Cavs vs. Celtics can’t get here soon enough



Good morning. We have that and more in Thursday’s NBA newsletter.

The NBA season tips off in just five days (!!!), and it tips off with the Boston Celtics vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers, an Eastern Conference Finals rematch. These teams already didn’t like each other, and that was before the events of this summer, primarily the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade.

We have developments on that front.

First, Thomas went in on Celtics president Danny Ainge in a profile by SI‘s Lee Jenkins. Here’s what he said: “I might not ever talk to Danny again. That might not happen. I’ll talk to everybody else. But what he did, knowing everything I went through, you don’t do that, bro. That’s not right. I’m not saying eff you. But every team in this situation comes out a year or two later and says, ‘We made a mistake.’ That’s what they’ll say, too.” You know how you can tell Isaiah is real mad? It’s where he says “I’m not saying eff you. But …” Right there.

Meanwhile, Irving said this reporters Wednesday: “Boston, I’m driving in and (thinking), ‘I’m really playing in a real, live sports city?'” Yikes, man.

Five days. Five days until Irving faces the wrath of the Cleveland crowd and the wrath of LeBron James. Thomas will have to wait longer to exact punishment on Boston — he’s recovering from that irksome hip injury — but it’s coming, too. We’re gonna need more popcorn, folks.

This Jordan Brenner piece on Jahlil Okafor — who sees himself as a scapegoat for the problems with The Process, and a Sixer who is not really a Sixer — is excellent and melancholy.

I wrote about how the Sixers’ Joel Embiid contract protections guard them from a Brandon Roy situation. Speaking of JoJo, he played last night … and scored 22 points in 15 minutes.

The charcuterie board that created the Warriors’ offense.

Andrew Wiggins got around to signing the max contract extension the Timberwolves offered.

It appears that Carmelo Anthony’s signature sneaker will be discontinued by Jordan Brand. Jordan did just invest heavily in Melo’s new teammate Russell Westbrook. Hopefully this doesn’t spark any resentment!

MORE DION WAITERS.

Remember when Lonzo Ball said Migos and Future, not Nas, were real rap? Someone in Ball’s camp wore a shirt that replaced Nas’ face with Ball’s on a shopped Illmatic cover. Cold word.

All hail the Shammgod.

Condoleeza Rice is going to chair a committee tasked with reforming NCAA basketball. It’s a pretty high-powered committee overall. One item the committee is set to tackle that is of interest: potential changes to NCAA eligibility rules to address the impact of the NBA’s age minimum and the resulting “one-and-done” scheme.

The Euroleague season is getting underway. Here’s a primer.

Rajon Rondo on his goal of becoming an NBA head coach.

Michael Pina talks to Kevin McHale about the upcoming season.

Stay tuned at SBNation.com/NBA on Thursday — our season preview package is due to hit!