9.24.2017

Free Agents Come-a-Calling (to Boston?)

August 1, 2007

Free agents come calling

In a rather amazing turn of events, Boston has suddenly become a desirable city for NBA free agents. Agents for legitimate veteran players were actually calling the Celtics yesterday, looking to place their clients in Boston as news of Kevin Garnett's arrival spilled out further.

9.22.2017

I Guess We'll Find Out Whether Doc can Coach

 August 1, 2007

Doc Now in the Hot Seat

It's been the feeling here that judging Doc Rivers the last two years has been a fool's errand. The Celtics simply weren't good enough to make a fair ruling on anyone.

But after the acquisitions of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, well, Celtics Nation is hereby invited to get out its robe and gavel. Doc Rivers will now be rightfully on trial. He is a man very confident in his abilities. Some would call him cocky. When he looks you in the eye more than once and says, ``Every time I've had a decent team, we've won,'' he appears more than willing to put himself on the line.

Others already have him there.

Ain't it Da Truth

McHale feeling the heat

August 7, 2007

Though Wednesday's bridge collapse put things in Minneapolis in perspective, Kevin McHale is being pilloried for sending Garnett to Boston for Jefferson, Telfair, Ratliff, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green and two first-round picks. Both metropolitan newspapers have called for McHale's ouster. St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist Tom Powers put it this way: ``Settle down. Put away the torches and pitchforks. The sun will come up tomorrow. Unless, of course, Kevin McHale is somehow put in charge of the solar system. In which case the sun will implode and we all will die.''

McHale has officially reached pinata status. Marbury, who believes the GM maligned him after trading him to Phoenix by claiming the guard was jealous of Garnett, sent out a warning to his cousin, Telfair, via the New York Post: ``I'll wish him good luck and tell him to be careful around Kevin McHale. I wouldn't want to play for Kevin McHale. When I left, all of a sudden I became a bad person from his standpoint. I became selfish and jealous of Kevin.''

As for the Celtics-T'wolves trade from a Knicks perspective, Marbury said: ``I'm not thinking about Boston. I'm only thinking about the New York Knicks. Our nickname is Nice and Nasty. That's how we're coming.''

Nice N' Nasty? So he's looking for improvement. The Knicks have been neither since Marcus Camby mistakenly slugged Jeff Van Gundy.

9.21.2017

Thank God for Kevin McHale

August 5, 2007

Thank You, Kevin McHale

When someone writes "The Kevin McHale Story: Minnesota Years," there is going to be a continuing theme: the name of Danny Ainge.

9.20.2017

Overall Height -- The New Roster Measures Up on Wing Defense

Jaylen has to become a lockdown defender for us," Brad Stevens said on the Vertical Podcast with Chris Mannix, earlier this summer. "That's where, as you go into an offseason and you are an individual player, there's a ton of things that you want to get better at, and there's a ton of things you want to add to your game. But ultimately, when you get back to your team, it's what do you do that's different to make your team unique to give yourself the best chance of adding value to winning. We need him to become that."

If one were to add up the total height measured in inches of last year's squad and divide by 15, how much taller on average do you think this year's squad will be? Surely, anyone searching to identify the biggest (pun intended) differences between the two teams would need to count overall height as one of them. IT, of course, was 5-9, and is now being replaced by someone six inches taller. But it is easy to forget that IT's backcourt mate last year was 6-2 because Avery Bradley was such an outstanding defender.

Nonetheless, as the old adage goes, you can't teach height, and as good as Bradley was, he was sometimes forced to guard much taller forwards. That won't happen to this year's squad. The closest thing you have to Avery Bradley in terms of stature on this year's team is Marcus Smart (I refuse to believe Terry Rozier will see any time guarding 3s, and Shane Larkin will be used exclusively as a 1). Smart is 6-4, and much more of a physical presence than Bradley, having spent a decent chunk of his career guarding 3s, 4s, and even the occasional 5.

