Irving’s high school coach predicts Irving will sign with Knicks

The 2019 free agent class is expected to be one of the deepest that the NBA has seen in quite some time.

One of the biggest prizes in free agency is guard Kyrie Irving, who has spent the past two seasons with the Boston Celtics. With Irving set to hit the open market this summer, the All-Star guard’s high school head coach, Kevin Boyle, recently spoke to SNY’s Ian Begley and predicted that Irving will end up signing with the New York Knicks.

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“I think there’s a good chance in cheap nba jerseys from china
my opinion that Kyrie ends up there,” Boyle said. “In my gut, I would think that would work best for him and I would think that (the Knicks) have a really strong chance of that happening. But I have not spoken directly to him and I don’t know that to be a fact.”

Dan Gilbert says he thinks Kyrie Irving will leave Celtics

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert traded Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics in August of 2017, but Gilbert doesn’t expect Irving to re-up with the Celtics in free agency this summer, and thinks that the Cavs did pretty well for themselves in the trade, all things considered.

“I don’t know, but I think Kyrie will leave Boston,” Gilbert said, via cleveland.com. “We could have ended up with nothing. Looking back after all the moves Koby [Altman] made, we killed it in that trade.”

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Irving has a player option worth more than $21 million for the ’19-20 season that he is expected to decline in favor or unrestricted free agency this summer, though he didn’t cheap nba jerseys
do himself any favors this past season.
According to a report from Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, several would-be suitors of Irving are much more wary of signing him following his underwhelming 2018-19 campaign.

Irving struggled with his role as a leader for the Celtics throughout the regular season, and then underperformed in the postseason as the Celtics were eliminated by the Milwaukee Bucks in five games in the Eastern Conference semifinals. However, despite the struggles, the Celtics are still hoping that Irving remains in Boston long-term.

How much do you know about Boston sports’ reign of dominance?

We’re sorry to have to remind you of this, but Boston sports teams win an awful lot.

The Boston Bruins are just the latest examples of Massachusetts sports dominance, as they swept the Carolina Hurricanes to make it to yet another Stanley Cup Final. That’s coming on the heels of the Patriots and Red Sox winning titles in their 2018 seasons.

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Since the turn of the century, Boston sports teams are Wholesale nba jerseys
a familiar sight in championship rounds, a fact that probably isn’t too thrilling to fans in almost every other city outside of Massachusetts. Since it’s been so difficult to avoid hearing about them, we thought we’d test your knowledge on just how Boston came to be known as “Titletown.”

How much do you remember about Boston sports’ reign in the NHL, NBA, NFL, and MLB?

Grizzlies’ Valanciunas out for season with sprained right ankle

Memphis Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas suffered a grade II right ankle sprain in Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers and will miss the remainder of the 2018-19 season. Surgery is not required and he is expected to make a full recovery.
Valanciunas (7-0, 265)

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started 17 of his 19 appearances for the Grizzlies and cheap nba jerseys
averaged 19.9 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.58 blocks in 27.7 minutes after he was acquired from the Toronto Raptors on Feb. 7. The 26-year-old finishes his seventh NBA season with averages of 15.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.08 blocks in 22.3 minutes in 49 games (27 starts) for both the Grizzlies and Raptors.

The Pacers are ahead of the Bulls so far almost 2 years into the teams’ rebuilding efforts

It’s coincidental that Jimmy Butler arrives in Chicago on Wednesday for his first trip with the 76ers because his June 2017 trade signaled the start of the Bulls’ full rebuild.

On Tuesday, the Bulls faced a comparison point with the Pacers, who traded their franchise superstar, Paul George, just two weeks after the Bulls traded Butler.

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In fact, only two players — Myles Turner and Thaddeus Young — remain from the Pacers team that went 42-40 in the season before they traded George to the Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. After the trade, they went 48-34 last season and took a 41-23 record into Wednesday’s matchup to rank third in the Eastern Conference.

The Bulls went 41-41 in the season before they dealt Butler. Similar to the Pacers’ rebuild, only three players remain from that team — Cristiano Felicio, Robin Lopez and the injured Denzel Valentine.

Their 27-55 finish last season led to the draft pick of Wendell Carter Jr., another player the Bulls hope they hit on to try to advance the rebuild. They’ve also since traded for Otto Porter Jr.

Oladipo took the kind of jump, to third-team All-NBA, the Bulls are hoping to see from Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine.

Furthermore, the Pacers’ shrewd acquisitions of Cory Joseph, Bojan Bogdanovic, Darren Collison and Tyreke Evans have helped them keep afloat in the Eastern Conference playoff race despite Oladipo’s season-ending ruptured right quadriceps tendon and surgery. Sabonis missed his fourth straight game Tuesday because of a sprained left ankle.

