Morning Shootaround

Shootaround (July 21): Brad Stevens was Boston Celtics' star in recruiting free agents

Plus, the Raptors have a new plan for DeMar DeRozan and more NBA news from around the league

NBA.com Staff

This morning’s headlines:

Brad Stevens, star recruiter — In today’s NBA, stars want to play with stars … or maybe, for stars. ESPN’s Chris Forsberg writes that, in enticing Al Horford and Gordon Hayward to sign in Boston, Danny Ainge’s biggest recruiting tool wasn’t necessarily Celtics players or tradition, but rather head coach Brad Stevens:

Ainge has constructed a roster with some of the league’s most unique talent, but his biggest superstar is a 40-year-old head coach who prefers a quarter-zip pullover to complement his athletic shorts.

In less than four years, Stevens has morphed from the Butler Bulldogs’ mid-major wunderkind into an NBA savant with the Gregg Popovich seal of approval.

When pitching Hayward this month, and Horford and Durant last summer, the Celtics put a heavy emphasis on the storied history of the franchise. They’ve called in favors from some of the region’s biggest sports stars, like David Ortiz and Tom Brady, to offer a glimpse of what it’s like to be a legitimate rock star in these parts. Boston brought along Isaiah Thomas to offer a first-hand testimonial about how playing for the Celtics can change your career.

But in crunch time, when it has been time for the Celtics to close, Boston has often spread the floor and let Stevens go isolation.

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DeMar DeRozan, point guard? — This past season, the Toronto Raptors had the lowest assist rate (AST/FGM) of the last 27 years. They still ranked sixth in offensive efficiency in the regular season, but for the third straight year, they suffered a big drop-off on that end of the floor in the playoffs. So Dwane Casey is hoping to get the ball moving more this season and part of that plan is playing DeMar DeRozan at point guard. Casey talked about it on Sportsnet on Thursday:

Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said Tuesday that he has plans to give DeMar DeRozan more time at point guard during the 2017-18 season.

“We got to have a better mentality of ball movement, man movement and spacing,” Casey said on Wednesday while on The Andrew Walker Show on Sportsnet 590 The FAN.

“DeMar DeRozan, have him handle the ball a bit more as a point guard, a facilitator, a passer. Kyle Lowry moving the ball a bit more, spacing up. We don’t want to give our whole ‘what we’re going to try to do next year’ away, but again it comes down to passing the basketball and better spacing more so, than we know, one-on-one play.”

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Rose talking with Cavs, Lakers — There was a report in the middle of last season that Derrick Rose would be seeking a max contract this summer. Well, Rose won’t be getting anything close to that, but he may have multiple teams offering him the minimum (or something close to it). ESPN has the latest on Rose’s talks with the Cavs and the Lakers:

Free-agent point guard Derrick Rose is in serious talks with the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the defending Eastern Conference champions on a one-year contract, sources told ESPN on Thursday.

While those talks continue, Rose also met with the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, sources told ESPN’s Chris Haynes and Ramona Shelburne. Sources told Haynes the meeting with the Lakers lasted three hours.

The former No. 1 draft pick has met with several teams over the past three weeks, including the Milwaukee Bucks and LA Clippers, but he has gained momentum on a deal with the Cavs in the past several days, sources said.

Playing on a contender is important to Rose. If he agrees to a deal in Cleveland, it would also allow him to be closer to family in Chicago.

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Talk with Pop helped bring Ginobili back — Manu Ginobili will turn 40 next Friday. And in a few months, he’ll begin his 16th season with the San Antonio Spurs. Ginobili announced this week that he’ll be back in San Antonio, and on Thursday, he explained that a talk with coach Gregg Popovich played a role in his decision, as Jeff McDonald writes in the San Antonio Express-News:

Not long after the Spurs’ season ended in a Western Conference finals sweep in May, soon-to-be 40-year-old Manu Ginobili met with coach Gregg Popovich to talk about the future.

Deep down, there was a part of Ginobili that hoped Popovich would make his retirement decision for him. Instead, what Popovich told Ginobili complicated everything.

“He told me that he wanted me to continue and he needed me on the team,” Ginobili wrote in the Argentinian publication La Nacion on Thursday. “If he did not want me, it would have been easier for me.”

In his semi-regular column in La Nacion, Ginobili addressed news this week that he was set to return for a 16th season with the Spurs. The team is expected to announce a new deal with the venerable shooting guard soon.

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: The Lakers met with Warriors free agent Ian Clark on Thursday … Udonis Haslem is back with the Heat for another year … Dikembe Mutombo is putting together a group to bid on the Rockets … Kyrie Irving has some interesting plans for his money … and Bam Adebayo is a big Katy Perry fan.

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