Canada is playing exhibition games before the FIBA Americas Championship — the summer’s big event for Canada. Placing as one of the top two teams excluding Brazil (which already qualified as host nation) would send Canada to the 2016 Olympics. Placing third through fifth, again excluding Brazil, would at least get Canada into the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
So, you can see why the Canadians would be cautious with Olynyk.
Still, it’d be comforting to see him back on the court to really know he’s OK.
Celtics’ Kelly Olynyk injures knee in Canadian exhibition
Kelly Olynyk faces plenty of competition for playing time this season. Jared Sullinger, David Lee, Kelly Olynyk, Jordan Mickey, Jonas Jerebko, Perry Jones III, Amir Johnson and Jae Crowder could all see minutes at power forward.
So, even the smallest setback could put Olynyk behind the eight ball with the Celtics.
It seems that’s what Olynyk faces after playing for Canada in an FIBA Americas tuneup against Argentina.
Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun:
Kelly Olynyk banged up (left knee) and Nocioni jawing with refs and coaching staff. Olynyk limps off. Not great for Canada
The Celtics missed out on Kevin Love, their primary target. But they managed to get some frontcourt help on a solid short-term value deal, landing former Raptors center Amir Johnson on a two-year, $24 million deal, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
Free-agent forward Amir Johnson has agreed to a two-year, $24 million deal with the Boston Celtics, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Agent Kevin Bradbury of BDA Sports completed the deal Wednesday with Boston GM Danny Ainge.
Johnson, one of the best forwards on the market, departs after six seasons with Toronto. He gives Boston a long, athletic and experienced dimension that it needed in its frontcourt.
This is a solid move for the Celtics. Johnson is an athletic, defensive big who represents a significant upgrade over Kelly Olynyk and Brandon Bass. $12 million per year is good value for a starting-caliber center, and the fact that it’s only a two-year deal makes it very moveable, especially with the salary cap set to increase.
Report: Celtics to sell Kevin Love on teaming with Robin Lopez and Paul Pierce
Now that Kevin Love is opting out of his contract, the free agency courting process begins. The Cavs are still the frontrunner to re-sign him — the ability to play with LeBron James and compete for a title every year is probably too much to pass up. But plenty of other teams will make their pitches, not least of all the Celtics, who have been linked to Love for some time. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski has some interesting new details on the pitch the Celtics are planning to make to Love, which involves the potential return of Paul Pierce to Boston.
Sources: If Kevin Love goes forward with visits in July, expect Boston to sell him on pursuing group of Love, Robin Lopez and…Paul Pierce.
There’s a lot going on here. Putting aside the idea of Pierce returning to Boston, which is its own discussion, it’s still difficult to see how this scenario the Celtics are pitching is more appealing than the situation Love already has in Cleveland. Robin Lopez, if he were to sign in Boston, is pretty much the ideal big man to pair with Love, a rim-protecting rebounding machine who doesn’t need the ball and can cover up a lot of Love’s defensive deficiencies. But you know who else is an ideal rim protector and offensive cleanup man to pair with Love? Timofey Mozgov.
Phoenix is more of a long-shot, but he’d be a good fit there, too. They took a step back last year after the loss of Channing Frye, and Love can give them a better version of that same skill set.
What Love does in free agency will come down to how much he values being the No. 1 option on a team versus playing on a contender. If winning is the most important objective, you don’t walk away from playing with the best player in the world, especially in a weak Eastern Conference where you’re more or less guaranteed to make the Eastern Conference Finals at a minimum every year — and probably the Finals. But the Cavs will never be Love’s team, and if he wants that, the Celtics would be a better option. The Celtics have plenty of assets and cap space to chase other players to put around him, as well as a nice young core with Marcus Smart and Jared Sullinger. And if playing with Kelly Olynyk is a problem, Olynyk won’t be difficult to move. It’s not unthinkable that this happens.
Still, the Cavs should be considered the frontrunner to keep Love unless something crazy happens.
Jamal Crawford shows up, puts on show at Isaiah Thomas’ basketball tournament
The free-flowing, light-defense, street-ball games of the summer pro-am and tournament circuit fits the game of some NBA players more than others.
It fits Jamal Crawford like a tailored suit.
The Clippers’ Crawford showed off his game Memorial Day weekend in Tacoma, Wash., (remember Crawford is from the Seattle area) at Celtics’ guard Isaiah Thomas’ Memorial Day Zeke-End Basketball Tournament. The best part of this video is when Crawfords decides to try and nutmeg (go between the legs) of Boston’s Kelly Olynyk.
Aside this one defender, Crawford is just too much for everyone involved. Watching NBA guys destroy lesser talent is one of the joys of summer.