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.
It seems more and more unlikely that Celtics fans will get to see rookie James Young in action before training camp.
He attended the team’s practice Sunday at Edgewater High School, but only dribbled and watched from the sidelines as his teammates were receiving instructions from assistant coach Jay Larranaga. The Celtics play their next summer league game Monday against the Indiana Pacers, and coach Brad Stevens said Young won’t play because of the strained neck sustained in a pre-draft car accident.
Boston Celtics assistant coach Jay Larranaga laughed before the question was finished. In charge of Boston’s summer squad again this year, Larranaga has been deflecting questions on the health of rookie James Young all week, and Young was the focus of the very first query when Larranaga met with reporters before the team’s offday session on Sunday at an area high school.
“I am not the medical liaison,” Larranaga joked. “Summer league head coach is the extent of my responsibilities.”
Here’s what he did know: “Young shot around a little bit, he rode the bike,” Larranaga said. “I don’t think we anticipate him doing any more than that today.”
It’s obviously way too early to tell, but this feels like something I’m going to be re-hashing in a post in a few years:
Life as a Celtic never quite got going for Young. A pre-draft car crash caused him to miss his first chance at professional action in summer league. From there, he always seemed a step behind, leading to this inevitable trade.
That’s probably not going to be the case (he says with crossed fingers). Summer league is a nice place to showcase some skills and play basketball with an NBA team’s name across your chest, but it’s not exactly the pinnacle of competition. Neither success nor failure in Orlando or Las Vegas means much in the grand scheme of things (though I personally weigh summer league failures much greater), but it would have been nice to see what he could do at a level slightly higher than college.
The Celtics are going to be cautious with Young’s strained neck and make sure that he’s 100% symptom free before risking any further setbacks. His first taste of professional basketball is going to have to be guarding Jeff Green in training camp scrimmages. And while some of you might scoff and say “yeah, so?”, the fact is Jeff Green is worlds better than maybe 99% of this summer league competition. There’ll be no “easing into” anything for Young in that regard.
The good thing, though, is that neither Young nor Smart are being looked upon to be immediate, major contributors. This isn’t Jabari Parker, who’ll be trotted out at event after event in Milwaukee as a symbol of the team’s hope. Both Celtics rookies are, we hope, pieces of the future puzzle that will be given time to develop into whatever roles they settle into.
Still, it would be nice to see how Young reacts to facing at least some NBA talent. The reaction to his selection has been somewhat mixed, and getting a little more clarity on his abilities would have been nice.
The Celtics play Indiana today at 3pm. CSNNE will air it live, and also air a replay at 8pm. NBA TV is airing it live outside of the Boston area, and will likely run multiple replays throughout the night.
Related links: Boston.com: James Young (neck) unlikely to play Monday
Page 2: The clock is ticking on Phil Pressey
While Pressey signed a three-year contract with the Celtics last summer, the package didn’t offer much job security. Pressey’s deal is guaranteed for next season only if he remains on the roster by July 15, and the same deadline would loom next year.
That means that Pressey’s performance this week is as critical as last summer’s. The Celtics drafted Marcus Smart sixth overall to play point guard and just re-signed Avery Bradley to a four-year extension, while Rajon Rondo will enter training camp fully healthy after recovering from knee surgery.
So space is tight in the Celtics’ backcourt, and Pressey has responded to the challenge by reporting to summer league more muscular and taking more of a leadership role. He bested Heat rookie and NCAA Tournament hero Shabazz Napier in the Celtics’ 85-77 win Saturday, finishing with 9 points, 7 assists, and 3 rebounds.
The Celtics actually face 2 deadlines right now: July 12, and July 15. July 12 is when the $10.3 million trade exception received in the Paul Pierce trade expires. Couple that with the trigger date three days later on one of their valuable non-guaranteed contracts, and Danny Ainge has to get his hustle on.
As pleasant a surprise as Pressey has been, he’s really not long for the Celtics. The odds are stacked too high against him. Not only do the Celtics now have a solid three-guard rotation in Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, and Marcus Smart, Pressey’s got an easily trade-able contract that can be used to make salaries match without the other team taking on any actual salary.
I’ve grown to like Pressey more than I thought I ever would, but I just don’t see him as a long-term solution, even off the bench. He’s got tremendous point guard skills, and those will keep him in the league somewhere. But I just see him as a career bench-guy on bad teams rather than a key contributor to a good one.
I know that sounds harsh, but I’d kill for that kind of career in the NBA. It’s still an actual career in the NBA where he’ll make more money than most people ever will. But even if he manages to stick around this year, I still think his time in Boston is ultimately limited.
Related links: Herald: Pressey adds muscle to playing confidence
After more than two years of planning, the Cleveland Cavaliers believe they have LeBron James legitimately listening to their pitch to leave the Miami Heat and return to his home state in free agency, according to sources close to the process.
There has yet to be a firm indication that James actually is ready to leave Miami after four years and two championships with the Heat, but sources told ESPN.com that the four-time MVP is increasingly considering the Cavaliers as an option as he moves into the final stages of deciding which team to sign his next contract with.
Awwwww… isn’t that cute? The Cavs think they have a chance at LeBron.
Oh, what’s that? They’re already in the process of clearing cap space to make it happen?
That’s why the Cavs are what they are. They’re going to be the first team to start 5 consecutive #1 overall picks…. and still somehow manage to fall into the lottery again.
I can’t wait to see how Dan Gilbert reacts to being spurned by LeBron again.
The rest of the links: