked out. Once I saw that things weren’t going to work out, I saw what was going to be the best situation for me to try to win an NBA championship….

“When I took the meetings with the other teams, I met with Boston and other teams as well, when I sat with them I just saw the roster and their vision. There was a lot of impact on me with Danny Ainge and coach (Brad) Stevens. It was a very positive meeting. Two of their owners were in the meeting and three or four of their players were there too. They seemed like a very close group and were focused on what their goal was and they got my attention. I wasn’t sure in what direction I was going to go. But I knew in order to leave Atlanta it was going to take a very special situation.”

What exactly didn’t work out the Hawks?

“It was more from a financial standpoint.”

Horford was the first free agent of note the Celtics have signed since their championship years — not only does he make them better now, the Celtics also hope it opens the door to other signings in the future.

The Hawks will miss Horford and take a step back — Dwight Howard for Horford is not a trade any sane person would make. They will still be good, but the Hawks team that made it to the conference finals in 2015 seems very much a thing of the past now.

While Horford is in Boston with the team of the future.

Tech leaders urge Silver to consider moving NBA All-Star

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 14: NBA commissioner Adam Silver looks on during the NBA All-Star Game 2016 at the Air Canada Centre on February 14, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario. 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 Elsa/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) Technology industry leaders have urged NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to move the All-Star Game out of Charlotte unless a North Carolina law that limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people is repealed “in very short order.”

In a letter sent Friday and obtained by The Associated Press, the executives tell Silver that putting fans at risk of discrimination would “send a terrible message about who the NBA is and what it values as an organization, and set a dangerous precedent.”

“If the NBA holds events in North Carolina while HB2 remains law, players, employees, and fans will be at risk of discrimination – and that’s wrong,” the letter said.

The All-Star weekend is set for next February. Silver has made it clear the league needs changes to the HB2 law in order to stage the weekend there but has resisted setting any deadlines for when he might act, believing positive dialogue is ongoing.

However, he has said a decision probably would have to be made this summer.

The letter was sent by SV Angel founder and co-managing partner Ron Conway and includes signatures from executives from companies such as Google, Reddit, PayPal, Lyft and Pinterest. They ask the NBA to be a “strong ally to the LGBTQ community” and use “its considerable might to bring advocates into those conversations and press for full repeal of the law.”

“The NBA has nothing to lose by taking a stand alongside hundreds of other companies and showing support for its LGBTQ players, employees, and fans,” the letter said.

A number of entertainment acts have canceled North Carolina events because of the law, and Silver has already received calls for the NBA to do the same. The letter comes from some people who might be at All-Star weekend – the league holds a tech summit as part of the events.

“Discrimination is bad for the league, bad for people and bad for business and we hope you will join us in sending that message, loud and clear in North Carolina,” the letter said.

NBA owners are holding their annual offseason meeting this week in Las Vegas.

(PBT note from Las Vegas: The NBA rumor mill says if the game is moved it likely lands in Orlando.)

Rudy Gobert will join French national team in Rio Olympics

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 10: Rudy Gobert of France drives against Marc Gasol of Spain during the 2014 FIBA World Basketball Championship quarter final match between France and Spain at Palacio de los Deportes on September 10, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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France qualified for the Olympics by beating Canada on Sunday — then within 48 hours got a lot better.

Utah’s shot-blocking beast in the paint Rudy Gobert sat out Olympic qualifying but announced on Twitter he would join France in Brazil.

Translated: “It is with pleasure that I announce that I will be in Rio with my brothers to defend the colors of France!”

Apparently, he’s not going to wait to have a contract extension in hand before playing.

France had Tony Parker, Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw, and Olympic Qualifying Tournament MVP Nando De Colo on the roster already. After earning a berth in the Rio games the French coach said he would considering adding Gobert to help them in the paint. However, he did not want to change the guard rotation, which likely leaves Orlando’s Evan Fournier on the outside looking in.

The Olympic basketball tournament tips off Aug. 6. The heavy favorite USA squad is in France’s bracket and the two play on Aug. 14.

