Why the Celtics are a dynasty with Kyrie Irving

So Jason McIntyre tweeted this earlier and the city of Boston lost its collective mind.

Look Celtics fans, I love Isaiah as much as the next guy but Kyrie is a better player plain and simple. Not only is Kyrie a better player than Isaiah he’s younger and he’s cheaper. Isaiah is going to want max money entering his 30-year-old season after next year. Kyrie is under team control for two years and is only going to be 27 when he is eligible for a new contract.

Let me preface this by saying McIntyre’s offer is too high on Boston’s side. Players who publically demand trades don’t usually get fair returns (see George, Paul). A more likely scenario is IT4, Jae Crowder, the Lakers/Kings and the Clippers/Memphis pick for Kyrie.

However, the Celtics can afford to overpay for a superstar as they still have a ridiculous collection of assets. They can afford to throw in a player like Yabusele or Ante Zizic or some of the SEVEN first round picks they have in the next 3 years to get a deal done. The Celtics can’t draft all those players; they just simply don’t have the room for all those rookies on a team that is trying to compete for a championship. They need to consolidate some of these assets into star players. Kyrie is a star player.

I get the argument for Isaiah, I really do. Kyrie’s and Isaiah’s the numbers last year are very comparable, with Isaiah having a slight edge in some categories. It’s important to remember when looking at these stats that Isaiah is playing in an offense that Brad Stevens has tailored to him. Kyrie is playing on a team and in a system that is centered around Lebron. While Lebron is the 2d best player to ever play basketball and he frequently makes those around him better, sometimes players don’t maximize their ability because they are deferring to him. Look at Kevin Love. K-Love was a double-double machine in Minnesota, in Cleveland he is a glorified spot up 3 point shooter. The point is Kyrie and Isaiah’s numbers are comparable now, but what would they be like if Kyrie was put in a system that maximizes his talent.

Even Isaiah and Kyrie’s defensive stats are pretty similar

While their numbers are similar, there is a huge difference between these two players defensively. Isaiah is a bad defender because he is undersized, Kyrie is a bad defender because his effort is lacking on that side of the ball. Effort can be improved, height cannot.

The Celtics are in a position to get a 25-year-old superstar. It’d cost them a 28-year-old dynamic scoring point guard, one of the leagues best contracts and some picks to get it done but that is a price worth paying for Kyrie. Isaiah’s hip injury scares me more than it does most, this is the same injury that derailed Jonny Flynn’s career. I get that Jonny Flynn was never of Isaiah Thomas’s caliber but he was very good in his rookie year before the injury and relied on his speed and quickness as a smaller guard, sound familiar? Those physical attributes never returned after the injury. I am rooting for Isaiah, but there is no guarantee he is going to ever be the player he was before the injury. Jae Crowder needs to go, he’s on this team because of his contract. The truth is the Celtics have way too many SF’s. Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Morris, Abdel Nader, their primary position is the 3. Sure they can play other positions but that’s still way too many guys who basically play the same position. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are the future of this team, they need minutes to develop.

The Celtics best chance at a title is going to be a core of Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and the 2018 Nets pick. Kyrie Irving will still be in his prime when those guys come into their own as NBA players. Gordon Hayward will still be a very good NBA player at that point as well. That version of the Celtics has a chance to not only be a title contender but a title favorite. Beating the Warriors in the next few years is going to be near impossible, Trading for a player like Kyrie extends your title window exponentially. He has the ability to be a superstar player in both your current title window and with the future core. Losing players like IT4 and Jae Crowder hurts but if you look at the big picture and what Kyrie can bring to your team, in the long run, it’s an opportunity definitely worth exploring.


Matt McKenna
Baseline Times NBA Contributor


Potential trades the Cavaliers can make for Kyrie Irving

As reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Kyrie Irving reportedly has met with the Cleveland Cavaliers front office last week and requested a trade. The news also comes with the notion that Irving is seeking an opportunity where he can be the focal point of an offense and does not want to continue to play alongside Lebron James. The news comes within the mix of the Cavaliers promoting assistant GM Koby Altman to the GM role. The Cavaliers chose to forgo extending former GM David Griffin’s contract last month as the Cavaliers were in talks of trading for Paul George.

Some of the teams Irving is rumored to favor are New York, Minnesota, San Antonio and Miami. Per Irving’s agent, “Kyrie and I had a meeting with Cavs leadership where we discussed many different scenarios in reference to Kyrie and his future with the team,” Jeff Wechsler told ESPN. “The basis of those discussions and what went on in those discussions are between the Cavs and us. We are respectfully going to keep those private.”

While it seems the NBA’s landscape looks entirely different the Cavaliers have made a few quiet moves this summer. The Golden State Warriors kept their core super team in power by signing Stephen Curry to a supermax deal and Kevin Durant to a two-year deal. The neighboring Boston Celtics acquired Gordon Hayward in free agency, the Houston Rockets acquired Chris Paul via trade, and the Minnesota Timberwovles received Jimmy Butler from Chicago. The Cavaliers summer has only been signing free agents Jeff Green and Jose Calderon in addition to re-signing Kyle Korver. Cleveland also signed Turkish forward Cedi Osman to a three-year deal.

Should the Cavaliers attempt to pull the trigger early and trade Irving prior to the start of the 2017-2018 season here are a few ideas that might make sense for each team.

San Antonio Spurs
In this deal, the Cavaliers get rid of the Tristian Thompson contract and could potentially be renting LaMarcus Aldridge for one year. Aldridge would have one year remaining and could opt out and leave Cleveland to seek another opportunity elsewhere. Previously, it has been that the Spurs are placing Aldridge up on the trade block, uncertain if he would sign long-term. The risk but the high reward is that Lebron James has an All-Star next to Kevin Love. Now I know what you’re thinking, why would the Cavaliers need two big men? As teams begin to play smaller the Cavaliers could play Aldridge at the center spot and have Love play his traditional stretch-four position. Danny Green is a filler who will also have a player option in 2018. This could free up cap space for the Cavaliers should this go awry and the rest button is the next best choice.

New York Knicks
This wild thought isn’t Rihanna here. However, LeBron is close with Eric Bledsoe and Carmelo Anthony is a banana boat buddy. This could be the savior for the Cavaliers not to lose a direction of contending for a championship. The Suns will have to take on the salary dump of J.R. Smith and Frye would be expiring as he has one year left. Throw a few draft picks their way to call it a deal. The Knicks reunite with Tyson Chandler who the Suns have previously tried to move. The Knicks would get Irving as their centerpiece next to Kristaps Porzingas.

Miami Heat
If the Miami Heat is a team Irving is strongly considering then there isn’t a whole lot that can be offered for Cleveland unless a third team is involved. Straight up the Cavaliers can obtain Goran Dragic and Justice Winslow. The Heat also has a 2019 and 2020 first-round pick they can send to Cleveland or another destination if a third team is in play. The Cavaliers would have to take on an aging Dragic but also locked into a three-year deal still. Not a favorable deal for Cleveland and they may want to include a third team to recruit more talent their way.

Minnesota Timberwolves 
Since the Timberwolves just signed Jeff Teague to a three-year deal this summer they will have to wait until December 15th before they can trade him. If the Cavaliers can hold off and would prefer to send Irving to the Western Conference and out of the East then, Minnesota would be a preferred destination. It is rumored that Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns both are actively recruiting Irving. The chances of Irving heading to Minnesota would be low if a third team cannot be brought it and the Cavaliers would like to make a deal done before the summer is over.

Other suitors
With Danny Ainge stockpiling assets Boston is always going to be in the mix for potential trade destinations. Since John Wall has just signed his four-year extension with the Wizards it is now unlikely that he will be moved. As this news comes with shock there could be many other teams that come out of left field and become involved.

