From Comcast SportsNetSAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Tony Parker swished the buzzer-beater and unleashed a cathartic scream. Under the basket, Kevin Durant stood frozen in disbelief.Throw in the trade that sent James Harden to Houston, and that's two stunners for the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first week of this NBA season.Parker sank a 21-footer as time expired and the San Antonio Spurs won a thrilling rematch of the Western Conference finals, beating Oklahoma City 86-84 on Thursday night without having to chase around Harden this time.Parker scored the last of his 14 points while Serge Ibaka -- the NBA's leading shot-blocker last season -- ran at him full steam. The All-Star guard calmly swished a long jumper from the left wing before breaking into a sustained scream while his teammates mobbed him in front of the Thunder bench."I was like, I have to shoot fast," Parker said about eluding the outstretched arm of the 6-foot-10 Ibaka. "He was coming very fast."Durant led all scorers with 23 points and began his sixth NBA season by becoming the second-youngest player behind LeBron James to reach 10,000 career points. Durant, however, stood silent under the basket for several seconds after Parker's shot before walking off the court."We lost him. We didn't get him in time, but he still made a tough shot over Serge," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "It's not an easy hand to shoot over."The defending West champions broke up their Big Three by trading the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year to Houston on Saturday. Harden had 37 points and 12 assists in a brilliant debut with the Rockets on Wednesday night.Speaking before the season opener, Brooks succinctly acknowledged Harden's performance before saying his team was moving forward.Until Parker's game-winner, it was almost as if nothing had changed for Oklahoma City.Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 20 points and eight rebounds. Parker also had 11 assists and hit a 3-pointer with 28.4 seconds left that tied the game at 84 and set up his buzzer-beater on the next possession.Durant also had 14 rebounds. Russell Westbrook scored 18 points but made a poor pass on the Thunder's final possession that gave the ball back to the Spurs with 5.9 seconds left, giving Parker plenty of time to set and release his shot.The Thunder are starting anew with newcomers Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb, who along with draft picks, are what the Thunder got in exchange for their third-leading scorer. Small-market Oklahoma City wasn't willing to offer Harden a maximum contract, and the No. 3 overall pick in the 2009 draft wouldn't accept its lesser offer.By Wednesday, Harden had agreed to a five-year, 80 million extension with the Rockets. That night, he stepped into Houston's starting lineup and became the first player in NBA history to have more than 30 points and 12 assists in a debut with a new team.Asked before Thursday's game whether the second-guessing had begun, Brooks didn't linger on the topic."He's played good basketball. He had a good game," Brooks said. "We're real focused on our group, our guys and moving forward."Westbrook, who took responsibility for losing Parker on the screen on the game's final play, acknowledged the first game without Harden didn't feel the same."It was definitely odd not playing and practicing with him," Westbrook said. "But we still need to find a way to win."Martin had 15 points and was Oklahoma City's only bench player in double figures. But backup Eric Maynor made his own big contribution, hitting a half-court heave to tie the game at the end of the third quarter.Spurs guard Manu Ginobili missed his second game with back problems but could make his season debut Saturday against Utah.Parker played 35 minutes and scored 23 points in Wednesday night's season-opening win at New Orleans. He played another 35 minutes against the Thunder, more than what Spurs coach Gregg Popovich would prefer for his Big Three on back-to-back nights this early in the season."Down the stretch, you think he might be getting a little tired on the back-to-back," Popovich said. "Be he had his legs on the shot and did a great job."Notes: Spurs C DeJuan Blair made his season debut after Popovich kept him on the bench Wednesday, which prompted a clearly frustrated Blair to take to Twitter after the game. Blair, who started 62 games last season but was stuck on the bench by the playoffs, insisted he wasn't complaining but at one point tweeted, "I'm might not b tall enough." ... Duncan surpassed Charles Barkley for 17th on the NBA's career rebounding list.
BOSTON -- When you’re the Boston Celtics and you have your sights set on a star like Kevin Durant, the potential impact on your roster is undeniable.
That’s a good thing, right?
Well . . . not exactly.
One of the options that the Celtics are considering during the free agency period is whether to waive Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko before July 3 which would create additional salary cap space to potentially sign Durant and another near max-salaried player.
But here’s the problem.
Boston could potentially waive Johnson and Jerebko, fail to get Durant or another elite free agent and see the duo gone for nothing in return while they play their way into a big contract toiling in the NBA’s basement with one of the league’s worst teams.
How you ask?
Multiple league sources contacted by CSNNE.com Tuesday night indicated that if the Celtics waive both players, it’s “very likely” that both will be claimed off waivers.
