Celtics president Danny Ainge: Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter were ‘Plan A’

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The Celtics, even a couple months ago, were still reportedly hoping to trade for Anthony Davis and re-sign Kyrie Irving.

But dreams die fast. Davis got dealt to the Lakers. Irving left for the Nets. Al Horford even left for the 76ers.

Boston settled for got its grand prize of Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter.

Celtics president Danny Ainge:

When we got done with the draft and started our preparation for free agency, as we started planning for Plan A, our Plan A was Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter.

This might be technically true, depending how you’re willing to interpret it. It’s not accurate.

The Celtics didn’t begin preparing for free agency after the draft. Those plans were being laid years in advance. They didn’t prioritize Walker and Kanter.

But if you grant that we’re talking about only Boston’s post-draft preparation, this could be true. It was already pretty apparent both Irving and Horford were exiting. Los Angeles had already traded for Davis.

Walker-to-Boston reports didn’t emerge until after the draft. He looked like the best free agent realistically available to the Celtics. Getting him would deplete their cap space. Kanter is a high-quality player for the room exception.

Even so, I’m not totally convinced Boston had given up hope immediately following the draft of the mercurial Irving re-signing. Welcoming him back to the locker room would have been complicated. But he’s more talented and younger than Walker.

So, maybe – maybe – Ainge is telling the truth on a technicality. But I’m not even sure of that, and he’s being inaccurate in a wider context, anyway.

Knicks rookie R.J. Barrett out at least a week with right ankle sprain

R.J. Barrett
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NEW YORK (AP) New York Knicks rookie R.J. Barrett will miss at least a week with a sprained right ankle.

Barrett was hurt during the Knicks’ loss to Phoenix on Thursday. On Friday, he had X-rays, which were negative.

The Knicks announced afterward that Barrett will be re-evaluated in a week.

The No. 3 pick in the draft from Duke is averaging 14.1 points.

Heat: Justise Winslow out at least two more weeks

Justise Winslow
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MIAMI (AP) — The Miami Heat say Justise Winslow will miss at least two more weeks while recovering from a back injury.

Winslow has played only once since Dec. 4 and is slated to be out for at least the remainder of January. The team originally called Winslow’s injury a back strain, then updated the diagnosis to a bone bruise.

Winslow played off the bench in Miami’s win at Indiana on Jan. 8. The team said the back problems reappeared after that game. He has not played since.

Friday’s game in Oklahoma City is Miami’s 41st of the season and the 30th that Winslow has missed. He’s averaging 11.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists for the Heat this season.

Kevin Huerter’s 3-pointer gives Hawks first win in San Antonio in his lifetime (video)

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The Hawks beat the Spurs in San Antonio on Feb. 15, 1997.

The next year, Kevin Huerter was born.

Atlanta’s next win in San Antonio came Friday, when Huerter hit the game-winning 3-pointer in a 121-120 win.

The Hawks’ losing streak in San Antonio spanned Tim Duncan’s entire lengthy career – and continued a few seasons beyond that. The only reprieve came during the lockout-shortened 1999 season, when Atlanta didn’t visit San Antonio. So, the skid lasted 21 games.

Buddy Hield on Kings getting booed at home: ‘That’s how Sacramento fans are’

Kings guard Buddy Hield
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Buddy Hield is quite familiar with frustration amid the Kings’ disappointing season.

Sacramento fans showed theirs Wednesday, booing the Kings during their home loss to the Mavericks.

Buddy Hield, via James Ham of NBC Sports California:

“Everybody is frustrated, it’s not even them, we’re trying to figure it out too,” Buddy Hield said following the loss. “But it’s the home team and we get booed…we don’t agree with it, but they’re going to voice their opinion.

“I understand their frustration, but like I said, I’m going to keep shooting the ball,” Hield continued. “When I make a three they like me, when I don’t, they hate you. That’s how Sacramento fans are, man, so you’ve got to embrace it.”

Hield seemingly isn’t looking to pick a fight with fans. He made a point to empathize with their frustration.

But I don’t think he’s being fair, either.

Kings fans are far more loyal than swinging between love and hate depending whether or not a shot falls. They’re fed up after 13 – going on 14 – straight seasons missing the playoffs. This year has been particularly discouraging, as Sacramento has backtracked from fun and fast to sad and slow. Losing to Luka Doncica particular grievance – only adds to the irritation.

The Kings’ problems have spanned multiple owners, executives, coaches and players. So, booing this group isn’t totally fair, either. But this is who’s in front of the fans.

If this Sacramento team plays hard and together, fans will embrace it – and stick with it through thinner times.