NBA notebook: GM Ainge didn’t see Celtics’ commitment

NBA notebook: GM Ainge didn’t see Celtics’ commitment
By Reuters

06/06/2019 at 02:22Updated 06/06/2019 at 02:24

Danny Ainge is just five weeks removed from his second heart attack, but that didn't stop him from delivering a strong opinion of the 2018-19 Boston Celtics on Wednesday.

"There's a lot of guys that didn't handle things the right way, and didn't
make the sacrifices that needed to be done for the benefit of the team," the
Boston general manager and president of basketball operations told reporters
in his first interview session since his May 2 heart attack. "We didn't have
100 percent buy-in from 100 percent of the team. I did not anticipate that."

The Celtics were ousted in the second round of the playoffs by the Milwaukee
Bucks to cap what was a frustrating season, finishing with just the
fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference at 49-33. "We all need to learn
from this past year," the 60-year-old Ainge said.

Ainge said point guard Kyrie Irving -- who possibly has played his last game
with the team -- received too much of the blame for the team's underachieving
nature. "It's unfortunate that one person gets credit or blame for a team's
failures," Ainge said. "We had a lot of reasons the team did not succeed this
year. Kyrie deserves his share of the blame, but not any more than anybody

--Golden State guard Klay Thompson's status for Game 3 of the NBA Finals will
remain up in the air until just before tip-off, Warriors coach Steve Kerr told
reporters pregame.

Thompson, who is officially questionable due to a left hamstring injury, has
been lobbying to play, but ESPN reported earlier in the day the team would
rather rest the All-Star shooting guard to avoid a setback that could keep him
out of the rest of the series.

Kerr said the medical staff would evaluate Thompson shortly before game time
and make the final decision. He added in an interview with NBA TV's Allie
LaForce that Thompson is "dying to play," but, "if there's any pain, any
discomfort or any risk, he'll sit out."

--Vince Carter said that the 2019-20 season will his last in the NBA, which
would give the high-flying small forward the record for most seasons played in
league history.

On ESPN's "The Jump," Carter said that his 22nd season will be his final one,
putting the end to a memorable career that saw him play in eight All-Star
Games after earning the 1998-99 NBA Rookie of the Year award.

Other players with 21 seasons in the league include Robert Parish, Kevin
Willis, Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki. "I got one more in me," the
42-year-old Carter said. "I got one more run in me."

--The USA Basketball roster for the FIBA World Cup in China later this summer
will have some NBA star power, as ESPN reported that Anthony Davis, James
Harden, Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal are among the hopefuls for a spot on
the team.

Other players who reportedly will be in an 18-player camp, vying to be on the
12-man roster, include the Portland Trail Blazers' CJ McCollum, the Cleveland
Cavaliers' Kevin Love, the Houston Rockets' Eric Gordon, the Utah Jazz's
Donovan Mitchell and the Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum.

Other roster possibilities include Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers, P.J.
Tucker of the Rockets, Paul Millsap of the Denver Nuggets and Khris Middleton
and Brook Lopez of the Milwaukee Bucks, according to ESPN.

--The Oklahoma City Thunder could trade their No. 21 overall pick in the
upcoming NBA draft to save money, according to a report.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the Thunder "have had multiple
conversations" with other teams about a trade possibility.

The Thunder trailed only the Golden State Warriors in team payroll in the
2018-19 season at $142.9 million. That amount will trigger the luxury tax.
While the No. 21 pick is slotted to earn $2.1 million, paying that amount
would lead to continued luxury tax.

--Field Level Media