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.
Irving was cleared for basketball activities in late July and expects to be ready for the start of camp. He’ll be under no minutes restrictions once the regular season begins, according to a source. (What remains unclear is how coach Brad Stevens can manage the minutes at point guard between Irving, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier without someone getting out of sorts.)
File this one under “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. Or, maybe more appropriately, “whenever Danny Ainge makes a trade, another NBA franchise dies and other teams get to pick up the pieces.” Acquiring Isaiah Thomas was instrumental in dismantling a competitive, but oddly assembled Phoenix Suns team. Sending him to Cleveland was like finding the weak point in the Death Star.
While I’m not paranoid yet, I’ve got fingers crossed on both hands that Kyrie Irving is as healthy as they say so we can end this streak of injured point guards in Boston. From a health standpoint, the Celtics haven’t had much longevity at the most important position in basketball, dating back to Rajon Rondo’s torn ACL in 2013. If Irving isn’t himself, I’m formally declaring a curse, but I’m optimistic about his recovery.
The more I hear about Thomas, the more it sounds like he won’t return to form. I hope I’m wrong.
CBS: Celtics’ Kyrie Irving: No restrictions expected for regular season
On page 2… Elton Brand is the new 76ers GM
Brand, 39, had been recently promoted to executive vice president of basketball operations, after serving the past year as GM of the Sixers’ G League affiliate in Delaware.
The Sixers had become enamored with the idea of keeping the chemistry of this front-office group together, and they probed outside candidates about how they thought that dynamic would work with a new leader.
The 76ers entered the summer with a Joel Embiid-sized load of cap space at their disposal to surround their young core with more talent. It was a tight market, as most teams didn’t have a lot of space of their own, a residual effect of the cap spike in 2016 that inspired teams to blow all their money on bench players. While JJ Redick and Amir Johnson re-signed, Marco Bellineli and Ersan Ilyasova, credited in fueling the team’s late-season surge, moved on. Oh, and they had to fire their last GM, Bryan Colangelo, for going on a burner-account spree with his wife on Twitter and leak a ton of confidential, team-sensitive information to try to bring light to issues without announcing them formally (i.e. Jahlil Okafor failing a physical and sinking a potential trade).
This could be a make-or-break decision for our division rival, who no longer has to task their head coach, Brett Brown, with making GM decisions. For so much talk of the East being “wide open”, the 76ers have not yet made the case that they’ll be the ones to take advantage of the opportunity. The best case for them is that Markelle Fultz went through the Winter Soldier process in his recovery time, or else the 76ers floor spacing will be nearly non-existent.
I’ll hold off judgment on the Elton Brand promotion, but the fact that so many people were caught off guard tells me that it’s a risk being taken at a pivotal point in the team’s development. I’m not usually one to get this far ahead of myself, but the 76ers’ odd summer has only cemented my belief that the Celtics have separated themselves from the rest of the East. I try to distance myself from the “hot take” crowd, but it seems like a trainwreck of a summer for Philly, and therefore a great summer for everybody else.