Another trade coming? Investigating ways the Celtics can get their roster to 15 players

With less than two weeks until opening night, the Celtics have 20 players in camp, five more than the 15 player maximum that they need to cut down to before their first game.However, four of those cuts are relatively easy to project, as Christian Watford, Erik Murphy, Rodney McGruder and Tim Frazier are all working under non-gauranteed contracts/camp invitations. Whenever the Cs want to release them, they can do so without paying them a dime. So that gets us to 16, but what about the final move? The Celtics are one of only two teams in the NBA with 16 players under guaranteed contracts (weirdly enough, the other is Detroit, the team the Celtics just traded Joel Anthony to in exchange for Will Bynum, which solved neither team’s roster crunch), and they’re going to either need to cut or trade someone before they take the floor on the 29th against the Nets. Here are some thoughts about how the Cs could do just that. Cuts: Barring something truly shocking, here are the players I…

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9 NBA Players Who Might Not Make the Leap Everyone Expects

We humans tend to have pretty short attention spans, and sports, with their ever-fluctuating players and power structures, are not immune to this phenomenon.

In the NBA, as anywhere else, we’re constantly looking for who will be the next to ride onto our collective radar screens—the stars of tomorrow who make today their conquered terrain.

Sometimes we in the media like to predict who those stars will be. Sometimes, we guess right. Sometimes.

Most of the time, though, we’re more wrong than eating Bacon Bowls at temple.

We’ve given you our predictions for who we think is next. Here, we’ll look at the nine players most likely to fall short of these often haphazard, flagrantly arbitrary forecasts.

By no fault of their own, of course. We’re just bad at our jobs sometimes.

In honor of the now finally defunct “This Is Darius Miles’ Year I Mean It This Time Club (TIDMYIMIT),” please enjoy this slideshow.

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8 players who have something Kentucky needs

On paper, Kentucky looks scary good. But the Wildcats are beatable.

      
 

 

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Suns Owner Apologizes to Fans for Spurs Sitting Players in Preseason Game

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver took the microphone during a timeout with 2:31 left to play in Thursday night’s 121-90 preseason win over the San Antonio Spurs. He announced everybody in attendance would be eligible for a gift because it wasn’t “the game you paid your hard-earned money to watch.”

Here’s a video of his comments to the crowd:

Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard were among those who didn’t play for the visiting Spurs in the 31-point blowout for Phoenix. Azcentral.com’s Paul Coro added:

The Spurs left Coach Gregg Popovich, said to be ailing, and five players at home for the preseason game. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili did not travel to Phoenix to rest while Kawhi Leonard (eye infection), Patty Mills (torn rotator cuff) and Tiago Splitter (calf strain) were out for health reasons.

San Antonio was memorably fined $250,000 for resting players in a regular-season game against the Miami Heat two years ago.

 

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8 players who have something UK needs

On paper, Kentucky looks scary good. But the Wildcats are beatable.

      
 

 

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Blake Griffin Speaks on Donald Sterling, Clippers, More on The Players’ Tribune

Los Angeles Clippers superstar Blake Griffin is the latest athlete to write a piece for The Players’ Tribune, the Derek Jeter website that gives fans an inside look at athlete stories. The All-Star forward wrote at length about his feelings and interactions with former Clippers owner Donald Sterling, as well as early impressions of new owner Steve Ballmer.      

The bulk of Griffin’s piece centers on attending a 2009 party Sterling throws every year, known as the “White Party” because everything in the house was white. (“White tents. White umbrellas. White cloth. I showed up in all white. Everyone showed up in all white.”)

Griffin starts by noting that Sterling “had me by the hand. You know that thing elderly women do where they grab the top of your hand with just their fingers and lead you around? That’s what he was doing.”

It only gets stranger from there, as the the former No. 1 pick wrote about an encounter with two young women at the party:

Two blonde models showed up on either side of me. They had clearly been hired for the event. I knew this because they were wearing size XXXX-L Clippers T-shirts tied at the stomach. I looked at Sterling. He had a big dumb grin on his face. I looked at one of the girls, as if to say, ‘Uhhh, you don’t have to do this.’ She looked back: ‘Uhhh, yes I do.’

The awkwardness continued for Griffin. He goes on to discuss how Sterling was introducing him to people at the party:

‘Everyone, have you met our newest star? This is Blake! He was the number one pick in the entire NBA draft. Number one! Blake, where are you from?’

Then I’d say I was from Oklahoma.

‘Oklahoma! And tell these people what you think about LA.’

Then I’d say it was pretty cool.

‘And what about the women in LA, Blake?’

Griffin then noted that he didn’t try to pull his hand away or leave the party because Sterling “was my boss.” He added, “Ask yourself, how would you react if your boss was doing the same thing to you?”

One of the biggest questions that came up after Sterling was being forced out as owner of the Clippers is why his incident with V. Stiviano seemed to set everyone off when he had been accused of racist behavior many times in the past. 

That topic is addressed by Griffin, who says that he did a Google search for Donald Sterling after the Clippers took him in the 2009 draft. He writes the first thing that came up was, “Donald Sterling is a racist,” and his “first thought was, Wow this guy is really, really a racist … how is he an owner of an NBA team?”