Jeremy Lin has moved beyond “Linsanity,” not looking to re-create it in Brooklyn

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 11: Jeremy Lin #7 of the Charlotte Hornets drives with the ball in the first half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on April 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. 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 Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
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How could you not make the mental leap? Jeremy Lin signed to play back in New York City with a coach who was the right-hand man of Mike D’Antoni in New York — Linsanity is back, baby.

No, it’s not.

Lin has heard about the wild “Linsanity” run for four years now, and told NetsDaily.com he has moved on.

“I’m so far past that,” he said of his 2012 run as a New York Knick. “From the outside, really during the season, I don’t read anything, tweets or comments or articles or what this commentator said. So expectations are going to be the same for me and I’m going to go in and keep my mind right, play for God and I think the last couple of years, I’ve been able to live with the results.

“I played, I think, the right way and that’s the way I want to play in Brooklyn.”

Linsanity was a perfect storm that came together for one entertaining, wild run — due to a rash of injuries D’Antoni had to turn to Lin to create offense, and he thrived in that system with shooters around him. That storm is not hitting Brooklyn. They still have Brook Lopez in the paint. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is going to get the ball in his hands. The dynamic of the team is different.

Lin is a great fit in Brooklyn; he will have the ball in his hands and be asked to create, which is when he’s comfortable. The Nets are not going to be good but they will not be terrible, and there are some interesting young pieces to watch. And Lin.

Tributes pour in after Tim Duncan announces retirement

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Tim Duncan’s resume reads like exactly what he is: The greatest power forward ever to play the game.

• Five time NBA champion
• Three time Finals MVP
• Two time NBA MVP
• 15 times All-NBA team
• 14 times NBA All-Defensive team
• 15 time All-Star
• Rookie of the Year
• The Spurs won 71 percent of their games in his 19 NBA seasons.

The numbers don’t do his impact justice, but he gets overlooked because chose not to be a brand, he wanted to guard his time and his private life. The most Duncan thing ever may be that the Spurs will have a Duncan retirement press conference on Tuesday and he’s not going to be there (just Gregg Popovich).

The tributes to Duncan have poured in since the announcement was made. This is a fraction of them.

“Tim Duncan is one of the most dominant players in NBA history,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “His devotion to excellence and mastery of the game led to five NBA championships, two regular-season MVP awards and a place among the all-time greats, while his understated selflessness made him the ultimate teammate. For two decades Tim represented the Spurs, the city of San Antonio and the league with passion and class. All of us in the NBA family thank him for his profound impact on the game.”

“It has been an honor for all of us to watch Tim Duncan’s remarkable 19-year career,” said Michelle Roberts, NBA  players’ union executive director. “Since his entrance into the NBA in 1997, he has been a model for excellence.  Tim will be remembered as a true leader, dedicated teammate and an icon in the San Antonio community.  As a five-time NBA champion and two-time MVP, he has etched his place among the best players in league history and ranks among the greatest power forwards to have ever played our game.”

Day 1 Stepping Into The NBA When I Didnt Know Where This Road Was Taking Me Or If I Was Even Capable Of Sustaining This Journey …You Was There Lifting Me Up Everyday.. The Work Ethic You Showed Everyday In Practice And In The Summer Being The First To The Gym And The Last To Leave Never Went Unnoticed…. Part Of My Drive And Belief Came From Watching You Everyday And Learning From You… Today Is One Of The Saddest Days Of My Career Not Only Because Basketball Is Losing The Best Power Forward To Ever play The Game But Im Losing One Of The Best Role Models And Teammates I Have Ever Been Around….. Old Man Your Love, Leadership, Friendship, Wisdom, Drive And Most Of All You Character Will Always Stick In The Back Of My Head… If I Can Just Be 1/4 The Player You Were That Would Be An Amazing Career… So Thanks For The 19yrs You've Given The NBA But The 9 Yrs I've Had A Big Brother/Grandpa….. Thanks TimmyD

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