Celtics Rumors

And-Ones: Clippers, Pistons, Cavs, Young

The Clippers hold the top spot in ESPN’s Future Power Rankings, which predicts the best and worst franchises over the next three seasons. While the team has one of the best one-two punches in the NBA with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, Los Angeles’ inability to trade a first-rounder may come back to haunt the team, Bobby Marks suggests.

L.A. sent out several first-rounders in the George deal and had just one pick (2020 selection) that was eligible to be included in a trade this season — the franchise used it to acquire Marcus Morris at the deadline.

The Lakers, Warriors, Bucks, and Celtics round out the top-5 in the ESPN’s latest rankings. Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Pistons and Cavaliers rank 29th and 30th, respectively, on that aforementioned ESPN’s list. Both franchises lack blue-chip prospects and each has expensive veterans clogging its cap space.
  • Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times believes Thaddeus Young will find himself on the trade block this offseason. Young, who inked a deal the Bulls last summer, was the subject of trade rumors earlier in the season.
  • NBA agent Mark Bartelstein said he expected the season to get postponed after watching what was going on abroad in February and March, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic relays. Bartelstein has clients in the Chinese Basketball Association and other international leagues.

Kevin Garnett Talks Hall Of Fame, Timberwolves, More

The Basketball Hall of Fame officially announced over the weekend that Kevin Garnett will be part of a star-studded Hall of Fame class of 2020, joining former NBA legends Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan in a group that also features former head coach Rudy Tomjanovich, ex-WNBA star Tamika Catchings, and four others.

In a conversation with Shams Charania of The Athletic, Garnett spoke about his election into the Hall of Fame, referring to it as “the perfect way to end a dope story.”

The former Timberwolves and Celtics big man also offered some thoughts on what it means to be inducted alongside longtime rivals Bryant and Duncan, and weighed in on a few more topics. Here are some highlights from the discussion, which is worth checking out in full:

On going into the Hall of Fame with Bryant and Duncan:

“They both are unprecedented, not only athletes, but people. I feel more than honored to go in with these two, but Kobe not being there is going to be super emotional for everybody.

“The fact that the three of us actually pushed the other two… whether it was awards, All-Stars, battles, rings — we all three pushed the lines. To go in with these two guys, I couldn’t ask for two other people to go in with. And shout out to Tamika Catchings too. I’m a huge fan of Catch; Catch has put that grind in, she’s put that work in, and it’s dope to see all of us right here.”

On his NBA career:

“If I could actually go back and change anything, I would’ve left Minnesota a little earlier, knowing that the management wasn’t as committed as I was. Or wasn’t committed at all. I probably would’ve went to Boston or changed the situation earlier. I would’ve been a little younger and that means less wear and tear on the body. Teaming up with Paul (Pierce), I should’ve done that earlier. Who knows — I’m probably sitting here with another ring or two. But, yeah.”

On why his number is being retired in Boston, but not in Minnesota:

(Timberwolves owner) Glen (Taylor) knows where I’m at, I’m not entertaining it. First of all, it’s not genuine. Two, he’s getting pressure from a lot of fans and, I guess, the community there. Glen and I had an understanding before (former Wolves coach and executive) Flip (Saunders) died, and when Flip died, that understanding went with Flip. For that, I won’t forgive Glen. I won’t forgive him for that. I thought he was a straight up person, straight up business man, and when Flip died, everything went with him.

“There’s no reason to complain. Just continue to move on. My years in Minnesota and in that community, I cherish. At this point, I don’t want any dealings with Glen Taylor or Taylor Corp. or anything that has to do with him. I love my Timberwolves, I’ll always love my guys, I’ll always love the people who f–k with me there. I’ll always have a special place for the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota in my heart. But I don’t do business with snakes.”

2020/21 Salary Cap Preview: Boston Celtics

Hoops Rumors is looking ahead at the 2020/21 salary cap situations for all 30 NBA teams. Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the NBA, it’s impossible to know yet where the cap for 2020/21 will land. Given the league’s lost revenue, we’re assuming for now that it will stay the same as the ’19/20 cap, but it’s entirely possible it will end up higher or lower than that.

