Celtics fan favorite Tacko Fall gets training camp contract; longshot for roster

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Celtics fans were Tacko crazy in Las Vegas — Tacko Fall was their guy. He was the sensation of Summer League. Fans exploded with cheers on every bucket, they chanted his name urging the staff to put him back in long-over games, Fall got MVP chants, and for one game two guys even came dressed as tacos.

Celtics fans are going to get to keep on cheering the 7’7″ big man through training camp — the Celtics have officially signed him for training camp.

This is an Exhibit 10 contract, which is essentially an invite to training camp with some money as a buyout when he gets cut.

While the Celtics do have one open roster spot left, it’s unlikely Fall gets that spot. The Celtics have Enes Kanter starting at center with Daniel Theis and Robert Williams behind him, it’s unlikely they keep a fourth traditional center on the roster.

While Fall averaged 7.2 points a game on 77 percent shooting at Summer League, it was because players there had no idea how to defend him and many were not strong enough to keep him away from the rim. Boston would use a pick to force a switch, Fall would get deep in the paint against a smaller player, take a high pass (that really didn’t have to be that close to him) and throw it down with little resistance.

That will not happen when the men show up for training camp, the easy buckets will go away.

Fall moves reasonably well for someone his size — he set all kinds of size records at the NBA Draft Combine — and defensively he changed a lot of shots in the paint, plus you don’t want to get in front of him in transition.

That said, Fall does not move well enough for the speed of the NBA game yet, nor does he recognize defensively where he needs to be quickly enough (and that is just in Summer League). Conditioning seemed to be an issue as well. He’s got some potential because of his size, but he is also a real project — this Tacko needs a lot more seasoning. A season in the G-League might be what he needs to develop a little, giving the Celtics a chance to see what they got.

But first, he is headed to Celtics training camp.

Watch Carmelo Anthony’s first bucket as a Trail Blazer

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That Carmelo Anthony started the first game he played for Portland speaks to why they signed him in the first place — this team is so shorthanded along the front line that the guy they just signed got thrown into the fire.

Anthony responded with a solid level of play. His first bucket was a wing three where both defenders went to CJ McCollum and left ‘Melo wide open.

Anthony played 12 minutes in the first half and had 7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block, and three fouls. The team was looking to keep him at around 20 minutes for his first game back.

Portland led New Orleans 54-53 at the half.

How a single computer folder and dogged HR official exposed former Kings executive’s $13.4M embezzlement scheme

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Just how close did Jeff David come to getting away with embezzling $13.4 million from the Kings while working for them? He already secured a new job with the Heat and was in the process of moving from Sacramento to Miami.

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:

On this Monday, walking through the Davids’ new front door is a dizzying procession of cable guys, utility workers and movers. Amid all of this, Jeff receives a phone call from a former co-worker with the Kings. Her name is Stacy Wegzyn, and she works in HR. Jeff last remembers sitting in her office in Sacramento just months earlier, being told that the Kings were going to eliminate his position. After a few pleasantries, she gets down to business. She tells Jeff she’s been going through his old files, and in doing so she found one labeled “TurboTax” that references an entity called Sacramento Sports Partners.

“I was just curious what that is and if those are documents that should go to somebody else,” Wegzyn says.

It’s a seemingly innocuous inquiry from an HR lifer. But it’s one that will dictate the rest of Jeff David’s life. If he knows that — or senses it — he doesn’t let on.

“No, no, no,” Jeff responds. “That was a … man, this is taking me back. Maybe 2015?”

Wegzyn presses on. She asks Jeff whether the documents contain anything that anyone with the Kings needs to see. Jeff assures her they can trash them because the entity isn’t around anymore. A few minutes after he hangs up, his mother-in-law, Nancy, is standing at the front door when an FBI investigator appears, asking to speak to Jeff.

If you like the NBA or true crime – let alone both – I HIGHLY recommend reading Arnovitz’s full piece. It’s riveting!

Warriors Kevon Looney cleared for on-court basketball work, will return soon

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At least someone on the Warriors is getting healthy.

Big man Kevon Looney, who played opening night and has since been sidelined with a sore hamstring and neuropathy (what the team described as “nerve-related symptoms”), has been cleared to return to on-court basketball activities, the team announced Tuesday. From the official press release:

He will participate in select practice sessions with the Santa Cruz Warriors this week and will re-join the Golden State Warriors over the weekend. We will continue to monitor his progress and will provide another update on his status on Sunday.

Looney has already been officially assigned to Santa Cruz.

This is good news for the Warriors, who have been starting Willie Cauley-Stein but desperately need more shot blocking and depth up front.

Anyone getting healthy is good news for a Warriors team that is 2-12 and has the worst net rating in the NBA (-10.4).

Carmelo Anthony to start first game for Portland, apparently thinks he’s wearing number infinity

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Carmelo Anthony will wear No. 00 with the Trail Blazers.

Why?

Apparently because 00 kind of looks like ∞.

Anthony:

Somewhere, Kyrie Irving is nodding in support.

In terms of numbers that make sense…

Marc J. Spears of ESPN:

That’s a sizable role for a 35-year-old in his first game in more than a year. But Portland needs scoring with Damian Lillard sidelined, and – at last check (though, again, a while ago), Anthony was accustomed to big minutes.

Besides, we all want ample opportunity to see Anthony back on the court after his lengthy absence.