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Update: LeBron James Signs with the Los Angeles Lakers   Leave a comment

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Given Paul George announced he will be staying in OKC two minutes before NBA Free Agency officially began, the LeBron James Sweepstakes just got more interesting. PG-13 will sign a 4-year deal with OKC, closing the door on potentially signing with the Lakers. Many speculated he might head to his hometown since he is a native of Los Angeles and expressed a desire to play for the Lakers at some point. Clearly it won’t be for at least the next four years.

Chris Paul (Rockets), Kevin Durant (Warriors) and DeMarcus Cousins (Pelicans) also got a new contract with the teams they currently play for. The last member of Lob City–DeAndre Jordan–became a Free Agent and quickly signed a 1-year deal with the Mavs. Blake Griffin was traded to the Pistons at the trade deadline midseason so…yeah.

According to the latest reports, LBJ has decided where he will play and will announce who won the LBJ Sweepstakes on Tuesday. The team everyone is assuming he’ll sign with is the Lakers even though it would mean he his NBA Finals Streak will end at 8. Let’s be honest, that will happen no matter who he signs with if it’s not the Rockets, Celtics or Warriors.

LBJ going West automatically means the Eastern Conference will go through the Boston Celtics. This would remain true even if he signs with the 76ers as some think he might. We will know for sure come this Tuesday, July 3. As a Celtics Fan, I don’t care personally though it would be fun to see the Celtics sweep the 76ers next year in the playoffs ^_^

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Breaking News:

It was just announced that LeBron James has agreed to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. The deal is for $154 Million and for four years. Now that LBJ has made it official, let the speculation commence on which other NBA Superstar may join him in the Purple and Gold.

What this means is by default, the Boston Celtics owns the Eastern Conference now.

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Ok, I need to address these reports of LeBron James’ interest in the Boston Celtics   Leave a comment

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…There is absolutely NO WAY it can happen UNLESS LBJ agress to a playing for far less than he’s worth AND Kyrie Irving is ok with it. That second point is important BECAUSE playing with LBJ is why Uncle Drew asked the Cavs to trade him. So, they did. Playing with LBJ for 1 game is different from playing with him for a whole season + playoffs.

As a reminder, the Celtics blew up the team during the last offseason just to sign Gordon Hayward. Kyrie Irving came to Boston via the trade I just mentioned in exchange for Isaiah Thomas (Traded to the Lakers mid-season), Jae Crowder (Traded to the Jazz mid-season), Ante Zizic (Drafted by the Celtics but was never activated) and the Brooklyn pick. The Cavs just got swept by the Warriors in the NBA Finals so…yeah.

Only four players from last year’s Celtics team returned this season: Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier. Everyone else was either drafted (Jayson Tatum, etc.), traded for (Irving, Marcus Morris, etc.) or signed (Hayward, etc.) to replace the liquidated pieces. The difference between this an what the Celtics did in 2007 and 2012 is the Celtics stayed competative. That’s why even without Hayward and later Irving, the Celtics were a game away from going to the NBA Finals without both of them.

It’s like I said before: Next season, the Eastern Conference goes through Boston. Period. Everyone except Greg Monroe (signed to replace Hayward for the rest of the season + Playoffs using the Disabled Player Exception and is automatically an Unrestricted Free Agent now) and likely Aaron Baynes (Unrestricted Free Agent) will be back next year. This isn’t like last year and 2008 when the Celtics had alot of expiring contracts and pieces to move to sign Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and more recently Al Horford and Gordon Hayward. The current squad is locked in for next year.

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Irving’s contract expires after next season and everyone knows this. If the Celtics seriously entertains signing LBJ knowing LBJ is why he wanted out of Cleveland…yeah. There’s also the fact the Celtics don’t have the money to pay LBJ what he’s worth anyway. There is breaking news Kyrie Irving announced he has not commited to resigning with Boston when his contract expires after next season. I would assume he is following the reports LBJ might try to cut a deal with Danny Ainge to sign with the Celtics this offseason. That would be a HUGE factor in weather he negotiates a new contract with Boston or not.

Obviously Ainge and Celtics owners would want to make sure LBJ would work with their system and LBJ would have to agree to that + taking a pay cut for a prettymuch guaranteed trip back to the NBA Finals. Let’s say the Celtics decide to take a serious shot at getting LBJ and Kyrie is ok with it as well. Obviously both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum would be moved. We already know the other 29 teams want both of them so…yeah. Don’t forget Marcus Smart will definitely be back next year as well.

