Kyle Alexander

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).

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Wade, Raptors, Workouts

The Celtics own three of the first 22 selections in the NBA draft and we reported last month that the team was expected to shop at least one of those picks. It appears that Boston has begun making calls with Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders connecting Houston as a potential trade partner for the franchise.

Boston has interest in Clint Capela, though the big man is not the organization’s top priority. As we wait to see if Capela is shipped to Boston or if Danny Ainge‘s squad unloads a first-rounder elsewhere, let’s take a look at some draft notes from the Atlantic Division:

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Hawks, Hornets

There have been no recent updates on the Wizards‘ search for a new head of basketball operations, leading to speculation that Washington is waiting to make a run at current Nuggets president of basketball ops Tim Connelly.

While Connelly’s Nuggets are still alive in the playoffs, David Aldridge of The Athletic argues that if Connelly is the Wizards’ man, they should go after him now. As Aldridge points out, active postseason runs didn’t stop the Timberwolves from hiring Gersson Rosas, or the Suns from naming Monty Williams their new head coach.

It’s not entirely clear if the Wizards are still targeting Connelly, but Aldridge hears from several sources that Denver’s head of basketball ops would be “delighted” to run the Wizards. A previous report referred to the Wizards’ open position as Connelly’s “dream job.” Connelly is still under contract with the Nuggets, but if the Wizards make an offer that significantly exceeds his current salary – which Aldridge says is “just north” of $2MM per year – then he could go to Denver’s ownership in good faith and ask for the opportunity to run his hometown team.

So far, the Wizards have interviewed Danny Ferry, Tommy Sheppard, Troy Weaver, and Rosas for the front office vacancy, Aldridge confirms.

As we wait to see what the Wizards do to replace Ernie Grunfeld, here’s more from around the Southeast…

Draft Notes: Hampton, Elite Camp, Celtics, Simonds, Hawks

RJ Hampton has decided to graduate high school early and reclassify to the Class of 2019, he told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. Hampton is the No. 4 player in ESPN’s top-100 class of early 2020 rankings, explaining his major decision to reclassify to Givony.

“I’ve decided to reclassify to the 2019 class,” Hampton told ESPN. “I am doing this because I feel that from a development standpoint, this is the right move for me at this time in order to play against the highest level of competition possible. I am eager to test myself against older and more physically developed players in order to help improve my weaknesses and prepare me for reaching the ultimate goal of playing in the NBA.”

With his decision, Hampton will enroll for college this summer and be eligible for the 2020 NBA Draft. A 6-foot-5 versatile player at 188 pounds, Hampton is one of the most promising young point guards in high school, now shifting his focus to interested schools such as Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis and Texas Tech, according to ESPN.

“This is a move we’ve been contemplating for some time and we don’t take lightly,” Hampton’s father, Rod, told ESPN. “As someone that played in college as well as professionally in Europe, I know that you can’t skip steps in a player’s development. Thankfully, because of the hard work that RJ has put in in the classroom — achieving a 3.75 GPA and a 1280 SAT — he was able to have this option. This weekend playing against the top players in high school basketball at the Nike EYBL, as well as earlier this month at USA Basketball, my wife, Markita, and I realized that RJ is ready to take the next step and challenge himself by taking the next step in level of competition.”

Here are some other draft-related notes today: