Report: Ex-Celtics Star Al Horford Agrees to 4-Year, $109M Contract with 76ers

Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) shoots during warms-ups before Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis, Sunday, April 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Al Horford is reportedly joining the third team of his career.

The Philadelphia 76ers agreed to a four-year, $109 million deal with the big man Sunday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

“Horford’s agent tried to do a deal in Boston, but the money was significantly less than the Philly deal, said Wojnarowski on ESPN’s The Jump.

This comes after Wojnarowski reported June 18 that Horford declined the $30.1 million player option on his contract for the 2019-20 campaign to become an unrestricted free agent instead of returning to the Boston Celtics.

The move turned heads, especially considering Horford turned down such a financial windfall while he is likely on the back end of his career, but Wojnarowski noted there was still “motivation” on both sides to sign a long-term contract that could give the front office additional financial flexibility.

However, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reported Horford stopped discussing a three-year deal with the Celtics and instead was “expected” to join another team on a four-year contract.

The Florida product entered the league in 2007 when the Atlanta Hawks selected him with the No. 3 overall pick, and he has surpassed expectations as a five-time All-Star, 2010-11 All-NBA Third Team selection and 2017-18 All-Defensive Second Team selection.

He has been a double-double machine throughout his 12 seasons and has averaged 14.1 points and 8.4 rebounds a night in his career. He can also extend his game to the perimeter as a three-point shooter (36.0 percent last season and 42.9 percent in 2017-18) and facilitate from the high elbow or blocks when defenders collapse on him.

Horford is a proven commodity, but there is some inherent risk involved for the 76ers to sign a 33-year-old for multiple seasons.

In order to mitigate that, he will need to provide veteran leadership and poise while continuing to produce like he did in 2018-19.

Even with plenty of miles on his legs, Horford averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.3 blocks a night while shooting 53.5 percent from the field and a career-best 82.1 percent from the free-throw line last season, serving as a stabilizing force for a volatile Celtics squad that failed to live up to championship hopes.

Horford has 120 playoff games on his resume but has never played in the NBA Finals.

He won’t be the one to single-handedly change that on the Sixers, but his versatility on both sides of the floor and ability to slide in alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid figures to help Philly push toward title contention in 2019-20.

The combination of Horford and Embiid gives the 76ers a chance to own perhaps the NBA’s most productive frontcourt, but that’s dependent on them fitting well together.

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Report: Jimmy Butler to Heat in Sign-and-Trade; Agrees to 4-Year, $142M Contract

Philadelphia 76ers' Jimmy Butler in action during the first half of Game 6 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Toronto Raptors, Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Philadelphia. 76ers won 112-101. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Chris Szagola/Associated Press

Jimmy Buckets is off the market.

The Miami Heat will acquire star wing Jimmy Butler in a sign-and-trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Butler will get the full four-year max worth $142 million, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.

Philadelphia will receive Josh Richardson in exchange for the deal, per Charania, while point guard Goran Dragic will be sent to the Dallas Mavericks to help free up the cap space needed to make the deal, per Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.

Butler, 29, had a bizarre 2018-19 season, essentially forcing his way out of Minnesota before being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. He was one of two major midseason acquisitions for Philly, alongside Tobias Harris, and he showed his worth to the team almost immediately, providing a solid two-way game and the ability to close out contests late in the fourth quarter with some clutch performances and game-winning shots.

In all, Butler averaged 18.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 55 regular-season games with the Sixers, shooting 46.1 percent from the field and 33.8 percent from three.

But Butler was even better for the team in the playoffs, as head coach Brett Brown all but made him the half-court point guard and ran far more pick-and-rolls for him. While Butler’s counting stats (19.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.2 assists) didn’t see a major bump, his impact was clearly felt.

His ability to create his own offense on the perimeter was huge for a Sixers team that lacked that type of player before his arrival. While Joel Embiid has emerged as the NBA‘s best center and Ben Simmons is a two-way force, neither is as adept at creating his own offense. In the postseason, when defenses tighten and possessions often boil down to players winning one-on-one battles to create buckets outside the context of team offense, Butler was vital.