So, the Celtics starting 5 would look something like this:

 

  1. Al Horford (Daniel Theis)
  2. Gordon Hayward (Marcus Morris)
  3. LeBron James (Jayson Tatum)
  4. Kyrie Irving (Terry Rozier)
  5. Marcus Smart (Jaylen Brown)

I put the reserves for them in parenthesis. It assumes the Celtics can figure out a way to sign LBJ without giving up Brown and Tatum. Not saying it would be impossible, just prettymuch impossible. LOL.

So, yeah. I think these teams are more likely to get LBJ for various reasons:

  • Cavs
  • Knicks
  • 76ers
  • Lakers
  • Rockets
  • Spurs

 

At the end of the day, LBJ will keep everyone waiting to know where he’ll go just because he can. He’s being coy but he knows everyone wants to know what team he plans to play on next season. He did it twice before. He could even sign with a team no one is even thinking about. He has strong ties to Los Angeles and Cleveland obviously so…yeah.

Relative to the Celtics…nah, it’s just not worth moving Tatum and Brown for LBJ. Plus Kyrie Irving’s decision next year will be a talked about until he makes up his mind. The Celtics will likely do the same thing Cleveland did with LBJ and plan for him leaving after next year until proven otherwise. It would be the smart thing to do. They certainly won’t make the same mistake OKC did with Kevin Durant and didn’t have a “What if he decides to leave?” Plan, which he obviously did. Plus unlike OKC and the Cavs, the Celtics will still have both Horford and Hayward regardless. Hayward will likely finish his career in Boston (Or at least as long as Brad Stevens is Head Coach) and Horford could probably be convinced to do the same without much effort (It certainly helps he is a close friend of Red Sox legend David Ortiz, who told him to sign with the Celtics two years ago).

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The Celtics continue to prove doubters wrong, take 2-0 series lead to Cleveland   Leave a comment

Image result for Marcus Morris yells at Tristan Thompson

 

The stat ESPN started throwing out there halfway through the 4th Quarter: The last time LeBron James was down 2-0 vs. the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, it was in 2008. The Celtics went on to win the series and the NBA Championship vs. the Lakers in 6 games.

…The difference is back then, The Celtics had 3 All Stars. This time it’s been their young players taking point in the absence of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward (as well and Daniel Theis). Now the pundits are rightfully saying what Celtics fans have been saying since Irving and Hayward came to Boston last summer: The Eastern Conference runs through Boston. Not next year but now.

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To say LBJ’s leaving Cleveland again goes without saying. As for where he might end up this time, he will likely want to join a contender again so that means it will likely be one of the following teams:

 

  • Cleveland: LBJ’s current team got the #8 pick in the 2018 Draft Lottery, which they received from the Celtics along with Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder (Both traded mid-season) and Ante Zizic in exchange for Kyrie Irving. The Cavs have clearly been making moves since the offseason independent of whatever LBJ decides so clearly the team is positioning itself to be in the playoff picture with or with him. LBJ reportedly asked that Irving not be traded. Irving reportedly threatened to have elective surgery if he was not traded, LBJ’s wishes be damned (LOL). It would be fair to say LBJ would stay with the Cavs as a last resort.
  • Boston: Let’s be real, the Eastern Conference runs through the Celtics now. Not next year but now. The Celtics can make that claim after they finish off LBJ and the Cavs but at this point it’ll be a formality. Next year the team will be at full power with the return of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Having said that, could LBJ pull a Kevin Durant and join the NBA’s newest Super Team just to play with Kyrie Iving again? Sure, but unlikely. For one, the Celtics don’t have the money to pay him after they signed Hayward and Al Horford. The Celtics blew up the team just to sign Hayward as a reminder. Plus, there IS the fact Uncle Drew didn’t want to play with him anymore. LOL.
  • Philadelphia: Many have picked the 76ers as the most likely team in the Eastern Conference LBJ would go to. LBJ going there would mean both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid would have reduced roles on the floor with him in the lineup. That would be a big X-Factor just to compete with the Celtics in the ECF.
  • New York: The Knicks haven’t had a deep playoff run since the 90s but then they ran into Michael Jordan and later the Orlando Magic before they fell off completely. It’s been far longer since the Knicks last won a Championship. Having just hired former Grizzlies Head Coach David Fizdale to coach the team, LBJ would be the star power the Knicks could use to Make the Knicks Great Again. LOL.
  • Toronto: What’s this? Go to a team you just swept out the payoffs?! Well, Kyrie Irving did it last year after the Cavs beat Boston in 5 games. It is a stretch though not improbable. More so givien after the Head Coach was fired, there is speculation DeRozan or Lowry or both could be traded during the offseason.
  • San Antonio: Experts don’t think LBJ will leave the Eastern Conference but if he does go West, the Spurs are believed to be one of two teams he’s most likely to go to. It would be as boon for the team given Kawhi Leonard is expected to be leaving for another team, likely East.
  • LA Lakers: Goes without saying this is the most likely team in the West for two reasons. One is he recently bought a house in LA. The other is Magic Johnson has been laying to groundwork to get LBJ, Paul George possibly Kawhi Leonard as well. The sad irony is a deal to bring LBJ to the Lakers could jeopardize Isaiah Thomas’ chances of getting a new contract. It could also mean Lonzo Ball and/or Brandon Ingram are kicked out of the starting five as well.
  • Golden State: See what I put for Boston. ‘Nuff said.