Smart is now the Celtics' low-end defender in terms of height. As Abdel Nader recently observed, Boston has "like six or seven wings who are 6-6 or taller." The importance of this difference can't be overstated. Instead of Bradley and Smart being forced to guard the other team's much taller wings (and typically best player) for indefinite periods, the Celtics will now have an entire stable of guys who can be used interchangeably.

Gordon Hayward, Marcus Morris, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Daniel Theis, Semi Ojeleye, Guerschon Yabusele, and Abdel Nader.

That's eight players.

Last year?

Count them however you want, but let's be honest. Roster space was being consumed by the likes of Amir Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, and Tyler Zeller who couldn't guard a wing if their lives depended on it. Even Jonas Jerebko was typically challenged when the wing he was guarding had even the slightest bit of quickness and mobility. Gerald Green? James Young? They score points for height, but not for stellar defense. Meanwhile, six-foot-eight Marcus Morris, by some statistical measures, is the best LeBron defender in the  league (though, admittedly, it's hard to play defense from a jail cell). If several of the other wings turn into more than capable defenders, the quality of defensive upgrade will be noticeable.

And then, of course, there is the point guard position.

Do we really think Kyrie Irving will pass up the chance to become a two-way player? If he moved to Boston to evolve as a player and reach his potential, few would say he accomplishes this goal unless he starts to play better D, especially when we all know the real goal Kyrie has set is to become historically great.

That's a lot of potential defensive upgrades Boston added to the roster.

Thus, as you are contemplating the ways Boston's roster may have improved over the summer, don't discount the very real possibility that Boston's defense will markedly improve as well.




KG will Shake Things Up in the East

1August 1, 2007

It may be hard to remember a recent Celtic scene with more sheer optimism. Kevin Garnett, fresh in from the Twin Cities (and not from a cruise) in the middle of the table, a broad smile, flanked by a beaming Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. No, they're not the new Big Three yet; Danny Ainge made that clear yesterday. They haven't won anything.

9.19.2017

What Kyrie Wants: A stable environment to thrive

Image result for mike brown byron scott cavs coaches

I think Kyrie is a hyper-intelligent kid. Really, really smart. Doesn’t get enough credit for how smart he is. And I think seeing that the franchise is in flux, I think seeing Griff leave and the amount of coaches. I think Kyrie has had a much tougher time in this stretch of the organization than anyone really ever wanted to fully — He’s a No. 1 pick right after LeBron. Then he has three different coaches. Then LeBron comes back. Now, there’s trade rumors. Now, it’s LeBron leaving.

--Richard Jefferson

 Fear the Sword goes into more depth regarding the environment Kyrie escaped from:

  • The team lost approximately 94 games in a row the year James left.
  • After Kyrie Irving’s sensational rookie season, the team drafted Dion Waiters at the behest of coach Byron Scott, despite the fact that the team hadn’t so much as talked to Waiters prior to draft night. Waiters was a ball-dominant undersized score-first guard, and didn’t mesh with Irving.
  • They then fired Byron Scott.
  • They then re-hired Mike Brown, who they had fired in a last-ditch attempt to keep LeBron.
  • The team doubled down on Waiters with Jarrett Jack, another ball dominant undersized score-first guard.
  • They drafted Anthony Bennett first overall.
  • They signed Andrew Bynum to a deal.
  • They traded for Luol Deng, who had no interest in anything Cleveland had to offer.
  • They fired Chris Grant, the general manager, and promoted his subordinate. A Cavs source once told me this time was “painful.” I hear you.
  • They won the lottery for the third time, winning the right to select Andrew Wiggins, and trade him for Kevin Love if they so chose.
  • LeBron decided to come back after the owner flew to Fort Lauderdale, meanwhile lying about his stealth trip.
  • James immediately started undercutting David Blatt, who replaced Mike Brown, which didn’t even merit a bullet point above, but who was fired in large part due to the immaturity and discontent of Irving.
  • Kevin Love is traded for and spends the first three years of his time in Cleveland averaging 3,217 trips through the ESPN trade machine per day.
  • The Cavs start 18-20 before J.R. Smith and Timofey Mozgov arrive and right the ship.
  • That last sentence is like 90 percent true.
  • The Cavs lose Love in the first round of the playoffs right as they are turning into a juggernaut.
  • The Cavs lose Irving at the end of the second round of the playoffs, before he returned in the clinching Eastern Conference Finals game. He plays a great Game 1 of the NBA Finals and then breaks his kneecap.
  • The Cavs still somehow win their next two games before players literally almost started dying of exhaustion.
  • The Cavs come back with the same team and are starting to regain their health when David Blatt is fired. General Manager David Griffin says the team was playing without joy and he was right.
  • The team holds approximately 42 players-only meetings. Kevin Love is reminded in half of them that he is, in fact, good at basketball.
  • The Warriors win 73 games, and the Cavs still find a way to go into the series overconfident. After falling behind 3-1, they win the title.

