Cavs’ Dan Gilbert, Koby Altman dance around Kyrie Irving trade talks

Kyrie Irving met with Cavaliers brass after the season was over and something was said. It has been widely reported that Irving asked for a trade, and what may be more telling than anything is the Cavaliers are not denying that.

In Koby Altman’s introduction as the Cavs general manager Wednesday, the very first question asked was about Irving’s reported request for a trade. The answer was veiled but telling and it certainly appears that Irving asked for a trade. Neither Altman nor owner Dan Gilbert denied it.

One referee either didn’t get the message or ignored it, as she slapped Ball with a technical foul Friday. After he threatened to pull his team off the court, she was removed from the game.

Adidas acknowledged it was the company’s decision to take the ref off the game.

There was some miscommunication, said Chris Rivers, Adidas director of global basketball sports marketing, per ESPN. The NBA don’t put certain people with certain guys, either. If there’s a history or miscommunication, that happens.

During his team’s win Thursday, Ball told a different ref, You’re the worst (expletive) ref who ever lived.

Said the source, Under normal circumstances, the sideline behavior, including profanity and sideline antics, would have demanded a technical foul under the category of disrespecting the game.

But, the source added, Due to strong messaging (from Adidas) to extend those guidelines in an effort to keep (LaVar Ball) in the gym, the officiating crew felt uncomfortable enforcing the technical foul rule for actions that clearly warranted (action).

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Former first-round pick Shane Larkin signing with Celtics, report says

The Celtics’ roster continues to evolve.

Boston reportedly is making moves to sign Shane Larkin, ESPN.com reported Thursday.

The free agent point guard spent last season in Spain playing for Saski Baskonia, where he averaged 13.8 points, 5.4 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game.

By trying to compete for a spot on Boston’s starting lineup, Larkin bypassed a $6.3 million contract with Saski Baskonia.

A first-round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Larkin played one season for the Mavericks, one with the Knicks and one with the Nets before going overseas.

The Celtics on Friday made their four-year, $128 million signing of Gordon Hayward official after juggling their roster to fit him under the salary cap.

Only Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, and Jaylen Brown were on the team last season.

Alas, there is ego to consider. Gilbert was not much fond of the accolades Griffin got for the Cavs’ success. He is the owner. He wanted his glory, but that went to Griffin all too often. Gilbert, who signs the luxury-tax checks and does get involved in personnel matters, perhaps deserved more credit than he got for the Cavs’ recent run.

But so what? That’s part of being an owner. You’re better off behind the scenes, and when your name is in the media, it’s probably not for good reasons. I’m reminded of former Jets owner Leon Hess, who was so publicity-shy that one confidante said of him, Leon Hess pays people to keep his name out of the papers.

And so Griffin was shuttled out, followed by a half-baked plan to bring in popular former player Chauncey Billups to run the basketball outfit on a cheap contract. Billups turned that down, and the Cavaliers — the envy of the league a year ago — have looked to be short on competence since.

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Nets eye Chinese buyers, hoping for $2B sale, report says

The Nets are hoping to squeeze $2 billion out of a Chinese buyer of the NBA team, the New York Post reported.

The investment bank representing team owner and Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov already has heard from several interested parties, according to the report, which said one has been trying to box out others in the sale process.

Irving, of course, blindsided LeBron James and Co. when the news broke late Friday he had asked the team to trade him in a meeting last week. The No. 1 overall pick of the 2011 draft and four-time All-Star has averaged 21.6 points, 5.5. assists and 3.4 rebounds in six seasons for Cleveland. Anthony, a member of the infamous Banana Boat crew alongside James, has averaged 24.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists a game in his seven years in New York.

The Cavs’ latest trade talks are indicative of an organization in flux: They made it to their third consecutive NBA Finals against the Warriors, but were manhandled in five games in a 4-1 series loss this year. The Cavs have since tried to make several moves to close the gap between them and Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the rest of the superteam in Oakland.

They nearly pulled the trigger on a deal that would have sent Paul George to Cleveland. They also low-balled Chauncey Billups in the team’s search for a new GM. The team has reportedly agreed to terms with Koby Altman to fill that role. He’s got a big mess to clean up.

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