That makes his loss devastating for the Sixers. But his two-way play and clutch gene are huge additions for Miami, who are now one step closer to being title contenders next season.

In Miami, Butler will give the Heat their first superstar since the heyday of Dwyane Wade and the team’s title runs with LeBron James and Chris Bosh. There will be some questions about how Pat Riley and the front office will build around Butler, given that they gave up an excellent young player in Josh Richardson, but getting Butler was a move in the right direction.

Recruiting another star in the future will be the next step for a Heat team that once again has a path toward contention in the coming years.

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‘Her ambition got it wrong about Joe’: Harris faces debate backlash

 Former Vice President Joe Biden

Some Joe Biden loyalists said they thought it was misleading of Sen. Kamala Harris to attack him on civil rights. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO — Kamala Harris might be reveling in her sudden burst of attention after roasting Joe Biden over racial issues on the debate stage last week, but a backlash is already brewing.

Biden supporters and Democrats who have attended the former vice president’s events in the days after the first nationally televised debate, are describing Harris’ assault on Biden as an all-too-calculated overreach after she knocked him on his heels in a grilling over busing and his remarks on segregationist senators.

Story Continued Below

“She played low ball, which was out of character. And he didn’t expect it, nor did I,” said Lee White, a Biden supporter who attended his remarks at the Jesse Jackson Rainbow PUSH Coalition. “She should not have gone that route. She’s much too intelligent, she’s been able to be successful thus far, why do you have to do that.”

One major Biden supporter from California who declined to be named for publication said Harris’ direct attack on Biden was a mistake that would haunt her.

“It’s going to bite her in the ass,” the supporter noted. “Very early on there was buzz … Biden-Kamala is the dream ticket, the best of both worlds.’’

After this week, “That shit ain’t happening.”

The criticism of Harris over her rough treatment of Biden is among the first signs of backlash — including in her home state — against the California Democrat who had a breakout moment in the first presidential debate. It’s also a sign of the goodwill and loyalty that many still feel toward that the vice president, who has managed to keep many of his backers in his camp, even amid criticism of what was roundly viewed as a subpar debate performance. Indeed, sources say Biden walked away with a $1 million haul after two fundraisers in San Francisco alone this weekend.

“We can be proud of her nonetheless, but her ambition got it wrong about Joe,” said former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, the first African American woman to serve in the Senate who has endorsed Biden in the 2020 primary. “He is about the best there is; for her to take that tack is sad.”

Harris stunned Biden in the debate, knocking him back on his heels by noting his past “hurtful” efforts to work with segregationists and what she defined as his opposition to school busing. Harris’ emotional recounting of her own experience in the Berkeley school district as a child who was bused to more segregated schools — “that girl was me,’’ she said — became a defining debate moment, and bruised Biden’s status as the Democratic front-runner.

But one of Biden’s supporters called the attack by Harris “too cute by half” after her campaign tweeted out — and quickly began merchandising — a photo of Harris as a young girl. “Couldn’t they at least pretend that it was semi-organic?” the Biden supporter asked, referring to the planned nature of Harris’ debate night ambush.

Some Biden loyalists said they thought it was misleading of Harris to attack Biden on civil rights, given what they said was his lifelong advocacy on that front.

White, who is African American, said of the underlying segregationist issues Harris attacked: “I thought it was old news.”

Sam Johnson, a Columbia, S.C.-based public affairs consultant who represents many minority clients, accused Harris of “desperately overreaching.”

“I don’t think a lot of folks are saying, ‘well, there’s a lot of credibility of her going after Biden,’” said Johnson, who has not backed a 2020 candidate. “I don’t think it was received by the majority of folks as an attack that is going to move the needle. Most folks aren’t looking at that as something where, hey, ‘Biden was against civil rights carte blanche.’”

