Plans in place for Paul Pierce to retire as Celtic if he chooses to step away

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Los Angeles Clippers Jerseys coach Doc Rivers said his team has plans in place to allow Paul Pierce to retire as a member of the Boston Celtics Jerseys if Pierce elects to end his playing days this summer.

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During an appearance on The Vertical podcast, Rivers said he believes Pierce hasn’t made up his mind about his future.

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“If Paul decides to retire, then we’re going to make sure that Boston picks him up for one day and he retires cheap jerseys a Celtic, because that’s what he should retire as,” Rivers said during the podcast released Thursday. “So we have all that in place. We just don’t know what he’s going to do.”

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Added Rivers: “I think Paul’s going back and forth on it, and I want to give him room. I think he deserves it. From a team perspective, you would love that he made his decision eight weeks ago. I think there are certain guys that you just have to give time to, and Paul’s one of them.”

Paul Pierce said last month that he’s “50/50” on whether to continue playing or retire. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Pierce, 38, played for Boston for 15 seasons before spending one season apiece with the Brooklyn Nets Jerseys, Washington Wizards Jerseys and Clippers. He was the NBA Finals MVP in 2008 and is the second-leading scorer in Celtics history, behind John Havlicek.

During an appearance on ESPN’s The Jump last month, Pierce admitted he’s “50/50” on whether to continue playing.

Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan already retired this offseason, and Pierce and Kevin Garnett remain undecided on their futures. On The Vertical podcast wholesale nba jerseys, Rivers said, “It may go down as the greatest retirement summer in NBA history.”

Addressing unsubstantiated rumors that the Celtics and Clippers have talked about a deal involving Blake Griffin, Rivers smothered the suggestion.

“[Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge] and I have talked twice this summer. One [call] was about the British Open, and one was about another golf tournament. That’s about it,” Rivers, who handles personnel decisions for the Clippers, told The Vertical podcast.

Added Rivers: “It’s funny, you don’t want to go out and send out a press release every time there’s a rumor about Blake. We are hoping that Blake ends his career playing for the Clippers. Period. So when teams call, we say we have no interest. First of all, no team’s calling right now because teams know we don’t have any interest.

“It just tells you the different times. Things have changed. Everyone believes that they’re media now. … There’s so many good, credible guys. And then there’s some of the guys who are bloggers who have nothing to do with the sport.

“I helped my young son trace where this started — the Blake rumor, the Boston rumor — let’s go there. … My son traced it to, I think, it was a Boston radio talk show. And the guy didn’t say that we had been talking, he said Blake would be one of the guys that the Celtics should go after. That started the next step, to the next step, to the next thing you know it blew up. And that stuff is tough.”

Hornets beat Nets to get back to .500

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Nicolas Batum returned to form and the Charlotte Hornets Jerseys returned to their winning ways.

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The Hornets’ leading scorer bounced back from a 1-of-9 shooting night to score 24 points and hand out eight assists, leading Charlotte to a 116-111 victory over the Brooklyn Nets Jerseys on Wednesday night.

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Batum was 7 of 12 from the field and made all seven foul shots.

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Batum had been hot before a 102-94 loss to the Knicks on Tuesday night. He won Eastern Conference player of the week honors after averaging 25.5 points per game last week.

”I tried to score and I tried to get my teammates involved and everything seemed to work better than (Tuesday) night,” Batum said.

Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker chipped in with 18 points apiece for the Hornets, who have won six of their last nine games to get back to .500 on the season.

Marvin Williams scored 14 points and Jeremy Lin had 13 points and off the bench for the Hornets (6-6).

The Hornets shot 11 of 25 from 3-point range to overcome 16 turnovers.

”Nic Batum is such a good playmaker as well as a scorer,” said Nets coach Lionel Hollins. ”He was making plays at the basket and when we had to help he got the ball back out to the 3-point line and they made them. ”

Thaddeus Young had 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting for the struggling Nets. Brook Lopez added 23 points and Jarrett Jack and Joe Johnson each had 16 for Brooklyn.

The Nets had several chances in the final two minutes, but failed to take advantage of two Charlotte turnovers.

Brooklyn ruined a golden opportunity to make it a one-possession game with two minutes left when Young missed an easy follow shot.

Lin turned the ball over with cheap nba jerseys 33 seconds left, but Lopez missed a short jumper.

A few seconds later Batum made an errant pass over the head of 7-foot center Spencer Hawes and out of bounds, but again the Nets failed to take advantage as Lopez was called for an illegal screen at midcourt.

”It could be a little fatigue, but there are no excuses for missed opportunities,” Young said of the Nets’ miscues. ”We had every chance to win that game and it slipped by us.” View gallery CHARLOTTE, NC – NOVEMBER 18: Thaddeus Young #30 of the Brooklyn Nets Jerseys shoots the ball against the Den …


Hollins said after the game he was still kicking himself for calling timeout after a Nets rebound with 31 seconds left and his team down by four points. In hindsight, he wished cheap nba basketball jerseys he’d allowed point guard Jarrett Jack to bring the ball up the floor.

”I should have just let him and maybe we would have gotten a two-for-one anyways,” Hollins said. ”We wound up not getting as good of a shot that we wanted.”


Walker and Lin, Charlotte’s two point guards, combined for 16 rebounds as cheap nba basketball jerseys the Hornets outrebounded the Nets 49-37. Rebounding has been a major area of concern for coach Steve Clifford this season.

”We can’t give up 20 second-chance points, 18 second-chance points and win,” Clifford said. ”It’s something we’re going to have to do.”


Rookie Frank Kaminsky had a career-high 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field. He saw more playing because starter Cody Zeller was having a particularly four outing. Zeller was held scoreless in 13 minutes of action.


Nets: Lopez has scored 15 or more points 10 times wholesale jerseys this season along with five 20-point games. … Johnson had three 3-pointers but the Nets were just 5 of 15 from beyond the arc. … The Nets had a season-low nine turnovers.

Hornets: Walker’s three 3-point field goals were a season high. .. The Hornets were 27 of 36 from the foul line.


Nets: Visit Boston on Friday night.

Hornets: Host Philadelphia on Friday night.Sports & RecreationBasketballNicolas BatumBrooklyn Nets JerseysCharlotte Hornets Jerseys

Here’s what the trade market for Dwight Howard looks like

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With the Houston Rockets making calls to gauge interest in former All-Star Dwight Howard, The Vertical takes a look at why it could be hard for them to move the 30-year-old center, some possible trade partners, as well as the specifics of Howard current contract.

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Dwight Howard is averaging 14.6 points and 12 rebounds this season. (Getty Images)The contract
Dwight Howard is in the third year of an $87.5 million contract signed in 2013.

The current cap hit for this season is $22.3 million, plus a trade bonus that is currently $600,000. The Rockets would pay this bonus to Howard if he is traded. For trade purposes, $22.9 million should be the number the Rockets and opposing teams will use.

Although Howard is under contract through 2016-17, he can opt out of his contract by June 29, thus making him an unrestricted free agent.

The Rockets’ trade rules and hard cap situation
Because Houston is a luxury-tax team, the Rockets can only acquire players who are within 125 percent, plus $100,000 of Howard contract.

The Rockets are also hard capped and cannot exceed the $88.74 million threshold the league mandates. Currently the Rockets are $525,000 below the tax apron.

Why it could be hard for Houston to find a partner
Several factors will limit potential trade partners for Howard to a small pool of teams.

Howard has missed over 50 games the past two seasons with a variety of ailments. Although Howard minutes have been high over the past few months, one has to wonder how much longer his body can hold up.

A team acquiring Howard has no assurance he will sign come July. Unless Houston gives permission, teams are not allowed to make contact with Howard.

Factor in that the Rockets also have eyes on All-Star Kevin Durant this summer. Adding additional salary could make it difficult for Houston to create cap space to sign Durant.

It will be hard to make a deal with any Western Conference team above Houston in the playoff race.

The top-five West teams Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs Jerseys, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers do not need a center. Although the Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol recently broke his foot, Memphis does not have the picks or assets to get a deal done.

Would Houston try and make a deal with the three teams they are chasing for a playoff berth?

In Dallas, the Mavericks’ Zaza Pachulia has been one of the most improved players this season. Why trade for a player like Howard when the Mavericks can sign him outright this summer. Utah has Rudy Gobert anchoring down low. Trading for a player like Howard does not fit the rebuild the Jazz have gone through the past few years. The Trail Blazers have been the feel-good story this season with their young core of players. Like the Jazz, adding Howard to the mix goes against how the Trail Blazers have rebuilt their team.

The teams in the lottery either do not have the assets to get a deal done or it would not make sense from a roster standpoint to give away future assets. The Nuggets have the players and draft picks to make a deal, but why do it? Denver is out of the playoffs, has built a nice young core with some veterans and will have ample cap room this summer.

So where does that leave the Rockets?

View gallery.

David Lee’s contract expires at the end of the season. (Getty Images)The team with the players and picks to get a deal done without touching the core would be the Boston Celtics Jerseys.

The Celtics have a treasure chest of draft picks and expiring contracts, something that would benefit the Rockets in the long run.

