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Gorman doesn’t think it’s likely the Celtics trade Irving but if the team is serious in its pursuit of Pelicans big man Anthony Davis, Irving might have to be part of any legitimate offer the Celtics make. “Again, if you’re talking about the big guy from New Orleans [Anthony Davis] then you’re going to have to be talking about a really really, good player going back the other way. And that’s the only other player that the Celtics really would put everyone on the table for.”
Irving is under contract this season and then has an opt out. The assumption has been all along that he would decline the player option and then sign a max-deal with Boston who can pay him the most money. Slam dunk right? Gorman says he doesn’t “think it’s a given” anymore. “I think Kyrie’s record over the course of his career would tell you that injuries have been a problem,” said Gorman. “I think you have to be smart here and look at what the facts are, and understand that they may be a problem going forward too.”
LeBron James, who can be a free agent at season’s end, is frustrated by the team’s prolonged rut, and has made it no secret in recent weeks that he felt Irving shouldn’t have been traded. But, according to multiple sources, James ultimately asked the Cavs’ front office not to trade Kyrie Irving after the request was made known, promising to bridge the apparent gap with him. And James was told the Cavs believed they had no choice but to trade Irving.
He has pointed to overall happiness and the desire to grow on and off the floor as the driving force behind his trade request. And he did that again Tuesday morning, keeping any other reasons private, while hoping to move forward with his new team, one that appears to be the Cavs’ biggest East threat. “I kind of want to put that to rest in terms of everyone figuring out or trying to continue to dive into a narrative they have no idea about and probably will never, ever be divulged because it’s not important,” Irving said. “This was literally just a decision I wanted to make solely based on my happiness and pushing my career forward. I don’t want to pinpoint anything, I will never pinpoint anything because that’s not what real grown-ups do. They continue to move on with their life and continue to progress and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
“I’m excited to be back. I’m excited to get the season started. It’s a little different for all of us. But my six years being here they were something that helped me evolve as a man and coming in here every single night and strapping up my shoelaces for the Cleveland Cavaliers was something awesome,” Irving said prior to the Celtics’ shootaround Tuesday morning. “Now I start a new journey, a new step in my career. Ready to get it started, but I’m always truly grateful for them welcoming me with open arms and making sure that me and my family were always supported. Ultimately my love will never change that I have for Cleveland.”
Asked about those inflammatory comments, calling Boston a “real, live sports city,” Irving tried to explain. “I mean, of course it was going to turn into a comparison,” Irving said. “I was talking about driving into Boston. When I’m actually on the highway driving into Boston, the newness and the new environment of going into that city is something different for me. It kind of worked out that I was talking to Marc Spears and it turned into a comparison of me comparing Boston to Cleveland and it wasn’t anything like that.”
Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert said he and his teammates were not surprised Kyrie Irving asked to be traded, but lamented that players and fans twisted in the wind for the month between the All-Star’s request and departure to Boston. “We all knew certain things about this team that’s tough,” Shumpert told Complex News’ “Everyday Struggle” in a wide-ranging interview.
“(People say) it’s LeBron and Kyrie hate each other,” Shumpert said. “No, it’s two dudes that need the ball. LeBron needs the ball, Kyrie needs the ball, Kevin (Love) needs the ball. Swish (J.R. Smith) can’t shoot unless he has the ball. Kyle Korver can’t shoot unless he has the ball.” Shumpert, who is a friend to Irving, said the two still talk. He said “it could be awkward for a little bit” between James, Irving, and Love (there has been no mention of any tension between Irving and Love in media reports), but “it ain’t gonna last.”
Draymond Green has heard the criticism lobbed in Kyrie Irving’s direction. He’s heard how Irving was selfish for wanting to leave the side of LeBron James, how he was foolish for wanting to prove he could strike out on his own and do his own thing. Green, though, took Irving’s trade request, which led to him being dealt from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Boston Celtics, in a far different vein than most: His level of respect for the all-star point guard rose.