“It was planned, and it was staged and it was rehearsed — and they were ready to raise money on it,’’ another Bay Area Biden supporter said of Harris’ roundhouse punch.

But former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown — whose patronage of Harris helped put the then-Alameda County assistant district attorney on the political map in her early years — bridled at the suggestion that Harris may have muddled her political future with her attack on Biden. He told POLITICO that the vice president has no one to blame but himself for a lackluster and unprepared performance.

“They better hope she would accept [a VP nomination],’’ he said. “Otherwise, he’s a guaranteed loser.”

But Brown, who also served as speaker of the California Assembly, said Biden’s stunned reaction only underscored that — on the issue of civil rights — he has so far failed to be completely honest with voters and should simply admit his past unpopular actions and positions.

“At this point, she may be the only life raft he has,’’ he added, “because, as of this moment, he’s on the Titanic.”

Biden, in comments to supporters this weekend, appeared to acknowledge the possibility that his quest may not end in success — an unusual departure from the script of most presidential candidates who confidently toss off phrases like “as your next president.”

Speaking to about 150 backers in the bay-side Marin County community of Belvedere, Biden dismissed the idea that he was making a sacrifice to run for president, but said that he felt an obligation at a time when the country is at a crisis point with the Trump presidency.

“My family and I believe very strongly that you kind of have certain things fall in your wheelhouse,” he said. “It doesn’t mean I’m going to win, doesn’t mean I’m the only person who can be a good president, I’m not saying that.”

He told two different audiences that civil rights is a lifelong “passion’’ and also made reference to his Democratic competitors. While never mentioning Harris by name, he appeared to address her sharp criticism about working with segregationists, pushing back at the notion that reaching across the aisle is an outdated notion.

“I know I’m criticized heavily by my qualified contenders who are running,” he said, “when I say, ‘folks, we’ve got to bring the country together.’”

“Some will say, ‘well, that’s old Joe, they’re the old days,’’ he said. “[But] if that’s the old days,’’ he told supporters, “we’re dead … that’s not hyperbole.”

Former San Francisco Supervisor Leslie Katz, who has known the former San Francisco district attorney for years and is a member of Harris’ finance committee, defended the senator’s approach.

“She was giving him a chance to address the issues that would plague him. … She was gracious, and she personalized it: She said she didn’t think he was a racist,’’ Katz said. “What stunned me was that he wasn’t prepared for that topic, and he needs to figure that out, sooner rather than later.”

Debbie Mesloh, a longtime Harris adviser, also defended Harris’ question to Biden as on the mark — and entirely fair. “She was ready, and she was bold, and she delivered,’’ she said. “She really showed what she can do.”

Harris, meanwhile, was met in her hometown of San Francisco like a conquering hero post-debate, facing a sea of ebullient supporters at a packed #LGBTQ fundraiser during San Francisco’s PRIDE weekend.

But after reveling in the moment, Harris also delivered a reality check about the long campaign still ahead.

“It will be tough. It will be excruciating. It’s going to be a long haul,’’ she told them.

“We’re going to have good weeks. We’re going to have bad weeks. It’s not going to be given to us … but we are going to be joyful about this,’’ she said. “As much success as we’ve had — there’s still much to do.”

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Jesse Jackson opens up on 2020 and the changing Democratic Party

The Rev. Jesse Jackson

The Rev. Jesse Jackson watches as Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg speaks during the African American Leadership Summit on June 6, 2019, in Atlanta. | John Bazemore/AP Photo

2020 Elections

The civil rights activist and two-time presidential candidate defends Buttigieg, blasts Biden and praises Warren in a wide-ranging interview.

CHICAGO — The Rev. Jesse Jackson has lost a step.

The 77-year-old two-time presidential candidate’s roaring sermons have become more muted and mumbled. His walk has become slow, unsteady. At a news conference here over the weekend with Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, she held up the microphone for him when he spoke. Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition event on Saturday at the 4,000-capacity Apostolic Faith Church drew only a few hundred people.

Story Continued Below

But when it comes to the Democratic Party and its 2020 presidential primary, Jackson and his progressive organization for social change are more relevant than ever as the party embraces the issues he ran on three decades ago.

“The ’84 campaign broke the sound barrier,” he said in an interview after the Rainbow PUSH event, which featured Warren, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii. “Part of the whole idea was to sow seeds that would germinate.”

That’s why, even though Jackson may not command a podium or draw crowds as he once did, at least six presidential candidates are joining him during the annual Rainbow PUSH International Convention, which ends Tuesday. It’s also why candidates emphasize their ties to his presidential campaigns.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont talks about his endorsement of Jackson in 1988 while he was mayor of Burlington; Vanity Fair noted in its cover story of former Rep. Beto O’Rourke that he displays at home the picture of him meeting Jackson as a kid when his dad served as Texas co-chairman of Jackson’s campaigns; and Klobuchar mentioned in a speech on Saturday that her political mentor, the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, managed the Minnesota primary for Jackson.

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York is set to appear with Jackson on Monday. Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., is scheduled to address Rainbow PUSH on Tuesday amid community anger back home over a police officer’s shooting and killing of a black man while not having his body camera turned on to record it.

In a wide-ranging interview about several of the 24 Democratic candidates and the most diverse presidential field in history, Jackson defended Buttigieg.

“What happened there is not his fault,” he said, blaming structural problems of longtime segregation in the city’s housing and the fact that most of the city’s police officers live outside the city, making them what he called an “occupying force” (Indiana law prohibits cities from requiring officers to live in city limits). “He handled it with humbleness — you know, ‘I failed,’” Jackson said, referring to Buttigieg’s remarks at the presidential debate last week. “But he failed not just because he wasn’t on it; he failed because of structural abnormality, and that’s why I think the press has some role to put issues in context.”

Jackson was less forgiving of former Vice President Joe Biden, who joined Jackson at a convention event on Friday. Speaking about Biden’s record on busing — which has become a flashpoint after Sen. Kamala Harris of California confronted him at the debate — Jackson said that Harris “established Biden on the states’ rights side of history,” which “cannot stand the test of time.” He framed Biden’s opposition to federally mandated busing as part of a larger debate over the federal government’s trying to create racial equality.

“He’s for voluntary busing, I’m for court-ordered busing — well, everyone’s for voluntary busing,” Jackson said. “[T]he federal government had to order the abolition of slavery, the federal government had to order the right to vote, they had to order the desegregation of schools and jobs and contracts. So ‘voluntary’ assumes that those who are oppressive have some will to move based on moral values, and that does not happen.”

Jackson added that Biden had done “a lot of good things.”

The candidate’s campaign has noted that as a senator Biden advocated for the Voting Rights Act and other federal programs to compel equal treatment of people based on race, but that he merely felt that busing was an ineffective program for integrating schools.

The controversy over Biden’s past opposition to busing is representative of the larger shift in the Democratic Party toward confronting racial disparities, and is another sign of how it has come closer to what Jackson campaigned on in the ’80s. Remedying the racial wealth gap, redlining practices, abusive policing and mass incarceration of people of color are now part of most candidates’ platforms and their stump speeches.

Reparations for slavery, which Jackson campaigned on in 1984 and 1988, have been embraced by candidates and were the subject of a recent congressional hearing in the Democratically controlled House. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, one of the many white men running, has been on the campaign trail giving out copies of a recent biography on Frederick Douglass.

Beyond issues of race, top Democratic contenders also echo Jackson’s support for a government-run single-payer health system and passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. In many ways dismissed or forgotten over the decades, the Jackson campaigns have reemerged as an ideal for many activists on the far left in the Trump era.

“In some significant ways, the Jackson campaign was an answer to the question of what an alternative strategy for the party, one rooted in people rather than money, might have looked like,” Ryan Grim, the progressive journalist and Washington bureau chief for The Intercept, wrote in his new book, “We’ve Got People: From Jesse Jackson to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the End of Big Money and the Rise of a Movement.” Drawing parallels between the Jackson campaign and the current debates in the Democratic Party today, Grim wrote: “It was one that excited Democratic voters, but had them wondering if Jackson was truly as ‘electable’ as the safe [Michael] Dukakis.”

