The Boston Celtics, a 50-win team who will finish in the top two spots in the East, will have the best odds of the top pick in the NBA Draft this June.
With unexpected Suns win over the Thunder on Friday night, it became assured that the Brooklyn Nets will have the worst record in the NBA. Thanks to the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade three years ago — when Nets ownership told GM Billy King to put together a team that could contend immediately, at any cost — the Celtics have the right to swap picks with the Nets this season.
That means the Celtics will have a 25 percent chance of landing the top pick in the coming draft, and a 64.2 percent chance of a top three pick (and they can’t be outside the top four). So yes, one of the deepest rosters in the league is about to get even deeper.
Things get interesting if the Celtics land one of the top two picks, which are expected to be point guards Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball. The Celtics have All-Star Isaiah Thomas on the roster, he’s a fan favorite on a very affordable contract ($6.5 million this season) who will be a free agent in 2018. How much are the Celtics willing to pay Thomas in a year if they have already drafted the point guard of the future? Should the Celtics use their cap space to extend Thomas’ contract this summer, at ideally less than max money, then use him as trade bait if Fultz/Ball show they are ready to take over the team? Thomas will be 29 next summer as a free agent, how many years do the Celtics want to extend him at that age (the history of undersized point guards is that when their skills start to fall of the drop is fast and steep)?
By the way, the Celtics also have the Nets pick next year. Just another piece of trade bait.
Draymond Green is the backbone of the Golden State Warriors, not just because he was the 2016-17 NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Green sort of does it all, including passing, scoring, rebounding, and myriad other scrap work that doesn’t show up on regular box scores.
But there was some doubt in Green’s mind in 2016 that he would stay with the team. Green was involved in an argument during a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and after things settled down the Warriors big man was concerned the team might trade him.
The thought of doing so is sort of ridiculous, but apparently that was something that flashed into Green’s mind given the tenseness of the situation between he and Kerr.
Via Bleacher Report:
But Green’s mood was still foul, and he left the arena that day believing his days as a Warrior were numbered. He feared the relationship had been fractured, that the Warriors would choose Kerr over him. That he’d be traded.
“One hundred percent,” Green tells B/R. “Especially with the success that he was having as a coach. Like, you just don’t get rid of that.”
The thing that makes Golden State great isn’t just the players, or the system, or Kerr. It’s the human resources management aspect of their organization that allows them to compete on the court in the way they do.
It’s not crazy to think that a player could be shipped out of town thanks to a disagreement with a coach, although the leverage players have these days likely has put a stop to that realistically happening. But that Kerr, Green, and management were able to get things back under control that season was to the benefit of everyone involved.
The Houston Rockets have been supportive of the Texas community after a gunman killed 10 people and injured 10 others at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas.
Rockets point guard Chris Paul called NBA basketball “minor” compared to what those in Santa Fe are having to endure, and on Thursday the team took things a step further and donned special jerseys for their playoff matchup against the Golden State Warriors.
As Houston prepared to take on the reigning champs in Game 5 back in Texas, the team tweeted out a photo of the jerseys — complete with a special patch on the left shoulder — to honor the victims of the shooting.
The NBA has a lot of advocates for social and political change, not just individually but organizationally. How the Rockets responded is good to see in the face of yet another school shooting.
The Warriors missed Andre Iguodala in Game 4 against Houston. They don’t have a Death/Hamptons 5 lineup without him. Without his depth, the Warriors had to lean more on players such as Kevon Looney (who started), Nick Young, and others who are can be a liability at the high level of play in this series. Not having Iguodala to keep minutes down, play fierce defense, move the ball on offense, and be a stabilizing force was one of the issues that led to the Warriors fourth-quarter issues in Game 4.
Now they are without him for Game 5, too.
Having Klay Thompson on the court is huge for Golden State, although it will be worth monitoring to see how he moves.
The Warriors have gotten sucked into the switching/isolation game the Rockets want to play, if they are going to take Game 5 on the road they need to get back to “the beautiful game” they want to play. That would have been easier with Iguodala.
NBA teams seemed to have moved on from Amar’e Stoudemire. After an impressive NBA career — five-time All-NBA, Rookie of the Year, six-time All-Star — he wasn’t physically the explosive player that dazzled with the Suns. Teams were interested in getting younger and more athletic, and Stoudemire was doing neither. He retired from the NBA and played for a season in Israel where he won a league title. This summer he’s signed up to play with the Big3.
After that he’,d like another crack at the NBA. When asked about an NBA comeback, here’s what Stoudemire told CBS Sports’ Bill Reiter on ‘Reiter’s Block’:
“I am. I am. I’m definitely planning on (coming back). I’ve been training like you wouldn’t believe, my body feels great. I had an amazing year last year playing overseas and so I’m gonna definitely continue to work my way back to top shape and see if there’s a team that needs my talents.”
I’m not sure there’s going to be much demand. Maybe a team does an old friend a favor and brings him in for some workouts. However, his knees and body struggled with the physical grind of the NBA the final few seasons of his career, and it’s unlikely with age that got better. No doubt he’s worked on his conditioning and strength, but Father Time always wins the race and it already felt like this chase was over.
That said, good on Stoudemire for not giving up on the dream. His agent should be making calls, maybe he can become the second player to make the Big3 to NBA leap.