The Decision -- Kyrie Irving Style



As everyone knows by now, Kyrie Irving stopped by ESPN studios to spend 40 minutes (40!) with the gang from First Take and participate in some Q&A. The interview was long on the Qs and short on the As, at least if the goal was something approaching meaningful As.

Instead, the goal of the interview was to create a “gotcha” moment, where Kyrie would confess the “real reason” for his departure from Cleveland. Was it his personal dislike for LeBron James? Was it his desire to get out of LeBron’s shadow? Was it to be the undisputed cornerstone of a franchise somewhere else? Was it because Kobe told him he must leave? For the hosts of First Take, it sure seemed obvious that Kyrie’s decision had nothing to do with winning or with his personal evolution as a basketball player.

If the interview wasn’t bad enough, ESPN spent the better part of the rest of the day dissecting it, analyzing and speculating about every syllable Kyrie had uttered. At one point, former Celtic Paul Pierce agreed that something personal must have happened between Irving and James because when the NBA Finals concluded, everyone in the world could see LeBron and Kyrie walking off the court together arm-in-arm, consoling each other after a crushing loss to a superior foe. Then, at the press conference following the loss, Kyrie repeated his pledge to remain joined at the hip with LeBron and do battle against the dreaded Warriors into the foreseeable future.

But then he changed his mind.

And, quite frankly, I don’t think the reason is quite as mysterious as everyone else makes it out to be. I return to the quote from Richard Jefferson:

I think Kyrie is a hyper-intelligent kid. Really, really smart. Doesn’t get enough credit for how smart he is. And I think seeing that the franchise is in flux, I think seeing Griff leave and the amount of coaches. I think Kyrie has had a much tougher time in this stretch of the organization than anyone really ever wanted to fully — He’s a No. 1 pick right after LeBron. Then he has three different coaches. Then LeBron comes back. Now, there’s trade rumors. Now, it’s LeBron leaving.

Changing coaches, changing GMs, and, of course, changing personnel. The speculation about LeBron’s departure began before the Finals concluded. The Cavs were no match for the Warriors, and it was thought that LeBron’s only choice was to leave Cleveland, and go form a super team somewhere else, most likely in Los Angeles with Paul George after the King’s contract expires in 2018. Because LeBron is LeBron, he need not consult with anyone before making his next “Decision,” including his own teammates.

Ah, but therein lies the rub.

LeBron’s teammates would never expect LeBron to allow them input into his next “Decision.” So why would a teammate who is thinking about leaving seek consultation with the King before making his own decision on his long-term future in Cleveland. First Take asked Kyrie if he talked with LeBron before making his trade demand. “No,” Irving responded, “why would I?”

Well, if that didn’t bring a smile to your face, nothing will.

What’s good for the goose is certainly good for the gander.