Here is a look at a hypothetical trade that could work for both teams:

Houston receives
David Lee
Jonas Jerebko
2016 Boston first-round pick
2016 Dallas first-round pick

Boston receives
Dwight Howard
Montrezl Harrell

Although this trade could knock Houston out of the playoff race, the Rockets would be able to add two first-round picks, as well as their own first if they miss the playoffs. The Rockets currently have the 13th pick in this basketball jerseys wholesale year’s draft and will send it to Denver if they make the playoffs. With Lee expiring contract and Jerebko non-guaranteed salary for 2016-17, the Rockets could have close to $27 million in cap space. Good enough for a max salary in free agency.

For the Celtics, the addition of Howard could move them closer to the level of Cleveland and Toronto. Acquiring a player like Howard without moving any of their core pieces would make the Celtics a dangerous out come the spring. The Celtics also would not have to move the unprotected 2016 and 2018 Brooklyn Nets Jerseys first-round picks or Memphis’ future first-rounder.

This deal would not hurt the Celtics in the summer if Howard does decide to walk. Boston would have the same cap space if it would have kept Lee and Jerebko, just minus two first-round picks in the mid 20s.

Aside from Boston, there is a limited amount of teams in the Eastern Conference with the potential to do a deal.

The one team that has plenty of assets and players to make a deal is Toronto. However, center is not a position of need for the Raptors.

A team like Philadelphia that has plenty of picks and cap space now could just sign Howard as a free agent in July. There is no need to risk assets to chase him at the trade deadline.

Two teams fighting for their playoff lives and missing their starting centers are the Chicago Bulls Jerseys and Charlotte Hornets Jerseys.

The Bulls certainly could offer up a package of Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and their own first-round pick for Howard. The tough part with this type of trade is that the Bulls are in the luxury tax and would take on additional salary, thus resulting in more luxury taxes. For Houston, the first-round pick could essentially be better than the ones Boston is offering. Although Gibson has been a high-level sixth man for Chicago, the Rockets would have to take on Gibson’s contract for next season.

Charlotte has played some of its best basketball of late and is currently holding onto the last playoff spot in the East. The Hornets could put a package together of Al Jefferson, Marvin Williams and a 2016 first-round pick, protected Nos. 1-10 for Howard. Of the trades mentioned above, this deal makes the most sense for both parties. Obtaining a player like Howard in Charlotte would likely see the Hornets in the playoffs come April. For Houston, the Rockets would still have a chance of making the playoffs while also obtaining a valuable first-rounder. Although injured, Jefferson could be back on the court in early March.

With a limited market and plenty of questions to answer in the next week, trading Dwight Howard is not as easy as it sounds.

The Vertical Insider Bobby Marks is a former longtime assistant general manager with the Nets.

More NBA coverage from The Vertical:

Sports & RecreationBasketballDwight HowardHouston Rockets

A scoring Harden may prove to be burden for Rockets

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You can’t always win big with a great scorer. None of Wilt Chamberlain’s teams won a championship until he decided to pass. Dominique Wilkins has a statue in Atlanta yet he never took his Atlanta Hawks Jerseys past the Eastern Conference semifinals. There are others who never tasted champagne until they grew old and became a second or third option.


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Admittedly, the pile of names isn’t very big, but unless this season is the exception and not the rule, is James Harden destined to join it?

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He’s a major scorer, ranking No. 2 in the league in that department and is deadly anywhere on the floor. He finished runner-up in the Kia MVP voting last season and once again is pushing 30 points a night. He carried the team for long stretches last season while second-fiddle Dwight Howard dealt with injuries. Harden probably has a basket for every hair on his chin, and speaking of overgrown, aren’t the defeats this season for Harden and the Rockets starting to get thick?

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Rockets vs. Spurs

LaMarcus Aldridge scores 24 points and grabs nine rebounds to lead the Spurs past the visiting Rockets, 121-103.

Seven months after reaching the West finals, mainly on Harden’s labor, they’re clearly far behind the leaders. They are 26th in defensive efficiency, are giving up nearly 106 points a game on 46 percent shooting and are prone to fourth-quarter breakdowns. They’ve beaten the Oklahoma City Thunder Jerseys, Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs Jerseys, yet are 0-2 against the Brooklyn Nets Jerseys and have also lost twice to the Denver Nuggets Jerseys. After firing coach Kevin McHale in a panic in November to force a shakeup, the Rockets haven’t gained any traction and are still struggling to find their mojo.

