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NBA Rumors: Boston Blake, the Cleveland Banana Boat, and the Holiday Brothers

Danny Ainge is at the hot stove. Let him cook.

(Getty Images/AP Images/Ringer illustration)
(Getty Images/AP Images/Ringer illustration)

Today in Celtics Rumors That Won’t Come True …

Boston fans looking at HoopsHype today:

I’m glad the Warriors got the Finals out of the way so that we can go back to the real business of discussing Boston’s hypothetical future. No sooner had the Dubs’ celebration rosé dried up than we got our first blast of Celtics rumors. Most amusingly, as Haley O’Shaughnessy detailed Monday, Gordon Hayward’s wife posted a pic of her little tyke wearing what some folks thought was a shirt with a subliminal message (she has since deleted the image from her Instagram).

The photo doesn’t show it, but Robyn Hayward was actually watching The Departed and listening to Buffalo Tom’s second album when this photo was taken. Hayward explained away the pic by saying it was a St. Patrick’s Day shirt that happened to come in her kid’s size, but that didn’t stop this from happening in her subsequent Instagram posts:

Boston has no chill. Just ask Isaiah Thomas, who began following Hayward on Instagram on Tuesday.

Al Horford followed suit this morning.

Maybe this means Hayward-to-Boston is a done deal. Or maybe it means Horford and IT appreciate IG bangers like this:

Hayward isn’t the only All-Star being heavily linked with Boston. Wednesday on his podcast, The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski said that "Boston is really the danger for Blake Griffin … I think Boston’s two primary free-agent targets, right now, are Gordon Hayward and Blake Griffin. Now, they’re not going to get both of them, but they’re both players that would potentially have interest there. I think Boston looks at in different ways with their future."

Boston is very good at being in the conversation, and that’s not insignificant. You dress for the job you want, and if Boston wants to be a free-agent destination, it helps to be publicly associated with big stars by guys like Woj. That doesn’t mean Blake is going to Boston any more than it did Paul George and/or Jimmy Butler were in January, or Kevin Durant was last summer.

Griffin could make about $45 million more by staying in Los Angeles, and (crucially) he would get an additional year on his deal with the Clippers. Boston has a bunch of immediate and near-future questions to answer with regard to Avery Bradley and Thomas (most importantly) as well as Amir Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, James Young, and Jonas Jerebko.

Hayward is probably a better fit; Griffin is a more intriguing name, but his injury history and his tendency to occupy the same space on the floor as Horford should give Boston pause. Besides, Blake hasn’t posted any Instagrams of babies in shamrock clothing, so maybe he’s just not that into you, Celtics.

Banana Gram

I love writing about Instagram. Someone with the username president_dope posted a photoshop of Carmelo Anthony in a Cavs uniform:

And J.R. Smith liked it. So that means Melo for Kevin Love is real and happening.

Where in the World Is LeBron James (in 2018–19)?

LeBron Watch is heating up a bit. Last week our Kevin O’Connor wrote about the possibility of James coming out west for a final act, and today on The Vertical Podcast Woj said, "Not only is there no guarantee he’s coming back, I’m not sure there’s an expectation he’s re-signing there. I think they feel — I think within Cleveland and around the league — they feel that he’s very much in play to leave again and likely head out west to one of the two L.A. teams. The Lakers could very well be a target."

The louder this stuff gets, the more it makes me think Cleveland will deal Love (all J.R. likes aside). Because I don’t think the Cavs brain trust (whoever that is, given the state of David Griffin’s job security) can look at the 2017 Finals and honestly say they were just a couple of bounces or breaks away from winning it. They must see that the core needs a little tweaking. And it’s not going to be Kyrie. Remember that the image of LeBron walking through the tunnel after the Finals-deciding Game 5, telling the point guard, "We’ll be back," carries more and more significance as the offseason talk gets louder.

Holiday(s) in Dallas

Sports Illustrated’s Jake Fischer reports the Dallas Mavericks have become a serious player in the Jrue Holiday sweepstakes. And the Justin Holiday sweepstakes.

This makes sense for Dallas, and a starting Mavs lineup of Jrue, Wesley Matthews, Dirk, Harrison Barnes, and Nerlens Noel, and a bench of other brothers Justin Holiday and Seth Curry (plus whoever they get with the ninth pick) would be tons of fun if not particularly problematic for the Western Conference top dogs. But it is very bad news for New Orleans. Capwise, the Pelicans are not in a position to sign anyone as good as Holiday (despite his recent injury issues) if he decides to leave. For the Boogie-Brow experiment to work, someone needs to direct traffic. This is one of the low-key most important story lines of the offseason, because if this goes wrong for New Orleans, Cousins and Davis could start showing up in a lot more Woj reports.