“Most people would probably say, ‘LeBron is the greatest player in the world,’ ” Green, who faced Irving in the past three NBA Finals, said. “I don’t say this in disrespect to LeBron … but speaking of Kyrie, to say, ‘I don’t want to play with him no more. I want to do my own thing.’ You have to deliver with that. He’s basically saying, ‘I’m ready to deliver.’ That’s big. That says a lot.”
As for Irving telling reporters during his introductory press conference in Boston that he hadn’t spoken to LeBron James since reports that he wanted out of Cleveland first surfaced? Shumpert, as has been the team line for weeks, thinks there’s nothing to that. “There’s no hard feelings,” he said. “And I’m sure Ky at some point is going to talk to everybody, the same way he talked to me. Ky’s a regular dude. He’s going to compete and he knows we’re going to be out looking for him when we play Boston. It’s all fine.”
Guys go down next to LeBron James year after year, yet very little has stopped the party since 2007 — and not at all since 2010. And while a whole lot of people got their knickers twisted when Cleveland temporarily braked the deal, the end result was as good as anyone in Northern Ohio could expect, given the complete lack of leverage the Cavaliers had once Irving’s trade demands and unhappiness became public. (No, Koby Altman’s future as a GM isn’t ruined; everyone around the league knows the straight jacket every Cleveland exec is in, with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert driving the bus. Hey, he paid for the bus; he can drive it if he wants. Altman did a hell of a job getting what he got.)
But that doesn’t mean this whole rigmarole with Irving sits well in JamesWorld. You don’t chase Michael Jordan’s ghost with fresh new faces; you need grunts like the guy who went all over France looking for Private Ryan. Irving had earned his stripes and LeBron James was expecting a grand pursuit of Paul George or Jimmy Butler this summer to close the gap with the Golden State Warriors, not losing one of his best teammates and having to scramble.
Anyway, James can afford to be sanguine about his future. Wherever he plays, championship opportunities follow. The Cavs don’t have that luxury. Which is why they were never going to blow up the proposed deal from the Celtics. That deal held the key to their future — their post-LeBron future. There was no chance they were going to walk away from that. The unprotected 2018 pick, whether it’s the first pick next June or the fifth, gives Cleveland a chance at a pre-20-year-old talent that it never would have a shot at through the rest of this decade, and probably well into the next.
Danny Ainge had to pull the trigger. The gulf between the Cavs and Celtics in the conference finals last year was enormous. Boston couldn’t match Cleveland’s firepower, whether in the halfcourt or in transition. The NBA is all about scoring, and if you have enough elite two-way players like Klay Thompson and Draymond Green on your team, you have a chance to be able to play enough defense to win big. The Celtics had very good defenders in Crowder and Amir Johnson, but you couldn’t start two non-scoring threats against the Cavs. Kyrie Irving is the best — the best — player in the league with the basketball. Better than Westbrook, who’s electric and fierce, and John Wall, who’s a blur. There’s no one who can stay in front of Irving; he goes from zero to scalding in about four seconds.
Scott Souza: #Celtics Gordon Hayward said Kyrie Irving recruited him to Cleveland as RFA in 2013 “then LeBron came & squashed that whole thing.”
Chris Forsberg: Kyrie Irving says he hasn’t spoken with LeBron James since the trade but calls playing with him “awesome” and thanks him for time together.
Tom Westerholm: Kyrie says he wouldn’t call it “issues” in Cleveland. Says it was an unbelievable ride, but says he’s excited to be a part of Boston.
A. Sherrod Blakely: “Once I knew this illustrious organization had a chance to get me … it made sense.” – @Celtics Kyrie Irving.
Kristian Winfield: Kyrie Irving: “Woo. When Boston came knocking, I came answering.”
What the Cavs accomplished late Wednesday night was officially turning the page from the Kyrie Irving era in Cleveland and gave the franchise options in both the short and long term. “We’re just really excited about the possibilities of this deal for us,” a Cavs decision-maker told ESPN after the Miami pick was included to finally put the trade to bed.
Tristan Thompson: Gonna miss my broddie @Kyrie Irving !! Came into this together and we seen eachother grow into the men we are today. #DraftBrothers
Koby Altman may be the latest person to call himself Cleveland Cavaliers general manager—the fourth in the past 12 years since Dan Gilbert bought the team—but multiple sources have told me that the Cavs owner was the one calling the shots on the trade that sent Irving to Boston, and he’s the one dealing with the fallout. Gilbert’s dysfunctional ways are old news. Gilbert himself joked during Altman’s introductory presser that his GMs have four-year presidential terms. “A state of organizational chaos is Gilbert’s M.O.,” one executive told me. “Gilbert thinks he’s the protagonist in the story of the Cavaliers, when, in reality, he’s the antagonist.”
Gilbert’s fingerprints were all over the drama that’s unfolded over the past week. Thomas’s health is what held up the deal, but according to multiple league sources with knowledge of Cleveland’s thought process, the unprotected Nets pick and Crowder were the pieces that Cleveland valued the most—those were the assets that got the deal done, not Thomas. The perception of the trade was that the Cavaliers and Celtics swapped franchise point guards, but for the Cleveland front office (and its owner), Thomas was the icing, not the cake.
A front-office executive from another team inquiring about Irving told me that knowing LeBron was staying in Cleveland would have changed what the Cavs asked for in return for Kyrie. Though a wide range of league sources believe LeBron is LeGone, it’s not certain. Regardless, Cleveland doesn’t want to be caught flat-footed.
The Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers this evening jointly announced the following: In conjunction with finalizing the trade involving Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and a 2018 1st round pick the Celtics acquired via Brooklyn, the Celtics and Cavaliers have agreed to modify the terms of the trade such that Boston will also send Miami’s 2020 2nd round pick to Cleveland.
Gary Washburn: Have been told that Kyrie is “ecstatic” about the trade, looking forward to playing for Brad Stevens and understand the #Celtics tradition.
The Celtics resisted the Cavaliers’ desire for a first-round pick to compensate the Cavs’ reluctance to sign off on Isaiah Thomas’ hip injury, and Cleveland finally agreed to consummate the deal late Wednesday night. Irving is scheduled to be introduced at a news conference in Boston on Friday, league sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Cleveland, Boston have reached an agreement, league source tells ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Boston is sending Cleveland a 2020 second-round pick to complete the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade, league source tells ESPN.
Joe Vardon: The Cavs and Boston have reached agreement; Boston will send Miami’s 2020 second round pick, league source says
David Aldridge: Cavaliers valued Brooklyn ’18 pick too much to potentially blow up deal w/ Boston. Question now is how long Thomas will be out.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Story posting soon w/ @McTen: Within hours of 10 AM deadline, Cleveland still pursuing 1st-round pick to complete Irving/IT trade w/ Boston.
So, the Cavaliers and Celtics are discussing how to complete their trade, which is held up by Thomas’ physical. Will the Cavs request another pick? If they don’t get it, will they void the deal entirely? Former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin on NBA TV: “Sometimes in these situations, you think of it as mutually assured destruction. There’s not a lot of upside to deal coming undone for either side. And because of that, I think it will end up going through as is.”
The Milwaukee Bucks have repeatedly been included in trade rumors surrounding Irving, with rookie of the year Malcolm Brogdon and guard Khris Middleton often mentioned in the potential offers. However, according to a league source who spoke with the Journal Sentinel on Wednesday, there is “nothing” to these reports. In fact, the source says there have not even been conversations between the Bucks and Cavaliers.
The Cleveland-Boston standoff over Isaiah Thomas’s health also signaled the rest of the league: The bidding for Kyrie Irving is still open. It looks unlikely the Cleveland Cavaliers will pry a better haul than the Boston Celtics’ standing offer of Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ unprotected pick in the 2018 draft — even with Thomas’ status so uncertain due to a lingering hip injury. That may embolden Boston to draw the line at one or two more second-round picks after Cleveland finally asked them Tuesday night for extra compensation.
All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas believes he will fully recover from a right hip injury that has threatened to void his recent trade to Cleveland. Thomas, who was dealt by the Boston Celtics to the Cavaliers last week for star Kyrie Irving, told ESPN he has made progress in his recovery. “I am not damaged,” the 28-year-old said. “I’ll be back, and I’ll be the same player.”
Thomas told ESPN that doctors said his torn labrum will not affect how long he plays. However, Thomas did indicate he may not be ready for the start of the season. “There’s never been an indication that I wouldn’t be back, and there’s never been an indication that this is something messing up my career,” he said. “Maybe I am not going to be back as soon this season as everyone wants me to be, but I’m going to be back, and I’m going to be the same player again. No doctor has told me anything different than that.”
“I haven’t had one doctor tell me that this injury is going to hurt my career,” Thomas said in the ESPN interview. “Surgery was not the best option in this case. I aggravated it in March when (Minnesota’s) Karl-Anthony Towns fell on me. I kept playing on it and making it worse — until I couldn’t play anymore last season.”
Given how far along the two sides are and what the Cavs are getting in return for disgruntled point guard Kyrie Irving — Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and Brooklyn’s 2018 unprotected first round pick — former Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin believes protege Koby Altman should proceed as planned, saying he would make the same deal if still running the front office. “I think I would have,” Griffin told NBA TV late Tuesday night. “I really think Koby Altman made a tremendous trade here, given the circumstances. When you’re trying to win a championship, there is no in between. You’re all the way with me, or you’re all the way against me. And I think this was a situation where Kyrie made it clear he had a goal set that might not have jived with what Cleveland’s was.
“They made a deal that, even in the absence of Isaiah Thomas, is a tremendous collection of assets and value Koby was able to get. At the same time, Boston made a trade to get a piece that really could be the key for them — a 25-year old player in his prime who is an NBA champion, an Olympic champion and is really just starting to scratch the surface of who he can be.”
Sirius XM NBA: “I think they still follow up on the deal, they did a good job.”-Fmr Cavs GM David Griffin on value Cavs acquired from Celtics other than IT
Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald on The Vertical Podcast with Chris Mannix (hat tip: Tom Westerholm of MassLive): “My read is actually from the Cleveland side, and what I hear from there is that nothing they’ve found is anything different than what was conveyed to the Cavaliers in the trade discussions, and certainly in the medical information that was passed forward.”
Rose is past his latest surgery, one that repaired his meniscus and, probably mercifully, ended his season with the Knicks. He isn’t worried about how the now-tenuous trade between Boston and Cleveland with the principals being star point guards Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas works out; Rose is willing to play with either one.
Sirius XM NBA: “I’ll be shocked if this deal doesn’t happen, it’s too far down the road.” -ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan on the Kyrie for Isaiah/Crowder deal
In talking to several NBA executives, most believe Irving had to be traded. If he doesn’t want to play with James … well … that is a problem. James remains the greatest player in the world. The vast majority of NBA players want to be on the same team as James. It’s a ticket to the NBA Finals.
Several executives told me that Irving put the Cavaliers in an awful spot by making his trade demand after the draft. For example, if the Cavs had known sooner, they could have sent him to the Indiana Pacers for Paul George.
The Cavaliers declined to comment on a new ESPN report that the team would seek further compensation for Kyrie Irving because of the severity of Isaiah Thomas’ hip injury. Two Cavs sources said Saturday night only that the team was “still in the review process” in determining what do about the week’s blockbuster trade with Boston, in which Cleveland agreed to ship Irving to the Celtics for Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and Brooklyn’s No. 1 pick.
A Cavs source said the two sides need to reach a conclusion by Wednesday evening or mutually agree to extend the deadline. Though the Cavs could void the trade based on Thomas’ injury, a source with knowledge of Cleveland’s thinking still expected a deal to get done. However, numerous report said out of Boston suggested the Celtics were not happy with the Cavs’ tactics and may take a hard line.
After Cleveland’s physical examination of Isaiah Thomas’ injured hip raised concern about the timeline for his return this season, Cavaliers officials are planning to seek an additional trade asset before finalizing a deal to send four-time All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics, league sources told ESPN. Without revisions to the original trade agreement, the Cavaliers could threaten to veto the trade, league sources said.
The Cavaliers’ stance could trigger a standoff between Cleveland and Boston officials, forcing both organizations to weigh the consequences of letting blockbuster trade implode. The deadline to report and submit to a physical for the players involved in the trade is 10 a.m. on Wednesday, and the deadline to pass the physical is 10 a.m. on Thursday, per league rules.
A Cavs source said the two sides need to reach a conclusion by Wednesday evening or mutually agree to extend the deadline. Though the Cavs could void the trade based on Thomas’ injury, sources still expect a deal to get done.
If both teams mutually agree to extend the deadline, they can. Once the sides re-engage, Cavaliers officials may try to make the case that Boston undersold them on the scope of the Thomas injury, and more specifically, how soon Thomas could be prepared to play this season, league sources said. The sides did discuss and share information on Thomas’s injury, sources said.
Besides its own future first-round picks, Boston has possible access to future protected picks from the Los Angeles Lakers (2018), Los Angeles Clippers (2019) and Memphis Grizzlies (2019). Boston does have control several second-round draft picks too, which could also be included into a deal.
The Cavaliers are indeed pausing to consider a “concern that we have” regarding Isaiah Thomas’ right hip, a source told cleveland.com, while Kyrie Irving is undergoing his physical today in Boston. Two sources with knowledge of the Cavs’ thinking said the team is conducting a “very deep and thorough review process” on Thomas, whom Cleveland acquired Tuesday in a blockbuster trade along with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn No. 1 pick for Irving.
In the aftermath of issues resulting from Isaiah Thomas’ physical examination on Friday, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics are planning a telephone call for Saturday to discuss the status of the teams’ blockbuster trade, league sources told ESPN. The proposed deal sending Cleveland’s four-time All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to the Celtics for Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-round pick via Brooklyn has been thrust into uncertainty with medical questions surrounding Thomas’ injured hip, league sources told ESPN.
It is possible that Cleveland could request further compensation from Boston before it’ll approve the trade, league sources said. Cleveland has until Thursday to make a final decision on approving the trade, sources said. Cleveland can veto the deal based on a failed physical, sending players back to their respective teams. Thomas took the exam in Cleveland on Friday before flying back home to the West Coast, league sources said. “It’s very sensitive situation,” one source involved in the process told ESPN.
Irving, who had requested a trade from Cleveland, is set to take his physical with the Celtics on Saturday, league sources said. Thomas has been rehabilitating a hip injury that ended his season in the Eastern Conference Finals, and sources have told ESPN that the All-Star guard has yet to begin a regimen of running this offseason.
Kyle Draper: This #Cavs #Celtics situation is wild. My guess. #Celtics doctors said IT does NOT need surgery. #Cavs doctors feel otherwise.
Two people with knowledge of the situation say the Cleveland Cavaliers are doing a “deep and thorough” review of their blockbuster trade that sent All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Saturday because the team is not publicly discussing its plans.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are concerned about the health of point guard Isaiah Thomas’ right hip, according to ESPN, jeopardizing the blockbuster trade with the Boston Celtics that sent Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and a first-round pick to the Cavaliers for point guard Kyrie Irving. Thomas took a physical in Cleveland on Friday, and the results have given the Cavs pause on proceeding with the deal.
