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.
LeBron James (595,288) and his Cavaliers teammate Kyrie Irving (543,030) led all Eastern Conference players in voting. Joining James among frontcourt leaders in the East are Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (500,663) and Cleveland’s Kevin Love (250, 347).
The East backcourt leaders includes Irving and Chicago’s Dwyane Wade (278,052).
In the Western Conference, Golden State’s Kevin Durant led all players with 541,209 votes and is joined in the frontcourt by Golden State’s Zaza Pachulia (439,675) and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard (341,240)
They need to come up with a name for the past-it veteran of dubious character who gets a ton of all-star votes, because it’s happened two years in a row now (actually, Derrick Rose qualifies along with DWade on that front).
Beyond the “Hey, I’ve heard of him!” voting that overweights the value of guys like Wade, you have outright ballot box stuffing in the case of Zaza Pachulia, a Georgian for whom–going strictly by numbers and logic–apparently over 10% of the country has voted (because who outside of the Caucasus would vote this guy into a starting role?) Or Jeremy Lin, a leading vote getter in spite of a series of haircuts that would be considered human rights violations if inflicted on someone else.
Our favorite, Isaiah Thomas? Fourth among Eastern Conference guards, which puts him in prime position to be picked as a reserve.
I mean, it’s nice that fans get to vote for all star players. But, you know, would anyone be really upset if, say, somehow all the idiotic votes got ‘lost’ when it came time to tally things up?
I can’t see this turning into a John Scott type situation where an improbable fan favorite ends up being a hero. This ain’t hockey.
Page 2: Where the Boston Herald loves Jae
Jae Crowder is more than a pretty good basketball player. He’s a pretty good basketball player who works his butt off and earns every penny of his paycheck. What he posted on Twitter, then, was merely an extension of who he is on the court: a tireless worker who’s damned proud of the uniform that’s hanging in his locker.
Crowder could have said nothing. Or he could have affixed his name to one of those neat, antiseptic Players Tribune pieces that read as though they’re the collaborative effort of a team of public relations surgeons.
Instead, Crowder placed his feelings on full display. I’ll tell you what: You won’t win a championship with 13 Jae Crowders on your roster, but no team has ever won a championship without a couple of Jae Crowders. (emphasis added)
‘Nuff said. Read the whole article for more of the same.
Page 3: Where Jae loves the Celtics
“Obviously I don’t want to leave Boston,” he said Thursday. “Obviously, I love it here. Obviously, the fans have treated me great. No doubt about that. I still stand behind what I said about how I felt disrespected when they’re cheering for Gordon Hayward. I live with that. I stand behind that 100 percent as a man, as a basketball player who puts my time away from my family into it.”
Asked if he wanted to give a message to Celtics fans, Crowder said, “I really appreciate everything y’all have done for me.”
He continued: “You have to understand that was a little heat of the moment with those Tweets. I really apologize for them. But I really do hope you guys understand where I’m coming from with the whole cheer for the opposing team.”
Me? I have no issue with Jae’s feelings toward the ‘We’d love to have you as our starting SF’ crowd that was cheering on Hayward. That’s cheap. And you know what? It would’ve been cheap if, in ’06, the fans were cheering on KG when he came to town. And if Al Jefferson said he didn’t like it, he’d be justified. Your team is on the floor.
P.S. It’s not like Hayward would vault the Celtics into title contention anyway.
P.P.S. What free agent is going to say, “What I really liked about Boston’s fans was the way they cheered for me when I wasn’t playing for them. That’s what made the difference for me.”
Page 4: Where the Celtics love Jae
“I’m not worried about Jae Crowder at all,” said Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations. “He’ a true pro. He loves being a Celtic. He’s grateful for being here. He loves his teammates, his teammates love him. I don’t put too much into it because it’s Jae. What he does day-in and day-out, is muchmore than a tantrum on Twitter. But I don’t like it when our players use Twitter to go back and fourth with fans, media or trolls just out there. You get yourself caught up in that, that doesn’t make any sense.”
Ainge, on his weekly interview with Toucher and Rich was, predictably, asked about Jae Crowder’s unwise display of honest emotion. The answer, as may be expected, was solidly behind Jae, the person, while expressing disapproval of how he handled pushback from the sort of fans that the Celtics could really do without.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s a non-starter. Who hasn’t gotten upset and said something they shouldn’t have? And as far as the people in the media who earn their living making mountains out of molehills? Well, if you don’t listen to them, it’s like they aren’t even there.
Finally: Korver’s out and what even are the Hawks now?
Okay, this is why–even though he is obviously not perfect–Ainge is a good GM, and the Celtics ownership group is a good ownership group.
Look at Atlanta and Chicago. Atlanta, once an up-and-coming team, let Jeff Teague go, in order to give the keys to Schroder, I guess. Then they went and signed Dwight Howard, who is exactly not the center that one wants with a team that should be playing pace-and-space. But they also tried to keep Horford–but weren’t willing to match Boston’s offer (even though they could). And now they’re shopping Millsap and have just dealt Korver.
Meanwhile you’ve got Chicago, which went nuts in the off-season, signing Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo after trading Derrick Rose because when you’ve got a PG who can’t stay healthy it’s an upgrade to sign a shooting guard who’s old and also can’t stay healthy.
But of course, we know why Wade and Howard were signed. Management was catering to fans. When Durant’s skills are on the decline, we all know he’ll be able to cash in one last time by signing with the Wizards.
And that’s my point about the Celtics ownership: They don’t let fans and the media bully them. They don’t make moves because the idle masses are stomping their feet and calling their local stations to say “Something Must Be Done.”
For his part, Ainge deserves credit for being decisive. When he ‘closed the window’ on the Big Three era, he did so like he was pulling a tooth. There was none of this nonsense like in Atlanta and Chicago where half the team’s moves look like they’re trying to contend and half of them look like they’re trying to blow things up.
The rest of the links:
CSNNE (sorry–these are all videos): Blakely: Don’t think C’s can put together ‘major haul’ for Butler | Draper: Crowder felt disrespected, and he responded on the floor | Crowder: ‘Obviously I don’t want to leave Boston’ | Ainge: Celtics getting calls about Nets’ pick, but nothing ‘imminent’
MassLive: Danny Ainge jokes Boston Celtics fans should motivate Jae Crowder more often |Boston Celtics trade rumors 2017: Danny Ainge exploring options with Brooklyn Nets pick, but thinks top of the draft is deep | Joe Johnson convinced Boston Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown he needs to hit the weight room | 2017 NBA All-Star Game voting: Isaiah Thomas of Boston Celtics fourth among East guards after first returns
Boston Herald: Celtics notebook: Jae Crowder in no rush to leave Boston
ESPN Boston: Crowder after rant: I don’t want to leave Boston