2017 NBA Vegas Summer League: A Purple and Gold Affair

“The Lakers are back”

After the summer league roster of the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Portland Trailblazers 110-98, Magic Johnson had those very same words. Johnson would be interview center-court as the young Lakers celebrated their summer league championship in a poor man’s fashion as to the Golden State Warriors celebration just about a month ago.

Kyle Kuzma was announced the MVP of the Finals game with 30 points and 10 rebounds. The Lakers No. 2 pick Lonzo Ball did not play due to an injury in the final game. However, Ball would receive the overall MVP for the Vegas league as he averaged 16.3 points, a summer 9.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. The 9.3 assists per game is a summer league high and a record that Ball now holds.

The past couple of weeks the feature of ESPN turned into Lonzo Ball. Every game the former UCLA guard played there were eyes on his footwear. His first game was a disappointing 2-15 shooting performance and only scoring five points. The shoes of choice were a pair of Big Baller Brand sneakers. Game two featured Ball in a different pair of shoes and a different result. 11 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds. A triple-double with an all purple pair of Kobe’s.

If you’re accustomed to ESPN’s NBA notifications then make no mistake that those also featured updates on when to expect Ball to play. Actually, my phone buzzed and there is a notification popping up that Lonzo, in fact, would not play in the summer league final. No new shoes, no triple-double and a chance for the Lakers other first-round pick, Kuzma, to show his talent.

Can we all say that one man alone could be responsible for the Laker loving? Mr. LaVar Ball?

With Lonzo dominating headlines whether it was his kick game or his dazzling play his father still remained loud and proud on the sidelines. LaVar kicked off the summer games by announcing his opinion that Lonzo could, in fact, be better than Magic Johnson. Things got hostile as Joel Embiid of the 76ers was caught on social media cursing LaVar. Nonetheless, a rebuttal from LaVar as expected: “when you working for somebody shut your mouth”.

When Lonzo started to sport different brands such as the purple Kobe’s, Adidas, Under Armor and, a pair of Jordan’s then came the questions. LaVar quickly fired back and advised that if the price is right a potential suitor could have the rights to the Lakers rookie. The most recent comments coming from LaVar is the ongoing battle between De’Aron Fox and Lonzo.

“Have you heard about De’Aaron Fox? Hell nah,” LaVar said on Fox Sports Radio . “You can’t hear about him unless he puts my boy’s name in his mouth. He been doing all this stuff and ain’t nobody been talking about him. So he and his dad gotta link themselves to us to be relevant. De’Aaron Fox had a whole season and the only thing they talk about is 39 points against Zo. You don’t put Zo in a sentence, nobody cares about him.”

With ESPN owning the ability to feature summer league games, the sideshow continued with father and son. Let’s not forget that Jayson Tatum, Dennis Smith Jr, and Josh Jackson played in this tournament. Although their teams did not make the finals, Ball respectfully was not the only lottery pick dazzling the crowd. Tatum would manage to play in three games and averaged 17.7 points and eight rebounds while shooting 42-percent from the field. Smith Jr. averaged 17.3 points, five rebounds and, two steals in six games.

In the end, the summer league has grown its brand which the NBA proves its forever progressing. Their future stars are giving a promising hope for the start of the season in October.

A Boston Celtics Farewell to Avery Bradley

Baseline Times NBA Staff Contributor Matt McKenna is a lifelong Boston Celtics fan. Here is a raw and honest opinion from the Celtic fan within.

Avery Bradley has long been my favorite Celtic. Avery embodied what it meant to be a Boston Celtic. He started his career as a defensive specialist and worked tirelessly to become the two-way player he is today. Given my personal bias for Avery, I wanted to wait a few days before trying to give a fair and impartial opinion for the trade. That being said I still believe Danny fucked up. I understand that Avery was going to be hard to keep next year especially with Isaiah’s contract being up as well but the team did have his bird rights and could have gone into the luxury tax to keep him. If you look at championship quality NBA teams (Warriors, Cavs) they are frequently paying the luxury tax and that is just a price you have to pay to assemble a championship quality team. The Celtics with a starting lineup of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford and Aron Baynes, that lineup has the potential to beat the Cavs. The current lineup of Isaiah, Gordon Hayward, Jae Crowder, Al Horford and Aron Baynes, that lineup has no shot against the Cavs. NO FUCKIN SHOT, even in Danny Ainge’s wildest wet dreams.

