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.
The NBA announced it will postpone both the NBA draft lottery and combine on Friday.
Both events were scheduled to take place in May. The league said in a statement that more information will be shared at a later date as “the NBA continues to closely monitor the coronavirus pandemic and consult with infectious disease specialists, public health experts and government officials.”
The NBA Draft itself — scheduled for June 25 — remains untouched for now, but The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported on Thursday that the expectation among league executives is that the draft will be moved back to August or September.
The NBA’s Board of Governors discussed the possibility of starting the 2020-21 season in December on Friday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The proposal could help teams get fans back into arenas for more of the season, since January is the earliest timeframe by which a vaccine could become widely available, according to recent reports.
Moving next season back would also give the NBA more wiggle room to complete the 2019-20 season. The later the league drags out its current season hoping to crown a champion, the later the NBA will have to look at moving back the next year, especially given that a draft, free agency and training camp all need to occur in the interim.
At last, we have actual NBA news! The Morning Dump has been on hiatus for two weeks, as there’s been precious little to discuss in terms of NBA or Celtics reporting. That changed yesterday.
With the lottery and combine now (unsurprisingly) rescheduled, the draft itself will also need to be postponed until at least late summer. Those developments give hope to the possibility of completing the 2019-20 season, even if it means forgoing the remaining 18 or so regular season games and going directly to the playoffs
Woj himself weighed in on those topics.
If the NBA is forced to play next season from December (starting on Christmas, probably) through the summer, that may well be a blessing in disguise. It would be a trial run of sorts, a chance to evaluate if that time frame might be better for fans and players than the current fall-through-spring format that has been used forever. Who knows? Maybe everyone will like it.
Have to say, though, it would be a kick in the teeth for Vegas Summer League.
On Page 2: Ryan vs. Red, Shaughnessy vs. Larry
Q. What was a time a Celtic really lost his cool at you?
A. This is great. I love this story. My first NBA draft, in 1970. The regular season ended and the draft was the next day. I’d written a draft preview of some sort, and in it I said that Red Auerbach doesn’t get full credit for drafting John Havlicek, because it was on the recommendation of a guy named Bill Mokray, a basketball historian-type guy. And I walked into Red’s office for the draft, and he threatened to cut one of my body parts off. That was his greeting. He was pissed. He didn’t like that story, and I found out it was because he didn’t like Bill Mokray. I couldn’t have picked a worse person to give credit for something Red wanted credit for.
It was my fourth and final year on the beat and it was awkward. Largely because of Larry.
I had a reputation for being critical, and Celtics players called me “Scoop.” Kevin McHale would regularly greet me with, “Hey Scoop, is your shoulder sore from driving all those pipes through people?”
Larry and I were OK for most of the first three years. He particularly liked me the day he soaked me for $160 in a free throw shooting contest (his suggestion) after a practice during the 1985 playoffs.
Things changed In the summer of 1985, a month after the Celtics were dethroned by the Lakers, when I went to work on a front-page story detailing Larry’s late-night fight at a Boston bar during the conference finals. The rumor had been all over town but nobody had written the story.
Stalking bars near Faneuil Hall, I found the guy Larry hit — a former Colgate football player — and gave Larry a chance to explain. Larry had played with tape on his right hand after the fight and his playoff shooting percentage declined as the Celtics lost in the Finals. It turned out that there was an out-of-court settlement, and it was not a topic Larry wanted to explore with me.
When I explained that I was doing the story anyway, he said, “I won’t be talking to you anymore.”
And he meant it. For six full months and more than 40 regular-season games of the epic 1985-86 season (the Celtics went 40-1 at home and won their 16th championship), I covered the team without any one-on-one words from Larry.
If you’ve ever disagreed with takes from Ryan and Shaughnessy – and let’s face it, we all have – then you’ll be pleased to know their years as Celtics beat writers weren’t all peaches and cream. There was a lot of beef, too.
To be fair, Ryan is revered around the NBA as one of the best reporters the league has known. He teamed up with John Havlicek and Bird to author books on both men’s life stories. On the other hand, as made clear above, Shaughnessy was not one of Larry’s favorites. The free throw contest story is hilarious, as Bird wrapped tape completely around his hand and still won the cash with ease.
The Globe is behind a paywall, but if you’re able, be sure to read both those pieces. The stories are from a time when the Celtics were usually contenders and no one had ever heard of coronavirus. What more do you need?
And, finally… More classics
The Boston Celtics and NBC Sports Boston have extended the ‘Classic Celtics’ rebroadcast series, unveiling five new themes across 21 of the more iconic games throughout the franchise’s illustrious history.
The continuation of ‘Classic Celtics’ will begin on Sunday, May 3 … the first of three games re-aired as part of the “Sunday Showdowns with the Bulls” series. The other four thematic groupings – Best of Celtics vs. Lakers Week, One-man Show Week, Championship Week and Iconic Moments Week – will be televised in weekly pairings from May 4-29.
Celtics.com: Celtics, NBCSB To Extend ‘Classic Celtics’ Series
It’s all we’ve got until further notice, so we might as well enjoy these. Some of the games being aired this month are repeats of ones shown in recent weeks, but the fresh replays include:
- Larry Bird wins his first NBA title with 27 points and a dagger three in the clinching game of the 1981 NBA Finals at Houston.
- The Celtics pull off a comeback against the Lakers in the ultra-physical Game 4 of the 1984 Finals, sparked by Kevin McHale’s takedown of Kurt Rambis.
- McHale sets a (short-lived) Celtics franchise record with 56 points against the Pistons in 1985.
- Antoine Walker leads an upset of the defending champion Bulls on Opening Night 1997 (Rick Pitino’s first game as coach).
The Rest of the Links:
Boston Sports Journal: Four takeaways from the NBA’s decision to postpone the Draft Lottery and Combine