AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Report: Celtics focused on adding All-Star-caliber frontcourt player

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Isaiah Thomas said he he’d happily forgo a renegotiation-and-extension if the Celtics use their cap space to upgrade their roster.

Where are they looking?

A. Sherrod Blakey of CSN New England:

Multiple league sources have told CSNNE.com in recent weeks that the Celtics are focused on landing an All-Star caliber talent in the frontcourt.

In the last three years, 22 frontcourt players have been All-Stars. Boston already has one: Al Horford. Could the Celtics land any of the other 21?

Almost certainly unavailable

Free agency

Trade

Free agency or trade

  • Pau Gasol (Though Gasol said he’d opt in, San Antonio might try pushing him out to pursue Paul. If Gasol opts in, the Spurs could also trade him to clear space for Paul.)
  • Dirk Nowitzki (The Mavericks have a $25 million team option on Nowitzki for next season. Nowitzki going to Boston, via trade or free agency, would probably require a mutual agreement between Dallas and him that pursuing a title elsewhere is the right way for him to end his career.)

Cavaliers one win from longest playoff winning streak in NBA history

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The Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the Finals.

Don’t let that distract you from the fact that the Cavaliers haven’t lost since that three-game comeback.

Cleveland has since swept the Pacers and Raptors in the first two rounds of these playoffs then taken a 1-0 lead on the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. That’s a 12-game playoff winning streak – tied for the second-longest of all-time.

Only the Lakers, who won the last two games of the 1988 NBA Finals then swept through the 1989 Western Conference playoffs, have produced a longer playoff winning streak. The Cavs can tie that 13-game run by beating Boston in Game 2 tomorrow.

The Cavaliers aren’t the only team with an active historic playoff winning streak. Golden State has won 10 straight playoff games – tied for the sixth-longest streak ever – by sweeping the Trail Blazers and Jazz and going up 2-0 on the Spurs.

Here’s every double-digit playoff winning streak in NBA history:

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Los Angeles Lakers (1988-1989): 13

  • Beat Detroit Pistons in 1988 Finals, 4-3 (won final two games)
  • Beat Portland Trail Blazers in 1989 first round, 3-0
  • Beat Seattle SuperSonics in 1989 second round, 4-0
  • Beat Phoenix Suns in 1989 conference finals, 4-0

Lost 1989 NBA Finals to Detroit Pistons, 4-0

Cleveland Cavaliers (2016-2017): 12

  • Beat Golden State Warriors in 2016 NBA Finals, 4-3 (won final three games)
  • Beat Indiana Pacers in 2017 first round, 4-0
  • Beat Toronto Raptors in 2017 second round, 4-0
  • Lead Boston Celtics in 2017 conference finals, 1-0

Los Angeles Lakers (2000-2001): 12

  • Beat Indiana Pacers in 2000 NBA Finals, 4-2 (won final game)
  • Beat Portland Trail Blazers in 2001 first round, 3-0
  • Beat Sacramento Kings in 2001 second round, 4-0
  • Beat San Antonio Spurs in 2001 conference finals, 4-0

Lost first game of 2001 NBA Finals to Philadelphia 76ers, but won series 4-1

San Antonio Spurs (1999): 12

  • Beat Minnesota Timberwolves in 1999 first round, 3-1 (won final two games)
  • Beat Los Angeles Lakers 1999 second round, 4-0
  • Beat Portland Trail Blazers in 1999 conference finals, 4-0
  • Beat New York Knicks in 1999 NBA Finals, 4-1 (won first two games)

Detroit Pistons (1989-1990): 12

  • Beat Chicago Bulls in 1989 conference finals, 4-2 (won final three games)
  • Beat Los Angeles Lakers in 1989 NBA Finals, 4-0
  • Beat Indiana Pacers in 1990 first round, 3-0
  • Beat New York Knicks in 1990 second round, 4-1 (won first two games)

Golden State Warriors (2017): 10

  • Beat Portland Trail Blazers in 2017 first round, 4-0
  • Beat Utah Jazz in 2017 second round, 4-0
  • Lead San Antonio Spurs in 2017 conference finals, 2-0

Cleveland Cavaliers (2016): 10

  • Beat Boston Celtics in 2016 first round, 4-0
  • Beat Atlanta Hawks in 2016 second round, 4-0
  • Beat Toronto Raptors in 2016 conference finals, 4-2 (won first two games)

San Antonio Spurs (2012): 10

  • Beat Utah Jazz in 2012 first round, 4-0
  • Beat Los Angeles Clippers in 2012 second round, 4-0
  • Lost to Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012 conference finals, 4-2 (won first two games)

New Jersey Nets (2003): 10

  • Beat Milwaukee Bucks in 2003 first round, 4-2 (won final two games)
  • Beat Boston Celtics in 2003 second round, 4-0
  • Beat Detroit Pistons in 2003 conference finals, 4-0

Lost first game of 2003 NBA Finals to San Antonio Spurs and lost series, 4-2

Pistons unveil new logo (photo)

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The Trail Blazers unveiled a new logo that looked awfully similar to their previous logo.