Ok, back to the reason Kyrie made his decision. Once the Warriors ran roughshod over the Cavs, it was a foregone conclusion that the 2017-18 NBA campaign would be a sideshow to LeBron’s next Decision. Five thousand media sources from around the world spending every waking moment hyper-focused on LeBron’s looming departure. Game after game, week after week, city after city. No way Kyrie was going to suffer through that if he didn’t have to, even if it meant leaving the best team in the East.

Distraction.

Circus.

Environment not conducive to basketball and crafting your art as a player.

Seriously.

What is so tough to figure out about that?

One might argue that Boston hasn’t been the picture of stability during the Brad Stevens Era. True, player turnover surpassed breakneck pace. But the Celtics have had one GM, one coach, and now have one core trio of players who will be together for at least two years. In the NBA, two years together is an eternity.

Circus or stability?

I think the choice was obvious.



The Ticket Already Making Us Laugh

August 1, 2007

Injury-plagued and buried by a 2006-07 season full of losses, Paul Pierce, the Celtics' franchise player, called for help.
Help called him back four times and got his voicemail.
"I reached out to Paul's four phones and left a message on all four," Kevin Garnett said.
So Garnett called Ray Allen, a Celtic for about a month now, trying to get through.
"Luckily," Garnett said, "Ray only had two phones."

9.18.2017

Known Unknowns

So when we acquired Isaiah, nobody knew he was going to be this Isaiah. Going into it nobody knew he was going to be the player that he was last year. When we got Jae Crowder in the trade for Rondo, nobody knew who Jae Crowder was. They just knew he didn’t play very much in Dallas. You have to let these things transpire. It doesn’t do any good to talk about it or predict who they are going to be. You have to let them earn who they are going to be. Part of that is earning their teammates’ trust and their coach’s trust, like Isaiah and Jae did.

-- Danny Ainge


There is more to what Danny is saying than meets the eye.

Look at the Celtics' bench. What do you see? Well, one answer might be "not much."

Barry, er uh, Shane Larkin. Abdel Nader. Terry Rozier. Semi Ojeleye. I can tell you right now these names aren't striking fear in anyone. Now let's say we start Marcus Smart at the 2, and move Gordon down to the 3. This means we've got Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Daniel Theis, Aron Baynes, and the Dancing Bear coming off the bench. Maybe they all disappoint. But maybe two, three, or more of them surprise and turn out to be beasts. Maybe Shane Larkin is IT coming off the bench. Maybe Rozier has a break out season.

You don't know.

In 2008, did we know that Eddie House and James Posey were gonna kill it in clutch time? Did we know that Big Baby and Leon Powe were gonna exceed expectations? Did we know that Rondo and Perkins would be perfect complements to the Big Three?

No, no, and no.

We do know one thing, however.

Brad Stevens is an optimizer.

And there's plenty of talent on the bench to be optimized.

9.17.2017

Wyc and Pags Come Through

August 1, 2007

We're told it's a business. And it is.

Kevin Garnett, however, is a human conglomerate, and his addition to the Celtics represents a coup for Danny Ainge from a basketball standpoint - with thanks, again, to old friend Kevin McHale, who now has taken in an astonishing nine players off the Celtics' roster in the last 18 months. (And the roster, if you recall, wasn't all that hot.)

Garnett in Green: But at What Cost?

August 1, 2007

Last summer, when the Celtics were lusting after Allen Iverson, a team executive pondered the potential effects of such a move and, with eyes wide open, offered the operative word from management's point of view: ``Relevance.''

9.16.2017

The acquisition of Kevin Garnett changes everything

July 31, 2007

Jackie MacMullan

OK, now we're talking.

A week and a half ago, Danny Ainge and I were debating the merits of the Ray Allen deal. He was trying to convince me Allen was a sniper who took such excellent care of himself, he would be burying game-winning jumpers well into his late 30s. I countered with statistical evidence that very few shooting guards in the history of the league have flourished after the age of 32, and, according to the calendar, Allen already had reached that bench mark.