Zach Lowe: Cavs sent farewell tweet to Kyrie ~2 hrs later, 3 hrs after reports of done deal. Teams are often paranoid re talking before deals official.
After All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas underwent a physical examination in Cleveland on Friday, uncertainty over the fitness of his injured hip has Cavaliers officials evaluating the results and considering possible ramifications to the blockbuster trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics earlier this week, league sources said. One source involved in the process said on Friday night, “It’s a very sensitive situation.”
In the deal, Cleveland has placed the most value on the 2018 unprotected first-round pick that Boston controls from the Nets, league sources said. Instead of voiding the deal, Cleveland could potentially push for Boston to sweeten it — namely for another draft pick. For now, those are conversations still potentially to be had.
Andre Iguodala: Return to sender???
Adrian Wojnarowski: Thomas traveled to Cleveland, took exam and flew back out of town, sources said. All players must pass physical, or a deal can be voided.
There are some sour grapes on Cleveland’s end of things, of course. Not necessarily from James, who tweeted out a glowing tribute to Irving. He will be “ready at training camp no matter what,” according to a source close to James. But there are others who wonder if Irving bit off more than he could chew. “I was hoping Ky was going to get to lead a team,” one Cavs player told ESPN. “See what it’s like to have the entire franchise on his back.”
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant shared his thoughts regarding Kyrie Irving’s trade request now that the All-Star guard has been traded to the Boston Celtics. “He did what he was supposed to do in Cleveland. It’s on to the next chapter,” Durant said of Irving on The Bill Simmons Podcast. “I can really appreciate what he did. He stood up for himself. He showed a lot of courage, because it’s hard to take that type of criticism when you just want to play ball.”
Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said today the team’s blockbuster trade for Cavaliers’ guard Kyrie Irving was needed after the 53-win team fell short against Cleveland in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. “We got bounced pretty hard last year in the playoffs, and then those guys got bounced pretty hard after that,” Grousbeck, referencing the Cavs and Irving losing to the Warriors in the finals, told reporters this morning at the topping off ceremony for the Celtics’ new training facility, the Auerbach Center at New Balance World Headquarters in Brighton. “So we didn’t feel we were at the top, we didn’t feel we were where we wanted to be, so that’s what you do when you run a team, you do what you have to do to try to get better.”
You can add Jayson Tatum to the list of folks who were shocked by the news that four-time All-Star Kyrie Irving was coming to Boston. The Celtics engineered a trade with Cleveland Tuesday night that sent Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the rights to Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick, to the Cavs for Irving. “I was just as surprised as everyone else,” Tatum told reporters on Wednesday. “I saw my name come up. I didn’t know if I was going to get traded.”
When the Cavaliers talked to the Knicks about Kyrie Irving, Cleveland brass had no interest in discussing Carmelo Anthony. Kristaps Porzingis was their lone focus.
Multiple Cavs players told ESPN they hoped Irving would remain on the team, believing they could work out their differences like a family and have another crack at beating the Warriors together. In recent weeks, that idea became unrealistic, as Irving let it be known that he would rather not report to training camp than begin another season with Cleveland, sources told ESPN.
Sirius XM NBA: “Danny Ainge loves the kid, I can tell you that. Danny really loves the kid & thinks he has greatness written all over him” Kevin McHale on Kyrie
Anthony Slater: Klay Thompson on recent rumors: “It shows the Warriors believe in me and other teams want me to be a part of their success.” pic.twitter.com/B6leAYfW5a
Jon Krawczynski: As I do more background on the Kyrie blockbuster, league sources say Bucks never offered Middleton, Brogdon and a pick as was reported
Isaiah Thomas was beloved by most Boston Celtics fans. Several of Thomas’ Celtics teammates, however, might have held a different opinion. NBA insider Chris Broussard revealed Wednesday, one day after the Celtics traded I.T. to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a blockbuster deal for All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, that some players in Boston “weren’t really that fond of” Thomas, according to several NBA executives.
