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.
Today marks what would have been Auerbach’s 100th birthday, a milestone worth noting for a man who did so much for the game.
Auerbach, who passed away on October 28, 2006, did more than make the Boston Celtics a household name.
His up-tempo brand of play made the Celtics — and the NBA, for that matter — must-watch basketball at a time when the league was still establishing itself.
But the true measure of Auerbach’s worth goes far beyond the 16 NBA championships (nine as a head coach, seven as an executive) or the countless Hall of Famers who played for him.
His greatest accomplishments can be seen in the lives he impacted, the players who got to know him beyond as a head coach, and the opponents who had little choice but to respect him for what he accomplished.
“As I reflect on when I was playing . . . I completely trusted Red Auerbach,” Bill Russell said in an earlier interiew. “That he would not do anything at my expense to make himself look better. I had that trust and it was a bond. So whenever he said something to me, I took it that he was trying to help. And that’s very difficult to get with players and coaches.”
Happy Birthday to this website’s eponymous Celtics legend. I never got to see Red Auerbach on the sidelines, puffing a victory cigar while turning up the heat in the opposing team’s locker room. My memories of Red were of Celtics’ President and Vice Chairman sitting in the stands, watching some absolutely moribund green teams in the mid-to-late 90s. Still, Red’s legacy and the Celtics’ mystique that he built were apparent to me even as a young kid. Walking into the Boston Garden with all of its charm and history, was like walking into Red’s home. Those banners that hung there and still hang in the new garden are stitched with fabric that Red sewed together with the way he coached and evaluated talent.
Red and the Celtics also made a fan out of my immigrant grandmother in the late 50s and early 60s. Gizi was a Holocaust survivor who took her refugee family from a displaced persons camp in Germany to Boston. Struggling to make ends meet, they bounced around from Roxbury to Mattapan, house to house, trying to start life anew. Somehow, a 40-something woman speaking little-to-no english was swept up into the Celtics glory days– watching championship after championship in the 60s. As I became a fan in the early 90s, I was regaled by stories of my grandmother’s “Soltics,” spoken in her Romanian accent and about how Red Auerbach was the greatest coach of all time. Neither Red nor my grandmother are here to celebrate his 100th, but I’m sure he’s somewhere puffing on one hell of a birthday cigar, and I’m sure she’s still bleeding green.
On page 2, like the rising of the sun each day, Okafor trade rumors are back this year
The Philadelphia 76ers are openly shopping 21-year-old big man Jahlil Okafor, the No. 3 pick in the 2015 NBA draft.
Okafor was a highly regarded prospect throughout his high-school and college careers — a traditional big man lauded for his ability to score in the post. But according to Sixers’ coach Brett Brown, Philadelphia is looking to move on from him.
The Boston Celtics will inevitably still come up, since they have had rumored interest in Okafor for years. But Okafor doesn’t make much sense as a primary target, even for a young Celtics team that clearly values players who could develop into stars down the road. The Celtics were one of the worst rebounding teams in the league last season, and Okafor — despite his size, length and excellent hands — isn’t a strong rebounder. He also isn’t a rim protector — prior to the draft, the biggest knock on Okafor was his defense.
At this point, since Okafor has been on the trade block since pretty much the moment he shook Adam Silver’s hand on draft night in 2015 and put on a Sixers hat, I have to believe that there’s someone in the 76ers front office whose sole job is to try and deal Okafor.
He probably sits in an office at the very end of the 76ers facilities in South Philly, all by himself, swears an oath that he’ll never abandon his post, and won’t leave the office until his job is finally done. He’s a member of the 76ers Night’s Watch. I’m guessing he sent out an email yesterday to the other 29 teams, telling them that it’s that time again! Jahlil Okafor can be had! He got 28 replies from NBA teams:
He then got a phone call from Vivek in Sacramento: “Tell me more!”
The rest of the links: