Report: Celtics may keep Tayshaun Prince if he’s not traded by the deadline

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Tayshaun Prince came to Boston in the deal that sent Jeff Green to the Grizzlies, and while the Celtics have launched even further into a full-fledged rebuild by virtue of their mid-season trades, Prince is a veteran that has a puncher’s chance of sticking around.

Typically, a team like the Celtics in this situation would look to jettison any and all veterans from the roster, and Prince will indeed be dangled in trade talks before the mid-February deadline, in hopes of netting a draft pick in return.

But since he isn’t a key difference-maker in terms of wins and losses, his professional attitude may be welcome by the coaching staff — and that would mean a buyout negotiation may not happen if a willing trade partner can’t be found.

From Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald:

There was strong word that if Prince wasn’t moved by the deadline that the Celtics would seek agreement with him on a buyout of this final year of his contract (he makes a bit more than $7.2 million).

But coach Brad Stevens has taken a strong liking to Prince, who had four points in 17 minutes in last night’s 100-99 win against the Nuggets. It’s fair to assume he may lobby to keep him on the squad the rest of the season if he is not traded. …

And there is also the need to develop the young players on hand, and the C’s believe it’s important to have that happen in an environment where the club is competitive. Stevens believes Prince can help in this regard, both with his talent and leadership.

“I think there’s no question about that, but also there’s the fact that he’s a veteran who knows how to,” the coach said. “The other thing is he just has such great poise and presence.

We’ve been round and round on this subject many times before, but it’s worth mentioning here that coaches have no interest in tanking, which is completely an organizational decision.

Since Prince isn’t exactly a guy who will take a game over and drop 30 on any given night, having him around would benefit the younger players on the roster, at least in the head coach’s eyes.

If a team eventually comes calling for Prince with a draft pick in hand, Boston will undoubtedly pull the trigger. But given Prince’s overall game and professional demeanor, the team may keep him around if that doesn’t end up happening, instead of negotiating a buyout to further rid themselves of veteran talent from the roster.

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Karl-Anthony Towns shoots down trade rumors, and was that a dig at Jimmy Butler?

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Karl-Anthony Towns was back on the court for the first time in a month Friday night, dropping 27 on the Pacers and looking every bit one of the best big men in the game (even as he shook off a little rust).

Towns’ name was in the news while he was out, with reports about how the Knicks dream was to trade for him and Warriors were monitoring his situation. There has been zero Towns trade talk around the league — he is in the first year of a five-year contract extension and wants to give the new Timberwolves’ new management a chance to build around him — but that hasn’t squashed the speculation.

So Towns tried to do that after Friday night’s game — and takes a little dig at Jimmy Butler in the process. Via Chris Hine of the Star Tribune.

“I think you’ve been around me long enough to know I don’t go for all the s***,” Towns said. “I just do my job, go home and I know what the real story is. There’s a reason those stories are made because people need to sell papers, sell links and clicks, whatever the case may be. I’m here to be a Minnesota Timberwolf. Very fortunate I have a head coach like [Ryan Saunders], a President and friend like [Gersson Rosas]. I’m not worried about all that nonsense.

“Whatever we have to deal with in house, we’ll deal with in house, but this ain’t the circus like it used to be. This is something that’s going to be done as a family. If we have a problem or anything, we’ll deal with it internally. We won’t have any external forces here adding anything.”

The circus/family comments are clearly a little dig at Jimmy Butler.

The circus was at the start of the 2018-19 season, when Butler wanted out of Minnesota and went full diva to create a massive distraction and force then coach/GM Tom Thibodeau’s hand. Butler was traded to the Sixers, and then last summer left Philadelphia for Miami (where he has played at an All-NBA level). Butler may not have loved how he perceived Towns (and, more so, Andrew Wiggins) commitment to the game, but Towns was no fan of how Butler handled his business. Towns doesn’t like things dealt with that publicly.

Towns was playing at an All-NBA level himself this season before his injury, including shooting 41.5 percent on 8.5 threes a game — KAT has been an offensive force. Rosas, however, has a lot of work to do to build a quality team around Towns. Towns committed to Minnesota with this new contract and, while he may be frustrated with the losing this season, he’s not going Anthony Davis.

A couple of years from now… who knows? That’s a couple of lifetimes away in the NBA. Until then, teams will monitor Towns’ situation and mood, he will shoot down trade rumors, and the cycle will go on.

Somehow, Ja Morant highlights keep getting better (video)

Ja Morant
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Ja Morant is special.

He has already produced a few amazing plays during his rookie year. He has even taken over full games with his flashy play.

But the performance he put on during the Grizzlies’ win over the Cavaliers last night was something else.

Thrice, Morant elevated for show-stopping dunks. He scored only once. But each time, something incredible happened.

First, Morant way up to catch a lob from Jae Crowder, adjusted mid-air and found Jaren Jackson Jr. for a dunk:

Then, less than a minute later, Morant finished a lob from Crowder with a beautiful one-handed slam:

Finally, Morant leaped to posterize Larry Nance Jr., realized that wouldn’t work then threw a spinning behind-the-back pass to Jackson. Though Alfonzo McKinnie blocked Jackson, Morant’s move was dazzling:

If Morant is going to keep putting on shows like this during games, maybe we can forgive him for skipping the dunk contest.

Trae Young gets ankles absolutely destroyed by Dejounte Murray (video)

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The Hawks got Trae Young his desired help, trading for Jeff Teague.

Maybe Young will do his part and step up on defense.

That didn’t happen on this possession against Spurs guard Dejounte Murry.

At least Young continued his breakout season on the other end, scoring 31 points and dishing nine assists in Atlanta’s rare victory in San Antonio.

Tristan Thompson slaps Jae Crowder’s rear end, gets ejected (video)

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What is it about Cleveland athletes slapping butts and getting in trouble?

Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. faces a simple battery charge for slapping a police officer’s backside in LSU’s locker room after the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Last night, Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson got ejected for slapping Grizzlies forward Jae Crowder‘s behind.

Thompson and Crowder got double technical fouls earlier in the game. So, Thompson got ejected with a tech for this incident between free throws.

Though the two are former Cleveland teammates, Crowder didn’t look amused. Crowder doesn’t play.

The Cavs rallied without Thompson, but Memphis won, 113-109.