Russ Smith

PBT’s Fast Break news, notes from around NBA: Dwight Howard to sit out Houston opener

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Even in the middle of the off-season there are so many news and notes around the NBA we can’t keep up with all of them, so here is a collection of short thoughts and news items we couldn’t plug in anywhere else.

• We learned this week with the new NBA schedule that the Houston Rockets open the season Oct. 28 against the Denver Nuggets, but Dwight Howard will have to sit that game out as a suspension for crossing the flagrant foul threshold during last season’s playoffs.

• Stephen Jackson says he is the best NBA player alive — on the mic. And by the way, he says Kobe Bryant’s rap career was “horrible.” Which frankly may be kind.

• Jackson may be able to rap a little, but can he lip-sync to Whitesnake like Nick Young?

Bleacher Report’s Jared Zwerling did a fantastic piece talking with Stephon Marbury about being big in China.

• The Atlanta Hawks are about to hire former NBA player Malik rose as their manager of basketball operations, according to multiple reports.

• How much trouble is the Hawks’ Mike Scott in for his arrest on drug charges? Like 25 years in jail worth of trouble. There were drugs in a car where he was a passenger that was stopped by police, then Scott told police the drugs were his and his brother (the driver) did not know about them.

• What will be interesting with the Scott case is how the Hawks and league handle it. He is innocent until proven guilty, and Georgia law calls for the drugs in his possession (marijuana and Molly) to be tested before a court date is set, which takes a couple months. Meaning after the NBA season starts. Do they play him?

• Russ Smith has an Instagram account for his cat.

• Al Horford is going back to his native Dominican Republic for a Basketball Without Borders event there this summer. Corey Brewer and Luc Mbah a Moute also will be there.

• Michael Jordan testified in court this week against now-defunct Chicago-based supermarket chain Dominick’s. The chain ran a 2009 ad for steaks using a picture of Jordan without his permission — Jordan and his attorneies are incredibly protective of his brand, and he sued the chain for $10 million. The worst part, just two people used the coupons to get steaks at the stores. There is no verdict yet.

• Chicago is one of America’s great food towns, and the Bulls (and Blackhawks) are teaming up with Levy Restaurants (the “hospitality partner) at the arena) to bring some of that food to the United Center. Trendy Chicago eateries such as Big Star, Publican Quality Meats, Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap, Leghorn Chicken, Lillie’s Q, LQ Chicken Shack, Frontier, Lottie’s Pub and The Pony will have food at concession stands in the arena. This is brilliant. If you want a boiled hot dog and a Bud Light you can still get it, but now you have options.

• Levy runs the food operations at a number of NBA arenas, and they have been great at bringing in local flavor in a lot of places. Maybe the best arena food is at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where you can get grub from Brooklyn Bangers, Paisano’s Meat Market, Blue Marble Ice Cream, Café Habana, Buffalo Boss, and Nathan’s. That is a fantastic job of capturing local flavor.

• A little news about a former NBA player taking the cash in China.

Russ Smith hits game-winner to give Grizzlies ‘sudden death’ Summer League win (VIDEO)

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Summer League is about player development above all else, but the games are set up to try to replicate real life NBA contests as much as possible.

Once we get to a second overtime session, however, enough is enough, and a “sudden death” rule is put into place where the next basket wins.

Russ Smith of the Grizzlies hit the heroic shot in this situation on Tuesday, to give Memphis the 73-71 victory over one of Orlando’s two Summer League squads.

Three-team trade that sends Jeff Green to the Grizzlies becomes official

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The trade to send Jeff Green from the Celtics to the Grizzlies took a few days to come together.

But now, with three teams, five players and two draft picks involved, it has become official.

From a Memphis Grizzlies official release:

The Memphis Grizzlies completed a three-team trade with the Boston Celtics and New Orleans Pelicans in which they acquired forward Jeff Green from Boston and guard Russ Smith from New Orleans. In exchange, Memphis traded forward Tayshaun Prince and a protected future first round draft pick to Boston and traded guard/forward Quincy Pondexter and a 2015 second round draft pick to New Orleans, Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace announced today. As part of the trade, New Orleans also has traded guard Austin Rivers to Boston. In addition, Memphis will receive a traded player exception.

While this appears to be a nice move on paper that should provide Memphis with an upgrade over Prince on the wing, it’s also one that sends Boston further into a Sixers-like situation.

The one loose end that needs tying up is the ultimate fate of Austin Rivers. The Celtics were reportedly in talks with the Clippers about a trade, mainly because Boston is loaded at guard, but also because it would rather have a future pick in exchange for Rivers, who will be an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of this season.

Even if the trade with the Clippers doesn’t work out (where Austin’s father Doc Rivers is the head coach), the Celtics aren’t interested in keeping Austin on the roster, and are expected to pursue other deals instead.

MORE: CSNNE subscriber? Watch Celtics-Pelicans Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET

[Photo via the Grizzlies on Twitter]

Report: Grizzlies, Pelicans and Celtics finalize terms of three-team deal involving Jeff Green

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After two days of rumors and details slowly trickling out, it appears that the three-team trade between the Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans and Boston Celtics has taken on a final shape, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Here’s what the deal looks like:

  • Memphis gets Jeff Green from Boston and Russ Smith from New Orleans.
  • New Orleans gets Quincy Pondexter and a second-round pick from Memphis.
  • Boston gets Tayshaun Prince and a first-round pick from Memphis and Austin Rivers from New Orleans.

The trade gets the Grizzlies an upgrade on the wing in Green, and various picks and cap relief to the other teams. The Pelicans get a nice young wing defender in Pondexter, and the Celtics are expected to flip Rivers somewhere else, probably to the Clippers.

Report: Pelicans emerge as third team in trade that would send Celtics’ Jeff Green to Grizzlies

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Celtics GM Danny Ainge has decided it’s fire sale time in Boston, and is essentially trading away any players that he doesn’t see as a long-term solution, while kickstarting an ongoing rebuilding process into high gear at the very same time.

Rajon Rondo was sent to Dallas, and Brandan Wright, who was acquired in that deal, is on his way to Phoenix.

Jeff Green is the best player remaining on the Celtics roster, but that won’t be the case for much longer. Green was held out of Boston’s loss in Indiana on Friday, because the team is close to dealing him to the Grizzlies.

While the deal has yet to be completed, a third team has reportedly agreed to help facilitate things, and the framework is firmly in place.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Memphis, Boston and New Orleans are in the advanced stages of a deal framework that would send the Grizzlies’ Tayshaun Prince, New Orleans’ John Salmons and a future Memphis first-round pick to the Celtics, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Memphis would send forward Quincy Pondexter to the Pelicans and New Orleans would send Russ Smith to the Grizzlies in the proposed deal, sources said.

Boston and Memphis believe they can complete the Green trade without New Orleans, but the Grizzlies want to move Pondexter before Green and his $9.2 million salary joins Memphis, sources said. Memphis is still discussing other deals for Pondexter around the NBA, but the focus on Friday night had been completing the trade with New Orleans, sources told Yahoo.

Pondexter is part of the rotation in Memphis, but isn’t an integral part of what the team does. Shedding his salary would mean Memphis would stay under the luxury tax threshold of $76.8 million, which is important to a team playing in one of the league’s smaller markets.

Nothing has been finalized, and the Celtics will reportedly listen to other offers for Green while this one works itself out. But no matter where he ends up (and Memphis still seems like the likely destination), Green’s time in Boston appears to be a thing of the past.

MORE: CSNNE subscriber? Watch Celtics-Raptors Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET