Stephen A. Smith believes Kyrie Irving should test free agency(VIDEO)

The Boston Celtics are one of the favorites in Eastern Conference, especially with the return of their two best players, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. With LeBron James out of the East, and if Boston stays healthy, there is a good shot they get to the NBA Finals.

Arguably, the Celtics best player is Irving, and the five-time All-Star can become a free agent at the end of the season, but the 26-year-old Irving recently told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that he wants to stay in Boston.

However, according to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, even though Irving is happy in Boston, he should still test free agency.

Listen below:

Last season, Irving missed the playoffs due to a knee injury.

It would not hurt for Irving to see what is out there, especially if he confident in his ability to stay healthy. In my opinion, he should test free agency. It’s always good to have options in life, and by becoming a free agent, Irving would have options.

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Stephen A. Smith warns Boston about the new look Raptors(VIDEO)

After LeBron James decided to leave Cleveland to play with the Lakers, the East has become wide open. The Raptors, who were the number one seed in Eastern Conference last season, should be better after acquiring Kawhi Leonard. The Philadelphia 76ers have two cornerstone players in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, and the Boston Celtics will get back maybe their two best players in Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving.

“Oh, we’re getting to the Finals. No question about it,” Celtics’ Jaylen Brown told CJ McCollum’s “Pull Up” podcast.

Brown is confident, and the Celtics are confident, but Toronto with Leonard is going to be tough beat, so says ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

Listen below as Smith talks Raptors and Celtics:

The East will come down to Boston, Philly, and Toronto with the Celtics being the favorite, but there are no guarantees that the Celtics won’t have any chemistry issues next season. With the return of Hayward and Irving, guys who were getting a lot of minutes last year, won’t be getting those same type of minutes next season. Therefore, that is something to keep an eye on going into the 2018-19 NBA season.

Ex-NBA player Bender: ‘LeBron has had a cakewalk over the years through the East’

For the last seven years, LeBron James has dominated the Eastern Conference . Since the 2010-11 season, a LeBron James led team has represented the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. Whether he is with the Heat or Cavaliers, James has found a way to get to the NBA Finals.

Now, with the emergence of the 76ers and Celtics, LeBron’s reign over the Eastern Conference could be coming to an end, according to former NBA player Jonathan Bender.

LeBron has had a cakewalk over the years through the East,” Bender told the Go4it podcast. “Within the next couple years, it’s going to be shut down because of the teams that’s coming up. Like Philadelphia coming on board. Obviously, what Boston has in the arsenal right now.”

LeBron’s run through the Eastern Conference has been impressive, but the past few seasons have been relatively easy. In the last three seasons, Cleveland is 12-3 in the Eastern Conference Finals. None of the teams they beat(Hawks, Raptors, and Celtics) had a realistic chance to beat the Cavaliers.

Regarding the end of LeBron’s dominance over the Eastern Conference, that could end this year now that Cleveland is down 2-0 to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Moving forward, the Celtics have Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward coming back. Plus, they have the Sacramento Kings 2019 first-round pick. Philly has Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz. Also, they have a ton of cap space, and they have the 10th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Actually, LeBron might still be able to run the East if he decides to sign with Philly, which could happen, but we’ll have to wait until the summer to figure that all out.

In the end, if LeBron decides to stay in Cleveland, his dominance of the Eastern Conference is probably over.

 

 

Paul Pierce: ‘I’m not sure if I want to see an Isaiah(Thomas) video that night'(watch)

Paul Pierce is not sure he wants a video tribute of Isaiah Thomas on his night. On February 11, Pierce’s number 34 will be retired by the Celtics.

Thomas, who went back to Boston as a member of the Cavaliers last night, but did not play, requested that the Celtics not give him a video tribute until the Cavaliers return to Boston on February 11.

Pierce talked about what he thinks should happen today on ESPN’s The Jump:

“On February 11, the night I get my jersey retirement, I’m not sure I want to look up at the jumbotron and see Isaiah highlights. After all the years I put in.

“I had a chance to watch Kobe’s, and throughout the game, the timeouts, it was a lot of tribute videos for him, and I enjoyed to watch that throughout the game. Now hopefully, the Boston Celtics will do that for me.”

“I’m not sure if I want to see an Isaiah video that night.”

Listen to what Pierce had to say:

Twitter reacts to Gordon Hayward’s injury

A tough opening night in the NBA. The Celtics’ Gordon Hayward went down with a gruesome leg injury in the first quarter against the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Tuesday night.

The injury was bad!

Here is how Twitter reacted:

 

https://twitter.com/WittLowry/status/920453166172377088

Cavaliers waive Kendrick Perkins; Cleveland offers coaching job

Kendrick Perkins career could be over. Perkins was waived by the Cavaliers today. Perkins, who won an NBA title in Boston, was trying to make a comeback after not playing last season.

