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.
Hayward started playing in five-on-five scrimmages about a month ago. Recently, he has joined his teammates for full-court runs at the Celtics’ new training facility in Brighton. The sessions have been helpful for Hayward, and they also have been eye-opening.
“You just realize how much talent that we have, how many guys that can do so many different things,” he said. “I think it’s been great that there’s been so many guys in the facility in September just so you can get some of that camaraderie, some chemistry, just be back around the team, be back around the guys. I think it’s always good when teams do that.”
The past few days have included a lot of general giddiness about the upcoming season. Kyrie squashing rumors of wanting to play with Jimmy Butler was a good start. Now Gordon Hayward has spent a week or so opening up about his rehab and playing 5 on 5.
The general theme out of all these updates is how special this team can be. Everyone, even Brad Stevens, has used that term to describe what the Celtics can be this season. Now Kyrie and Hayward are both talking about a certain level of excitement stemming from how good the team has looked in pick up scrimmages.
There a lot of reasons why they have a chance to make it to the NBA Finals. I’m not going to get too deep into all of that here because we all already know. This is the right mix of guys who will put pressure on teams offensively and defensively. All five starters could be 40% 3-point shooters, which is amazing, and they could still be one of the league’s best defensive teams.
And not only is all that true, their two best players are returning from injury stronger, and more confident in certain aspects of their games. Yesterday, Kyrie talked about how strength returning to his knee and left leg will give him more confidence around the basket. Today Hayward is talking about his improved shooting after a year of honing his release during rehab.
Add that to the steps forward Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are taking and… well… you have something special. All the guys have to do is put in the work to make it happen. That’s the secret ingredient… the work that makes it all come together.
I have confidence in that coming together. This is going to be a fun season. Special, even.
Page 2: Jimmy Butler will have a new team soon
Despite the objections of Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations and coach Tom Thibodeau, owner Glen Taylor has mandated that a deal needs to be negotiated to trade disgruntled All-Star forward Jimmy Butler in the next several days, league sources told ESPN.
Butler has likely worn the Timberwolves uniform for the final time, because Taylor has no interest in bringing Butler into the team’s training camp and threatening a bigger circus than already exists within the franchise.
We have here two contrasting situations.
In Boston you have stable ownership which has hired people they trust and they’re letting them all do their jobs.
In Minnesota you have an absolute mess that has devolved into Tom Thibodeau being ordered by his owner to trade his star player.
The best franchises are stable from top to bottom… teams like Minnesota continue to make bad decisions which set the franchise back years. Hiring a dual-role coach and GM has shown itself to be damn near impossible in today’s NBA. The season is a grind on its own and coaches need to be involved with players, which means they need to forge personal connections.
GM’s (or whatever his official title is) need to keep a healthy distance so they can keep their objectivity about who has value.
Thibs doesn’t want to trade Butler. He’d probably rather trade everyone else first because Butler is a Thibs old school obsessive kind of guy. But Karl Anthony Towns is now on a super-max contract, and now Thibs has no choice, which I’m sure will lead to problems.
For what it’s worth, there’s little chance the Celtics would make a run at Butler. Even if they wanted him, the timing isn’t right. They’d almost certainly have to make the deal with Marcus Smart’s contract, but he can’t be traded until January 15th. Boston isn’t giving up any of their starters for Butler, and they shouldn’t.
All we can do is wait and see. Maybe Doc Rivers can help him out in LA, but there’s a great chance Minnesota gets fleeced here. They had little leverage to start with, and now that the owner wants Butler gone in a matter of days, the rest of the leverage is out the window too.
It’s just a mess.
Related links: Globe: Jimmy Butler would like to ply his trade somewhere other than Minnesota
UPDATE: A shoe deal for Gordon Hayward is expected to be done in the coming weeks if not sooner. I'm told now that he's still keeping an open mind about which shoe-maker he plans to sign with.
— A. Sherrod Blakely (@ASherrodblakely) September 22, 2018
For the sneaker heads in the house. I’m not sure what the deal would entail here, but I wonder if there’s a signature shoe coming.
As a sneaker guy myself, I can’t imagine buying a pair of New Balance basketball shoes. Their running shoes are great, but I’ll have to see it to believe it with a basketball product.
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