Wakeup Call: Celtics still trying to light fireworks

Wakeup Call: Celtics still trying to light fireworks
June 25, 2014, 8:00 am
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The Celtics' Summer of Fireworks -- which appeared to be in danger of fizzling out before it even began (csnne.com) -- was reignited yesterday by our own A. Sherrod Blakely with the news that the Celtics are attempting to work out a trade with Cleveland for the No. 1 overall pick. So as the rest of the basketball world fixated on LeBron James (csnne.com), our focus was elsewhere.

Like who the Celtics would take if they landed at No. 1. (Beetle thinks it'd be Jabari Parker.)

Or whether or not they'd try to re-engage the Timberwolves on Kevin Love, with a new bauble -- the No. 1 pick -- to dangle in front of Flip Saunders. (That's Neumy's position.)

Or to wonder why in the world the Cavs would think about swapping down to No. 6, even if the Celts' pick at 17 was also part of the deal. (Chris Gasper says Cleveland would be "insane" to make such a trade - "This isn't football, six and seventeen don't equal one" -- and Gary Tanguay agrees.)

(Oh, and in Cleveland? Crickets. Not a word anywhere in Ohio that I can see about a potential Cavaliers deal with the Celtics.)

The reality is, the Celtics are one of a number, maybe dozens, of teams who've contacted Cleveland about the pick. Pro Basketball Talk's Dan Feldman doesn't think the C's have enough to match some of the offers the Cavs are receiving . . . one from Orlando in particular, in which the Magic reportedly are proposing sending the Nos. 4 and 12 overall selections and Aaron Afflalo to Cleveland. As Feldman points out, 4 and 12 are better than 6 and 17, and the only player the C's have with as much value as Afflalo is Rajon Rondo. Rondo and two first-round picks for the No. 1 overall choice? Ah, no thanks.

Sherrod's report is newsworthy because it indicates a change in focus. Rather than use their picks to trade for veterans and get better immediately -- which is what seemed to be their goal, based on available reports -- the Celtics now appear to be at least exploring a more traditional course of rebuilding. They were probably planning on parallel tracks all along, but if they're calling the Cavs two days before the draft, I guess we know which way they feel the wind is blowing.

Unless Cleveland is, as Gasper says, insane, this particular deal is unlikely to happen. But be secure in the knowledge the Celtics are still trying, desperately, to light those fireworks.

Here's the rest of your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy and/or interesting tidbits -- for Wednesday, June 25:

BASEBALL

Tony Gwynn Jr. returns to the Phillies after the funeral of his father, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, and gets a standing ovation at Citizens Bank Park during a pinch-hitting appearance last night against the Marlins. (CSN Philly)

Old friend Jarrod Saltalamacchia makes a nice gesture by going to the mound when the ovation starts to build, giving the fans more time to honor Gwynn. You can see the clip here. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

The Rangers don't seem too happy that Ian Kinsler -- traded by Texas to Detroit for Prince Fielder last winter -- waves into their dugout after hitting a home run in his first at-bat as an opponent in Arlington. "I was just saying 'hi,' " Kinsler insists. Might be interesting to watch his first at-bat tonight, to see if the Rangers say 'hi' back. (AP)

Clayton Kershaw follows last week's no-hitter with eight shutout innings against the Royals. (AP)

CC Sabathia's journey of a thousand miles starts with two innings in a simulated game at the Yankees' minor-league complex. (AP)

When he gets back to the Bronx, he won't have Heath Bell as a teammate. (Hardball Talk)

In the wake of that ridiculous Russell Martin call, MLB tweaks the obstruction-at-the-plate rule on force outs. (Hardball Talk)

A high-school pitcher throwing BP to the Rays is a good story. When that pitcher is a girl -- and a knuckleballer! -- it's a great story. (Hardball Talk)

Hey, Phils: Don't bother asking Chase Utley to waive his no-trade rights, because he won't do it. (Hardball Talk)

Maria Jacqueline Peguero, the wife of former Mariners outfielder Carlos Peguero, is sentenced to a year and a day in jail after she ran up a $191,000 bill on the credit card of Felix Hernandez' wife. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

When guard Josh Fortune left Providence College, it was said he wanted to go to school closer to his home in Hampton, Virginia. But after hearing he's considering LSU, Minnesota and Colorado as potential transfer spots, I wonder. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

Dominic Artis, one of three players dismissed by Oregon after a sexual-assault allegation, won't be going to St. John's. The Red Storm, after conducting an internal review, decided not to offer Artis a scholarship. (College Basketball Talk)

Incidentally, Artis and the two others charged in the incident -- Brandon Austin and Damyean Dotson -- have been banned from the Oregon campus for what could be as long as 10 years. (College Basketball Talk)

Indiana would have been the place had Dante Exum gone to college instead of the NBA. (College Basketball Talk)

Doc Rivers' third son, Spencer, has decided to attend UC-Irvine. (College Basketball Talk)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Travis Wilson gets medical clearance to resume playing quarterback for Utah. A concussion he suffered in a game last November resulted in the discovery of a pre-existing medical condition. (AP)

