Jayson Tatum

Celtics Notes: Tatum, Brown, Fall, Chemistry, Smart

Former Celtics center Aron Baynes believes Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are poised to reach star status, ESPN’s Niall Seewang reports. Baynes, who was traded to the Suns during the offseason, is particularly enamored with Tatum’s skill set. “He’s so talented – even from the first day I played with him when he was a rookie in his first preseason, you could see how talented he was offensively and he also wants to work on the defensive end which isn’t common in the NBA – some guys live on that offensive talent but he wants to develop his all-round game,” Baynes said. He added about the young duo, “Those guys are still in their rookie contracts and they’re looking to prove themselves over the next couple of years and they definitely have all the tools to do it.”

We have more on the Celtics:

  • Tacko Fall’s agent is confident his client will get claimed if the Celtics don’t retain him, he told Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe. Fall was signed an Exhibit 10 contract and there’s no guarantee he’d make the 15-man roster. Both two-way slots are also currently filled. “If the Celtics release him, I don’t think he goes unclaimed,” the agent, Justin Haynes, said of the 7’6” Fall. “I think somebody will take a shot on him because he’s done enough to show he can find a place in the NBA. I’m really hopeful that it’s Boston. I hope they find a way, and they do have a vision for him.”
  • Co-owner Steve Pagliuca already sees signs that the team’s chemistry will be better this upcoming season, according to Nicole Yang of the Boston Globe. A dysfunctional locker room was one of the big reasons the team underachieved last season. “There’s just really a positive attitude from everybody this year,” he said. “We’ve got a bunch of hard-working players that really want to achieve. We couldn’t ask for anything more.”
  • The team hasn’t had a captain since Rajon Rondo in 2014 and A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston believes that should change. Marcus Smart has the respect among his teammates and leadership skills that would make him an ideal fit for that role, as Blakely details.

World Cup Notes: Teodosic, Colangelo, Tatum, Fox

Former Clippers guard Milos Teodosic will miss the FIBA World Cup tournament after going through another bout of plantar fascitiis in his foot, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Teodosic, who reached an agreement last month to play for Virtus Bologna in Italy, was part of a powerful Serbian team that is expected to challenge for a gold medal.

“He suffered again a plantar fascitiis injury,” said Serbian team doctor Dragan Radovanovic. “We already started intense therapies and they will continue in the next couple of days. We will see how the foot reacts and after we will able to know more precisely how long he has to rest.”

Teodosic was a star in the EuroLeague before coming to the NBA, but only played 60 games in two seasons for the Clippers before being waived in February. He suffered a plantar fascia tear during the 2017/18 campaign that ended his season early.

There’s more World Cup news to pass along:

  • Jerry Colangelo, who serves as director of USA Basketball, isn’t concerned about the number of big-name players who turned down invitations to training camp, relays Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. Even though Kyle Lowry and Harrison Barnes are the only members of the 2016 Olympic team who have returned for the World Cup, Colangelo doesn’t see it as a crisis. “There isn’t any one reason—there’s myriad reasons,” he said. “We had 30 guys here last summer — they all said they wanted to play. Things happen. I think as we move forward, the World Cup is going to played with young players. It’s going to be a training site for the Olympics.”
  • Jayson Tatum and De’Aaron Fox were standouts in Team USA’s first public scrimmage Friday night, according to Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports. Tatum led all scorers with 17 points and hit 3-of-5 shots from 3-point range. He also displayed a quicker release that was a welcome sight for Celtics fans. Fox had 12 points off the bench and brought plenty of energy to the game that resulted in several steals and fast-break dunks. He could have a significant role in the World Cup if Lowry is unable to play after thumb surgery.
  • Argentina’s final roster contains several familiar names, Carchia writes in a separate story. In addition to Luis Scola, who played 10 NBA seasons, the roster features Nicolas LaprovittolaNicolas Brussino and Patricio Garino.

