Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
@nathanmedi SA, GS, Bos, Atl, Mia offense
— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 28, 2015
James has lauded Brad Stevens’ coaching before. Assuming the four-time MVP is discussing present times in his response, this answer feels like more praise. All of those teams share the ball, feature plenty of player movement and focus on taking open shots. The other coaches — Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr, Mike Budenholzer and Erik Spoelstra — lead some of basketball’s most free-flowing attacks. Despite a strong commitment to Stevens’ system, the Celtics finished the regular season ranked 20th in offensive efficiency. They didn’t have enough shooting, and hardly anyone on the team — with the exception of midseason addition Isaiah Thomas — could crack through a defense to simplify opportunities. Still, the Celtics spread the floor, made teams defend everyone in the lineup, and had stretches where they rained fireballs on top of their opponents’ heads. Once Boston adds or develops more playmaking threats, Stevens’ offense could roar.
While the vast majority of Boston fans loathe Lebron James and consider him the enemy, here he is again praising the Celtics. In what began about a decade ago when he and Paul Pierce engaged in a heated duel, then translated into an ugly preseason game, it continued through several playoff battles. His 2011 and 2012 Miami Heat teams put the final nails in the “New Big Three” coffin, but the Celtics have had quite the role in his career. Along the way, LeBron has praised ex-Head Coach Doc Rivers, given credit to those teams for driving him to go to Miami and form a super team (since it was the only way he felt he could get past Boston), and once named Paul Pierce as his biggest and only true rival.
Now that he’s back in Cleveland and the C’s have a new head coach with a new team, LeBron continues to praise the organization. As pointed out in his response above, his lists Boston with some of the best teams, including the reigning champions. So you can call it an act, or say he’s this or that but the fact is he’s never in the news for anything truly bad and for a guy that’s been probably the most scrutinized athlete of all time since he was in high school, that’s pretty impressive. You don’t have to like him, but you can respect the continuing respect he has for your team.
Page 2: Ainge works the cap like a yoga instructor
Anybody who has paid attention to the Boston Celtics knows flexibility currently counts as one of Danny Ainge’s top priorities. His offseason acquisitions were intended to upgrade the Celtics talent level, yes, but also to keep the team in position to capitalize on any future opportunities. Though Jae Crowder signed for five years, the design of his $35-million contract will give Boston — you guessed it — a bit more flexibility next summer. Interestingly, the amount the forward will earn dips in the second season of his deal before rising again during the following years. Basketball Insiders shared the detailsfor all five seasons of Crowder’s contract: Season 1: $6,796,117 Season 2: $6,286,408 Season 3: $6,796,117 Season 4: $7,305,825 Season 5: $7,815,533
Even if it’s shaving pennies to sneak in another player for a training camp invitation, Danny Ainge will find a way (along with the huge help of Mike Zarren). Although this is a bit interesting, as Jay King points out, as to why he’s lining it up for next summer. It’s been well documented that beyond Kevin Durant, the FA pool in 2016 isn’t exactly the greatest in NBA history. Personally, I’m not even giving Durant a shred of a chance at happening here, so with so much potential cap space next summer it will be curious to see what the plans are.
And finally… David Lee is a good dude
— Julie Phayer (@juliephayer) July 29, 2015
Honestly, I don’t know much about David Lee beyond his play on the court. He’s generally seemed like a well-spoken straight-shooting, no BS type of guy. At any rate this it pretty cool of him to buy Chipotle for Warriors staff. Now let’s see if he buys lobsters and clam chowder for the C’s office!
The rest of the links: