Kyrie Irving is calming any concerns the Celtics may have about his condition heading into training camp, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Irving sat out the postseason after an operation to relieve an infection in his left knee, but has looked fully healthy in pickup games with teammates this month.
“He’s worked really hard,” coach Brad Stevens said after watching Irving. “I think he’s excited … it’s good to see that.”
Boston has two All-Stars returning from injury, with Gordon Hayward trying to complete his comeback from ankle surgery. Stevens, who plans a light workload for both players in terms of preseason minutes, said Hayward’s progress has been encouraging to watch.
“He’s been really diligent all the way through his rehab and progressing to each step,” Stevens said. “I watched him go all the way through the steps of working out to 1-on-1, 2-on-2, 3-on-3 and now he can play some of the open gyms some of the guys are having.”
There’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Twenty-nine-year-old Celtics rookie Brad Wanamaker is trying to earn a spot on one of the deepest teams in the league, Blakely writes in a player profile. Wanamaker comes to Boston with a history of success, capturing all-league honors in the EuroLeague and Turkey and playing on championship teams in Germany, Turkey and the G League.
- Elton Brand’s meteoric rise through the Sixers‘ front office may convince more franchises to take chances on former players in management roles, suggests Michael Walton of NBC Sports Chicago. After Brand’s 17-year playing career ended in 2016, he joined Philadelphia’s front office later that year as a player development consultant. He was named GM of the organization’s G League affiliate in Delaware in August of 2017, then was promoted to Sixers’ GM this week. Philadelphia will also continue its unique front office structure, with Brand and coach Brett Brown serving as partners on personnel decisions, which is an approach Walton believes may be adopted by other teams if it is successful.
- Sixers guard Markelle Fultz talks about the mechanics of his jump shot and a frustrating rookie season in a Players Tribune video that was posted this morning. Fultz, who demonstrates his new shooting form, is joined on the video by Nuggets guard Isaiah Thomas, who is also coming off a difficult season.