Celtics Notes: Walker, Smart, Stevens

Kemba Walker has gotten a chance to bond with some of his new Celtics teammates at Team USA’s training camp in Las Vegas, as Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com relays.

“I’m the new guy; they already know each other,” Walker said. “They are just kind of reeling me in and getting me acclimated to how things go. With four of us here now, it gives us an opportunity to play with each other and learn each other’s tendencies.”

Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown are all attending the camp. Coach Brad Stevens also made an appearance. Boston had some chemistry concerns last season, but the team is excited about turning to a new chapter.

“It can only be positive for us because it’s chemistry added,” Brown said about the four players’ experience at Team USA’s camp. “I just want to hoop. I don’t want any politics. We’re artists and this season is a new canvas.”

Here’s more from Boston:

  • Walker is a lock to make Team USA’s roster and Tatum has a strong chance to make the squad as well, Windhorst adds in the same piece. Smart and Brown each making the team is not as much of a sure thing. “We’re all grateful to be here,” Tatum said. “Hopefully, all four of us make it; that would be amazing. Me and [Brown] play one-on-one all the time, and we’ve always tried to push each other and it’s been that way since day one. Ultimately, we have the same goal with our teams and here.”
  • Smart has missed several days of practice with a left calf injury and he’ll be re-evaluated next week, as the AP’s Tim Reynolds tweets. “Right now, for me, I’m trying to grow as a player… taking those precautions,” said Smart (via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports). “Last year, or two or three years ago, I probably would have still been out there trying to fight through it. It’s nothing serious so we just want to make sure it doesn’t turn into anything serious.”
  • Stevens said the Celtics have moved past their issues from last season, as Forsberg passes along in a separate piece. “We turned that page a long time ago. That’s what you should do after a season. I think, whether you had success or it wasn’t as good as you want, you learn from it and move on,” Stevens said.

Celtics Notes: Brown, Hayward, Walker, Langford

Now that Draymond Green is off the 2020 free agent market, demand could be higher for a pair of Celtics next summer, writes Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. Green’s four-year extension with the Warriors could bring more attention to Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward if they both opt for free agency in 11 months.

Brown is eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason, but Forsberg doesn’t expect that to happen before the October deadline. If there’s no deal, Brown will become a restricted free agent and Boston will be able to match any offer he receives. Forsberg notes that Jamal Murray and Ben Simmons, two other players from Brown’s draft class, have already agreed to max extensions. However, Brown’s uneven production and the absence of teams with significant cap room next year take away the incentive for the Celtics to offer Brown a similar deal.

Hayward, who is trying to rediscover his game after a severe ankle injury at the start of the 2017/18 season, has a $34.2MM player option on the final year of his contract. He is about to complete his 10th NBA season, which will make him eligible for a deal at 35% of the estimated $117MM salary cap. Of course, he would need an All-Star type of season for a team to make that kind of offer.

There’s more tonight from Boston:

  • Jayson Tatum is claiming some of the credit for convincing Kemba Walker to sign with the Celtics, relays Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Tatum spent time recruiting Walker while they were in Paris together for a Jordan Brand event. “I never told him to come, but I told him I would love for him to join the team and told him how it was,” Tatum said. “Obviously everybody has to do what’s best for themselves, and I’m happy for him.”
  • Lottery pick Romeo Langford tells Tom Westerholm of MassLive that the thumb injury that began bothering him in college is almost fully healed. Langford was held out of Summer League play, but spent 10 days with the team and ran through drills with new assistant coach Joe Mazzulla. “I haven’t done any contact still, but I’m going against coaches and stuff like that,” Langford said. “But I haven’t gone live against defenders.”
  • In an interview with Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe, rookie Grant Williams admits being a “geek” in his cerebral approach to life and basketball.

Lowe’s Latest: Walker, Brogdon, Mavs, Rubio, Butler

The Celtics might be the frontrunner for Kemba Walker‘s services but devoting most of their cap space to the All-Star point guard would leave them without any proven frontcourt players and limited ways to acquire them, ESPN’s Zach Lowe writes in an in-depth look at free agency. The addition of Walker would force coach Brad Stevens to use either Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum or Gordon Hayward at power forward, Lowe notes. Walker also ran more pick-and-rolls with the Hornets than Kyrie Irving did with the Celtics, yet Irving was sometimes accused of being a ball hog, Lowe adds.

Here are some other interesting tidbits from Lowe’s column:

  • Bucks restricted free agent Malcolm Brogdon will lose a suitor if the Celtics ink Walker. The Suns, Bulls, Mavericks and Pacers could potentially extend Brogdon an offer sheet but some teams are concerned about his foot issues.
  • The Mavericks are not looking to sign any high-level free agents.
  • The Pacers are looking to make a run at point guard Ricky Rubio. They are also likely to let power forward Thaddeus Young walk and go with a frontcourt of Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. Indiana rejected trade offers for Turner at the draft.
  • The Heat could get involved in the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes via a sign-and-trade.
  • The Nets have no interest in doing a sign-and-trade with the Timberwolves involving restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell if it means taking back Jeff Teague or Andrew Wiggins.

Mannix’s Latest: Celtics, Brogdon, Lakers, Favors, Ross

With Kyrie Irving and Al Horford expected to sign elsewhere and Aron Baynes having been re-routed to Phoenix, the Celtics have the ability to create about $25.8MM — or up to $34MM-ish if they renounce Terry Rozier.

As Chris Mannix of SI.com notes in his latest look at free agency, Kemba Walker has been linked to the Celtics this week, but he’s not the only free agent the club is considering. According to Mannix, Boston has internally discussed the possibility of pursuing Bucks RFA-to-be Malcolm Brogdon.

There has also been speculation about Bradley Beal as a potential trade target for the Celtics, but that probably won’t be an option, according to Mannix, who notes that Beal (a favorite of team owner Ted Leonsis) has been told by the Wizards that he won’t be dealt. Even if Beal were available, there’s a feeling in Boston that it might take Jayson Tatum to acquire him, Mannix adds.

Here’s more from Mannix:

  • The Lakers have shopped their “spare parts” in trade discussions, but talks have gone nowhere so far, league sources tell Mannix. Presumably, Mannix is referring to Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones, who would have to be rolled into the Lakers’ Anthony Davis blockbuster for the club to maximize its cap room.
  • While it seems likely that he’ll be back, the Jazz haven’t necessarily locked in on retaining Derrick Favors, who has a non-guaranteed $17.65MM contract. Mannix suggests that Nikola Mirotic could be a name worth keeping an eye for Utah on if Favors is released to create cap room.
  • The Magic have been “steadfast” in their desire to re-sign top free agents Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross, and some within the organization are anxious to see what their market value will be, writes Mannix. Ross may be a candidate to receive a big contract offer from a team in need of a three-and-D wing, according to Mannix, who speculates that the sharpshooter could command $15MM per year.

Latest From Charania: Davis, Beal, Irving, Conley, Suns

The Knicks discussed a trade package for Anthony Davis that included Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith, Thursday’s No. 3 overall pick and other draft compensation, but they never fully offered forward Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. The Pelicans weren’t particularly high on either Knox or Robinson anyway but the Knicks were reluctant to jeopardize their future flexibility because they weren’t convinced Davis would re-sign with them.

Contrary to other reports, the Celtics were open to discussing Jayson Tatum and the future first-rounder owed by the Grizzlies in a trade package for Davis but didn’t want to part with both of those assets, Charania continues. Boston’s unwillingness to give up multiple major assets tipped the scale in the Lakers’ favor. The Nets also made a bid, Charania adds, but the Pelicans weren’t enamored with their available assets, especially since the Nets couldn’t include restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell.

Here are more highlights from Charania:

  • The Rockets were willing to get involved in three-team scenarios in Davis trade talks with Clint Capela being dangled.
  • The Pelicans are monitoring the Wizards’ interest in trading All-Star guard Bradley Beal.
  • The Celtics and impending free agent Kyrie Irving will meet soon, possibly before the draft, to discuss his future with the organization.
  • The Grizzlies have ramped up trade talks involving point guard Mike Conley. The Jazz are the leading contenders for Conley’s services.
  • The Suns have discussed moving the No. 6 pick, as well as forwards T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson, in separate trade packages.

Celtics Notes: Tatum, Horford, Rozier, Draft

The Celtics might have been willing to include Jayson Tatum in a trade for Anthony Davis, but they never would have matched the offer that the Lakers made for the Pelicans’ star, according to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Acquiring Davis was less risky for L.A. because of the likelihood he will re-sign there when he opts out of his current contract.

Boston was among the teams trying to work out a deal for Davis, but the offers never matched what was speculated when it seemed there was a chance to pair him with Kyrie Irving, Bulpett adds. With Irving believed to be headed for Brooklyn, the Celtics were wary about mortgaging their future when Davis had the option to leave after one season.

There’s more this morning from Boston:

  • The Celtics are trying to work out a longer-term deal with Al Horford, who must decide by tomorrow whether to opt into a $30.1MM salary for next season, Bulpett reports in the same story. The team is offering to add two years to Horford’s current deal if he agrees to accept a lower salary for 2019/20. Horford, who turned 33 this month, is one of the few veteran leaders on what’s shaping up to be a very young team next year. He is coming off another productive season, posting a 13.6/6.7/4.2 line in 68 games.
  • Restricted free agent Terry Rozier won’t have nearly the value on the open market that he would have last year, notes Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. A rival executive told Mannix that Rozier could have commanded $18-$20MM annually if he had reached free agency after leading the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals in 2018. Interest has fallen after Rozier experienced an uneven season while trying to adjust to a backup role again. The Celtics will have added incentive to keep him with Irving expected to leave. “I’m a big fan of Terry’s,” president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said recently. “I think that if Terry was in the right circumstance and the right role, I think he would love playing in Boston, in my opinion. And if not, then I think Terry would let me know that. But Terry and I have a very good relationship, as Terry does with (coach) Brad (Stevens) as well.”
  • The failure to land Davis makes it more likely that the Celtics will hold onto all three of their first-round selections, states Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link). Boston has picks at No. 14, 20 and 22.

Pelicans Agree To Trade Anthony Davis To Lakers

The Pelicans have reached an agreement to trade All-Star big man Anthony Davis to the Lakers for guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, forward Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

The rest of the Pelicans’ haul includes a 9-30 protected first-rounder in 2021, which becomes unprotected in 2022, and an unprotected first-rounder in 2024.

New Orleans will also have the right to swap unprotected first-rounders in 2o23 and will have the option to defer the 2024 pick until 2025, according to reports from Tim Bontemps of ESPN and Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter links).

[UPDATE: Davis trade will become a three-team deal]

The Lakers immediately become championship contenders with Davis joining forces with LeBron James. Davis’ agent Rich Paul, also James’ agent, had tried to steer trade talks toward the Lakers over the winter after Davis’ desire to be traded was made public. But Davis didn’t get his wish at the time.

Paul and Davis recently met with the Pelicans’ new top executive, David Griffin, who tried to convince Davis to rescind his trade request. Davis declined and expressed his desire to play long-term for either the Lakers or Knicks.

GM Rob Pelinka, who has been under fire after criticism from former Lakers president Magic Johnson, pulled off a major coup by winning the Davis sweepstakes over the Knicks and Celtics, among others. Los Angeles gave up plenty in the deal but didn’t have to include another talented big man, Kyle Kuzma.

Davis could sign an extension with the Lakers but still intends to test free agency next summer, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets.

The Lakers will have either $27.8MM or $32.5MM in cap room after the deal to pursue a high-level free agent, depending upon timing and Davis’ willingness to waive his $4MM trade bonus, ESPN salary cap expert Bobby Marks tweets.

The trade cannot be officially finalized until after the new league year begins in July. It may be even be completed as late as July 30 — newly-drafted players can be traded immediately without signing a rookie scale contract, but if they sign that contract, they aren’t eligible to be dealt for 30 days. Waiting those 30 days would be advantageous to the Lakers for cap-related reasons, as Marks notes (via Twitter).

The Lakers still don’t have quite enough cap room to max out a free agent like Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker but they’re close to it, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. Naturally, one of those free agents might take a little less to form a superstar trio in Los Angeles or the Lakers could make other moves to clear more cap room. Walker will be the Lakers’ top free agent target, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.

Boston refused to part with its top young player, forward Jayson Tatum, in trade talks with the Pelicans, Stein add in another tweet. That put the Lakers in the driver’s seat for Davis’ services.

With Ball and Hart joining Jrue Holiday, the Pelicans have greatly enhanced their backcourt. They now have the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in Thursday’s draft. It’s a slam dunk they’ll select Duke forward Zion Williamson with the top pick and theyll get another high-level prospect, unless they have another trade in the works. Williamson and Ingram should be a formidable duo at the forward spots and the Pelicans can now concentrate on bringing in another big man to make all the other pieces work.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Atlantic Notes: Grousbeck, Leonard, Durant, Workouts

The feeling that the Celtics were done in by selfishness goes all the way to the top of the organization, writes Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. Co-owner Wyc Grousbeck admits to being “frustrated and disappointed” with this season, which began with Boston as a heavy favorite to reach the NBA Finals and ended with a loss in the conference semifinals.

“We had free agents who wanted minutes, and players who wanted to be All-Stars,” Grousbeck said. “I don’t know. There was a lot of ‘I want this, I want that,’ I guess. I’m not in the huddles or the locker room on a daily basis, but it’s frustrating.”

The most prominent name among those free agents is Kyrie Irving, who is rumored to be headed to Brooklyn when free agency kicks off at the end of the month. Grousbeck said management has discussed some “exotic scenarios” if the Celtics lose Irving and can’t trade for Anthony Davis. He adds that he hasn’t directly asked Irving to remain in Boston.

“I haven’t talked to Kyrie in those terms,” Grousbeck said. “Our two free agent negotiators are (coach) Brad (Stevens) and president of basketball operations Danny (Ainge). But Kyrie knows how we feel about him, that we feel very positive about him, and the discussions will go on over the next few weeks.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • No one should regret not making a strong play for Kawhi Leonard last summer more than the Celtics, argues Zach Lowe of ESPN. Boston had plenty of assets to offer when the Spurs put Leonard on the market, but wasn’t willing to part with Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown unless there were more assurances about Leonard’s health and willingness to re-sign with the organization. Lowe notes that the Celtics thought they already had a championship team in place and that adding another maximum-salary player to go with Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford wouldn’t have been sustainable for long.
  • A max deal for Kevin Durant would be too risky unless another star is joining him on the Knicks, contends Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. The concerns lie beyond just missing all of next season, Bondy adds. With load management likely in effect, it’s hard to see how Durant plays more than 65 games in 2020/21 or beyond. He will be 32 when he returns and could plunge New York into a repeat of Kristaps Porzingis situation.
  • Miami center Dewan Hernandez is working out for the Knicks today, tweets Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Shaw guard Amir Hinton had a session for New York.
  • The Sixers are hosting six players for a workout today, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. On the schedule are Kyle Alexander (Tennessee), Daulton Holmes (Point Loma Nazarene), Mahir Johnson (Goldey-Beacom), Nick Mayo (Eastern Kentucky), Jordan Poole (Michigan) and Isaiah Roby (Nebraska).