Gary Washburn: Jayson Tatum said he briefly exchanged text messages with Kyrie Irving yesterday. Said Kyrie was excited about joining #Celtics
Robb: You’re a Duke guy and Kyrie Irving is coming in. How exciting is that for you? Steve Pagliuca: It’s very exciting. He’s a great player. We lost a couple of great players as well. As Danny (Ainge) said, it was an emotional day for us yesterday because Isaiah is a great player and Crowder is a great player. We love those guys, but Kyrie is a very special athlete and a great person. I know him personally from Duke.
Altman was extremely focused on the future in making this trade, a source said. This trade may give James much more faith in Altman as a general manager. It would be hard to believe that Altman could have landed a better trade than the Boston one. He did call the uninterested Warriors about Klay Thompson, a source said.
Isaiah Thomas gave his all to the Boston Celtics the last two seasons, turned himself into an All-Star and a clutch performer in the process, and had nothing to do with the trade that sent him to the Cleveland Cavaliers and brought back Kyrie Irving. So why are a couple of Celtics fans burning their Thomas jerseys?
“Just felt right,” one Cavs front office source told ESPN when asked what finally led the team to settle on a deal with an Eastern Conference rival like Boston — the team they beat in the conference finals just months ago — after fielding phone calls from just about every team in the league inquiring about Irving.
There are some sour grapes on Cleveland’s end of things, of course. Not necessarily from James, who tweeted out a glowing tribute to Irving. He will be “ready at training camp no matter what,” according to a source close to James. But from others who wonder if Irving bit off more than he could chew. “I was hoping Ky was going to get to lead a team,” one Cavs player told ESPN. “See what it’s like to have the entire franchise on his back.”
Nikola Vucevic: When you wake up and just now find out about the cavs/celtics trade pic.twitter.com/OWULZA1j4B
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July 20, 2018 | 1:56 am EDT Update
The Warriors have no such expectations with Cousins. Next summer — assuming they bring back either Klay Thompson, Durant or both, which would cap them out — they can only give Cousins a 20-percent raise, which jumps him from $5.3 million to around $6.4 million. If he returns healthy and looks like even 80 percent of the player he was before last January’s Achilles tear — an outcome both the player and team desire — Cousins will command way more than that max Warriors number, likely in the high teens per year. And he won’t be in the discount mood, understandably, considering all the money he lost out on this summer.
Could Luol Deng be a stopgap as a small center after sitting out most of last season? The executive said Deng is all but semi-retired. He may never play again in the NBA unless he has a change of heart.
The Cavaliers waived veteran center Kendrick Perkins Tuesday so he could be free to pursue training camp deals, a source told cleveland.com. Perkins, 33, was signed by the Cavs on the final day of the regular season so he could be on their playoff roster. But Cleveland gave him a non-guaranteed, $2.4 million contract for this coming season with the hope it could be used as part of a trade.
The Knicks’ decision to waive small forward Troy Williams on Monday has provided undrafted Arizona guard Allonzo Trier a puncher’s chance at making the 15-man roster following his solid — if overlooked — summer-league performance. Trier is on a two-way G-League contract, allowing him to be on the Knicks’ roster for a maximum of 45 days, with the clock stopping in early April.
He was like us. Not “us” in the old, non-athlete kind of way but in a bigger “us” context. An “us” we could all aspire to and appreciate. He is, as much as possible, normal. He isn’t egotistical or at all self-centred. He put team and others ahead of himself. I don’t remember a lot of “I” conversations or “me” conversations; it was generally “us” and “we” and the team. Admirable. I will fully admit to having a fondness for the young man that transcended an appreciation for his estimable basketball skills.
I liked that he talked to us about his feelings and his life, his kids and his dad’s health issues and, yeah, his battles with demons far too many people suffer with in silence. And the overwhelming sense I got from reading missives on social media yesterday and talking to friends and loved ones was that those were traits you appreciated, too. Normalcy.