The strength of the Celtics over the last few years has been their perimeter defense. They weren’t great during the first half of last season but over the three-season stretch in which they made the playoffs, perimeter defense has been their strongest attribute and that started with Avery Bradley. I’m not saying that Avery Bradley is the only reason that the Celtics excelled on defense because players like Marcus Smart and Jae Crowder are good defenders in their own right but they simply aren’t on Avery’s level. There is a reason those guys didn’t get the massive outcry Avery did from other NBA players when they didn’t make all-defensive teams.

To get to the finals the Celtics are going to have to go through the Cavs and Lebron James and Kyrie Irving. If you are going to beat the Cavs don’t you think you’d want the guy who Kyrie has said does the best job guarding him of anyone in the NBA on your team? Even if the Celtics were to get past the Cavs they would still most likely have the Golden State Warriors waiting for them in the NBA Finals. Luckily the Celtics match up well with the Warriors, splitting the season series with them in each of the last two years. One of the reasons the Celtics matched up so well with the Warriors is their perimeter defense and having a player like Avery Bradley who has the lateral quickness to stay in front of Steph and bothers bigger guards like Klay when they have to put the ball on the floor. No other perimeter defender on the Celtics has the lateral quickness to do things like that (maybe Terry Rozier on a good day).

On top of being hands down the best defensive player on the Celtics Avery was the second most dependable Celtic on the offensive side of the ball. Avery shot 46% from the field and 39% from three. He also showed an improved handle in his seventh season, showing signs of being able to create his own shot. Avery has improved offensively every year in the league, a trend that can only be expected to continue.

At the end of the day, I understand the decision to trade Avery Bradley, it came down to salary and Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart are going to be more affordable to keep on the team. That being said it isn’t a decision I agree with. Marcus Smart has shown almost zero signs of offensive growth in his first three years (slightly improved handle and passing in the pick and role), and Jae Crowder has gone from severely underrated to borderline overrated. If I ran the Celtics I would have considered trading both of those players and letting young guys with higher upside like Jaylen Brown, Jason Tatum and Terry Rozier absorb their minutes. A Crowder – Smart package would likely also have resulted in a better player in return than Marcus Morris. Marcus Morris a solid NBA player but there is a clear step down in quality from Avery Bradley. Avery Bradley is not a star player, but he has almost a star-level impact for this Celtics team. If the Celtics have true championship aspirations with their current core dealing Avery Bradley was a huge mistake.

Matt McKenna
Baseline Times NBA Contributor

The NBA’s Summer League is a growing brand

The NBA Summer League kicked off July 1st in Orlando, July 3rd in Utah, and is currently in its final rounds out in Las Vegas until July 17th. The Vegas tour has gained popularity in recent years as current NBA stars, celebrities, coaches, and team executives spend some time in Sin City as a part of their off-season agenda. Of course, there is still work to be done as teams feature top draft picks but also players who are hopeful that their game catches the eye of a coach or general manager for a shot at a contract conversation.

One attraction this year is Lonzo Ball as the no. 2 pick is drawing quite the crowd in Vegas. Plenty of purple and gold fills out the stands each game the Lakers have showcased their first-round draft picks. Of course, it’s not a party without his father LaVar Ball who has made claims such as Lonzo being the best “guard ever”. In the first game of the Lakers match-up against the Los Angeles Clippers, second-year player Brandon Ingram comes up short on a potential game-winning shot. As he comes down without any kind of awkward landing, he stays down with an apparent cramping issue in his leg. Across the court, the newly minted Lakers President of Basketball Operations, Magic Johnson signals that he’s done.

