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.
Celtics All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving huddled a small group of teammates at his house on Wednesday afternoon and calmly dropped the bombshell that he would stun the rest of the NBA world with on Thursday night: He planned to re-sign with the Celtics next summer.
And, in that instant, a wave of relief washed over both Irving and the Celtics organization. No longer would Irving’s uncertain future hang over the season; now the focus was simply on the team’s title aspirations.
“It was a very nice surprise,” Celtics big man Al Horford, one of the players at Irving’s house, told NBC Sports Boston on Friday. “Just his commitment to the organization, and a sense that we can put all the speculation behind us and focus on the season. That was very big of him to do something like that.”
NBC Sports Boston: With Kyrie’s commitment, Celtics focused on quest for title
Cool story. The sense of relief is also being felt all throughout Celtic Nation. And it confirms something that has been building since the summer of 2016…
Gradually, the Celtics don’t need to sell Boston as a destination NBA city. Kevin Garnett thoroughly enjoyed his time here. Isaiah Thomas wanted to stay so badly he asked Danny Ainge to return after he was dealt to Cleveland.
Add Kyrie Irving to the list of players who have enjoyed the Celtics experience in the last decade, which has been enhanced by the coaching of Brad Stevens.
Once upon a time, the Celtics had major trouble attracting major free agents (that is no longer the case) and once upon a time Boston couldn’t compete with the likes of the Knicks, Lakers, Bulls, and Heat in keeping premium players (that’s not the case either).
It’s amazing how quickly the “players don’t want to go to Boston” narrative has been put to rest (except in the minds of some New York media, who still think they have a shot at Kyrie).
To really finish it off, Danny now just has to find a way to bring a top five player to the Cs. Despite their amazing depth, that’s the one thing the Celtics don’t have. If they did get someone like Anthony Davis, and if he thrived and won a ring or two here … oh baby.
On Page 2: 11 plus 11
Here’s the latest example of local athletes being Boston bros. The Patriots played on Thursday night, after Kyrie made his announcement. At the post-football press conference, Julian Edelman – who wears no. 11 for the Pats, and who worked out at the Auerbach Center during September – appeared in a special bit of green.
Now Kyrie wants in.
By the way, funny man and former no. 11 Evan Turner also has thoughts about the number.
Related – NBC Sports Boston: Kyrie wants his own Patriots jersey after Edelman dons custom Celtics No. 11
And, finally… Smart thinking
This week, the annual NBA GM survey came out. The annual questionnaire included plenty of Celtics names, and Smart was included — tied for second in “toughest player,” tied for fifth in “most impact when he enters the game,” and receiving votes for most versatile defender.
One area where Smart wasn’t included, however, was best perimeter defender, which was his point of contention last season with voters who didn’t include him on either the first or second All-Defense teams.
“I did feel like I should (have been on the All-Defense teams),” Smart said. “I’m one of the best defenders in this league, especially defending on the perimeter. I definitely feel like I should have been on one of those lists. To see guys I know don’t play defense — or nowhere near the defensive caliber I am — on it, it’s a slap across the face.”
Smart wisely declined to name any of the All-Defense players specifically who he felt were a slap across the face, but for the record, last year’s first-team All-Defense guards were Jrue Holiday and Victor Oladipo, with Robert Covington included at small forward. The second-team guards were Dejounte Murray and Jimmy Butler.
“Like I said, that doesn’t determine who I am,” Smart said. “So I never paid too much attention to it. I’ll try not to pay too much attention to it again.”
Pretty sure this is what you say when you are absolutely paying attention to something.
Can’t blame Marcus for being pissed. He got very little love for all-defense the past two seasons, even though he’s a bulldog who famously “adds value” every night. But if the Celtics win as much as we expect this season, Smart shouldn’t have to worry about it anymore.
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