Perkins, 32, last played for the Pelicans in the 2015-16 season. Perkins has played 12 seasons in the NBA for the Celtics, Thunder, Cavaliers and Pelicans.

According to ESPN, Perkins is still looking to play in the NBA. However, Perkins told ESPN that the Cavaliers did offer him a coaching job.

Celtics’ Jaylen Brown on Isaiah Thomas trade: ‘Do I agree with it? Not necessarily’

The Boston Celtics are going to look a little different this NBA season. Gone are Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, and Kelly Olynyk. In are Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward,  Marcus Morris, and Jayson Tatum.

Boston finished first in the Eastern Conference last season, and made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to the Cavs in five.

The biggest move for the Celtics this offseason was the trade of Isaiah Thomas to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving.

Celtics F Jaylen Brown is not sure if the trade of Thomas is good for the team. Here is what he told Complex Magazine:

“It changes the whole dynamic, the whole culture. We’ll see if it’s for good or bad, time will tell. But it’s still a little weird to me, to be honest, because when I came in everything they stressed was culture, environment, Celtic basketball. Now, it’s like what is the environment, the culture, what is Celtic basketball? I think it’s a great opportunity for me, great opportunity for the Celtics, great opportunity for Kyrie. Obviously, I loved Isaiah. He was like a big brother to me. I watched him, admired him, the chip he carried on his shoulder I love him. I still do. I’ve kept in contact with him. Congratulated him when he got traded to the Cavs. It’s tough because it’s the business we live in. Do I agree with it? Not necessarily. I think Isaiah definitely tried to plant his flag in Boston. He will definitely be missed—he and Jae [Crowder] both. And Avery [Bradley], too. Those three guys are truly going to be missed. I love them and I thanked all of them for helping me out and said I’d see them down the line,” Brown said.

Interesting comments by Brown. I think getting Irving was a great move by Boston. While last year’s Celtics had great chemistry, the 2017-18 has more talent.

In the NBA, chemistry is important, but talent wins!

Paul Pierce: ‘Time to get the band back together’

The 2008 Celtics had a magical season, which ended with a NBA title. Boston was led by their “BIG 3” of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. The team would make another run to the NBA Finals in 2010, but lost to the Lakers in 7.

Eventually, Allen would move on to Miami in the summer of 2012, which caused some friction between Allen and the rest of 2008 Celtics. Former Celtics G Rajon Rondo, who organized a vacation for the 2008 Celtics, did not invite Allen to the reunion.

However, things may have changed today. Pierce posted this picture with Allen on Instagram:

Maybe the 2008 Celtics and Ray Allen can make nice after all!

Jason Terry on Isaiah Thomas: ‘He’s healthy’

How healthy will Cavaliers G Isaiah Thomas be next season? The 28-year-old guard missed time in the playoffs because of a hip injury. Furthermore, the trade to Cleveland, involving Kyrie Irving and Thomas, took a little extra time due to the Cavaliers’ concerns with Thomas’ hip. Ultimately, Boston added a 2020 second-round pick to complete the trade.

Free agent G Jason Terry, who is friends with Thomas, says not to worry:

“He’s healthy; he’ll be ready to go,” Terry told TMZ Sports.

Terry gave his thoughts on the trade between the Cavaliers and Celtics:

“Well, it’s yet to be seen, but Boston lost four starters(three starters), it’s tough to replace. Chemistry is everything in this league. If you look at Cleveland, they got an elite defender(Jae Crowder), and now they got two All-Pro point guards(Thomas and Derrick Rose). That’s tough to beat,” Terry told TMZ Sports.

Terry believes that Thomas, who will be a free agent at the end of next season, will get his money:

“All-Pro. Nothing is going to change and the Brink’s Truck will come out,” Terry said. “Even if LeBron leaves, they have to build around somebody. Isaiah is the perfect candidate,” Terry said.

Thomas very well could get paid if he a big year next season, and more importantly, if he stays healthy.

In terms of who won the deal, both teams did well. Irving is a younger, taller version of Thomas. Add that to Gordon Hayward, and Boston should be better.

Cleveland gets a MVP candidate from last season in Thomas, and probably a top five pick in this deal(Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick).

Therefore, in my humble opinion, both teams made out pretty well.

 

Report: Cavs weighing their options after Thomas physical

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cavaliers are weighing their options after Isaiah Thomas underwent a physical with the team on Friday.

Thomas, who missed the last three games of the Eastern Conference Finals with a hip injury, was traded along with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving on Tuesday.

In order for the deal to be complete, all players must pass their physicals. Otherwise, the deal can be voided.