As bad as Ingram wanted to remain in the game for the two-minute overtime per Summer League rules, the boss had the final say. The Lakers would play without their best player on the roster and eventually lose the game. Although, a big Laker fan affair in the stands stayed and cheered their team until the final buzzer. It was the first NBA action for Lonzo Ball but one he quickly would forget as a national audience captured the horrific 2-15 shooting performance. I was curious to watch Ball play his first NBA action but keep in mind I watched all this live which allowed me to give you my brief play-by-play here.

ESPN 2 is featuring Summer League games alongside NBA TV which alternate match-ups of the Vegas League. The current deal with ESPN even gives more insight and promotion as to when you can see a game. Now that we are in 2017, my phone is buzzing and the ESPN alert is telling me I can watch the no. 2 and no. 3 pick square off in an anticipated match-up. Lonzo Ball is getting his second crack at NBA life and he’s going up against long-time rivals, the Boston Celtics featuring Jayson Tatum.

Beyond the featured future stars of the NBA, the current stars are court side. A familiar face in Vegas is roaming about. That’s Mr. Floyd Mayweather who is preparing to fight Conor McGregor in a few weeks. Looking away from the court itself seems like a sideshow going on court side and backstage.

James Harden and Chris Paul are court side hanging out as the new pair of back-court mates share a little bonding time with Trevor Ariza and P.J. Tucker.

Good vibes only #nbasummerleague 😎

A post shared by @nbatv on

As serious Magic can be, he’s still at times soaking up the spotlight.

L E G E N D A R Y 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆

A post shared by @nbatv on

Hip-Hop fans will recognize this face. Another celebrity to add to the mix.

It’s a Cole world at #NBASummer

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It is just another day at the Vegas Summer League but nonetheless, the NBA featured front and center in a time where the Golden State Warriors dominated an NBA Finals in five games. The NBA draft is over and baseball is in full swing. We’re also counting down the days that football returns. The NBA should be shelved until October, right?

When the naysayers advise that the NBA is harmed by super teams, let this be a reminder.

Couldn’t star players be somewhere on an island enjoying the sun and blue waters? These multi-millionaires can take a vacation some of us could only dream of in a lifetime. Perhaps, they may want to seclude themselves from the temptations of Vegas and train privately in a less distracting location?

What is so compelling about attending a game full of young players and a few standouts that may get a non-guaranteed contract?

The availability to market and showcase yourself in a very informal and relaxed summer vibe in Vegas gives a different perspective for fans.

Let’s go back to Magic waving off Ingram from returning to the game against the Clippers. We’d never see that in a regular season game. I’d imagine Ingram would head back to the locker room and Magic would then make the decision behind closed doors right? A Lakers sideline reporter would then relay the message via team representatives.

Never before this kind of exposure was available at the Summer League games and here is why.

Before the recent exposure of the summer games, there was only a box score and maybe post-game highlights available to fans. Unless you lived or visited Vegas only you could see the live action. The Orlando league remained closed to the public and only open to media at the Magic’s practice facility.

Then came the online streams which the NBA allowed fans in recent years to watch on the web for free. No gimmicks, no pricey packages, and all games free of charge. Some of NBA TV’s familiar voices would provide commentary while interviewing coaches, players, and legends in attendance. The internet is a great thing but not good enough.

In 2014 the NBA signed a new nine-year deal in which ESPN and Turner both combined will pay the NBA $24 billion. ESPN even extended the deal to include D-League (now the G-League) and Summer League games. Ah, this is why ESPN takes so much pride in notifying me of the match-ups and promos in between the MLB All-Star Game promos!

Of course, some the NBA’s biggest stars and legends have always attended the summer games. However, now that the national media cameras are out, the spotlight is wider. Patrick Beverly is court side giving high fives to his Clipper teammates but also signing autographs for kids. Jeremy Lin is casually in some flip flops and shorts taking in the action.

