The Celtics have struggled to begin the 2016/17 campaign, and one reason given by point guard Isaiah Thomas is the absence of swingman Evan Turner, who signed with Portland as a free agent this offseason, Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald relays.
“The wing position is a very important position in this league, and if you’re missing that, then it’s going to be tough for you,” Thomas said after Thursday’s practice. “Especially we don’t have Evan Turner, so it’s like, we’re not just missing Jae Crowder [who is injured], we’re missing Evan, who was a big part of what we’ve done. Now we’ve got a rookie [Jaylen Brown] in his place that things are coming fast for him, so he’s trying to figure out on the fly, as well, and, at the same time, play at a high level. So it’s tough, but we’ve got to just sustain or whatever we need to while Jae’s out, help rook at the things he needs to get better at and go from there. But all the things that we’re getting beat at are not because certain guys are out. It’s because we’re not playing with our heart. We’re not giving it our all for whatever reason.”
Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- Yogi Ferrell‘s minimum salary deal with the Nets will run two years, with the second season being a team option, NetsDaily relays (via Twitter). The point guard is also on Brooklyn’s books for $100K from the first time he was waived by the team.
- Heat president Pat Riley says he has reached out to former player Dwyane Wade via e-mail, which is the first contact the executive has attempted with the shooting guard since Wade’s departure over the summer, Dave Hyde of The Sun Sentinel writes. “I hope he got it,” Riley said regarding his message. “You know those guys changing phone numbers and e-mails …” Riley also noted that the lack of offseason contact between the pair is nothing new, Hyde adds. “He’d get three letters from me,” Riley said. “One asked if his a– was in shape, one said to get his a– in shape and one said he’d better be in shape.“
- The solid play of the Hornets‘ reserves is a major reason for the team’s hot start to the season, as Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer notes. The scribe also points to the team’s acquisition of Marco Belinelli from the Kings in exchange for the No. 22 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft as a move that is paying early dividends for Charlotte.