AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Report: Gordon Hayward bolting Jazz for Celtics

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The Celtics have been linked to every frontcourt starKevin Durant, Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Blake Griffin, Carmelo Anthony, DeMarcus Cousins… – rumored to be switching teams the last couple years.

After signing Al Horford last year, Boston has reeled in another catch this year: Gordon Hayward.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

The Celtics must still figure out how to clear cap space for Hayward. They can unilaterally renounce all their free agents, including pulling restricted free agent Kelly Olynyk‘s qualifying offer, and waive unguaranteed Jordan Mickey. Convincing Guerschon Yabusele to remain overseas another year would help, as would dumping Terry Rozier and Demetrius Jackson.

But even all that would still leave Boston $283,366 shy of Hayward’s max salary. Would he take that small discount, or must the Celtics move a higher-impact player like Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley or Marcus Smart?

There’s still time to sort out the details. The most important thing: Boston landed a star before its cap flexibility vanished when pending free agents Isaiah Thomas, Bradley and Smart get big raises next year.

At best, Hayward immediately vaults the Celtics into the Eastern Conference’s top tier, true competitors with the aging Cavaliers. The 27-year-old Hayward can also show a little patience if asset-rich Boston must wait out Cleveland.

It’s a shame we’ll never see what these Jazz would’ve become. They built a strong roster around Hayward and Gobert, but injuries kept them from peaking last season, and Hayward’s departure short-circuits their run.

They’ve done almost everything right in the last few years – provide the support Hayward needed to work himself into stardom, formed an excellent basketball culture led by Coach Quin Snyder and acquired talented players. They just ran into a Celtics team that offered an even brighter future (with a talented deep roster and extra first-round picks that can be used to upgrade) and even better coach (Brad Stevens, who coached Hayward at Butler).

Still, Utah is somewhat culpable. The Jazz told Hayward to bring back an offer sheet in 2014 restricted free agency, and they matched a 3+1 deal from from Charlotte. If they had just given Hayward a five-year contract themselves, he still would’ve been locked up.

By now, there’s no reason to doubt Hayward as a max player. He blossomed in Utah, but is clearly ready to take the next step.

The Jazz appear headed for a step back. They still have Gobert, one of the NBA’s top young players, and they already agreed to re-sign Joe Ingles and traded for Ricky Rubio. Utah should still compete for a playoff spot, even in the loaded West, but Hayward’s departure significantly lowers their ceiling.

Likewise, the Heat – Hayward’s other main suitor – appear stuck in the NBA’s middle class for the time being. Miami could turn to re-signing its own free agents, Dion Waiters and James Johnson. But that team would have a considerably lower ceiling than one with Hayward slotted between Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside.

Arson suspected at bar where Zach Randolph’s brother killed

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MARION, Ind. (AP) Investigators have determined a fire likely was intentionally set at an Indiana bar, one day after the brother of NBA star Zach Randolph was fatally shot there.

The fire happened at Hop’s Blues Room in Marion early Sunday – less than 24 hours after 35-year-old Roger Randolph was found dead.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze that caused an estimated $20,000 in damage. Marion Fire Department Investigator Brandon Eckstein says the cause of the fire was arson.

Early Saturday, Roger Randolph died shortly after he was found shot in the parking lot of the business. Police say no arrests have been made.

Zach Randolph was a star player in Marion and now plays for the Sacramento Kings.

Authorities didn’t immediately say whether they believe Randolph’s death and the fire are related.

Report: First round picks will walk across draft stage with two family members

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The NBA Draft is a big moment for many young men entering the league. Before the picks are announced, TV coverage shows players waiting at their tables among parents, siblings, and their agents.

Now, the NBA is apparently turning the first round into even more of a family affair.

According to Yahoo! Sports, first round selections will be invited to bring two family members to walk across the stage with them as they are selected during the draft on Thursday night. Those members will also be in the greenroom, so they will get the full experience of what it’s like to be an NBA draft pick themselves.

Via Yahoo!:

This is going to be pretty neat to see, and it should make the smiles of the players even bigger as they get to experience a lifelong dream right alongside their support networks.

The 2018 NBA Draft kicks off on Thursday, June 21 at 4:00 PM.

It’s the 10 year anniversary of Kevin Garnett’s ‘Anything is possible’ (VIDEO)

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The Boston Celtics were world champions back in 2008. After a whirlwind summer in 2007 where the team traded for both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, things came together for the Celtics as Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo filled out an impressive roster.

Boston had two consecutive seven-game series to open the postseason in 2007-08, beating the Atlanta Hawks in the first round and then LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second. They then dispatched the Pistons in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals, and Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers in six in the NBA Finals.

The Celtics hadn’t won the championship since the 1985-86 season, and suffered through patently bad teams or talented ones that tended to get clumsy with early playoff exits.

When Boston finally did win their title, it was Garnett who game us one of the more iconic moments of their celebration, shouting “Anything is possible!” as he was interviewed after the game.

Via Twitter:

A decade later, Boston is again in the hunt for another championship and seemingly set up to do so for years to come.

Report: Minnesota’s Tyus Jones considered asking for trade, Thibodeau eased concerns

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If there was one thing at the top of the list that set off Timberwolves fans on Twitter last season — and that is a long list — it was the burying of backup point guard Tyus Jones on the bench.

Jones played well on the floor — he is an excellent pick-and-roll ball handler, knows how to run an offense, is strong in transition, and can knock down a spot-up jumper — and the Timberwolves were 5.8 points per 100 possessions better than their opponents when he was on the court. Yet coach Tom Thibodeau jerked Jones’ minutes around — he leaned heavily on starter Jeff Teague and backup guard Jamal Crawford, then mid-season brought in Derrick Rose and gave him run. Jones’ minutes were up and down when they never should have been — even Teague went to Thibodeau and said to play Jones more.

It got to the point that after the season, the third-year guard considered asking for a trade, reports Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.

But sources told Sporting News that Jones met with team management after the playoffs, and Thibodeau reasserted his support of Jones and his development. Even if the Wolves re-sign Rose, Jones was assured, his minutes and opportunities would increase because Crawford is not expected to return to the team. Rose mostly played shooting guard with the Wolves last season, so there’s a chance Jones could play alongside Rose as a backcourt bench unit.

Jones had considered requesting a trade, but the meeting with the team defused that notion before it arose. And for now, at least, the Wolves have no intention of dealing him.

Thibodeau is saying the right things, we’ll see if his actions back up his words. Jones will be a restricted free agent in the summer of 2019 and he has a lot of fans around the league in other front offices. If Minnesota doesn’t give him enough burn he will hunt out a place that will (and may pay more than Minnesota wants to match).

It’s one of a number of issues around the Timberwolves that could derail, at least temporarily, a team that is on the rise in the West.