When Oladipo returns, the Pacers hope to move from contender to championship challenger, although several players are headed for free agency and would need to be re-signed.

“This is I think one of the remarkable teams in our league right now,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen said. “To be down Sabonis, who is almost unguardable, and to be down Oladipo and to play competitive basketball and be near the top of the East is unbelievable.”

Boylen heaped praise on Bogdanovic, calling him “as good a wing as there is in the league,” and said he’s not surprised where the Pacers are.

“This is a tough franchise. I worked here,” Boylen said of his assistant coaching stint under coach Frank Vogel. “They instill toughness in guys. It’s a tough city. It’s a good city. And they like good basketball. It’s Indiana. There is something to that. It’s not just fairy dust. This is a basketball place.”

With the multiple free agents they signed following their trade of George, the Pacers stayed competitive. They’ve added T.J. Leaf and Aaron Holiday through the draft.

The Bulls bottomed out following their trade of Butler and plan to build through draft picks and now around Porter.

Nuggets clinch playoff berth with 114-105 win over Celtics

BOSTON — The Denver Nuggets are headed back to the postseason after a six-year drought.

Nikola Jokic had 21 points and 13 rebounds and the Nuggets rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the Boston Celtics 114-105 on Monday night and clinched their first playoff berth since 2012-13.

Will Barton added 20 points for Denver, which has won four straight. The Nuggets (47-22) are tied with Golden State for the best record in the Western Conference.

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The Nuggets won 46 games last season, but missed the playoffs after losing in overtime to Minnesota on the final day of the regular season. This season their 47th victory proved to be their charm.

“It’s a great feeling,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “Four years in the making. Two years cheap nba jerseys from china
in a row coming up just shy, one game short. Using that as a motivation for tonight’s moment.”

Smiles were everywhere in the Nuggets locker room afterward.

“Yesss sir!” Jamal Murray beamed. “We’re just going to take this. We’re going to take a moment to realize how far we’ve come. It’s good to look ahead and enjoy the moment at the same time.”

Kyrie Irving led the Celtics (43-28) with 30 points. Al Horford finished with 20 points, six rebounds and six assists.

It was Boston’s second loss in seven games.

“You gotta play well for 48 minutes against those guys,” Irving said. “They’ve come back from 18 down, 17 down. They keep firing.”

The Celtics are fifth in the East, 1½ games behind fourth-place Indiana and 2½ games behind Philadelphia, whom they visit on Wednesday.

The game felt like a matchup between two postseason-bound teams.

It stayed tight at the start of the second half, with neither team holding more than a two-possession lead in the third quarter.

But the Nuggets got some breathing room in the final period and took a 106-94 lead with 3:47 left in the game.

Boston scored seven straight to get it within five, but Barton stopped the run with a layup. Following a missed 3-pointer by Horford on the other end, Paul Millsap all but sealed it with a four-point play that made it 112-101 with 31.3 seconds remaining.

Isaiah Thomas finally gets his Celtics tribute video

Former Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas got his tribute video, after all.

Returning to the Garden as a member of the Denver Nuggets Monday evening, Thomas was honored with a 90-second clip shown on the center-court video board during the first timeout of the first quarter. With co-owner Wyc Grousbeck, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, coach Brad Stevens, former teammates, and a full house of fans looking on, the video spliced together highlights with memorable quotes from Thomas’s tenure with the Celtics.

“Thank you, IT!” the screen read, as the crowd started an “I-T, I-T” chant.

While fans gave Thomas a standing ovation, several of his Nuggets teammates hugged him at the scorer’s table at the conclusion of the timeout.

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Monday’s game marked Thomas’s second game back in Boston — the first in which he’s been active — since getting traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in August 2017. The Celtics initially planned cheap nba jerseys
to run a tribute video during his first game back in January 2018, when he was still recovering from a hip injury, but Thomas requested that the team postpone the airing so that he could enjoy the moment with his family.

The Celtics obliged, pushing the commemorative festivities to their next home game against the Cavs, Feb. 11, 2018, which also happened to be the date of 2008 NBA champion Paul Pierce’s jersey retirement ceremony. Though president of basketball operations Danny Ainge didn’t appear to have a problem with the possibly competing honors, Pierce and former teammate Rajon Rondo expressed their displeasure with the decision. Thomas ultimately elected to forgo the video once again, in order to keep the attention on Pierce.

All the hubbub surrounding the day ended up being somewhat of a moot point, however, as Thomas was no longer a member of the Cavaliers by the time the game rolled around. Cleveland traded Thomas to the Los Angeles Lakers ahead of the trade deadline last season. Because the Lakers had already made their annual trip to Boston, a game this season was the earliest opportunity for the Celtics to show a tribute video.