After a disappointing 2018/19 season, the Celtics bounced back in ’19/20, with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown taking major steps forward and Kemba Walker providing the veteran stability that Kyrie Irving hadn’t. Prior to the NBA’s hiatus, Boston was 43-21 – third in the Eastern Conference – and looked like one of the only teams capable of seriously challenging Milwaukee for a spot in the NBA Finals.

Armed with three first-round picks in 2020, the Celtics are in position to continue adding intriguing young talent, even if the club no longer has the cap flexibility that it has in recent years.

Here’s where things stand for the Celtics financially in 2020/21, as we continue our Salary Cap Preview series:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

Team Options

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

  • No. 17 overall pick ($2,964,840)
  • No. 26 overall pick ($2,035,800)
  • No. 30 overall pick ($1,936,440)
  • Total: $6,937,080

Offseason Cap Outlook

Assuming Hayward exercises his lucrative player option for 2020/21 and Theis is brought back on his modest team option, the Celtics will have committed nearly $135MM in guaranteed money to 11 players.

The NBA’s most recent luxury-tax projection, based on an estimated $115MM cap, was $139MM. Once Boston fills out its roster, it figures to surpass that threshold, making the C’s a taxpaying team whether or not the cap ultimately falls short of that projection. Barring some cost-cutting moves or a surprise Hayward opt-out, that means the club won’t have the full mid-level exception or bi-annual exception available in the offseason.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Taxpayer mid-level exception: $5,718,000 2

Footnotes

  1. Theis’ salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 3.
  2. This is a projected value.

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are based on the salary cap and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and Early Bird Rights was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kanter Holding Out Hope For Resumption

  • Celtics center Enes Kanter remains hopeful that the remainder of the season, or at least the playoffs, can be played, The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach writes. “We are competitors man, so we want to go out there and finish the season,’‘ Kanter said on Zoom. “Especially, like, it’s crazy — we actually have a really good chance to go out there and win a championship.”

Kobe, Duncan, Garnett, Tomjanovich To Be Inducted Into Hall Of Fame

Former NBA stars Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).

This year’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony figures to be an emotional affair, with Bryant headlining the 2020 class just months after his tragic passing. The Lakers‘ legend was an 18-time All-Star and five-time NBA champion, winning the MVP award in 2008 to go along with a pair of Finals MVPs. He is fourth on the league’s all-time scoring list and won scoring titles in 2006 and 2007.

Bryant will be joined by a pair of fellow NBA champions, including Duncan, who won three Finals MVPs and five titles in total. Like Bryant, he was named to an All-NBA team 15 times over the course of his career. The longtime Spurs‘ big man was one of the best players of his era, ranking sixth on the NBA’s all-time rebounding list and fifth in blocked shots.

While Garnett’s résumé isn’t quite as decorated as that of Bryant and Duncan, he earned 15 All-Star nods, an MVP award (in 2004), a Defensive Player of the Year award (2008), and a title in 2008 with the Celtics. Garnett, who began his career with the Timberwolves, ranks in the NBA’s top 20 in career points, rebounds, blocks, and steals.

Bryant, Duncan, and Garnett may be this year’s headliners, but they aren’t the only ones being inducted into the Hall of Fame. According to Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston (Twitter link), former Rockets head coach Rudy Tomjanovich has also been elected.

Tomjanovich is one of just three coaches to win both an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal. He coached Houston to a pair of championships in the mid-1990s and had an impressive career as a Rockets player prior to his coaching days, earning five NBA All-Star nods in his 11-year career.

Tamika Catchings, Kim Mulkey, Eddie Sutton, and Barbara Stevens were announced as Hall of Fame finalists in February — it’s unclear if anyone from that group will be inducted into the 2020 class alongside Bryant, Duncan, Garnett, and Tomjanovich. The official announcement will happen on Saturday.

It remains to be seen what form this year’s induction ceremony will take. It’s scheduled to happen on August 29 in Springfield, Massachusetts, but there’s no guarantee that the coronavirus situation will have improved enough by then to hold large-scale gatherings.

