The Celtics, so celebrated for their defense, made it easy for him. They mishandled the assignment, leaving Butler with a clear path to the hoop, and he pounced, driving for a layup and absorbing contact for good measure. It was a winning play that broke a tie game, along with the Celtics’ resolve. “His competitive will is as high as anybody that has played this game,” Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra said.
June 27, 2022 | 11:48 am EDT Update
While Nets GM Sean Marks and superstar forward Kevin Durant have yet to speak this offseason, Kyrie Irving’s camp has requested and received permission from the Nets to speak with other teams about sign-and-trade packages, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.
The belief among both league and player circles is that Irving is gone and the Seven-Eleven Era is over before it ever began. Irving only appeared in 103 regular-season games in Brooklyn, a three-year run ravaged in Year 1 by a nagging shoulder injury; in Year 2 due to absences for personal reasons; and in Year 3 due to Irving’s unwillingness to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in a city that didn’t create a professional athlete exemption in its vaccine mandate until weeks before the NBA playoffs began.
Irving reportedly has six teams on his radar: the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Heat, 76ers and Mavericks. A Durant and Westbrook reunion in Brooklyn remains unlikely, according to a source. The Knicks, Mavericks and Heat are the teams that have the biggest capacity to pull off a deal for Irving, but the Knicks and Mavericks appear to be in a bidding war over free agent guard Jalen Brunson.
June 27, 2022 | 11:03 am EDT Update
Malik Monk said he’d consider accepting less money than his market price to stay with the Lakers for the taxpayer midlevel exception. “They might not be able to pay me as much as I want,” he said. “But I could be here and be way more comfortable as a Laker than going to any other team (that would pay) me $5 million more. So it’s just me trying to figure out what team would really want me.”