The Celtics believe they’ll get a meeting with Kevin Durant this summer, but they understand they won’t have any realistic shot at him if they don’t secure a commitment to acquire another star first, The Vertical’s Chris Mannix writes. Boston is on the fringes of the race for the former MVP who’s poised to hit free agency this summer, though the belief has been widespread that come July the Celtics will end up on Durant’s radar, at least, as Mannix has previously reported.
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- Scott Brooks had already decided he wanted the Wizards job if it were to be offered to him when team executives Ernie Grunfeld and Tommy Sheppard flew to California to recruit him in what turned out to be a 10-hour meeting, writes Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. “I got everything I wanted, and I wasn’t looking for anything else,” said Brooks, whom the Wizards officially hired this week. “This is where I wanted to be.”
- The identity of the coach means little in free agent recruiting, but muted though it may be, the presence of Steve Clifford has a positive impact on the way players view the Hornets, observes Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Clifford, like Terry Stotts of the Trail Blazers and Quin Snyder of the Jazz, makes a small-market team attractive through his ability to get the most out of players and increase their market value, Wojnarowski writes. The Hornets signed Clifford in November to an extension that ties him to Charlotte through at least the 2018/19 season.
- T.J. McConnell‘s contract with the Sixers is non-guaranteed for next year, and he wound up seeing less than 20 minutes per game after a revelatory start to the season, but he was a bright spot and has a fan in coach Brett Brown, notes Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly. “The thing that I respect most about him is that he epitomizes that quality that I think might be the No. 1 thing that we need: day-to-day guys, people that you know what you’re getting,” Brown said. “He’s steady, he’s stable, he’s personality, he’s tough, he brings that edge to a game, to a practice, to a locker room. I just respect him. That’s just how he’s wired.”