And-Ones: Olympics, Croatia, Rights Fees, Option Decisions

Free agency issues could limit the roster for Team USA at the Olympics next summer, writes Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press. That wouldn’t have been a significant concern this year because of a relatively weak free agent class, but Reynolds notes that LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul, Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry and others could be on the open market in 2021.

The Olympics are set to open on July 23 of next year, meaning that training camp will begin early in the month, which marks prime time for free agency decisions. Reynolds suggests that could lead to situations similar to what happened in 2012 with Deron Williams, who couldn’t participate in contact drills until his deal with the Nets was signed.

The U.S. won’t be the only nation affected, Reynolds adds. Greece’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and France’s Rudy Gobert can both opt out in the summer of 2021, while another year of wear and tear could affect Marc Gasol‘s desire to play for Spain.

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Croatia’s top division has become the latest international league to call off its season, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. No champion will be declared, and the teams that played in the top division this season will be able to do so again next year.
  • Alex Sherman of CNBC examines how networks are handling the rights fees they paid for games that have been canceled because of the coronavirus. The NBA doesn’t have a provision in its contracts for networks to receive refunds, sources familiar with the deals tell Sherman. While “force majeure” provisions exist, they may not apply to a pandemic. Sherman speculates that even if they can make the argument that they’re entitled to money back, some networks may not pursue it so they can preserve their relationships with the NBA and other leagues. He notes that payments for broadcast rights haven’t been refunded when seasons have been reduced because of labor disputes. “Let’s say it’s a one-time only event, obviously you’re not going to pay,” said former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson. “But what you’re talking when you have a 10- or 15-year agreement, year after year, you work it out in an accommodation of some kind.”
  • In an article for The Athletic, former NBA executive John Hollinger offers predictions on all 41 player and team options for the upcoming offseason. Among the richest deals, Hollinger expects Mike Conley to stay with the Jazz for $34.5MM, Gordon Hayward to opt in for $34.187MM from the Celtics and Andre Drummond to remain with the Cavaliers for $28.75MM. Hollinger predicts Anthony Davis will turn down $28.55MM from the Lakers and sign a new deal with the team, unless the cap number falls so low that it will benefit him to wait for next year.

Marcus Smart Cleared From Coronavirus

Celtics guard Marcus Smart has officially been cleared from COVID-19, he announced on social media (Twitter link).

The clearance came from the Massachusetts Department of Health, with Smart originally testing positive for the disease two weeks ago.

“Corona Free as of two days ago,” Smart wrote. “Cleared by Mass Dept of Health. Thanks for everyone’s thoughts and prayers and I’m doing the same for everyone that’s been effected by this. Stay safe and stay together- apart! Much love!”

Smart joins Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and Christian Wood as known NBA players to be cleared from the coronavirus. Several other figures around the league, including Brooklyn star Kevin Durant, also contracted the virus this month.

Smart, who’s in his sixth season with the Celtics, is averaging a career-high 13.5 points, 4.8 assists and 1.6 steals per contest.

Examining Jaylen Brown's Future All-Star Status

Atlantic Notes: Smart, Kurucs, Hayward, Dinwiddie

Celtics guard Marcus Smart is doing “great” after testing positive for the coronavirus, coach Brad Stevens told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps and other media members. “He’s great. Great spirits. Joking as always,” Stevens said Friday. Smart is one of 10 NBA players known to have tested positive for COVID-19. Smart revealed his diagnosis on March 19.

We have more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets’ Rodions Kurucs was due in Brooklyn court on Monday for his misdemeanor assault case but that proceeding was postponed, Brian Lewis of the New York Post reports. The case has been administratively adjourned due to the pandemic and a new date will eventually be set. Kurucs was arrested last summer on a domestic assault charge.
  • There’s a general sense that Celtics forward Gordon Hayward will opt in to his contract next season, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. Hayward holds a $34MM option. “It’s too much money to pass up,” an unnamed NBA GM told Deveney. “He could get a longer deal if that is what he really wants. But I don’t think the Celtics want to give it to him. … He can opt in this year and then take a big contract next year.”
  • Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie will be in demand on the trade market this offseason, Lewis opines in a separate story. Dinwiddie, who can opt out after next season, has posted career highs in points (20.6 PPG) and assists (6.8 APG).