9.15.2017

Garnett a Celtic

July 31, 2007

Kevin Garnett should soon become the newest member of the Celtics, according to multiple league sources who said it was only a matter of time before Boston and Minnesota finalized a blockbuster deal. The Celtics will send Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, and two first-round picks to the Timberwolves for Garnett, terms both sides have agreed to in principle. The 5-for-1 trade will be officially complete once issues concerning Garnett's contract are resolved, but one Celtics official cautioned last night that the deal was not done and would not be complete until today at the earliest, despite reports to the contrary.

9.14.2017

Vegas Digging the Garnett Acquisition

August 1, 2007

The New Big Three Great the Media

It may be hard to remember a recent Celtic scene with more sheer optimism. Kevin Garnett, fresh in from the Twin Cities (and not from a cruise) in the middle of the table, a broad smile, flanked by a beaming Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. No, they're not the new Big Three yet; Danny Ainge made that clear yesterday. They haven't won anything.

9.13.2017

Deal Leaves Boston with Nine Players under Contract

August 1, 2007

As executive director of basketball operations/general manager Danny Ainge beamed next to Kevin Garnett last night during a news conference announcing the Celtics' acquisition of the 10-time All-Star, it was easy to imagine a slightly altered version of a popular commercial.

9.12.2017

The Ticket Cares

August 2, 2007

As he spoke during Tuesday's press conference about being appreciated, Kevin Garnett got a little emotional.

Get used to it.

9.11.2017

After the Trade: How Much Did the Celtics Improve?

August 2, 2007

Doc Rivers' maligned tenure as Celtics coach took a turn for the better with the arrival of Kevin Garnett on Tuesday.

Rotation talk was the bane of Rivers' existence before the blockbuster trade with Minnesota. His choices and decisions were more dissected and disrespected than a Paris Hilton mea culpa with Larry King.

9.10.2017

Ticket Sales Suggest Fans are Excited

August 2, 2007

It's all hands on deck for the Boston Celtics.

The franchise put half its staff on the phones yesterday to take orders amid suddenly soaring demand for tickets in the wake of the team's blockbuster trade deal.

9.09.2017

Could it Be? The "F" Word and the Celtics in the Same Sentence?

August 1, 2007

Eastern Conference FAVORITES? Is that really what they are now? Three months ago, the Boston Celtics won their 24th and final game of the 2006-07 season. They finished 29 games behind the conference leaders and 16 games out of playoff contention.

9.08.2017

Garnett's Addition of Epic Proportions

August 2, 2007

Waiting outside were more than 35,000 hard-core Boston sports fans, along with representatives from virtually every media outlet in New England.

But here, under the Fenway Park grandstand, Kevin Garnett was twisting and contorting his 6-foot, 11-inch body in order to fit himself into the batting cage behind the first base dugout.

``Watch your head,'' warned Coco Crisp, who, at an even 6 feet, slid neatly and quickly into the chamber.

9.07.2017

Garnett and Teammates are Excited

August 1, 2007


The feeling was like what for Kevin Garnett - Liberation? Empowerment? Flying without wings?

No, the 10-time All-Star said yesterday, sitting between his two new Celtics teammates, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, while attempting to envision his suddenly brilliant future.

9.06.2017

Grampa Celtic Questions Garnett Deal

August 2, 2007

Bob Ryan

And?

That's it? Someone actually thinks this Celtics team will win the East and contend for the championship? Really?

I am reminded of the classic line given by Ronald Reagan in "Kings Row." He awakens in a hospital bed and becomes aware he has no legs.

"Where's the rest of me?" he wails.

9.05.2017

McHale, Ainge Team Up Again

August 1, 2007

During the past five weeks, Danny Ainge was careful to say that trade talks for Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Garnett were dormant - as opposed to dead.