Are Kyrie Irving and the Celtics on the Cusp of Winning, or Losing? No One Can Tell

SACRAMENTO — The Boston Celtics were not in a good place when they boarded a plane bound for California on Sunday. They were coming off a home loss to the Houston Rockets that point guard Kyrie Irving punctuated by using a total of 43 words to answer nine questions in his postgame news conference.

At one point, he was asked whether he thought the team could cobble together some momentum on its West Coast trip.

“We’ll see,” he whispered.

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Just one season removed from a run to the N.B.A.’s Eastern Conference finals, and seemingly improved by the re-addition of Gordon Hayward and the continued development Wholesale nba jerseys  of their young core, the Celtics were on the brink of falling apart. Any hope they still harbored of being a championship-ready team was as brittle as a toothpick.

But after some reflection and conversation, the Celtics regained a bit of their swagger with back-to-back wins this week against the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings. The Celtics will see if they can keep the good vibes going on Saturday against the Los Angeles Lakers, which is anything but certain, especially for Irving, whose season has been clouded by questions about his future with the team.

Such uncertainty does not make Irving unique in the modern N.B.A. — Kevin Durant of the Warriors and Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors are among the other stars who will weigh big decisions in free agency this summer — but the Celtics have let the noise affect them.

With the two wins this week improving their record to 40-26, the Celtics may be showing signs that they are finally, mercifully, learning how to cope.

Celtics notebook: Marcus Smart’s hot shot no longer a surprise

Marcus Smart continued his hot streak from 3-point range Friday night, going 4-for-4 from downtown in the first quarter and finishing 6-for-8 by the end of the Celtics’ 122-116 win over Memphis.

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He has shot .485 (16-for-33) over seven games in January. Maybe it’s time not to consider the guard’s progress a surprise.

I thought he was going to have a really good shooting year last year,” coach Brad Stevens said. “He put in a lot of time and work over the summer, and then he had a couple cheap nba jerseys from china
of hand injuries that set him back for that season. But you could see that there was a foundation there that was really going to pay off. He’s always made big shots but you could see that his shot had really improved, so it’s unfortunate about the injuries. And then this year, it’s looked good all year.”

Smart, before lacerating his hand after punching a picture frame and later needing hand surgery last season, had the same feeling.

“I definitely felt the same way,” he said. “I took an injury with my hand a few times, and it kind of delayed the process. I thank God that everything has been on track for me.”

He can now take some satisfaction in proving virtually everyone wrong.

“My whole life I’ve been criticized for all kinds of things. I’ve always been the underdog and I’ve always bet on myself,” he said. “This isn’t new to me and to be honest it’s not even a surprise. I’ve been putting in the work and it’s starting to pay off. They keep giving me confidence and the confidence is going to stay up. Hopefully the shots keep falling.”

Irving in tiff

Kyrie Irving and the Grizzlies’ Shelvin Mack were assessed double technical fouls following a beef in front of the Memphis bench late in the third quarter. According to Irving, his opponent triggered the incident in extremely disrespectful fashion.

Let’s talk about Gordon Hayward

Before we dive into what comes next, let’s take a moment to remember a reality oft forgotten on the internet. Life is complicated, understanding it requires nuance and an ability to hold multiple truths. For the sake of this particular exercise, we’ll ask that you allow for the possibility of two specific realities.

The first is this: Boston Celtics’ forward Gordon Hayward, a man who has proven himself to be an exceptional basketball player, sustained an extremely gruesome injury last year. Expecting him to play at anything like the level he showcased prior to his injury in the early stages of his return to the court was never fair. The physical and mental healing that Hayward needs to complete to regain his standing as an All-Star caliber player are ongoing.

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Which brings us to our second truth: Hayward has been bad. He’s averaging just 11.0 points per game, on .422/.323/.840 shooting splits. Boston has been 5.5 points per 100 cheap nba jerseys
possessions worse in his minutes on the court, per Cleaning the Glass. Hayward is making progress, but he’s still dearly lacking in explosiveness, and wildly inconsistent as a shooter. He hasn’t even played well enough to claim a starting spot in the rotation.

That’s not the ideal outcome for the Celtics, who have a hair over $98 million committed to their recovering star over the course of this season and the following two. Hayward, who signed with Boston last off season, was meant to be the piece that pushed the Celtics into the realm of legitimate contention – a Swiss army knife of a wing, as capable of functioning as an offensive initiator, a spot up shooter, or a bully to smaller players in the mid-post.

His appeal came in his versatility and consistency. Hayward was the perfect fit for Boston’s roster, a rising tide with essentially no holes in his game. His integration with a team overflowing with talent was meant to be seamless.