Supposedly, the big difference this season was adding a capable point guard to the mix and finally easing Harden’s ball-handling workload. In theory, trading for Ty Lawson last summer made perfect sense. He was to bring the dynamic that would give Houston an edge over the Clippers, Spurs and Golden State Warriors, the top-shelf teams in the loaded West. This way, Harden could play a bit more off the ball and the Rockets wouldn’t rely so heavily on Harden isolations to produce points. They’d have an extra dimension and another way of attacking teams and become less predictable. And by taking the ball out of Harden’s hands on occasion, the Rockets would yield fewer points off their own turnovers, since Harden leads the league in turnovers, something he’s done two of the last three seasons.

Our offense creates bad defense for us. I guess at times we do stop and hold the ball or just don’t move it as much.

– Rockets guard Ty Lawson

Instead, the Rockets are still pulling the bubblegum off their face after this experimental bubble burst quickly. Lawson struggled in the role and was benched and recently put on the trade market. New coach J.B. Bickerstaff dusted off the old playbook and Harden has the ball in his hands again, which is doing wonders for his scoring average 鈥?but not so much for the Rockets’ bottom line.

Harden is not the main problem with the Rockets right now. They simply can’t stop anyone (Harden’s often allergic reaction to defense contributes to that) and Howard is growing old by the minute. Nor is Harden an issue in terms of his offensive talent, which is Hall of Fame worthy. Not many are this shifty off the dribble, can reach the rim, can pull up for 3-pointers and get free throw attempts (which he leads the NBA in) like Harden. But when the ball is out of his hands, he looks ordinary and the Rockets look confused, and that’s why defenses are willing to trap him and take their chances.

“Our offense creates bad defense for us,” said Lawson, who wasn’t singling out Harden. “I guess at times we do stop and hold the ball or just don’t move it as much.”

While Lawson might not be the right point guard to place next to Harden, would any “pure” point guard work? Or do the Rockets have no choice but to use a “shooting” point guard — an old Jason Terry lately — whose main job is to stand on the perimeter and wait for a pass that may or may not come?

Warriors vs. Rockets

Klay Thompson explodes for 38 points, Draymond Green adds a triple-double with 16 assists as Warriors win it 114-100.

Which of course, doesn’t make Terry a point guard.

That’s the dilemma they face, the task of trying to find a way to maximize Harden’s obvious skills while being less predictable. GM Daryl Morey obviously agrees with this, otherwise, why did he trade for Lawson? Why not stick with Patrick Beverley and the same old formula that won 56 games? Because Morey knew the load could eventually wear down Harden come May and June, and that defenses would eventually figure the Rockets out, and that other players needed to become more involved in the flow. Again, those concerns were all well-founded.

Curiously, the Rockets halted a four-game slide, their second such this season, on Tuesday when Terry and not Harden controlled the ball late in a tight game. Terry played the role the Rockets envisioned for Lawson, although you wonder how many times can Terry, at 38, pull it off.

“In those type of situations,” said Terry, “I understand the time and the score, who we need to get the ball to and what actions need to be run. To be out there in those situations, I think that’s what they brought me here for.”

Hawks vs. Rockets

Al Horford scores 30 points and grabs 16 rebounds to lead the visiting Hawks past the Rockets, 121-115.

None of Harden’s teammates have ever said this publicly, but you wonder if cheap jerseys nba they’re OK with a steady diet of “iso-James” and if they believe it has run its course. Or if Harden is willing to change.

He presents a challenge for Morey as he tries to figure whether this year’s poor pairing with Lawson represents a hiccup, or a warning sign. If iso-James is here to stay, then the Rockets need quality shooters around him. The Rockets rank second in 3-pointers per game and make 35 percent of them — roughly what they did last season — but not enough to overcome their horrific defense.

With the exception of LeBron James, no other non-point guard dominates the ball like Harden. LeBron has a pair of rings to show for it, but only because he had a pair of Hall of Fame-worthy shotgun riders in Miami, who allowed him to play more off the ball than he did in his first tour of duty in Cleveland.

It is also possible that last season spoiled Harden. The Rockets finished second in the West despite Howard missing half the season. Harden was a one-man show and tore through defenses, generating MVP talk all season. He carried the team, and last summer earned a $200 million shoe contract. Therefore, why change anything?

When Lawson flamed out and the Rockets nearly bottomed out, there was no choice but to return to what worked, except from a long-term view, letting Harden control the ball again might be fool’s gold.

Surely, the Rockets have bigger concerns: How to keep Howard healthy, try to salvage the Lawson trade (or send him packing again) and how to defend better. They’re in repair mode right now and the task on the front burner is climbing above .500 and staying there.

But assuming that happens, if they don’t soon seek a way to diversify and stop relying so much on Harden isolations, they might find themselves, well, isolated from the pack of contenders.

Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter.

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