The Celtics director of basketball operations appeared close to making his patience pay off last night.

9.04.2017

July 31, 2007: The Day Danny Resurrected the Boston Celtics

August 1, 2007

Christmas Day. Graduation Day. Wedding Day. The day you got your first good job. The day you moved into your dream house. The day your first child was born.

And then there's July 31, 2007. The day Boston sports fans were rewarded with a stunning shower of gifts.

9.03.2017

Porchlight Off, Searchlights On: Garnett Coming to Boston?

July 30, 2007

What started on a fast track slowed last night in revived discussions between the Celtics and Timberwolves involving a trade that would bring Kevin Garnett to Boston. Although the teams had agreed on a package that reportedly would send Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, Ryan Gomes, Theo Ratliff and unspecified draft choices to Minnesota for the All-Star power forward, many details had yet to be resolved.

9.02.2017

Celtics face decision on extending Big Al

July 29, 2007

This promises to be an eventful summer and early fall for the Celtics' Al Jefferson. (Actually, it already has been an eventful summer, given that he almost was traded to Minnesota. Wouldn't you have loved to see the first meeting with Mark Blount?)

Allan Ray Signs with Italy

July 27, 2007
Allan Ray will play overseas upon agreeing to a two-year contract with Italian Serie A team Lottomatica Roma worth $2 million, a league source said yesterday.
The deal is a significant pay increase for Ray, who would have earned $687,456 with the Celtics next season. Boston had until Wednesday to decide whether to pick up the option on the guard's contract.
Ray won't need to wait long to face NBA competition. The Toronto Raptors play Lottomatica Oct. 7 in Rome. The Celtics play the Raptors Oct. 6 in a preseason contest in Rome as part of NBA Europe Live.
As a rookie, Ray averaged 6.2 points in 15.1 minutes last season. But with the addition of shooting guard Ray Allen, Ray became expendable.
The Celtics will have the maximum 15 players under contract next season if they sign second-round picks Glen Davis and Gabe Pruitt.

9.01.2017

Porchlight Still on for KG in Boston

July 23, 2007

LAS VEGAS - The sports books out here aren't yet posting odds on it, but it's a prohibitive longshot that the Celtics will go into next season with their current roster.

The draft night trade for Ray Allen represents a significant change, but there is clearly another shoe or two to drop. The question is whether that shoe will be size 18 or something smaller.

8.31.2017

Ainge: Mum's the Word on Garnett

Mr. Ainge, What about Mr. Garnett?

July 24, 2007

"I can't talk about him because he's not a free agent. There's a chance [of another big-name player coming in], but I don't want to get people's hopes up. We're not sitting there relying on it. We're still trying to work some things out but we think we have a good team right now. I think we can win the East next year. I believe we have had a major upgrade to a team that was a 36- to 40-win team last year if everyone stayed healthy.

8.30.2017

Ainge, McHale Play Golf

Image result for mchale ainge golf

July 23, 2007

Danny Ainge and Kevin McHale played golf yesterday morning, but Kevin Garnett still is in Minnesota. According to sources, there is nothing for the sides to talk about unless Garnett says he'll sign an extension with the Celts.

Telfair a Goner

July 21, 2007
Ray Allen, meet Allan Ray.
Big Baby, meet Big Al.
Sebastian Telfair, meet your second chance.
The prodigal Celtics guard, exiled in intention (if not reality) by team owner Wyc Grousbeck after Telfair was arrested on gun charges in April, has stayed out of sight.
But he's also b

8.29.2017

KG Nixed Deal to Boston

 July 17, 2007

For those of you dreaming of an Allen-Garnett-Paul Pierce triumvirate, there are a few entanglements, starting with the reason the deal was killed in the first place: Garnett's desire not to play in Boston. He was unambiguous about not only not playing in Boston, but that his preferred destination be Phoenix. (Somehow, we think he wouldn't object to the Lakers.)

