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Rumor: Celtics offered ‘most of their best draft picks’ to Spurs for Kawhi Leonard

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The Celtics refused to include their top players in Kawhi Leonard trade talks.

But that didn’t mean Boston refused to make the Spurs a compelling offer.

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

A all the reporting from this sort of trickled in, I think the Celtics offered most of their best draft picks. I don’t think the Celtics just offered, “You could have a bunch of our picks.” I think some of the picks they own – at least two of the picks, if not all of them – that they own from other teams, including the Kings, Grizzlies and Clippers, I think those were all in the deal.

In addition to all their own, the Celtics have three extra first-round picks:

  • Higher of the Kings’ and 76ers’ in 2019 – unless it’s No. 1, in which case Boston would get the lower of the two picks
  • Grizzlies’ top-eight-protected in 2019, top-six-protected in 2020 or unprotected in 2021
  • Clippers’ lottery-protected in 2019 and 2020 – though if not conveyed either of those years, it becomes the Clippers’ 2022 second-rounder

That Sacramento pick is a huge asset, and the Memphis pick is sneaky valuable.

Plus, the Celtics would have had to match Leonard’s salary. They really don’t have any bad contracts. Unless they planned to send a drastically overpaid Marcus Smart to San Antonio in a sign-and-trade, their offer must have also included positive-value players.

But San Antonio wanted to remain competitive. That’s what happens when a 69-year-old coach runs the front office. So, the Spurs prioritized landing a star for their star and got DeMar DeRozan. That’s their prerogative, and there’s certainly a logic to continuing to win with an elite coach like Popovich and a roster already built for the present.

On the other hand, sometimes external factors should supersede internal preferences. If the Celtics made a monster trade offer built around draft picks, maybe San Antonio should have taken it and pivoted into rebuilding. Competing in next year’s Western Conference will be hard enough even with DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge and Popovich.

Heck, taking the draft picks – if they carried more overall value than the Raptors’ package – and flipping them for veterans should have been considered.

Maybe the Spurs just felt Toronto’s offer carried more value, regardless. And even if San Antonio were dead set on remaining competitive no matter what draft picks were offered, that’s the team’s right.

But if you focus on winning immediately at the expense of the future, you better win immediately. Otherwise, there’s no payoff and returning to a high level becomes harder than it would have been.

Knicks reportedly promote assistant Mike Malone to head coach

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David Fizdale is out as the Knicks head coach after an ugly 4-18 start to the season.

Who will coach the Knicks next season depends on the answer to another question: Are team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry safe, or are they on their way out, too?

In the short term, New York will promote Mike Miller into the big chair, and bring up Keith Bogans from the G-League coaching staff to round out the roster, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Miller spent four years as the head coach of the Westchester Knicks, the franchise’s G-League affiliate, and was the G-League Coach of the Year for the 2017-18 season. He was eventually promoted to the Knicks bench.

Don’t expect a major shake-up in the Knicks’ offensive and defensive systems, or with the rotations, at least in the short term. There just are not a lot of practice days built into the NBA schedule to allow a mid-season replacement to overhaul everything. Plus, with this roster, there’s only so much a human being can do.

 

As was expected, Stephen Curry reportedly has second wrist surgery to remove pins

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This was both expected and right on schedule.

Stephen Curry said almost a month ago that he was going to need a second surgery to remove pins that were inserted during the first procedure back on Nov. 1. Curry suffered a fractured hand back on Oct. 30 when Suns’ center Aron Baynes fell on him, and in the first surgery pins were inserted to stabilize the bone through the healing process.

That second surgery has taken place, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Curry has said he fully expects to play this season, although it wouldn’t be until the end of what is a lost cause campaign for Golden State. For now, Curry is focused on recovery.

“[Managing the]swelling is something that’s going to be of the utmost priority early in the rehab process to get me a chance to come back and get my range of motion back pretty quickly,” Curry said last time he spoke to the media.

Without Curry or Klay Thompson yet this season (plus, of course, Kevin Durant on crutches in Brooklyn), and D'Angelo Russell missing a chunk of time as well due to injury, the Warriors have struggled to a 4-19 record with a bottom-five offense and defense.

The hope for the Warriors is to get Curry and Thompson back by next summer and working out, they get a high draft pick, make a couple other moves around the edges, get Draymond Green healthy, and this team is a threat again. This season it’s more like the Warriors are taking a season off to find themselves and travel the world.

Report: Knicks fire David Fizdale

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The Knicks started 2-8.

Then, it got worse.

Knicks owner James Dolan ordered president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry to address the media after a loss. Mills and Perry spoke before coach David Fizdale, a break in decorum that ignited speculation about Fizdale getting fired.

Then, it got worse.

New York lost six straight.

Then, it got worse.

After a 44-point loss to the Bucks, Fizdale said the Knicks entered the game not believing they even could win. They followed that with a 37-point home loss to the Nuggets yesterday that Fizdale called “sickening.”

Finally, with New York 4-18 and on an eight-game losing streak, the Knicks are making a major change.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This was inevitable. Mills wanted Fizdale gone and knows how to navigate Madison Square Garden politics.

The season was already a lost cause, and it’s likely to remain a mess. Keith Smart, who previously coached the Warriors and Kings, was the only other member of the staff with NBA non-interim head-coaching experience.

The big question: Will Mills and Perry survive?

They gave Fizdale a lacking roster and outsized expectations. Nearly any coach would have been doomed to fail in this situation.

To be fair, Fizdale provided no evidence he deserved to be an exception. The Knicks lacked identity under his guidance, and development of younger players was uneven.

But the problems go way above Fizdale, starting with Dolan.

At least we’ll always have this Fizdale quote comparing the Knicks to slipping in ice, dog poop and pee.

The best song you’ll hear about Jimmy Butler bullying Andrew Wiggins into being good (video)

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Jimmy Butler was hard on Andrew Wiggins. That appeared to be the way then-Timberwolves president-coach Tom Thibodeau wanted it. Wiggins had the talent. He just needed a more productive mindset.

Thibodeau got fired. Butler is with the Heat.

But Wiggins is still in Minnesota and playing better than ever – specifically citing wanting to shut up the critics.

Do Butler and Thibodeau deserve any credit?

Wordsplayed explored that in rap form on “Off The Dribble.” He also dropped bars on the 76ers’ ceiling, James Harden‘s scoring and Carmelo Anthony‘s resurgence with the Trail Blazers.