Jackson himself said he had no plans to endorse anyone in the primary, but he gave Warren very high marks after her speech on Saturday.

“Personality is the conduit through which information gets — she has a personality that’s magnetic, and she’ll be in this race to the end,” he said. “I don’t know how it’ll end up, but she’ll be a factor in the outcome of this race.”

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D’Angelo Russell Rumors: T-Wolves Looking to Make Trades to Open Room for Guard

Brooklyn Nets' D'Angelo Russell, right, in action against Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons, left, of Australia, during the first half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 122-100. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Chris Szagola/Associated Press

The Brooklyn Nets have effectively decided to move on from All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell with the addition of ex-Boston Celtics floor general Kyrie Irving, a transaction first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Now Russell, who Wojnarowski reported is expected to become an unrestricted free agent post-Irving announcement, is pondering his next move. Per the New York Times‘ Marc Stein, that may mean a tag team with Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns.

“D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns were huddling as recently as yesterday, league sources, while the Wolves have been canvassing the league to make the trades they need to make that can seal the former Nets All-Star as the new point guard in Minnesota,” Stein tweeted.

Russell, 23, enjoyed his first All-Star campaign last year after averaging 21.1 points and 7.0 assists per game.

      

This article will be updated to provide more information soon.

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Knicks News: Julius Randle Signs 3-Year, $63M Contract in Free Agency

New Orleans Pelicans center Julius Randle (30) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 2, 2019, in Denver. The Pelicans won 120-112. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Julius Randle has agreed to sign a three-year, $63 million deal with the New York Knicks, according to his agents, Aaron Mintz and Steve Heumann.  

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN shared the confirmation from Randle’s agents.

He declined his player option, which was part of the two-year, $18 million deal he signed with New Orleans after the Los Angeles Lakers renounced his rights.  

“If you ask every [NBA] player if they had their dream scenario, their dream scenario is everyone just wants to be wanted,” Randle told The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears in September 2018. “For me talking to New Orleans, they wanted me. I was a part of their future.”

Fast-forward to now, and it’s clear the Knicks wanted him.

In four seasons with Los Angeles, the 2014 seventh overall pick topped out at 16.1 points per game. All Randle did in his lone season in New Orleans was post a career-high 21.4 points while adding 8.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.

He finished the season on a strong note, averaging 24.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game following the All-Star break.

Randle was first linked to New York when Spears reported in late June that the Knicks had him, along with a number of other big men, on their radar. Spears noted there was mutual interest.

New York had been in the market for frontcourt help after parting ways with Kristaps Porzingis and Enes Kanter this past season.

The Knicks have some young talent in third overall pick RJ Barrett, 2018 ninth overall pick Kevin Knox and 2018 second-round pick Mitchell Robinson. However, they entered the offseason without a consistent scoring threat. Unrestricted free agent Emmanuel Mudiay (14.8 PPG) was the team’s leading scorer among players who finished the 2018-19 season in the Big Apple.

Barrett was arguably the top scorer in this year’s draft class, but it would not be fair to ask him to carry the team as a rookie. Bringing in Randle provides David Fizdale with another scorer, one who should help take some of the pressure off Barrett.

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Warriors Rumors: Kevin Durant Sign-and-Trade Possible, D’Angelo Russell Linked

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 28: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors handles the ball against D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Brooklyn Nets during the game at Barclays Center on October 28, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images)

Matteo Marchi/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors and Brooklyn Nets could potentially work out a sign-and-trade centered around Kevin Durant, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Durant agreed to a four-year, $164 million deal with the Nets.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN speculated Sunday on The Jump the Warriors could acquire D’Angelo Russell as part of the sign-and-trade with Golden State (h/t Evan Massey of ClutchPoints).

         

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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