Your new starting quaterback at West Virginia: Clint Trickett. (AP)

Now you can have a beer at an SMU home game. (NBC's College Football Talk)

A rape charge against New Mexico running back Crusoe Longbay has been dropped, and a similar charge against his teammate, cornerback SaQwan Edwards, is expected to be dropped later this week, though officials say they could be reinstated after an investigation. (AP)

GOLF

Tiger Woods has big hopes, realistic expectations and no pain as he prepares to tee off Thursday at the Quicken Loans National, his first competitive round since undergoing back surgery in March. (AP)

HOCKEY

A great night for Patrice Bergeron. Not only does he win the Selke, but he beats out the dastardly P.K. Subban to get the cover spot on NHL '15. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

It's not the Stanley Cup, but the Hart Trophy is a nice consolation prize for Sid The Kid. (AP)

Jonathan Quick will undergo surgery for a wrist injury he suffered in the second round of the playoffs against the Ducks, then played through the rest of the way as he helped the Kings win the Stanley Cup. (AP)

Matt Greene re-ups with L.A. for four more years. (AP)

Barry Trotz aims to change the culture in Washington, and says "it'll be uncomfortable for some guys." (Pro Hockey Talk)

Yesterday we were told that contract talks between Ryan Callahan and the Lightning were at a critical stage. Now we're told they're close to a deal. (Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL

LeBron James isn't out the door in Miami just yet: He plans to meet with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh before deciding what he'll do. (Yahoo! Sports)

If he does go, here are the seven most likely landing spots. And no, Causeway Street isn't among them. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

The Clippers better hope the Donald Sterling circus comes to a quick end, because their planned pursuit of James will most likely go nowhere if Donald is still in the picture. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Also opting out of his contract: Alan Anderson of the Nets. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Flip Saunders says the Kevin Love pursuers are "like catfish, when you feed 'em. It becomes a feeding frenzy the closer [it gets to the end], when they can see those [food] pellets." (AP)

Jabari Parker? Joel Embiid? The Cavs just can't decide . . . (Pro Basketball Talk)

PRO FOOTBALL

First the San Diego Padres, now the Harlem Globetrotters. Teams in every sport can't resist drafting Johnny Football. (AP)

No matter what sport he plays -- and yes, I know it'll be football -- Emmitt Smith thinks Manziel has to ratchet things down off the field. Or the court. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

The Redskins' defense for not changing their nickname has been reduced to this: Why should we change it if Wellpinit High School didn't, huh?? (Pro Football Talk)

Like DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant is an ex-Eagle. And like Jackson, Avant says it's because he didn't get along with Chip Kelly. (Pro Football Talk)

Michael Sam is fitting right in with the Rams. (AP)

Brandon Flowers is staying in the AFC West, though the climate's a lot better: He's going from the Chiefs to the Chargers. (Pro Football Talk)

Sorry, Richard Sherman; it's just you, and not the Legion of Boom, on the cover of Madden '15. (Pro Football Talk)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo isn't convinced the Bills need a new stadium. (Pro Football Talk)

Mike Carey has put away the zebra stripes and is picking up the microphone: He'll be CBS' rules expert during its NFL broadcasts. (Pro Football Talk)

SOCCER

After three biting incidents, the question isn't whether Luis Suarez will be suspended. The question is, for how long? (NBC's Pro Soccer Talk)

How about two years? (Yahoo! Sports)

Were you surprised by this?  Dr. Thomas Fawcett isn't; he called it 14 months ago. (Pro Soccer Talk)

The bitee, Georgio Chiellini, ain't real happy. (Pro Soccer Talk)

But Twitter is; it goes meme-crazy over the bite. (Yahoo! Sports)

As for Suarez, he can't figure why this is such a big deal. "These things happen," he shrugs. (soccerly.com)

Lost in the biting frenzy: Italy's coach, Cesare Prandelli, and federation president Giancarlo Abete resign after the Italians fail to advance to the round of 16. (soccerly.com)

Here are all the scenarios by which the U.S. can escape the Group of Death. (Yahoo! Sports)

If Jurgen Klinsmann looks familiar to all you Orange County Blue Star fans of the early 2000s, he should; he was Jay Goppingen while playing for the now-defunct team. (Yahoo! Sports)

Goppingen, er Klinsmann, may employ a radical strategy tomorrow against Germany. (Yahoo! Sports)

The urban legend of Theo Epstein breaking a hotel chair after Jose Contreras signed with the Yankees may be supplanted: Now we're told former President Bill Clinton broke a wall mirror in a Zurich hotel room in a fit of rage after FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar instead of the United States. (Pro Soccer Talk)

TENNIS

Serena Williams eases into the second round at Wimbledon. (AP)

But she didn't have it as easy as Maria Sharapova, who loses only one game in her rout of wild-card entrant Samatha Murray. (AP)

Another first-round cruiser: Roger Federer. (AP)

Rafael Nadal has it a little tougher, but he also advances. (AP)

Caroline Wozniacki says she's "not that desperate" to try Internet dating in lieu of her breakup with Rory McIlroy. (AP)