Sure enough, ESPN broadcasting Summer League games is a favorable incentive and we knew it would come with creating a sideshow. With that sideshow, out come the stars, the celebrities, and a quality production that somehow puts Lonzo Ball at the front of sports news almost forgetting that the MLB All-Star Game is this week.

Follow @BaselineTimes for more coverage on the NBA

Chevall Kanhai
Baseline Times NBA Contributor



James Harden receives NBA’s largest contract extension

The Houston Rockets confirmed that they have signed guard James Harden to a max, long-term contract. The deal is reportedly expected to be $228 million, through the 2022-2023 season. The four-year deal tops the most an NBA player has received in history.

“Houston is home for me,” Harden said in a statement released by the Rockets. “[Owner Leslie Alexander] has shown he is fully committed to winning and my teammates and I are going to keep putting in the work to get better and compete for the title.”

Due to the new CBA rules, because Harden made the All-NBA team he became eligible for a four-year extension. The luxury teams have with their star players is the ability to pay them more. The Rockets recently traded for Chris Paul to add another All-Star next to Harden and compete for a championship in a strong Western Conference.

Harden is coming off a career year as he averaged 29.1 points, a league-best 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game. He also finished as a runner-up to Russell Westbrook for the MVP Award this past season.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

2017 NBA Free Agency Tracker

July 1st is an important day in the NBA. Teams can meet and receive a verbal commitment from Free Agents. Below we track the player movements for the off-season.

Pacers trade Paul George to Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

Jeff Teague agrees to a three-year, $57 million deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Timberwolves have traded Guard Ricky Rubio in exchange for a 2018 First-Round pick.

Warriors and Shaun Livingston rumored to agreed to three-year, 24 Million dollar deal

Bucks and Tony Snell agree to four-year, 46 Million dollar deal (ESPN)

Spurs and Patty Mills agree to four-year, 50 Million dollar deal (ESPN)

Bulls and Cristiano Felicio agree to four-year, 32 Million dollar deal league sources tell The Vertical

J.J. Redick reaches an agreement with 76ers league sources tell ESPN. The deal is worth 23 million for one year.

Pelicans and Jrue Holiday agree to 5-year, 126 Million dollar deal agent Jason Glushon tells ESPN

76ers and JJ Redick agree to 1 year, 23 Million dollar deal league sources tell ESPN

Cavs and Jose Calderon agree to 1 year deal for league minimum league sources tell The Vertical

Paul Millsap agrees to a three-year, $90 million contract with the Denver Nuggets

Jodie Meeks agrees to a two-year, $7 million deal with the Washington Wizards.

P.J. Tucker has agreed to a four-year, $32 million deal with the Houston Rockets.

Andre Iguodala announced via Twitter himself that he will be returning back to the Warriors. The deal is reportedly worth $48 million over three-years.

The Minnesota Timberwolves and Taj Gibson have agreed to a two-year, $28 million deal.

Joe Ingles has agreed to a four-year, $52 million deal to return to the Utah Jazz.

Langston Galloway has agreed to a three-year, $21 million contract with the Detroit Pistons.

Blake Griffin remains with the Clippers on a max deal. The deal is reportedly five-years, $173 million.

The Chicago Bulls have waived guard, Rajon Rondo.

George Hill agrees to a three-year, $57 million deal with the Sacramento Kings.

Zack Randolph agrees to a 2-year, $24 million deal with the Sacramento Kings.

The Miami Heat have announced that they have waived Chris Bosh. 

Omri Casspi has agreed to a one-year deal with the Golden State Warriors.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have reached an agreement with Patrick Patterson and a three-year, $16 million deal. 

Sources: Nets to offer Otto Porter Jr. a max deal. The deal is reportedly around $106 million over four years.

Nick Young and the Golden State Warriors have agreed to a one year, $5.2 million deal per ESPN.