 

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The Celtics weathered the early storm in the first Quarter and dared LBJ to will the Cavs to victory. He could not. Now with the series shifting to Cleveland for the next two games, even LBJ’s biggest fanboy–ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith–plainly stated “If the Cavs lose Game 3 they’ll probably get swept.” He also plainly said the Celtics are the better team and would match up well against the Rockets or Warriors. Speaking of, the Western Conference finals is tied 1-1 with Game 3 on Sunday in Oakland (Golden State).

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If I’m a betting man, it will be Warriors vs. Celtics in the NBA Finals. Celtics will close out the Cavs in 5 or 6 if they don’t sweep. Warriors will beat the Rockets in 6 games. Let me tell you, this would be a MONSTER series in the NBA Finals. Draymon Green vs. Marcus Smart would be fun to watch as would KD and Tatum.

 

Celtics on the verge of sweeping The 76ers out of the playoffs   Leave a comment

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To say this Celtics team defied all expectations would be a MASSIVE understatement. They put down Giannis and the Bucks in 7 games in the first round of the playoffs. Now they’re on the verge of sweeping the very team everyone outside New England picked to go to the NBA Finals out of the playoffs.

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…Yes, THAT  team. “Trust The Process”? Process Failed. LOL.

Now, the obvious question to be asked is how did the Boston Celtics, who are without 2 of their 3 All Stars get to this point?

This is how:

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…Great coaches think alike.

Local media spied Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens hanging out with Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick in Foxboro last summer during the Patriots training camp. The NBA Summer League had ended, Gordon Hayward signing with Boston became official and the Isiaiah Thomas for Kyrie Irving trade was about to go down. The Celtics made it to the Eastern Conference Finals last year but lost to the Cleveland Caveliers in 5 games (who themselves lost to the Golden State Warriors in 5 games in the NBA Finals). After the Celtics lost the series, Brad Stevens said in the postgame press conference he considered anything short of winning the NBA Championship a failure to be learned from.

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Everyone knows Gordon Hayward went down with a ankle nasty injury in the season open against the Cavs. It was a season-ending injury but fortunately not career-ending. Everyone wrote off the Celtics’ season at that point. Then the Celtics went on a 17-game win streak. Kyrie Irving missed several games earlier in the season due to injury and is out for the postseason after having knee surgery in March. Everyone wrote off the Celtics getting out of the first round at that point.

…Big mistake.

The Philosophy in Boston Sports is and always has been “Next Man Up.”

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Nowhere has this been more apparent than Celtics Rookie Jayson Tatum and Sophmore team mate Jaylen Brown. Both were drafted third by the Celtics, much to the surprise of everyone. Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball were both drafted Second by the Lakers.

…Who were drafted first?

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These two.

Ben Simmons, who was drafted last year missed the whole 2016-17 NBA Season after breaking his hand during the Summer League. Markelle Fultzm who was drafted this year hasn’t played a single game this season because he doesn’t feel 100%. There’s nothing physically wrong with him. It’s all in his head. So, yeah.

The 76ers were overhyped and the Lakers failed to make the playoffs. LOL. As a reminder: Both teams–The Sixers and the Lakers–tanked HARD so they could get the top draft picks, ending up with Ball, Ingram, Simmons and Fultz respectively. The Celtics took the Nets’ future from them via the trade that sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn back in 2012 and held it until they dealt it and Isaiah Thomas to Cleveland last year as part of the trade that brought Kyrie Irving to Boston. While the Sixers and Lakers tanked on purpose to get the first two picks, the Celtics could safely stay competative while the took the Nets’ picks.

…The Process is a failure. LOL.

The Sixers were able to hold off the sweep tonight but you can be certain the Celtics will close out the series in Boston on Wednesday. It will be a repeat of last year’s ECF between the Celtics and the Cavs, who could close out their series with the Toronto Raptors tonight. Or if the Raptors hold off elimination, the Celtics and Cavs will start on Sunday.