KG's Agent: Danny Should have Forced Garnett's Hand

July 16, 2007

There have been some quiet denials, but one source close to the situation insists the deal for Kevin Garnett was all set before agent Andy Miller said his client didn't want to go to Boston. ``I don't know why Danny (Ainge) didn't just pull the trigger anyway,'' the source said. ``There's no way Kevin would opt out of that contract and leave $24 million on the table. No way.''

8.28.2017

Back-End Compensation: It is the Only Solution



In the absence of meaningful updates, I've been reading blog posts from Cleveland Cavalier fans. They’re framing up the hip injury as potentially  career-ending. It could be. But let's keep in mind one thing.

 According to the Celtics, Thomas’s official injury is a right femoral-acetabular impingement with a labral tear. He originally suffered the injury in the third quarter of Boston’s March 15 game against the Timberwolves. Thomas missed the next two games against the Nets and 76ers, but had appeared in every game since then.

Boston Globe on 5/21/17

This means that Isaiah Thomas played 12 more regular season games and 15 more playoff games on the same bum hip that eventually ended his season. Did he aggravate the injury in the playoffs against Cleveland? Possibly. Was there any sign of diminished play prior to the point of aggravation? Before you answer, keep in mind IT exploded for 53 against Washington in one game during the prior series.

Most of us aren't doctors and almost none of us have seen the X-rays. But this doesn't mean we're ignorant.

What do we know?

We know Isaiah Thomas has one year left on a contract. Boston wasn't going to pay him max dollars, whether he was healthy, injured, or somewhere in between. Nor was Cleveland. Once he injured his hip, almost no one in the league would either. This is unfortunate for IT, but it's a fact of life. How is this relevant?

IT was most likely a one-year rental for Cleveland. LeBron James will likely depart at the end of next season, and even a healthy Isaiah Thomas is unlikely to keep him in Cleveland, unless Cleveland wins it all, which they won't. What about the Brooklyn pic? Doesn't that sweeten the pot enough for LeBron to stay? I don't think so. What it does do, however, is assuage LeBron's conscience, allowing him to leave under the belief that Cleveland now has ample ground to rebuild.

So no LeBron, no IT.

That's what Cleveland is facing next summer.

And hence why Cavs management is going back to the well, hat in hand, asking Boston for more compensation.

The problem is that Boston already compensated Cleveland for the IT risk. The Brooklyn pic, after all, is unprotected. Now Cleveland is asking Boston to compensate them for things that haven't happened, and may not happen at all. Will IT require season-ending surgery? Who knows. Will he ever play basketball again? Probably. Will he be as effective? Who knows.

The risk for Boston is that they give Cleveland more assets, and everything works out hunky-dory for IT and Cleveland. Oh, look, it's March 2018, and IT didn't require surgery and he's looking as good as ever. Ooops. That's too bad for Boston. They just gave up Jaylen Brown, Jason Tatum, or another first round pick. Hey, Cleveland. Can we please get that asset back? No? Darn it.

Maybe the Cavs planned all this. Maybe they were intending to cry foul during the physical, and then use the physical as a pretext to extort more assets. But we don't know that either. All we can do is see how IT's injury heals. It seems unlikely the Cavs would shut down IT's season this summer, and force him to undergo surgery, at least until they give him a couple of more months to heal and rehabilitate. This is why yesterday's post was more than tongue in cheek. Let's see how the IT injury plays out in Cleveland, and then have Boston offer back-end compensation, after the season is over. The two teams can agree on the parameters of the compensation now, much like I outlined yesterday.

Blindly providing new assets, more assets, simply because things may not work out optimally for a player with one-year left on his contract is not only silly, it’s bad business. You don’t just relinquish assets because you have them. You relinquish assets when it makes good business sense, and we won't know what makes sense until we see how this drama unfolds during the regular season in Cleveland.

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