According to a league office official, waiver priority goes to the team with the worst record attempting to claim a player.
And what team had the worst record in the NBA last season?
Yup. The 10-win Philadelphia 76ers.
And what team was right behind them, or ahead depending on how you look at things?
The lowly, 17-win Los Angeles Lakers.
Johnson is due $12 million next season while Jerebko is due to earn $5 million, chump change in this new age of the NBA with the 2016-2017 salary cap expected to be around $94 million.
In addition, both players would join clubs in contract years. Couple that with each being relatively productive and there’s the potential for each player to have a really big season.
Johnson was the Celtics’ top rim-protector last season, in addition to being a solid pick-and-roll defender. He also averaged 7.3 points, 6.4 rebounds with 1.7 assists and 1.1 blocked shots per game.
And Jerebko shot 39.8 percent from 3-point range last season, and finished up the playoffs in the starting lineup.
The Celtics are well aware of how valuable both players were to Boston’s success last season, and how their production relative to their contracts makes them extremely important to whatever team they play for.
To lose them for what would essentially be a lottery ticket in the Durant sweepstakes, is certainly a gamble that it remains to be seen if the Celtics are willing to take.
Best-case scenario for Boston is to know where they stand with Durant within the first 24 hours of free agency which would then allow them time to make a more informed decision about Johnson and Jerebko’s futures.
As you can imagine, the Celtics are as eager as any team to know what Durant plans to do this summer.
Because the way things are starting to take shape with Boston’s pursuit of the former league MVP, he’s going to have an impact on the Celtics’ roster one way or another.
According to a hockey source, Don Sweeney and the Boston Bruins “are preparing an offer sheet” this week for Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba as an aggressive option to land a No. 1 defenseman after trades didn’t pan out at last weekend’s NHL Draft.
The Bruins have watched Trouba closely for some time, and clearly have an interest in the 22-year-old D-man with size, offensive abilities and a workhorse nature that’s seen him average more than 22 minutes of ice time per game since entering the league as a 19-year-old.
Trouba is coming off a six-goal, 21-point season while playing in 81 games for the Jets, and was a career-best plus-10 for Winnipeg. With Trouba, a restricted free agent, and the Jets locked into big money deals to fellow right shot D-men in Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers, the writing has been on the wall for some time that the Jets would need to give one of them up.
Now it appears the Bruins may be willing to put their money, and their assets, where their interest is, and come up with an offer sheet that totals a minimum of $47 million for Trouba’s services.
Part of that high total is crafting an offer that the Winnipeg Jets aren’t going to match, and part of that is the Bruins’ own doing while casually tossing away their own draft picks. Because they sent their 2017 third round pick to the Flyers for Zac Rinaldo and their 2017 second round pick to New Jersey for Lee Stempniak, the Bruins must put together an offer sheet with an average annual value (AAV) of at least $9.3 million that will require Boston to give up four consecutive first round picks as compensation.
The good news for the Bruins: for offer sheet purposes, AAV is determined by dividing the total compensation offered by the lesser of the length of the contract, or by five. For contracts longer than five years in term, this will result in a higher AAV than simply dividing the contract total by the number of years.
Example: a 7 year offer sheet worth $49 million total, would be considered an AAV of $9.8 million ($49 million divided by 5) for offer sheet compensation purposes. That means the Bruins could make an offer sheet to Trouba in the $7-8 million per season neighborhood on a seven year deal, a reasonable contract if Trouba turns into the No. 1 defenseman that the B’s are envisioning.
The real price for the Black and Gold would be surrendering four first round picks, but the Bruins have made five first round picks in the last two years while stockpiling their prospect cupboard. The B’s have also been hit-or-miss with their first round picks, so sacrificing a few of them for a surefire, young defenseman would theoretically be worth the price.
Clearly the offer sheet route is the product of Bruins’ frustration at being unable to broker a deal for Kevin Shattenkirk or Cam Fowler last weekend in Buffalo, and at the realization that they need a stud No. 1 defenseman in order to again be competitive in the Eastern Conference. Perhaps even the threat of an offer sheet could spur the Jets into dealing Trouba, just as the threat of an offer sheet pushed forward the trades of Dougie Hamilton and Brandon Saad last season.
Dirty Water Media Bruins reporter James Murphy was also reporting the buzz that the B's are exploring their offer sheet option.
John Tomase, Chris Gasper and Gary Tanguay discuss is the Boston Red Sox recent slump is more than just a slump and also when John Farrell needs to start worrying about his job security again.