The Pistons are changing even less, though they’re drawing from an older logo:

 

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Pistons release:

The Detroit Pistons unveiled a newly updated primary logo today which brings together the past and future of one of the National Basketball Association’s longest tenured franchises.  The new look will be officially unveiled on the Detroit Pistons podium at tonight’s NBA Draft Lottery.

 

The Pistons’ new primary logo debuts as a new chapter of the franchise’s history is forming in downtown Detroit.  The red, white and blue basketball is symbolic of the Pistons’ brand and this modern version introduces sleek, accurate groove lines, a bold team uniform font and the addition of a chrome outline – providing a nod to the region’s Motor City roots.

Look familiar? Here’s the Pistons’ logo from the 80s:

I like the new logo, but I also liked the 80s logo. The Pistons could’ve just kept that (especially if it meant skipping the ugly teal era).

The biggest differences are font and a gray chrome outline – negligible changes.

Magic Johnson, Joel Embiid, Walt Frazier among on-stage lottery representatives

AP Photo/Nick Ut
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The Lakers have so much riding on tomorrow’s lottery. If they land a top-three pick, they keep it. Fall out of the top three, their first-rounder goes to the 76ers – and their 2019 first-rounder goes to the Magic. The odds are slightly against the Lakers, but it’s close to a coin flip.

Who better to ride out the high-stakes drama than the ever-smooth Magic Johnson?

The Lakers president is among the on-stage representatives. The full list released by the NBA:

  • Boston – Wyc Grousbeck
  • Charlotte – Rich Cho
  • Dallas – Michael Finley
  • Denver – Gary Harris
  • Detroit – Jeff Bower
  • Lakers – Magic Johnson
  • Miami – Alonzo Mourning
  • Minnesota – Andrew Wiggins
  • New Orleans – Alvin Gentry
  • New York – Walt Frazier
  • Orlando – Frank Vogel
  • Philadelphia – Joel Embiid
  • Phoenix – Devin Booker
  • Sacramento – Dave Joerger

It’s all a little silly. None of these people have any control over the lottery, which occurs beforehand backstage anyway.

But it’s always fun to watch them squirm and celebrate as the results are announced.

2017 NBA draft lottery odds, visualized

David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images
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The Celtics are the most likely team to land the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA draft.

They’re also more likely to select fourth.

The NBA will hold its annual lottery tomorrow, a process for assigning the top three picks in the upcoming draft. Non-playoff teams are assigned four-number combinations, the number of combinations weighted inversely by standings. Then, four of 14 ping-pong balls are randomly drawn. Whichever team has its combination drawn is assigned the first pick. The process is repeated for picks two and three, and every other team is then slotted after in reverse order of record.

But just how likely is each team to land each pick? The calculations are complicated by a few trades:

  • Celtics swap first-round picks with Nets
  • 76ers receive Lakers’ first-round pick if it falls outside top three
  • 76ers can swap first-round picks with Kings
  • Kings receive Pelicans’ first-round pick if it falls outside top three
  • Bulls receive Kings’ first-round pick if it falls outside top 10

Thankfully, a couple people smarter than me – Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren and director of basketball analytics David Sparks – determined the actual odds. I turned those into these hopefully handy charts.

Only picks that a team could possibly get are displayed. If a team has a “0.0%” chance listed for a certain pick, it means landing the pick is possible but the odds are less than 0.05% and rounded down.

Boston Celtics

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Phoenix Suns

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Los Angeles Lakers

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Philadelphia 76ers

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Orlando Magic

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Minnesota Timberwolves

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New York Knicks

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Sacramento Kings

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Dallas Mavericks

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New Orleans Pelicans

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Charlotte Hornets

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Detroit Pistons

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Denver Nuggets

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Miami Heat

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Chicago Bulls

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