Atlantic Notes: Kawhi, Sixers, Kanter, Smart

While it remains to be seen what version of Kawhi Leonard we – and the Raptors – will see in 2018/19 after the star forward missed all but nine games last season, the early reports on his health sound positive. A league source tells Ashish Mathur of Amico Hoops that Leonard looks “remarkable” during his summer workouts, and is at 100% after battling a troublesome quad injury for the better part of a year.

We should probably take those rave reviews of Leonard’s workouts with a grain of salt, given the anonymous nature of the source, but good news is still preferable to bad. The Raptors will enter the 2018/19 season with two crucial Leonard-related questions — is he healthy, and will he considered re-signing? Kawhi’s health is the more pressing issue in the short term, so Toronto should be encouraged by the progress being made by the former Finals MVP.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • In addition to announcing several front office promotions today, the Sixers also indicated that assistant coach Kevin Young has been promoted to the front of the team’s bench this season. Jim O’Brien, formerly an assistant on Brett Brown‘s staff, will now serve as a senior advisor to the head coach, per the club. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the changes.
  • In a conversation with ESPN’s Royce Young, Enes Kanter insisted that his decision to exercise his player option and remain with the Knicks in June wasn’t actually made until deadline day. Kanter had long been expected to opt in, but didn’t confirm the move until June 29. Kanter’s discussion with Young also includes some interesting comments about his home country of Turkey.
  • A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston doesn’t expect Marcus Smart‘s lucrative new contract with the Celtics to have any negative effects on his on-court production or effort in 2018/19, pointing out that Smart is still hungry for greater individual and team accomplishments.
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