Around the Atlantic: Ainge says Celtics won't tank


Around the Atlantic: Ainge says Celtics won't tank

WALTHAM, Mass. -- It was the first thing Celtics general manager Danny Ainge told Keith Bogans and Kris Humphries when they arrived in Boston: We're not tanking this season.

Ainge wanted to reassure the former Brooklyn Nets who were acquired in the deal that sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn. The deal followed the trade of coach Doc Rivers to Los Angeles, which kicked off the rebuilding process for the team that won the 2008 championship and returned to the NBA finals two years later.

Bogans and Humphries met reporters at the Celtics' practice facility on Monday along with MarShon Brooks.

Gerald Wallace was also acquired in the deal, but couldn't make the news conference.

Also Monday, the Celtics waived forward Kris Joseph, who was originally drafted by Boston and re-acquired in the trade with the Nets (see full story).

Knicks: J.R. Smith out 3-4 months
NEW YORK -- Knicks guard J.R. Smith has had patella tendon surgery and arthroscopy on his left knee that likely will keep him from joining the Knicks when they open training camp in late September.

The team said Smith will need 12-16 weeks to recover from the operation performed Tuesday by Dr. Answorth Allen at the Hospital for Special Surgery. The team said the injuries were chronic, with the arthroscopy repairing a tear in the lateral meniscus.

Smith, who won the Sixth Man of the Year award, helped shoot the Knicks into the playoffs before struggling in the postseason. The New Jersey product worked out a deal to stay with the Knicks that will pay him about $25 million over four years.

He averaged 18.1 points during the regular season, second on the team behind Carmelo Anthony (see full story).

Best of NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

Best of NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

CHICAGO -- Dwyane Wade scored 22 points in a triumphant Chicago debut, Jimmy Butler had 24 and the Bulls won their season opener, beating the Boston Celtics 105-99 on Thursday night.

Wade nailed a 3 from the corner in the final minute to make it a five-point game. Taj Gibson added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and the new-look Bulls got off to a winning start after missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008.

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 25 points. Avery Bradley had 16, and Jae Crowder 14 points, but the Celtics came up short after opening with a win over Brooklyn the previous night.

The Bulls remade their roster in the offseason, jettisoning one hometown superstar and welcoming another when they traded Derrick Rose to New York and signed Wade to a two-year deal worth about $47 million in a move that stunned Miami.

The three-time NBA champion and 12-time All-Star is off to a good start with the Bulls after 13 seasons with the Heat.

Wade hit 4 of 6 3-pointers in this game after making just seven all of last season (see full recap).

New-look Hawks roll past Wizards
ATLANTA -- Dwight Howard dominated the boards in his Atlanta debut, Paul Millsap scored 28 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. ignited the new-look Hawks to a 114-99 victory over the Washington Wizards in their season opener Thursday night.

Howard grabbed 19 rebounds to go along with 11 points, just what the Hawks expected from their new center, and it certainly wasn't unusual for three-time All-Star Millsap to lead the way in scoring.

But Hardaway's performance was totally unexpected given the way he struggled in his first season with the Hawks, when he was largely confined to the bench and even forced to spend time in the D-League.

He scored 21 points, matching his high in an Atlanta uniform, and broke open a close game with back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth. The Hawks, who led only 81-80 heading to the final period, outscored the Wizards 33-19 over the final 12 minutes (see full recap).

Report: Sixers exec Jason Wiley led meeting on national anthem issue

Report: Sixers exec Jason Wiley led meeting on national anthem issue

The Sixers' meeting on Thursday to address the national anthem situation on opening night was led by VP of Content and Integrated Marketing Jason Wiley, John Gonzalez reported.

Wiley and team executives decided not to have Sevyn Streeter perform the national anthem because she wore a "We Matter" shirt, according to the report. The team had concerns Streeter would have further protests. 

A member of the Sixers' dance team performed in her place.

Wiley helped book Streeter, according to the report, and had previously worked for Bad Boy Records and had music industry contacts.

CBS3 reported Thursday that Streeter had signed a contract that barred her from making a political statement during the performance (see story).

The Sixers discussed the incident and are considering options on how to address it (see story).

“I think the team, not only do we want to speak up on the matter that happened yesterday, but I feel like we’re now starting to push, like it’s not just about saying something, it’s about making a difference,” Nik Stauskas said. “It’s about going out there and doing something. So we don’t really know what we’re going to do yet, but I know a lot of guys on this team are eager to go out there and make a difference one way or another.”