Gerald Wallace: Celtics’ coaches didn’t like my criticism of team’s effort

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It’s always risky when a player criticizes his teammates, but Gerald Wallace dug into the Celtics’ selfishness and lack of effort during the preseason. Wallace, a well-established veteran, had to play hard to find his way in the NBA, so he knows what it takes to succeed in the league. And when Boston wasn’t showing those traits early, he wanted to nip the problem in the bud.

Seems like a reasonable time for intra-team criticism.

But not everyone agreed, namely the Celtics’ coaches.

Wallace, via Mark Murphy / Boston Herald:

“I’m getting fussed at by the coaches every time,” said Wallace. “They’re trying to tell me to relax and ease up. But the main thing is I want the guys to compete. If we lose all 82 games, but we lose them going down fighting and competing hard. I can live with that. I can’t live with losing and we didn’t compete, we didn’t give our best effort and we just gave the game away. I don’t want that for these guys and this team.”

The biggest challenge Brad Stevens faces is earning the respect of his players. He’s never worked with professionals, or even big-time college recruits. It’s important for him to begin that process early and pay careful attention to it, because there will be bumps along the way.

It’s possible Stevens doesn’t mind the message, just the source. Even if Wallace is preaching values Stevens agrees with (selflessness, effort), it could harm Stevens if Wallace gains to large a voice in the locker room. Maybe next time Wallace will be rallying the troops against Stevens, and even if that’s unlikely, a preseason tongue lashing for a team headed to the lottery anyway isn’t worth the risk of Wallace gaining too much influence.

For Stevens to set a clear agenda, the simplest route is to get Rajon Rondo on his side. If those two are delivering the same message, everyone else will follow.

Wallace doesn’t factor into that arrangement. He’s in Boston only because his contract made the Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce-Jason Terry trade viable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement and clearly isn’t part of the Celtics’ long-term plans.

Maybe Wallace can impart some wisdom while he’s Boston, but Stevens will try to make sure that happens on his terms.

James Harden buys piece of MLS Houston Dynamo

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NBA players being minority owners in a soccer team is not new, LeBron James owns a small piece of Champions’ League winner Liverpool, for example.

James Harden is keeping it closer to home — he bought a share of the Dynamo, Houston’s MLS franchise.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to join the ownership group of the Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash and proud to be a part of a club with tremendous history and a great future,” Harden said in a statement. “Houston is my home now, and I saw this as a way to invest in my city and expand my business interests at the same time. Soccer in general, and especially MLS, have exploded in this country throughout my lifetime. I’ve been a fan of the game for several years, and I know that Houston has a massive soccer fanbase, so it was an easy decision for me when this opportunity arose.”

Harden reportedly purchased a five percent stake in the team.

The Dynamo — a former MLS cup champion and a franchise that has consistently been strong — is primarily owned by Gabriel Brener, and it has boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya as one of its minority owners.

Harden has earned more than $141 million in NBA salary in his 10 NBA seasons and has four years left on the $228 million contract extension he signed with the team in 2017. In addition, he has a large shoe contract with Adidas and other endorsements.

Report: R.C. Buford moving on from Spurs GM role, Brian Wright taking over

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For 15 years, through championships and an unparalleled run of playoff berths and success, R.C. Buford and Gregg Popovich seemed to work as one brain. Popovich was the coach but also team president, Buford the GM, and together they built an NBA powerhouse.

Buford is moving on from that role. Or, more precisely moving up into a new management role, and assistant GM Brian Wright is taking over as GM, reports Jabari Young of The Athletic.

After a little more than 15 years serving as GM, Buford is getting prepared to bequeath the role to assistant GM Brian Wright, league sources have confirmed to The Athletic. Wright will report directly to Buford, who will officially get a new title that some around the NBA believe will be a role helping to oversee Spurs Sports & Entertainment.

When the Spurs initially hired Wright in 2016, he stayed behind the scenes and focused mainly on scouting. But sources have informed The Athletic over the last year Wright has been more involved, even fielding calls and packages for the trade of Kawhi Leonard the previous summer.

Wright came to the Spurs from the Pistons a couple of years ago. That said, don’t expect a big change in how things are done in the Spurs front office. For one thing, Popovich is still there. Also, Wright has an excellent reputation around the league as being smart and a straight shooter. On top of all of that, Buford will remain his ultimate boss, although Buford’s role will change into one of more of a business manager for Spurs Sports & Entertainment.

Young hints there could be more changes coming. Obviously, the biggest would be when Popovich decides to step back in his dual roles as coach and president, but there could be shifts in the assistant GM ranks as well.

Just don’t expect the Spurs to stop being the Spurs.

Exclusive video preview: Dwyane Wade joins America’s Got Talent as guest judge

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Dwyane Wade is retired. He’s got some time on his hands.

But if he wants to spend quality time this summer with his wife, Gabrielle Union, he’s got to get on the set of America’s Got Talent, because she is a judge on the hit show. So, Wade did exactly that and steps in this week as a guest judge.

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Next week… it’s going down on @agt

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In the video at the top of this page, you can see an exclusive of Wade and the rest of the AGT crew watching and judging an insane danger act out of India, a sneak preview of the show airing on NBC this Tuesday night (8 p.m.).

Wade knows talent on the court, but we’re going to see what talents impress him on the stage.

Kings hire WNBA’s Lindsey Harding as assistant coach

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Sacramento Kings have hired former WNBA player Lindsey Harding as an assistant and player development coach on Luke Walton’s staff.

The team also hired Stacey Augmon and Rico Hines on Friday.

Harding played nine years in the WNBA before working as a pro personnel scout and then player development coach for the Philadelphia 76ers.

She becomes the latest woman to serve as a coach in the NBA, joining others like Boston’s Kara Lawson, San Antonio’s Becky Hammon, Dallas’ Jenny Boucek and Cleveland’s Lindsay Gottlieb.

The Kings have a history of hiring female coaches, notably Nancy Lieberman and Boucek.