BREAKING BOSTON SPORTS NEWS: Boston Celtics Trade Isaiah Thomas to the Cleveland Caveliers for Kyrie Irving   Leave a comment

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30 minutes ago, news of the pending broke the internet. 10 minutes ago, it became official: The Celtics and Caveliers Traded their respective All Star point guards for the other.

Here are the details of the trade.

Boston Gets: Kyrie Irving

Cleveland Gets: Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the 2018 Brooklyn Nets 1st Round Draft Pick and a 2020 2nd Round Pick.

…All I can say is it’s right up there with the Brooklyn Trade involving Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett 6 years ago only the Cavs didn’t mortage their future for the next six years (LOL!). In other words, the Celtics got the better end of the deal long-term and short-term. We get Kyrie Irving for two years while the Cavs still have to deal with the real possability LeBron James could leave after this coming season.

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…As a Celtics fan, I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to acknowledge all The King of the Fourth did for the Boston Celtics and all the Celtics did for him. As a reminder: He was picked last in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Sacremento Kings. He was a virtual nobody until he was acquired by the Celtics from the Phoenix Suns in 2013. IT4 later said after arriving in Boston Danny Ainge sat down with him and told him was would do great things in Boston.

By the end of his second year with the Celtics, people started to take notice. He has made the All Star Game the last 3 years as well. All the work he put in was certainly recognized. With Cleveland now, he will be the #2 after LeBron James. Everyone knows what he can do so…yeah. Depending on how he does this coming season, there is a chance he could get Cleveland to give him a max contract even if LBJ leaves. In that case, he could find himself in a situation similar to when he arrived in Boston where the team is rebuilt around him.

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October 17 and February 11. Save those dates. October 17 is the Season opener for both teams in Cleveland. The Celtics will retire Paul Pierce’s number on February 11 when the Cavs come to Boston. Both games just got a whole lot more interesting. Of course, it goes without saying the Celtics punched their ticket back to the Eastern Conference Finals. With Hayward, Horford and now Irving I maintain my position the Celtics are the best team in the East.

Boston vs. Golden State in the NBA Finals?! Sign me up!

 

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Breaking News: The Boston Celtics win the Gordon Hayward Sweepstakes   Leave a comment

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News revealed to be unconfirmed this afternoon is now official: Gordon Hayward is taking his talents to Boston. Hayward will sign a 4-year $128M contract with the Celtics, who were looking for a secondary scorer going into the offseason. The Celtics got just that when they drafted Jayson Tatum two weeks ago. With Hayward, it’s fair to say the Celtics are guaranteed to return to the Eastern Conference Finals this coming season.

…Mind you, the Celtics getting Hayward means they will have make room before he can be officially signed to the team. Minutes after the Hayward deal was announced, the Celtics announced they have released the rights to Kelly Olynik, making him an Unrestricted Free Agent. More players can be expected to be released, most of them draft picks from this year and last year currently stashed either overseas or in the D-League. Excluding Olynik and the draft picks stashed elsewhere, the Celtics have the rights to 19 players (!).

 

Most or all of the following players I expect to be either released or part of a trade to make room to sign Hayward:

 

  • Jae Crowder
  • Marcus Smart*
  • James Young
  • Terry Rozier
  • Gerald Green
  • Tyler Zeller*
  • Kelly Olynik*
  • Jonas Jerebko
  • Demitrius Jackson
  • Amir Johnson*
  • Avery Bradley*

 

Reports are coming in the Celtics are now fielding trade offers for Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart. Crowder’s name has come up as being part of a package deal. The 76ers announced over the weekend they signed Amir Johnson to a 2-year contract. Tyler Zeller was also waived over the weekend. The Celtics probably won’t have to give up everyone listed but at least half if I had to guess. The Celtics will likely part with either Smart or Crowder but I will not be surprised if they’re forced to give up both to make cap room.

It’s worth noting who I did not name in the above list. Isaiah Thomas will be an unrestricted free agent after the upcoming season but in light of the Hayward deal, you can be sure the Celtics will negotiate a new contract with the King of the 4th. They’d be fools not to.  Al Horford and Gerald Green joined the Celtics during last year’s offseason. Jaylen Brown was drafted last year and will be joined by Ante Zizic, who was also drafted last year but played in Europe last season.

…Next year promises to be real interesting now that the Celtics, who are now a legit threat to the Cleveland Caveliers in the East. The Wizards and Raptors will no longer be a threat to the Celtics or rather, they shouldn’t. Paul George and Jimmy Butler going to the Western Conference means the only real threat to Boston is still Cleveland.

