Boston Celtics

Test test test

Test test test

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Wednesday, December 5.

BASEBALL
-- It didn't take long for the Cliff Lee-for-Justin Upton trade rumor to get blown up. By both sides. (CSN Philly)

-- That's quite the rotation in D.C. now that Dan Haren is aboard. (CSN Washington)

-- The marriage of A.J. Pierzynski and the White Sox might be saved, after all. (CSN Chicago)

-- And why not? Marco Scutaro and the Giants saved theirs. (CSN Bay Area)

-- The Orioles are looking to find someone to play first base, and Michael Morse might fit the bill. (CSN Washington)

-- Or maybe it'll be Mark Reynolds, just like last year. (CSN Baltimore)

-- There'll be no Yunel EscobarJohn Farrell reunion -- which was the rumor for a while Tuesday -- as the ex-Blue Jays shortstop is headed to Tampa Bay. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
-- John Thompson III may not be very happy with Georgetown's offense, but when you allow only 41 points, well, you don't need much offense. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
-- Bret Bielema is taking his talents to Arkansas. (AP)

-- And they're none-too-happy about it in Wisconsin . . . to the point that they may not let Bielema coach the Badgers in the Rose Bowl. (NBC's College Football Talk)

-- Elsewhere on the coaching carousel, it's Gus Malzahn taking over at Auburn. (AP)

-- And Darrell Hazell heading to Purdue, reportedly. (AP)

-- Meanwhile at Cincinnati, Butch Jones is said to be "weighing his options", though one of those options -- Purdue -- apparently has disappeared. (AP)

HOCKEY
-- "Cautious optimism" is the catchword of the day in the NHL labor talks. (CSN Philly)

-- In fact, NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr thinks Tuesday's marathon negotiating session might have been "the best day we've had," though he was quick to add that that's not saying much. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
-- The Wizards went all Rodney Harrison -- "NOBODY thought we could do it!" -- before the game, and whaddya know? It worked! (CSN Washington)

-- It happens, shrug the Heat. (AP)

-- The Rockets' Hack-a-Dwight strategy worked to perfection as they rallied from 13 points down with 10 minutes left to beat the Lakers. (CSN Houston)

-- And afterwards, both Howard and Mike D'Antoni were a little defensive. (AP)

-- That's six straight, and counting, for the Thunder. (AP)

-- The New Orleans Pelicans makes a lot more sense when you realize that was the name of the city's minor-league baseball team . . . though you have to be at least 60 to have ever seen the baseball Pelicans play. (NBC's Pro Basketball Team)

PRO FOOTBALL
-- See, this is why celebrities sit in luxury boxes. (NBC's Off The Bench)

-- Jon Gruden-back-to-the-Raiders would be a nice story if it made any sense . . . which it doesn't. (CSN Bay Area)

-- Thanks for everything, Charlie, but Ben Roethlisberger might be back this Sunday. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

-- Just as Ben returns, Ike Taylor goes down. (AP)

-- Chuck Pagano's chemotherapy is over and he may return to the Colts in Week 17. (Pro Football Talk)

-- The Redskins' other Griffin -- cornerback Cedric -- is hit with a four-game PED suspension. (AP)

-- That Braylon Edwards thing didn't work out too well, did it, Seahawks? (AP)

-- Losing Brian Urlacher is not what the Bears need as they head down the stretch, but . . . (AP)

-- More details are emerging about the Jovan Belcher murdersuicide. Among them: While at the University of Maine, Belcher had several incidents involving domestic violence; he and Kassandra Perkins, whom he shot and killed, had a "strained" relationship and were separated for a time before reconciling around Thanksgiving; and Belcher made have been involved with another woman, whom he told police he was attempting to contact early Saturday morning. (AP)

No longer the little team that could, Celtics may need time to jell

No longer the little team that could, Celtics may need time to jell

Fireworks have been ablaze in the NBA all summer long, with the latest electrifying salvo being tossed by the Boston Celtics in trading for Kyrie Irving from Cleveland in exchange for a package of playerscentered around Isaiah Thomas and a first-round pick centered around Isaiah Thomas. Without question the Celtics were among the biggest winners this offseason as they went about transforming their roster significantly despite having the best record in the East while advancing to the conference finals. But good wasn’t good enough, a similar mantra by a number of teams in the NBA. We’ll take a look at all 30 teams in the next 30 days as they prepare for the 2017-2018 regular season, which is when the real fireworks begin!

BOSTON – Expectations for the Celtics this season are the highest they've been in the Brad Stevens Era.
 
The past couple of years, Stevens’ crew was seen as a scrappy bunch.
 
That all changed Tuesday night when the Celtics pulled off a blockbuster trade in acquiring Kyrie Irving from Cleveland for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the rights to the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

MORE ON THE KYRIE IRVING BLOCKBUSTER:

 
Acquiring the four-time All-Star would have made this offseason one of the best ever for the Celtics. But prior to landing the 25-year-old point guard, Boston was able to sign Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $127.8 million contract after he spent his first seven seasons in the NBA with the Utah Jazz.
 
The new guys join a Celtics team that returns just four starters, a group led by Al Horford, who stands as the lone returning starter from last season’s squad which finished with the best record in the East (53-29) while advancing to the Eastern Conference finals before losing in five games to Cleveland.
 
Adding a pair of All-Stars to the mix will certainly benefit the Celtics for this upcoming season. But for their continued growth, they will also need to get more from their youngsters.
 
Second-year forward Jaylen Brown had a strong offseason and is poised to build off of a rookie season in which he was named to the All-Rookie second team. Boston will also look to get quality play from rookie Jayson Tatum who was selected by Boston with the third overall pick in the NBA draft.  
 
For Boston, the biggest concern has to be chemistry.
 
There’s no question there’s more talent on this roster from top to bottom.
 
But with this being the first go-around for most of the players, it remains to be seen just how long it will take for all of the core players to get on the same page and find success.
 
That challenge won’t be easy, especially with the Celtics opening with seven of their first 11 games on the road.

Even with all the new faces and a challenging schedule out the gates, that won’t diminish the heightened level of expectations for a team that will surely have a bull’s-eye on its back all season for a journey that should result in yet another deep playoff run.
 
Key free agent/trade additions: Kyrie Irving (from Cleveland); Gordon Hayward (from Utah); Aron Baynes (from Detroit); Marcus Morris (from Detroit).
 
Key losses:
Avery Bradley (traded to Detroit); Amir Johnson (Philadelphia); Jonas Jerebko (Utah).
 
Rookies of note:
Jayson Tatum; Semi Ojeleye.
 
Expectations:
60-22 (First in the Atlantic Division, first in the East)

CSNNE SCHEDULE

BST PODCAST: What grade would you give the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving?

best_of_bst_podcast.jpg

BST PODCAST: What grade would you give the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving?

0:41 - What grade would you give the Celtics for their trade for Kyrie Irving? Michael Holley, Kayce Smith, Tom Curran, break it down and give their grades.

4:32 - Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakley discuss how Kyrie Irving will fit in the Celtics system and how Brad Stevens will handle the roster with new egos.

8:50 - We take a look back at the Pierce and Garnett trade to the Nets that landed the Celtics multiple 1st round picks. Are you pleased with how the Celtics used those picks? Is Danny Ainge a Hall of Fame executive? Michael Holley, A. Sherrod Blakely, and Tom Giles discuss.

14:30 - Our BST crew talk about the Red Sox getting the win over the Indians, Eduardo Nunez being hit intentionally by Corey Kluber, and if Chris Sale will retaliate.