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Mike Shalin's Working Press: Celtics make a Smart move


July 19. 2018 7:48PM
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart reacts during the second half against the Philadelphia 76ers in game five of the second round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at the TD Garden. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)



The absolute worst four days of the sports year actually turned out to be pretty interesting.

Capped by the Celtics signing Marcus Smart to a four-year contract that ensures the team’s backcourt depth both on the floor this season and if Kyrie Irving leaves for free agency after his second and perhaps final year in Boston.But plenty of other stuff happened during this week. A quick look:

NEWS ITEM: American League outslugs the Nationals in Washington.

There were 10 homers, only 10 singles and 25 strikeouts.

“Standard operation nowadays, right?” said AL manager A.J. Hinch. “We’re going to homers and punchouts as an industry.”

He’s right. The numbers are out there — there just aren’t enough balls in play and it can get boring. Not sure how to fix this — pitchers throw so hard and the ball may or may not be juiced. The Ks will come, and as Roger Clemens used to point out, very fast pitches can go a long way when hit.

NEWS ITEM: Kawhi Leonard traded for DeMar DeRozen.

Leonard doesn’t want to play in Toronto. DeRozen didn’t want to leave Toronto. Sounds like both guys are thrilled with this mega deal. There appears to be a chance the Raptors could flip Leonard to the Lakers, but, regardless, the Lakers can wait until after the season and then sign Leonard. Remember, however, L.A. was supposed to be a slam dunk for Paul George, who re-signed in Oklahoma City.

Leonard makes the Raptors better — if he can play.

San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich sees the trade, which also sent Danny Green to Toronto and Jakob Poeltl and a draft pick going to the Spurs, will help both teams.

“We wish him well as he moves to Toronto. I think he’ll be great,” Popovich said of Leonard. “I couldn’t be happier. I think this trade is going to work out great for both teams.

“Kawhi is not going to stop being a great player. But we’re thrilled with DeMar,” he said. “To get back a proven NBA player and a proven All-Star, we have to be thrilled,” DeRozen took to Instagram to say, “Be told one thing & the outcome another. Can’t trust em. Ain’t no loyalty in this game. Sell you out quick for a little bit of nothing... Soon you’ll understand... Don’t disturb...”

NEWS ITEM: Manny Machado traded to the Dodgers.

The Red Sox didn’t get him. The Yankees didn’t get him. He’s out of the American League, the deal coming in time for the Sox to visit Baltimore Monday without Machado in the lineup.

Did the Red Sox want him? That really doesn’t matter. The Sox are hardly loaded with minor leaguers who could have gotten the deal done.

NEWS ITEM: Indians land Brad Hand.

This is a guy who could be a game changer. I felt heading into the break that the Indians joined the Red Sox, Yankees and Astros as the four best teams in baseball. L.A. picking up Machado may have nudged the Dodgers past the bullpen-hurting Indians. Then, Hand went from San Diego to Cleveland Thursday — the deadest sports day of the year — and the Indians now have major insurance as Andrew Miller battles injury. And, Miller and closer Cody Allen are both in their walk years — and Hand is under control through 2021. This was a quality deal.

Both the Red Sox and Yankees could really have used this lefty.

NEWS ITEM: Marcus Smart re-signs with Celtics.

This was a no-brainer, right from the start.

The player was upset that the team didn’t engage in contract talks, while the rest of the league knew the Celtics wanted to keep him and would match.

Smart is one of those players who is of more use to the Celtics than he might have been with another team. He’s a key cog in the rotation and loves Brad Stevens, who has been able to control most of his moodiness (see: L.A. hotel room picture frame).

Stevens made it clear in Las Vegas he wanted Smart back.

“The comments from Brad Stevens really helped,” Kenny Boren, Smart’s high school coach and the director of his youth camps, told Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. “Coach Stevens holds a special place with Marcus. This was his first big contract year, and at the end of the day Marcus is very pleased.”

Now, it’s done — four years/$52 million — with agent Happy Walters saying, “He’s thrilled, really happy, because he loves it here in Boston,” said Walters. “The contract is fair for him and the team.”

I don’t know about you — but I just have the feeling Danny Ainge is still up to something that could put his team over the top as the Celtics go for it with the possibility of Irving leaving after the season.

NEWS ITEM: Darrelle Revis retires.

We know Revis Island hasn’t been what it once was, but this guy was a special player for a chunk of his career; and now he’s hanging them up. New York Jets fans felt he hung them up prior to returning to New Jersey. Tweeted former Patriot Logan Ryan: Congrats on a HOF career @Revis24! He wasn’t the first press corner but he was the best. Now being able to play press man to man is a must in the league. One of the most competitive teammates I ever had & one of the best businessmen. He knew his worth! Taught me alot. Respect!” NEWS ITEM: Titan will kneel.

Tennessee Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey won’t pay any attention to the fines that will come his way as he kneels for the national anthems.

“I’m going to take a fine this year. Why not?” Casey said at an NFL promotional event in London. “I’m going to protest during the flag. That’s what I’m going to say now.

“I’m going to take my fine. It is what it is, I ain’t going to let them stop me from doing what I want to do. If they want to have these battles between players and organizations, this is the way it’s going to be.”

Hoping here the team will pay his fine.

Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is shalinmike@yahoo.com.


Sports columns Patriots/NFL Red Sox/MLB Celtics/NBA Bruins/NHL


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