Sources: Dion Waiters and the Miami Heat have finalized a five-year, $52 million contract.

Oklahoma City Thunder have reached an agreement with Andre Roberson. The deal is expected to be $30 million, over three-years.

Sources: The Boston Celtics are attempting to free up their roster to accommodate Gordon Hayward. The Celtics are openly fielding calls for Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, and Marcus Smart.

The Indiana Pacers have waived Monta Ellis.

Tim Hardaway Jr has signed an offer sheet with the New York Knicks. The deal is reportedly worth $71 over 4 years.

Celtics trade Avery Bradley and a 2019 second-round pick to Detroit in return for Marcus Morris

Jamal Crawford has finalized a buyout with the Atlanta Hawks

Mike Muscala agrees to a two-year, $10 million deal with the Atlanta Hawks

Shelvin Mack has finalized a two-year, $12 million deal with the Orlando Magic

The Wizards renounced Bojan Bogdanovic who will join the Paces on a two-year, $21 million deal.

Tyreke Evans has agreed to a one-year, $3.3 deal with the Memphis Grizzlies

Zaza Pachulia has agreed to a one-year $3.5 million contract with the Golden State Warriors.


Shoot or Pass Podcast: Episode 1: 2017 NBA Free Agency

Baseline Times Media presents a new dedicated NBA podcast. Shoot or Pass Podcast makes its debut as the premier NBA Podcast out of Baseline Times Media! Chevall Kanhai and Matt McKenna discuss the NBA’s latest free agency movements. In-depth coverage of the Celtics and Danny Ainge’s moves are discussed!

Danny Ainge in a bind to make way for Gordon Hayward

Getting Gordon Hayward is great, it gives the Celtics another All-Star who can take the scoring load of Isaiah. However, it means that someone has to go. The Celtics have to clear just under three million in salary to give Gordon Hayward max money. The three most likely candidates to get traded are Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, and Jae Crowder.

In a pure basketball sense trading Crowder would be the logical move. The Celtics have 4 SF’s now in Crowder, Hayward, Brown, and Tatum. Moving Crowder frees up more playing time for the developing Brown and Tatum and he was going to see his minutes reduced anyways with the addition of Hayward.

However, Jae Crowder has one of if not the best contract in the NBA. He is locked into roughly seven million a year for the next 3 years, which is an absolute steal for a player of his caliber. In addition to that, both Bradley and Smart are free agents at the end of this year and have big raises coming their way with the Celtics already hard pressed against the cap. (Not to mention the Isaiah contract situation.)

Danny Ainge also has little to no leverage in this situation as everyone in the league knows he has to clear cap space asap. One interesting team might be the Houston Rockets. The Rockets have a promising young center in Clint Capela, a player who I am sure they value greatly. However, Capela saw Nene eat into his minutes during the playoffs and his play seemingly regressed during the second half of the season. The Rockets also only have one SF on the roster in a 32-year-old Trevor Ariza and just lost their defensive specialist in Patrick Beverly. Marcus Smart and Jae Crowder would both seemingly fit needs for the Rockets and the Celtics have the extra assets (LAC Pick, MEM Pick) to sweeten the deal to Darryl Morey’s liking.  Both Morey and Ainge are too good of GM’s to get fleeced by the other but there might be a deal here to be struck that makes both teams better.

Gordon Hayward announces he will sign with Celtics via The Players’ Tribune

“Thank You, Utah”, writes Gordon Hayward as he officially announces that he will join the Boston Celtics. Hayward announced his decision via The Players’ Tribune on Tuesday evening.

Hayward has spent all of his seven seasons as a member of the Utah Jazz. In that time he was a first-time All-Star in the 2016-2017 season while for his career, averaging 15.7 points per game, 3.4 assists per game, 4.2 rebounds per game, and shooting 47-percent from the field. Hayward also will join a familiar face in Brad Stevens who also coached him in college at Butler.

David Aldridge reports that the deal will be a max deal around 4-years, $152 million.