Kurt Helin

Report: Of course Boston is going to pursue Kevin Durant this summer

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We know Kevin Durant likes Boston as a city. Which is very different from saying “I’m taking my talents to Boston” but liking where you play is certainly a factor in the decision-making matrix.

So is Boston going to pursue Durant this summer when he becomes a free agent?

Duh.

Celtics GM Danny Ainge is on the hunt for a superstar and is calling on every major free agent, not to mention calling on any elite player even rumored to be available via trade. So yes, expect the Celtics to go after Durant this summer, as explained by Chris Forsberg of ESPN.

With Boston positioned to fish again this summer for that elusive big catch that could propel the team forward, the Celtics would covet the chance to pitch Boston as a possible destination when Durant reaches unrestricted free agency.

Scoff if you want — and most will — the Celtics are in position to make an intriguing sales pitch to any star talent that becomes available….

It’s also hard to imagine how, if Durant elects to explore his options this offseason, he doesn’t at least give Ainge another chance to sit down with his family.

It will be interesting to see if Durant does the tour and meets with Boston or other potential suitors, KD is not the kind of guy looking to do the high-profile, recruit-me, Carmelo Anthony tour. But the smart money is on a similar result to ‘Melo in one way — Durant staying with his current team. At least for another year.

The buzz around the league is that if he leaves Oklahoma City, the frontrunner is Golden State. But if Durant does open up the recruiting, Boston could be an excellent landing spot.

LeBron James to sit out Wednesday vs. Mavericks for scheduled rest

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James waits during a timeout in the final minute of the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Monday, March 7, 2016, in Cleveland. The Grizzlies won 106-103. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
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Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said the other day that he was going to make sure LeBron James and other key Cavaliers were going to get some time off to rest down the stretch to make sure they are ready for the playoffs.

That rest starts Wednesday. Lue announced pregame Wednesday before the Cavaliers took on the Mavericks. Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer has the details.

Lue said LeBron will play both ends of a Florida back-to-back (Miami and Orlando) this weekend.

This is a smart move by Lue, it gives LeBron four days off between games to help his body recover from the marathon of the NBA season.

This also is a huge break for Dallas, if they can take advantage of it. Dallas is in a tight playoff race for one of the final playoff spots in the East and prediction models have them falling out because of their difficult schedule the rest of the way. Catching the Cavaliers without LeBron is a big break.

Blazers’ Meyers Leonard re-separates shoulder, will miss time

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28:  Meyers Leonard #11 of the Portland Trail Blazers celebrates after making a three point shot during the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on February 28, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.   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 Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Meyers Leonard has found a groove this season with the Trail Blazers, being a pick-and-pop big who can stretch the floor — more than half his shots this season are threes, and he’s shooting 37.7 percent from three. Portland’s offense is 2.9 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court.

However, he missed seven games earlier this season with a dislocated shoulder — and now he has dislocated that same shoulder, reports Jason Quick of CSNNW.com.

He is officially just out Thursday against San Antonio, but expect him to miss more time than that.

This is going to mean more run for Ed Davis, Noah Vonleh, Al-Farouq Aminu and Moe Harkless.

Portland is currently in a three-way tie with Houston and Dallas for the six-seven-eight seeds in the West, with Utah looming just two games back. The Blazers can’t afford to have this injury cost them games.

Gregg Popovich: “In general, shootarounds could be kaputskied”

SACRAMENTO, CA - FEBRUARY 24:  Head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs stands on the court during their game against the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena on February 24, 2016 in Sacramento, California.  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 Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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No, “kaputskied” is not a word. You tell Gregg Popovich that.

“Kaput” is a word, meaning useless or broken. No longer working.

That’s how Popovich feels about game-day shootarounds.

Shootarounds were invented by Hall of Fame Lakers coach Bill Sharman (a former Celtics’ player), and it’s stayed around as a way for players to either burn off some nervous energy, or sweat out the night before a little, get their bodies and minds going on the morning of a game.

Before his Spurs beat the Clippers Tuesday night, Popovich talked about why his team rarely does shootarounds — he doesn’t see the point. Via Dan Woike of the Orange County Register.

“I just think it was the modus operandi for every organization. It was habit. It was what everyone did. If you didn’t do it, you were recalcitrant or you weren’t doing your job,” Popovich said. “Some owners would look and say ‘Why aren’t you doing a shootaround?’ If you were a young coach, you have to have a shootaround because you’re doing what you have to do. And, basically, half of them are total crap – a total waste of time…. In general, shootarounds could be kaputskied.”

What works better is a focused short film session, Popovich said.

“With us, film is short and directed – very specific on certain items,” he said. “You can’t do a coaching clinic every time you do a film session or you lose them all. But if something is directed, like pick-and-roll defense, transition defense or how the ball was shared or not shared and you get after it and do it, it makes sense to most players. That’s our way.”

It’s becoming more and more teams’ way. While it likely will never go extinct, the shootaround is moving closer to the endangered species list. Teams would rather have players get more sleep on the road (or at home) and have full practices on off days than drag everybody down for a walk through the morning of the game.

Austin Rivers gets rejected. By the rim. (VIDEO)

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This was a fantastic pass from DeAndre Jordan that went to waste.

It was a simple little give-and-go with Jordan that had Austin Rivers flying down the lane by himself with the chance to make an emphatic statement with a dunk. Except for that pesky rim. Ouch.

The Spurs pulled away in the fourth quarter for a comfortable 108-87 win, keeping San Antonio a perfect 33-0 at home this season.