Boston Celtics

Wakeup Call: Apparently, Napoli's the Sox' No. 1 priority


Wakeup Call: Apparently, Napoli's the Sox' No. 1 priority

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Wednesday, November 28.

According to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, Mike Napoli is the Red Sox' No. 1 free-agent priority and, flush with money after shedding those mega-contracts in the Dodgers deal, they're prepared to outbid anybody for his services. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Memories of the Steroids Era will return today, when the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot is released with many of the tainted stars from that time -- Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa -- front and center. (AP)

And as a reminder that drugs in sports are an ongoing problem, one of baseball's best 2012 stories gets tainted a little -- okay, a lot -- as Carlos Ruiz is hit with a 25-game suspension for the use of a banned amphetamine. (CSN Philly)

Looks like the Yankees will have Andy Pettitte back in 2013. (AP)

Scott Feldman calls moving from the perennial contender Rangers to the downtrodden Cubs "a dream scenario for me". (CSN Chicago) So, ah, what are your nightmares like, Scott?

Jonathan Broxton's going back to Cincinnati in a move that apparently means the Reds are going to switch Aroldis Chapman to the starting rotation. Holy Daniel Bard; you might want to think twice about that one, Reds. (Hardball Talk)

Leaving Cincinnati is Ryan Madson, who's about to join the Angels after never throwing a pitch for the Reds. (Hardball Talk)

Soon to be available: An off-center, heavily bearded relief ace coming off Tommy John surgery. (CSN Bay Area)

Indiana left no doubts in this one, eh? (AP)

Be concerned, Tar Heels fans. Be very concerned. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

The reeling Big East regrouped a bit, tabbing Tulane and East Carolina as its newest members. (AP)

But the carnivorous ACC is back pounding on the the door, apparently poised to gobble up Louisville as its replacement for Maryland. (College Basketball Talk)

If that's true, Cincinnati sure will be disappointed. (NBC's College Football Talk)

For a conference that has no problem robbing members from other leagues, the ACC sure gets touchy when someone wants to leave them. (AP)

Memphis' response to its slow start: Blame the messenger. (College Basketball Talk)

Let me get this straight: Jon Gruden gets an ownership stake in the Cleveland Browns if he agrees to take over as coach at the University of Tennessee? Hah? (NBC's College Football Talk)

Les Miles from LSU to Arkansas? Well . . . (College Football Talk)

Jimbo Fisher gives the standard non-denial denial -- albeit a bit more emphatically -- in discussing rumors that Auburn may attempt to lure him away from Florida State. (College Football Talk)

Fisher lost one of his staff members yesterday, as defensive coordinator Mark Stoops was hired as head coach at Kentucky. (AP)

C'mon, NCAA. How can you fine a school for this? They won the Egg Bowl, for crying out loud! (AP)

Tiger Woods decides not to join the European Tour. (AP)

The Old Course at St. Andrew's will have a new look when the British Open returns in 2015. (AP)

Things are looking so bleak on the labor front that Sidney Crosby's about ready to pack up and head overseas. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

Take it from someone who knows, NHLers; decertification of the union is a serious step. (Pro Hockey Talk)

They're thinking positive thoughts in Phoenix, where city officials have approved a 320 million deal to keep the Coyotes in town. (AP)

I'm sure those thoughts aren't so positive in Minnesota, since the Wild's staff is about to be hit with 20 percent pay cuts because of the lockout. (AP)

Hockey returned for a night in Atlantic City, with Henrik Lundqvist making 57 saves to lead Team New York to a 10-6 victory over Team New Jersey in a benefit game to raise money for Superstorm Sandy victims. Best part of the whole thing: The 10,792 fans chanting for Gary Bettman to be fired. (AP)

The Rockets beat Toronto last night, then boarded a plane to attend the funeral of coach Kevin McHale's daughter today. (AP)

McHale thanked the team via text after the victory. (CSN Houston)

Kobe Bryant's 40 points -- with the flu, no less -- wasn't enough to save the Lakers. (AP)

Now that's a double-double! (AP)

Byron Scott had a terse, to-the-point scouting report of the Cavs' 10th loss in 11 games. (AP)

Aggrey Sam advises everyone in Bulls Nation to take a deep breath and remember that the season isn't even a month old. (CSN Chicago)

DeMarcus Cousins says his latest ejection came after the referee cursed him. Sure it wasn't your coach and teammates, DeMarcus? (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

The housecleaning has begun in Philadelphia, where the Eagles cut loose the underperforming Jason Babin and his five-year, 28 million contract. (AP)

Babin found his release almost as funny as the Eagles found his play this year. (

Great question from John Gonzalez: Is there anyone in sports whom you'd rather be less than Andy Reid? (CSN Philly)

Maybe DeSean Jackson, but only because multiple rib fractures -- which have ended his season -- are so painful. (AP)

Apparently, there's a method to Colin Kaepernick's tattoo madness. (NBC's Off The Bench)

The Steelers hope they'll have Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu back when they play the Ravens on Sunday. (AP) Considering that they're chasing Baltimore in the AFC playoff standings, so do the Patriots.

The NFL didn't suspend Ndamukong Suh for his latest bit of choochery because, says commissioner Roger Goodell, intent "is something that is very difficult for us to ever try to make a judgment on." (AP)

Speaking of chooches, Titus Young still hasn't returned to the Lions. (AP)

Sad news: Former All-Pro linebacker and NFL coach Jack Pardee has been given six to nine months to live after being diagnosed with gall bladder cancer. (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.


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.
60-22 (First in the Atlantic Division, first in the East)


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


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.