Danny Ainge is just five weeks removed from his second heart attack, but that didn’t stop him from delivering a strong opinion of the 2018-19 Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
“There’s a lot of guys that didn’t handle things the right way, and didn’t make the sacrifices that needed to be done for the benefit of the team,” the Boston general manager and president of basketball operations told reporters in his first interview session since his May 2 heart attack. “We didn’t have 100 percent buy-in from 100 percent of the team. I did not anticipate that.”
The Celtics were ousted in the second round of the playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks to cap what was a frustrating season, finishing with just the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference at 49-33. “We all need to learn from this past year,” the 60-year-old Ainge said.
Ainge said point guard Kyrie Irving — who possibly has played his last game with the team — received too much of the blame for the team’s underachieving nature. “It’s unfortunate that one person gets credit or blame for a team’s failures,” Ainge said. “We had a lot of reasons the team did not succeed this year. Kyrie deserves his share of the blame, but not any more than anybody else.”
–Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson was declared out for Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors about 20 minutes before game time in Oakland, Calif.
Thompson, who was officially questionable due to a left hamstring injury, was listed on the team’s active roster an hour before game time but was not guaranteed to suit up. He lobbied to play, but the training staff and coaches kept him out, with Shaun Livingston drawing the start in Thompson’s place.
The absence was Thompson’s first in his postseason career after having made a franchise-record 120 straight playoff appearances. LeBron James, with 239, is the only player with a longer streak.
–Vince Carter said that the 2019-20 season will his last in the NBA, which would give the high-flying small forward the record for most seasons played in league history.
On ESPN’s “The Jump,” Carter said that his 22nd season will be his final one, putting the end to a memorable career that saw him play in eight All-Star Games after earning the 1998-99 NBA Rookie of the Year award.
Other players with 21 seasons in the league include Robert Parish, Kevin Willis, Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki. “I got one more in me,” the 42-year-old Carter said. “I got one more run in me.”
–The USA Basketball roster for the FIBA World Cup in China later this summer will have some NBA star power, as ESPN reported that Anthony Davis, James Harden, Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal are among the hopefuls for a spot on the team.
Other players who reportedly will be in an 18-player camp, vying to be on the 12-man roster, include the Portland Trail Blazers’ CJ McCollum, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Love, the Houston Rockets’ Eric Gordon, the Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell and the Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum.
Other roster possibilities include Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers, P.J. Tucker of the Rockets, Paul Millsap of the Denver Nuggets and Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez of the Milwaukee Bucks, according to ESPN.
–The Oklahoma City Thunder could trade their No. 21 overall pick in the upcoming NBA draft to save money, according to a report.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the Thunder “have had multiple conversations” with other teams about a trade possibility.
The Thunder trailed only the Golden State Warriors in team payroll in the 2018-19 season at $142.9 million. That amount will trigger the luxury tax. While the No. 21 pick is slotted to earn $2.1 million, paying that amount would lead to continued luxury tax.
–Field Level Media