One incident Griffin talks about came during the 2010-11 season when Sterling was heard heckling Baron Davis, who was a member of the Clippers at the time. He wrote no one on the team reacted because that’s how it had always been with Sterling and the franchise:

The incident didn’t make SportsCenter. It didn’t even make the local papers. If you’re wondering how a known racist can own an NBA team without anyone batting an eye, first ask yourself how the owner of an NBA team can scream at his team’s best player in front of thousands of people and hundreds of cameras without anyone even caring.

After the recorded tapes of Sterling talking to Stiviano were made public and he was making media rounds trying to defend his image, Griffin wrote that the interview with Anderson Cooperwhen Sterling proclaimed his players “love” himturned into a comedic moment. Griffin and Chris Paul “looked at one another from across the room and just tried our best not to laugh.”  

The final part of Griffin’s piece is about Ballmer and how different he is, and how different things are compared to Sterling’s tenure:

Ballmer wants to win no matter the cost. Donald Sterling didn’t care if we won — at least if it meant he had to spend money. It wasn’t just about spending money on players. For years, our training staff wanted to buy this sophisticated computer software that would let them scan our bodies and keep track of our progress throughout the season. Sterling wouldn’t sign off on it.

He also wrote that there was a different feeling around the training facility over the summer: “People were smiling. From the security people to the game operations staff to the office staff, everybody seemed happy to be there.”

Trying to compare Ballmer to Sterling, Griffin said the former is “a cool dad who gives you candy” and the latter was “like a weird uncle.”

Everyone outside the Clippers organization had formed an opinion on Sterling. Whether it was the result of the Stiviano tapes, years of running a franchise into the ground or any of the other allegations brought against him, it’s evident players knew how they felt about Sterling. 

To hear some of the horror stories going on behind the scenes from the Clippers’ biggest star provides a whole different perspective.

It makes you wonder how in the world Sterling was able to keep a franchise alive, however bad the product on the court was, for more than 30 years.

The good news, based on Griffin’s account, is there’s a new energy around the franchise. Sometimes, that means more than any player a team might acquire. 

 

If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter. 


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10 College Basketball Players Who Should Expect Statistical Regressions in 2014

It’s fair to assume that as college basketball players progress through their careers, their statistics will improve or at least hold steady. But that’s not always the case, as a variety of circumstances can impact a player’s numbers.

A year after being a team’s No. 1 scoring option, a player might find himself taking fewer shots, thanks to an influx of support. Joining a new team or having one’s school move into a new, more difficult conference can also impact the stats.

We have identified 10 players who put up solid numbers in 2013-14 who should expect to see that production decrease this season. Don’t agree? Let us know why in the comments section.

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LeBron gives surprising answer on why he couldn’t recruit players to Cleveland

LeBron says he couldn’t get any players to come to Cleveland during his first stint with the Cavs
It’s anyone’s guess when NBA players started recruiting free agents to play for their team. Some NBA fans and analysts will tell you Michael Jordan recruited Dennis Rodman back in the mid ’90s to play for the Chicago Bulls. Others will tell you the Boston Celtics started it with the trio of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Whatever the reason, recruitment of players has become the new norm for the Association. And surprisingly, the game’s best player, LeBron James, couldn’t get anyone to play with him during his first stint in Cleveland.
 
LeBron was also quite open on recruiting: “I recruited (before) I left here, but I just didn’t win nothing so nobody wanted to play with me”
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) October 15, 2014

LeBron said during his first stint in CLE, he failed recruiting Michael Redd, Joe Johnson & Chris Bosh. Larry Hughes was the one guy he got
— Dave McMenamin (

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Kobe: Players are overpaid…but so are the owners

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant isn’t the biggest fan of how the NBA business works. The 36-year-old veteran went on a brief Twitter rant about the NBA’s new television contract after the deal became official on Oct. 6.
Players are “encouraged” per new CBA to take less to win or risk being called selfish+ungrateful while nbatv deal goes UP by a BILLION #biz— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) October 07, 2014
But Kobe wasn’t done there. When asked to expand on the matter after Tuesday’s practice, Bryant had plenty more to say on the subject. “It’s very easy to look at the elite players around the league and talk about the amount of money that they get paid and compare that with the average (player),” Bryant said, per ESPN’s Baxter Holmes. “But we don’t look at what the owners get paid and how much revenue they generate off the backs of these players.” With the new collective bargaining expected to take place in the summer of 2017, Bryant made it clear that the owners, like play

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Ranking the 20 Most Fundamentally Sound Players in College Basketball

In any activity, the fundamentals are the basic skills and concepts that serve as the central core of what is trying to be accomplished. Be good at those, and the rest is basically gravy.

That’s easier said than done, however, especially in a sport like basketball. Being able to shoot, pass, handle the ball, rebound and defend with an equal level of efficiency is what separates the good from the great. It may not be sexy, but being good at the fundamentals can make a player among the most reliable in the game, similar to how the NBA’s Tim Duncan remains so essential to the San Antonio Spurs even as he enters his 18th season.

He is, after all, known as The Big Fundamental.

College basketball has plenty of guys who do all of the basics well, guys who can be considered fundamentally sound and therefore not a liability in any area. To determine who are the most sound, though, we set benchmarks for two- and three-point field goal percentage and free-throw percentage as well as turnover, assist and rebounding percentages. Players who met at least five benchmarks (using their 2013-14 stats) were considered for ranking.

Take a look at who we’ve identified and ranked as the 20 most fundamentally sound players in college basketball for 2014-15.

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