Al Jefferson is going to be a sought-after free agent this summer — big men who can get you 15 points and 11.8 rebounds a game, can pass and bring a good work ethic to the locker room are not that easy to find.
Predicting where he will play next season is impossible — if he gets traded mid-season it could impact his decisions, as it could if the Jazz choose to make a push to keep him.
“This will always be my home away from home, first place I’ve been; gave me a chance when nobody else did,” added Jefferson. “If that (returning to Boston) ever happened, I’d love to do that again. But right now, it’s all about taking care of business and finishing the season off right.”
The Celtics are not bringing him back next season — they already have more than $71 million in committed salary on the books for 2013-14 (Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green all make $9 million or more, for starters). That will have them well over the salary cap, up near the luxury tax, and without the means to offer much more than a mini-mid level. Jefferson is going to take a pay cut from the oversized $15 million he is making this season, but at age 28 next season he is going to get offers in and around eight digits a season. Boston can’t swing that without a trade.
But it’s always nice to hear he thinks fondly of you, Boston. Look at it that way.
Jimmy Butler on hearing boos to start, M-V-P chants later, “I love it. I love it.”
Jimmy Butlerknew it was coming. Request a trade out of town and of course the fans are going to boo. Butler also said he thought he could win them over if he just played hard like always.
That’s the script that played out.
Butler was booed loudly when he was announced — although not as loudly as coach/GM Tom Thibodeau — but by the end of the game they were cheering him and chanting MVP as he dropped 33 points on 12 shots in a Timberwolves win. After the game, Butler said he was good with the boos.
“I love it. I love it. I think people kind of love to hate me sometimes. Say whatever you want to say, but it really makes me smile, what people think about me. But no matter what, you gotta respect my effort…
“You may not like me, That’s okay. But as long as you know that my mind and my heart are in the right place, that I do everything to win and I would do anything for my guys.”
Butler said he was being made out to be the bad guy in this saga but people don’t know all the facts, then he wouldn’t discuss what it was people didn’t know. Butler also was frustrated with teammates that the Timberwolves had a 21-point lead in the third but it got close again in the fourth (Butler himself was -3 for the game, he was part of that problem).
The Bucks led 62-53 at the half and extended it to 93-76 entering the third quarter.
Milwaukee, which ranked 25th in the NBA last season with 24.7 3-point attempts per game, continued to fire away under new coach Mike Budenholzer. The Bucks were 17 of 47, with Antetokounmpo going 0 for 7.
WhatAntetokounmpo was doing was dunking.
Middleton had five 3-pointers, including a four-point play that put the Bucks up 111-88 with 5:03 remaining.
The Bucks were 14 of 34 beyond the arc in their 113-112 season-opening victory at Charlotte on Wednesday night.
The Bucks shook off a slow start en route to a 30-25 lead after one quarter, extending it to 62-53 at the half. Milwaukee took 26 of its 51 first-half shots from 3-point range, making eight.
Antetokounmpo had 22 points and 11 rebounds in the first half.
Jonas Jerebko? Yes, Jonas Jerebko with game-winner for Warriors
Jonas Jerebko was a quality under-the-radar pickup for Golden State last summer, a solid veteran power forward who can space the floor and hit threes.
Obviously, the Warriors got him to be their go-to player in the clutch.
Or, at least, that’s what happened in Utah on Friday night.
Jerebko inbounded the ball then rolled to the rim. Rudy Gobert put a body on him, but as Kevin Durant went up for his game-winner attempt, Gobert took a step toward him and that gave Jerebko the space to get inside Gobert. From there it was just a tip in.
This was a wildly entertaining game, where Kevin Durant dropped 38, Stephen Curry had 31, and for Utah Joe Ingles put on a show on his way to 27. Check out the finish of this game, it was amazingly fun basketball with a lot of emotion for the second game of the season.
Kawhi Leonard hears MVP chants, plays like it with 31 points, leads Raptors past Celtics 113-101
TORONTO (AP) —Kawhi Leonard had 31 points and 10 rebounds, Serge Ibaka added 21 points and the Toronto Raptors beat the Boston Celtics 113-101 on Friday night in an early matchup between Eastern Conference contenders.
Boston’s Gordon Hayward scored 14 points in 24 minutes, connecting on six of 13 field goal attempts.
Leonard made 10 of 25 attempts, including 2 of 5 from 3-point range, and went 9 for 9 at the free throw line.
Brown made a 3-pointer to give the Celtics an 87-86 lead with 9:03 remaining. VanVleet answered with a reverse layup, the first basket in a 6-0 spurt that gave Toronto the led for good.
Green and Lowry each made 3-pointers around an offensive foul by Tatum with just over two minutes remaining, giving the Raptors a 107-99 edge. Green went 4 for 7 from long range, while Lowry made 3 of 5.