Jayson Tatum has reached out to Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard in an attempt to sell him on the benefits of playing for the Celtics, Marc J. Spears of Andscape said on a recent podcast with Bill Oram of The Oregonian (hat tip to HoopsHype).
Lillard, whose future has been in limbo since making his trade request nearly two months ago, remains determined to get to Miami and join a perennially successful organization that is coming off an NBA Finals appearance. Lillard would love to team up with Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler and go to a warm-weather city with no state income tax, Spears says, but mostly he wants a chance to compete for a title. Although his preference for the Heat hasn’t changed, it appears players from other teams are making an effort to recruit him, including Tatum.
“I know that Boston, I know Jayson Tatum has called him, try to get in his ear, but his focus is definitely on Miami,” Spears said.
There’s more on the Celtics:
- President of basketball operations Brad Stevens isn’t worried about the health of Kristaps Porzingis despite a plantar fasciitis issue that prevented him from playing in the World Cup, relays Conor Ryan of The Boston Globe. Appearing on WEEI’s “Jones and Mego” show, Stevens said team officials weren’t aware of Porzingis’ condition when they acquired him from the Wizards in a three-team trade, but there’s no reason to think it will prevent him from playing. “He’s at the FIBA Tournament with the (Latvian) team so he’s doing his rehab there,” Stevens said. “We were with him in the 10 days, our training staff was with him (before the tournament) as he was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. He went through all the progressions and he really tried to ramp up and play. He just determined he didn’t want to deal with lingering effects down the road. This is something that we should be able to navigate and manage in the next few weeks and be ready for training camp. We’re planning on having him for Day 1 of training camp.”
- Blake Griffin remains unsigned and it’s uncertain if the Celtics will reach out to him again, but Stevens appreciated his performance last season, per Brian Robb of MassLive. In the same radio interview, Stevens complimented all the back-up big men for helping the team stay in contention after Robert Williams‘ early-season injury, saying, “Blake was as good as it gets both on and off the court.”
- Growing up, new Celtic Dalano Banton patterned his game after former Boston point guard Rajon Rondo, according to Taylor Snow of NBA.com.