You now have the starting lineup of IT, Horford, Brown, Tatum and Hayward. The next thing the Celtics will need to work on during the offseason is making sure they have enough players who can come off the bench to relieve the starters. LeBron James commented after Game 1 of the ECF the thing that makes the Celtics a challenge is how many options they have to go at you. No doubt the Celtics will want to keep enough supporting players to keep the rest of the east on their toes.

Update 7-7-2017:

As of this morning, Kelly Olynik has signed on with the Heat and Avery Bradley has been traded to the Pistons. The Celtics have reportedly been “aggressively” shopping Bradley, Crowder and Smart in the last few days to make room to sign Gordon Hayward. They have also released Olynik, Amir Johnson and Tyler Zeller. The Bradley Trade creates enough cap space for Hayward to be signed though they still might have to deal Crowder or Smart, likely in a trade.

Bradley’s gonna be a core player in Detroit and could make the All Star team this season. Everyone knows what he can do so…yeah. It’s sad to lose him like this but he’ll flourish with the Pistons.

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…That brings me to the latest trade rumor: Now that Hayward’s a done deal, the Celtics are apparently very interested in getting NBA Veteran Marc Gasol from the Grizzlies. It would be a trade obviously and the Celtics can certainly trade for him. If the Celtics can pull the trigger and get him, it will be 2008 all over again. LOL. The Celtics could deal Crowder, Rozier and a draft pick for him. It would be win-win for both teams ^_^

 

 

On the eve of the NBA Draft, Trade rumors run rampant   Leave a comment

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As many of you know by now, the Celtics traded the #1 Draft Pick with the 76ers’ #3 Pick over the weekend for who knows what reason (LOL!). Assuming the 76ers take Markelle Fultz and the Lakers take Lavar Ball (the latest buzz is they’re undecided) with the #2 Pick, that leaves the Celtics with either Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum. As of two hours ago, the Celtics just got access to Jackson’s medical records for the first time.

To say the Celtics have positioned themselves to get prettymuch ANYONE via trade, draft or free agency would be a massive understatement. LOL. Here’s the short list of players who have come up in just the last 24 hours that may be wearing Celtics green next season:

 

  • Gordon Hayward: The player who many considered to be priority #1 for the Celtics. That was before the Celtics traded Draft Picks with the 76ers.
  • Kristaps Porzingis: ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith dropped a bombshell on this morning’s edition of First Take. According to sources close to The Latvian Unicorn, he’s trying to force Phil Jackson out of the Knicks organization. Porzingis hasn’t requested a trade but Phil Jackson said he is open to trading the team’s franchise player. For the right price, the Celtics would have the rim protector and secondary scorer they’ve been looking for to challenge LBJ and the Cavs in the ECF next year.
  • Carmello Anthony: You know the drill. LOL. According to the latest reports, ‘Mello might move this time with Cleveland or the Clippers being likely destinations should it happen.
  • Jimmy Butler: Here we go again. LOL. No more needs to be said. At last check, 4 teams other than the Celtics are interested in him including Cleveland, New York, the Lakers and Dallas.
  • Paul George: Same as Butler. The Lakers traded D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgof to the Nets for Brook Lopez to make room to sign Paul George. It’s believed to be the likely destination for PG-13, who the Cavs are also interested in. It’s certainly possible he might be willing to entertain the idea of heading to Boston, however.
  • Kevin Love: Any superstar Cleveland gets in this offseason obviously means one of their current ones will have to go. LeBron can do what he wants so he’s obviously not included in that (LOL!) so that leaves Love and Irving as the two odd men out. Many pundits believe Love’s run in Cleveland has run its course and he will likely be part of a trade to get Chris Paul, PG-13, Jimmy Butler or Carmello Anthony.
  • Kyrie Irving: Same as Love prettymuch though according to some reports, Irving himself may ask to be traded.
  • LeBron James: According to some reports, weather or not LBJ asks for a trade or not depends on how things pan out during this offseason. If he leaves Cleveland, The Lakers or Clippers are believed to be his likely destinations.

…This is aside from the usual Clippers trio of DeAdre Jordan, Blake Griffin and CP3 trade rumors you hear every year (LOL!). Just the other day, all star Center Dwight Howard was randomly traded to the Charlotte Hornets. Howard is basically Al Horford without range. Howard is also going to play for his third team in as many years (Houston, Atlanta and now Charlotte).

The Golden State Warriors might have the Western Conference locked down tight but the Eastern Conference is another matter. The Celtics are still the odds-on favorites to challenge LeBrom James and the Cavs in the ECF next year regardless of how the offseason goes. It’s just a question of how the team will look come the start of next season.

 

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