Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“But then you’ve got a guy like Marcus who really shows himself well in all of his work and has a good vocal about him. He just has a natural ability to be what would probably be defined as a guy that a lot of people would say, ‘That looks like a leader to me.’
“And what I’ve seen, he certainly has that ability. That’s his reputation. But, you know, leadership is not something that’s gained in two days. It’s gained through your everyday walk and how you do things, how consistent you are.”
Stevens expects Smart will continue to lead in whatever ways present themselves — by example, verbally, etc.
“Sure,” the coach said. “Does that mean that he has to officially be titled a captain? Does that mean that he has to be officially looked at as a leader by everybody? No. But he can do everything right. He can promote positive energy. He can give to others. That’s what leaders do. You can serve others.
“There’s so many different ways to lead. I think we all get caught up with personality being the No. 1 trait of a leader, and he’s got a great personality. But there are other things that go into it.”
Part of me feels like Stevens is addressing Rondo talks in that answer while simultaneously praising Smart’s leadership abilities. That’s because some blowhards in the Boston media (see: Tanguay, Gary) like to hop on stories like this and pretend that there can only be one guy on a team with this personality trait.
The news out of the first few summer practices has been nothing but positive for Smart. We’ll get our first chance to see him play tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. when the Celtics kick off their summer league schedule in Orlando. Until then, these few seconds of him running a pick-and-roll drill posted by Chris Forsberg will have to serve as our only real glimpse of Smart in green.
I caution people to let Smart grow into his new role, rather than rush to anoint him the new Celtics PG of the future. Let’s let him actually taste some NBA competition. Remember how good Kelly Olynyk looked in summer league last year, and remember what happened when the real games started.
Yes, Smart was a lottery pick, but this isn’t Charlotte or Cleveland where teams are desperately trying to get immediate contributors to finally smell some level of success. The Celtics are in year 2 of the rebuild, they can bring the kid along, bring him off the bench, get him some quality minutes in the right spots, to help him progress properly.
If he ultimately becomes Rondo’s replacement, then it should happen the right way. It shouldn’t be forced. Forcing things leads to bad habits.
Let the kid play, make his mistakes, and learn without the pressure of having to be “the guy” at the moment. Let the kid grow into it and take the spot if that’s how it’s supposed to go. He’s got time. So do the Celtics. There’s no rush.
Related links: MassLive: Marcus Smart’s leadership draws early raves from coaches | CSNNE: C’s top pick Smart embraces leadership role
Page 2: The Heat might be falling apart
Rich Paul, the agent for James, invited three teams – Cleveland, Dallas and Phoenix – to the offices of his Klutch Sports headquarters to listen to pitches.
The meetings took place on Wednesday and Thursday, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Phoenix met on Wednesday and Cavaliers officials met on Thursday with Paul. Houston Rockets officials spoke with Paul by phone, but were not granted a meeting and have moved on with their pursuit of Carmelo Anthony, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Some executives believe there’s an opportunity because of a disconnect between James and his teammates, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Another executive attending the meeting flatly said, “I think it’s a smokescreen.”
The exact number of teams to secure face-to-face meetings with Cleveland-based agent Rich Paul was not immediately known, but sources told ESPN.com that the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and James’ home state Cavaliers have had the opportunity to make presentations to Paul in recent days.
In addition, Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak was flying to Cleveland on Thursday night and was scheduled to meet with Paul on Friday, a source told ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne.
Sources told ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard that Suns owner Robert Sarver met with Paul on Wednesday and pitched the idea of luring James from the Miami Heat to the desert by trying to sign Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh as well.
Wouldn’t it be something if LeBron convinced Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to opt out and take less money and then said “ah man… never mind, I’m going to Dallas.”
The ripple effect of LeBron leaving Miami would be huge. And this possibility of him going into the Western Conference could be even bigger. Just off the top of my head…
– Miami’s demise takes away one of the East’s two real powers (three, if Derrick Rose is healthy for the Bulls). The East would SUUUUUUUUCK harder than it sucks now. How does that affect how teams put their rosters together?
– What if Carmelo Anthony goes to the West too? Holy shit the East would be even worse. (The Knicks did offer him a max deal, though)
– Would such a crappy East entice Kevin Love to ramp up his trade demand and only accept trades to the East, where he can finally make the playoffs? That would certainly help the Celtics, who, post-draft, easily have the best package of future picks to send to Minnesota.
– How bad would you feel for a team like Golden State? They’re good, and fun, and all of that, but there’s no way they’re running through a Western gauntlet that would now include LeBron, Carmelo, and maybe even Chris Bosh in Houston. Golden State could be a 1 seed in the East, and they’d end up 6th or 7th out West.
– Would this entice future young free agents, like LaMarcus Aldridge, to pursue Eastern Conference teams as an easier path to glory? Yes, he might like Portland, but he’s got to see the writing on the wall. Portland is in a tougher position than Golden State, and while Aldridge has been to the playoffs, he doesn’t want to be a slightly more successful Kevin Love.
It might all be a smoke screen. LeBron could be putting pressure on Pat Riley to make some moves. But he IS a free agent, and anything can happen in free agency. If Phoenix entices him with a killer pitch, then the game changes.
The rest of the links:
Boston.com: 5 illustrative contracts to explain Avery Bradley’s deal | Globe: Brad Stevens looks back on year as coach | MassLive: James Young (neck) still uncertain for Boston Celtics summer league | CSNNE: First season will be “learning process” for Young | ESPN Boston: A more confident Stevens at 1 year mark | Celtics playing it safe with Young | WEEI: C’s being “very, very smart” with Young