NBA NEWS, LEONARDS, IRVING, GEORGE, MANU, JOEY CRAWFORD

Photo: NBC Sports

Reports are starting to surface that Kawhi Leonard may in fact be “open” to re-signing with the Toronto Raptors when he hits free agency next summer and not necessarily be L.A.-bound.

With that, some have pondered the idea that maybe if the Boston Celtics tried a little harder to acquire him, maybe he would be “open” to staying in Boston long-term as well.

I love Kawhi Leonard’s game.

Just about anyone who loves basketball, loves Kawhi Leonard’s game.

But Danny Ainge was spot-on in not aggressively pursuing Leonard when he demanded a trade from San Antonio this summer.

Talks between Boston and San Antonio began with the Spurs wanting a package that included Jayson Tatum.

There wasn’t much to talk about afterward.

The issue wasn’t whether Ainge thought Jayson Tatum was a better player or will be a better player in time, than Leonard.

The problem is no one knows for sure whether the issues that led to Leonard missing most of last season and having a major fall-out from arguably the most stable, well-run franchise in the NBA, would quickly become problems of the past or whether they were just the beginning of bigger headaches down the road.

You don’t typically give up major assets with those kinds of issues floating around.

Ainge has never been shy about rolling the dice on a player with some questionable qualities/characteristics/concerns, but this Celtics team as they are built now are just too close to competing for a title to make such a high-risk/high-reward deal.

And think about this for a second.

The Raptors will only have Leonard for one full season, and the cost of that one season was a trade package that included DeMar DeRozan, Toronto’s all-time leading scorer who just turned 29 years old earlier this month.

With Leonard’s questionable health, uncertain future contract-wise (he will be an unrestricted free agent this summer) and the current state of the Celtics as the best team in the East without Leonard, “trying harder” to land him would have meant including Tatum in a deal.

That’s a gamble that didn’t make sense at the time for Boston to take.

Looking at where Leonard is now “open” to the possibility of staying in Toronto, Boston would be in the same spot Toronto is now, wondering if they gave away too much for a player whose game has far more questions than answers right now. By A. Sherrod Blakely, NBC Sports Boston

 

Photo: Bleacher Report

The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t take kindly to Paul George spurning them in free agency this summer.

Appearing on Chris Pfaff’s Short Story Long podcast (h/t theScore’s Chris Walder), George said the Lakers were “pissed” they didn’t get a chance to speak with him before he re-signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“L.A. was pissed at me,” he said. “I didn’t give Magic [Johnson] a [meeting], which I understand. But at that point, I knew I wanted to give it another shot. I didn’t want to prolong it and waste people’s time.”

The Lakers seemed like a prime destination for George when he became a free agent after the 2017-18 season. He was born in Los Angeles County and played college basketball at Fresno State.

Before being traded by the Indiana Pacers to the Thunder in July 2017, George was connected to his hometown team. In the final episode of his ESPN documentary series My Journey, the five-time All-Star mentioned he wanted to play for the Lakers prior to the deal. By Bleacher Report

Celtics guard Kyrie Irving was given the Lakota name “Little Mountain” by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in a ceremony Thursday in Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

Irving’s older sister, Asia, was given the name “Buffalo Woman” in the ceremony. Irving’s mother, Elizabeth Larson, who died when he was 4, was a descendant of the Standing Rock Sioux.

Irving has supported the tribe’s fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline, made a six-figure donation to the tribe and has the tribe’s logo tattooed on the back of his neck (see below). He also has released a version of his Nike signature shoe that featured the logo.

Tattoo of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe logo on the back of Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving's neck.

Here’s more on the ceremony Thursday from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst: 

Wearing a traditional shirt with ribbons, Irving stood on a buffalo skin and was prayed over by a tribe elder, Vernon Iron Horse. As a drum group played and chanted, Irving was wrapped in a blanket, had an eagle feather tied into his hair along with a medicine ball made of porcupine quills, and had a beaded medallion placed over his head as his name was revealed to him. “We’re welcoming home two of our own,” Standing Rock chairman Mike Faith said. “This definitely is history.” By NBC Sports 

Photo: slamonline.com

Manu Ginobili is seriously considering retiring after 16 seasons in the NBA, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Ginobili, who turned 41 last month, is scheduled to meet with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich in the near future.

He has one year, $2.5 million left on his deal.

Adrian Wojnarowski

@wojespn

Story filed to ESPN: No final decision yet, but San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili is seriously considering retirement and will meet with coach Gregg Popovich in coming days to discuss future.

Adrian Wojnarowski

@wojespn

Ginobili, 41, has been working out regularly in the Spurs practice facility in preparation for the season, but within almost a month of training camp, he still hasn’t committed to returning for his 17th season.

Adrian Wojnarowski

@wojespn

Story filed to ESPN: No final decision yet, but San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili is seriously considering retirement and will meet with coach Gregg Popovich in coming days to discuss future.

According to Woj, Ginobili has been working out regularly at the Spurs practice facility this summer, and has not come to a final decision about playing next season. By 

Photo: thelab.bleacherreport.com

Former NBA referee Joey Crawford sought therapy following one of the most infamous ejections in League history.

David Stern, the commissioner at the time, suspended Crawford for the remainder of the season—and the playoffs—and ordered him to meet with a sports psychologist after he booted Tim Duncan from a game for essentially laughing at him from the bench.

Crawford, 66, retired two years ago and says the relationship he developed with Dr. Joel Fish saved his career.

Per ESPN:

“The Duncan incident was in 2007. Duncan was sitting on the bench laughing. And I threw him. That laugh bothered me. I thought it was incredibly disrespectful. But I knew the minute it happened I was gonna be in trouble.

“[The suspension] was a big deal. It really shook me. That’s when I realized, ‘I gotta do something about this.’ I had to talk to a professional to help me deal with all the anger.

“Stern suspended me for the rest of the season. I thought there was a good chance my career might be over. Stern orders me to go see a Park Avenue psychiatrist. He tells me to go twice — two hours each session. This guy is going to make a determination on whether I’m crazy or not. I go up, and I’m scared to death. I’ve already been fined $100,000. I’m in a suit, and I’ve got sweat all the way down to my belt. So, this psychiatrist didn’t know a basketball from a volleyball. After two hours, he says, ‘OK, we’re all done.’ I said, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! I’m supposed to come another day for another couple of hours. Have you already decided I’m crazy?’ He said, ‘You’re not nuts.’ I said, ‘Well, what am I? What’s my problem?’ He said, ‘You’re overly passionate about your job.’ I thought, ‘OK, I can live with that diagnosis!’

“The problem was my aggression. I took it to the ninth degree. I was too wrapped up in it.”

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