Shootaround (Aug. 24) -- Jayson Tatum excited to play alongside Kyrie Irving
This morning’s headlines:
- Tatum excited to play with ‘superstar’ Irving
- Report: Bulls, Wade haven’t started buyout talks
- Adebayo working to learn from Heat veterans
Tatum looking forward to playing with Irving — Boston Celtics fans were expecting rookie Jayson Tatum to contribute in some form or fashion in 2017-18. That’s even more true now in the wake of the Kyrie Irving trade, as Boston made a point to not include the youngster in the deal. Tatum is looking forward to playing with Irving, a friend of his off the court, and the new season ahead. Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com has more:
The No. 3 pick in June’s draft expressed excitement in knowing he’ll have a fellow Duke product beside him in Boston during his rookie season.
The Celtics traded Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick to Cleveland on Tuesday in exchange for Irving.
“I was watching [the trade news] on TV and I saw breaking news come across, so it was just as much of a shock to me as all the other fans,” said Tatum, who only this week moved to Massachusetts to begin offseason workouts in advance of training camp next month.
“I was just as surprised as everyone else [about the deal]. I saw my name come up, and I didn’t know if I was going to get traded. … It’s all new to me. I haven’t played an NBA game yet; I just came from college. I don’t know how to handle all the trade talks. I was just like, ‘Wow,’ [when I] saw my name come up.”
Tatum called Irving a “great player” and a “superstar in this league” but acknowledged that, as a rookie, he is uncertain whether Irving is what the Celtics need to take the next step forward in their quest to be a legitimate title contender. But he raved about the possibility.
“I’m pretty sure it will be a lot of fun,” Tatum said. “[Irving is] a tremendous player. A superstar in this league.”
Tatum has to feel confident about his place on Boston’s roster. In advance of the June draft, the Celtics traded the No. 1 pick — acquired via a pick swap with the Nets — to Philadelphia. The 76ers selected Markelle Fultz, while Boston took Tatum at No. 3 and picked up a future first-round pick in the process.
If Cleveland wanted Tatum in this deal, Ainge was evidently more willing to include the Nets’ pick instead. With growing hype about next year’s draft class, that speaks volumes about what the Celtics believe Tatum can be in the future.
Tatum showed an NBA-ready offensive game at summer leagues in Utah and Las Vegas but still needs to bulk up to be able to guard NBA wings. Stevens has praised Tatum’s defensive potential and thinks he can be a solid defender at this level.
Report: Bulls, Wade haven’t started buyout talks — One week ago, word started to circulate that the Chicago Bulls and Dwyane Wade are expected to reach a buyout this season. That still seems to be the case overall, writes David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune, but the Bulls are in a position of strength in this deal and are in no hurry to make the buyout happen soon:
But as the noise increases about a possible reunion with LeBron James in Cleveland or Pat Riley in Miami, keep in mind the Bulls have no reason to buy Wade out of his contract unless he eventually meets their terms. None. Nada. Zilch. They owe Wade nothing but $23.8 million. If Wade wants out of Chicago as badly as some reports suggest, he will prove it by approaching them with an offer they can’t refuse or accepting whatever terms the Bulls present whenever they get to the table. Not that the two sides have engaged in any buyout talks yet. They haven’t, a source said, and the Bulls have no motivation to start them now for various reasons, not the least of which concern the NBA salary cap.
If the Bulls subtracted Wade’s $23.8 million salary from the payroll, they still would have to fill that void. It wouldn’t really save them money. According to the league’s collective bargaining agreement, each NBA team must meet a salary floor of $89 million, a threshold the Bulls already are well below. More realistically than a buyout, the Bulls ideally need a trade market to develop for Wade. They would need a big contract to replace Wade’s and help reach their salary floor, and probably a draft pick, to make it worthwhile to unload him. They would need an opportunity that benefits the Bulls’ short- and long-term interests as much as it does Wade’s.
A buyout doesn’t meet that criteria no matter how loudly the rumors persist or where they originate. Reports of the Bulls and Wade nearing a buyout agreement today, tomorrow or in the near future have been greatly exaggerated. How could the sides be coming close to a buyout if they haven’t discussed it?
It’s not the staring contest it has been purported to be with the Bulls relatively unconcerned with where it all leads. Their primary focus lies with the youth movement. Nothing has changed all summer since the day Bulls Vice President John Paxson said a buyout “would have to be advantageous to us.” Whether Wade enrolled his children in a school in Chicago or Miami, as a South Florida radio station reported, involved a decision unrelated to any potential buyout or basketball, sources confirmed.
The next date to pay attention to most isn’t the start of training camp or the regular season but Feb. 8, the NBA’s trade deadline moved up two weeks this season. At that point, teams most frequently associated with Wade rumors — the Cavs, Rockets and Heat — could create a market for a veteran presence who would improve a playoff team.
Until then, Wade will get exactly what he willingly signed up for in June. Wade’s decision then had nothing to do with winning another ring or worrying about the direction of the Bulls. It had to do with money, period. And that’s understandable. The savvy businessman had every right to exercise the $23.8 million option he negotiated like anybody in his position would have done. Likewise, the Bulls had an obligation to do what was best for the future of the franchise by beginning a rebuild shortly after the ink was dry on Wade’s contract.
Adebayo soaking up lessons from Heat veterans — Miami Heat rookie big man Bam Adebayo impressed at both the Orlando and Las Vegas Summer Leagues and has shown no signs of slowing down since then. He has been hitting the weight room with Heat veteran Udonis Haslem while also embracing an opportunity to thrive anywhere on the court, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
For Adebayo, recent workouts at AmericanAirlines Arena have followed the pattern similar to his time in the team’s summer camp and summer league. Just because he is a muscled (and quite possibly still growing) 6-foot-10, 245-pound specimen doesn’t mean the Heat are, to use Spoelstra’s parlance, going to put him in a box.
For the Heat, it all is part of the versatility needed to make this multidimensional roster work. When alongside Kelly Olynyk, it is possible that Adebayo winds up with the perimeter defensive assignments. When playing with James Johnson, Adebayo could find himself planted in the post. Still to be seen is whether Adebayo might even play alongside center Hassan Whiteside, which was not the case with last season’s backup center, Willie Reed.
But that doesn’t mean there also hasn’t been ample big-muscle work, social media chocked full of Adebayo workouts sessions alongside Whiteside, Udonis Haslem and the rest of the Heat’s lifting crew.
“Just walking in, they took me in like I was one of their brothers for a long time,” Adebayo said during the team’s back-to-school event earlier in the week. “So it’s easy going.”
Having completed the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program last week, Adebayo is continuing to soak in his Heat transition program, in advance of the Sept. 26 start of training camp.
“I look up to U.D. and Hassan and them. So they’re leading me in the right path,” he said.
With Reed having departed for a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Clippers, there will be ample opportunity during training camp and the preseason, which is why on a roster with limited turnover otherwise that Adebayo wants to enter camp as schooled as possible.
“I always stay ready,” he said. “I always prepare myself in any way, in every game. I’m just taking it bit by bit and just soaking up all the information.”
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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: The Palace of Auburn Hills will permanently shutter its doors after a Bob Seger concert on Sept. 23 … The Jazz’s international connections may be on the rise after they hired Martin Schiller to coach the Salt Lake City Stars … Snag those first editions of NBA 2K18 because they may be collectors’ editions someday …