Kurt Helin

Associated Press

Report: Celtics still have “high level of interest” in Nerlens Noel, but not close to deal


There is still a sense around the league that the Sixers will want to move a big man, likely Nerlens Noel. Philadelphia’s dream future is Joel Embiid at the five and Ben Simmons as a point-forward at the four, surrounded by quality shooters. Plus they want to fit Dario Saric in that mix. With Noel and Jahlil Okafor having value, a lot of other teams expect the Sixers to pull the trigger on a deal. Eventually.

The Celtics are still interested in Noel, but that doesn’t mean anything is about to happen, reports A. Sherrod Blakely at CSNNE.com.

Noel has not asked for a trade, but multiple league sources told CSNNE.com that he is “very open” to being traded if the Sixers decide to make that decision.

Another league source contacted by CSNNE.com on Thursday morning indicated that the Celtics still have a high level of interest in Noel but no deal is imminent.

Safe to say Noel would be good with a trade to his hometown.

Most likely the Celtics will head into training camp expecting to start Al Horford at Center and Amir Johnson at the four. Noel would allow Horford to move to the four spot and provide some rim protection at the five. You can see why Boston is interested.

The question is the cost.

Right now the Sixers are getting crap offers for their bigs because everyone around the league knows they want to move one — GM Bryan Colangelo said as much. You can bet Celtics GM Danny Ainge — known as a tough negotiator — is one of the guys trying to steal Noel on the cheap. Colangelo isn’t going to do that, he wants a decent return. And so things are stalled. For now.

When Noel eventually does move, don’t be shocked if Boston is the destination.

Watch highlights of Team USA’s win over Australia

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Australia is legit.

Team USA players gave lip service to that going into their showdown with the Aussies on Wednesday, but they quickly learned just how real it was when the game tipped off. Australia has NBA players — Andrew Bogut, Matthew Dellavedova, Patty Mills — and more than that they executed and moved off the ball brilliantly.

But it wasn’t enough, the USA still got the win. Check out the highlights.

Carmelo Anthony led the way for the USA with 31, and during the game he passed LeBron James for most points by an American in the Olympics.

Utah’s Dante Exum says he is fully recovered, wishes he could be in Rio with Australian teammates

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It was just more than a year ago that Dante Exum tore his ACL while playing for the Australian national team. The injury forced him to miss the entire NBA season, and he is not with the Boomers in Rio (where they take on the USA Wednesday).

But good news for Jazz fans, Exum says he is fully recovered and will be ready to roll next season. He talked about that, the Australian national team, the new players union digs and more in this video.

Exum and George Hill are going to split time at the point for Utah. The Jazz were an up-and-coming team in the West already before Hill and Joe Johnson were added to the backcourt this summer. With Gordon Hayward playing for his next contract, this Jazz team looks headed to the playoffs next season.

Former championship teammates Kyrie Irving, Matthew Dellavedova face off in Rio Wednesday

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The way Matthew Dellavedova got under the skin of Cavaliers’ opponents the past couple seasons, he used to get under the skin of Kyrie Irving during practice. Dellavedova only knows one way to play, and he practices that same way — it led to shoving matches where coaches stepped in. Nothing serious, but these two guys know each other well.

Which makes the USA’s game Wednesday against Australia in the Rio Olympics all the more interesting — Dellavedova and Irving will be matched up on one another.

Irving said he knows what is coming, via Marc Stein of ESPN.

“Delly’s gonna compete,” Irving said. “That’s all he knows. I’m used to that already [from Cavaliers practices], so I don’t see it as him being feisty or him being a pest. He’s gonna do what Delly does.”

Dellavedova — who signed with Milwaukee as a free agent this summer — had 23 points and 13 assists in Australia’s win over Serbia. But he’s also not the only guy in the Boomer’s backcourt the USA needs to worry about — Patty Mills of the Spurs had 26 points in the Serbia win. Through the first couple games in Rio, Australia has looked like the second best team in the games.

Through the first couple games in Rio, Australia has looked like the second best team in the games. In part that’s because they also come with quality size along the front line — Andrew Bogut and Aaron Baynes. Two more guys, like Dellavedova and Mills, with championship rings.

The USA is still more athletic and much deeper, but this is the toughest test the Americans have faced so far.

You can catch the game at 6 p.m. Eastern on NBC Sports Network, or you can stream it live at NBCOlympics.com.



The Matt Bonner era in San Antonio appears to be over

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It’s the end of an era in San Antonio.

No, we’re not talking that Tim Duncan guy. We’re talking about Matt Bonner.

Bonner has spent the past 10 seasons mostly coming off the Spurs bench as a floor-stretching big. Because of his outgoing personality he was a fan favorite, plus the man knows his sandwiches. However, with the makeup of the team shifting, his time in San Antonio appears to be at an end, he told Concord News Radio, as transcribed by NBC News 4 in San Antonio.

“Currently they haven’t signed me. Unless something changes going into the season, I’m probably not going to be with the Spurs.”

The Spurs have 14 guaranteed contracts on the roster, plus a few partial guarantees as they head into camp. They also are well over the salary cap line and are not likely to add another player.

Another team may give him a shot, though likely not at the start of camp. While on the older side at age 36, he’s a big who shot 44.1 percent from three last season (and he took almost 60 percent of his shots from beyond the arc). That skill has value in the league. When some team faces an injury to their front line, or realizes they need more floor spacing, Boner’s phone could ring.

But it will be strange not seeing him at the end of the Spurs bench.