Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Walker, Irving, Toppin

After having three straight games postponed due to coronavirus issues, the Celtics will likely be able to return to the court Friday night, according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press. All-Star forward Jayson Tatum will remain sidelined after testing positive last week, but four other players are expected to receive clearance in time for the game against Orlando.

“I don’t think there’s an easy answer here,” coach Brad Stevens said after today’s shootaround, which marked the first time his players have been on the court together since Sunday. “This is a difficult time around the country. This pandemic is as rampant as it’s ever been and obviously we’re feeling some of that despite the great precautions and great steps we’re taking not to.”

The NBA is dealing with its worst stretch of COVID-19 issues since the season began. Nine games have been postponed so far, with eight of those coming this week. The league is considering expanded testing that would provide same-day results on game days.

“We’re like everyone else,” Stevens said. “We appreciate the opportunity to gather. We appreciate the opportunity to be together. We appreciate the opportunity to play the game we love and when it’s taken away for a week or four months that’s hard. And the rest of the world’s dealing with that in every which way, so for us to complain about it … would be insensitive to everything else that’s going on in the world.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Celtics guard Kemba Walker is getting closer to making his season debut, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Stevens said Walker, who has been sidelined by soreness in his left knee, went “full” in today’s session, which was focused on drills.
  • Just as coach Steve Nash did Wednesday, Nets general manager Sean Marks refused to get into specifics about Kyrie Irving‘s absence during a session with reporters today, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Irving is away from the team for personal reasons and there’s no set date for his return. “I don’t want to speculate and say why he’s out,” Marks said. “I’ve had conversations with him. I’ll continue to have conversations. … You also hope there is a more than adequate excuse as to why he needs personal time. He will address that without a doubt.”
  • Knicks rookie Obi Toppin returned Wednesday after missing three weeks with a strained left calf, but he only played 57 seconds, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. “I’m super excited to be back,” Toppin said before the game. “I’m a little rusty. But I’ll be ready when Coach calls my name.”
  • Knicks free agent addition Taj Gibson received a rest-of-season veteran’s minimum contract, Berman adds in the same story.
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33 thoughts on “Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Walker, Irving, Toppin

  1. Black Ace57

    If Irving doesn’t have a truly good excuse and the team doesn’t suspend him the league should step in. Enough is enough.

    • Rocket32

      Black Ace57 Once Kyrie comes back to join Harden and KD, that Nets lockeroom is gonna be a whole sitcom.

    • buttholesurfer69

      It’s hard to imagine what the excuse is at this point, given the tone of the GM and Nash. Clearly it’s just Irving going off the rails yet again.

      They probably won’t do this but IMO the smart move would be to flip Kyrie for some of the depth they lost to get Harden. Then make a run w/ Harden + KD for the next 2-3 years.

      • Nbabrothers

        The Nets are going to be fine. I’m a Knicks fan, but I believe that Kyrie will come to his senses and start playing again because we got Harden.

        • 123Redsox

          You are a Knicks fan or a nets fan? … you claim to be a Knicks fan, yet you talk like a nets fan and just referred to the nets as “we”… lol. You think the guy that claims the world is flat will “come to his senses”, cmon man.

  2. mlbnyyfan

    Why didn’t the Nets just trade Olidipo for Lavert straight up and keep Allen and draft picks. Or possibly go after Beal instead of Harden.

  3. KnickerbockerAl

    I would’ve gone after Beal. Why bring in another diva an out of shape diva at that.

    Knicks need to take their time with Toppin. No need to rush the rebuild. Need to get healthy start playing these players. We want to trade away (Smith, Nttilikina). I’m all for trading Randle and moving him while he’s at peak value. Toppin is the future at PF here. No need to panic with the loses. Long season and 30 wins or more is very good. I rather a high pick in draft. At least a lottery pick 13-15.

    • mlbnyyfan

      I think the should trade Randle also. If they can get a first round pick for Morris hopefully they get one for Randle and more

    • Not to mention that Beal’s style of play is a lot more malleable than Harden’s. Harden’s style completely takes over an offense.

      • KnickerbockerAl

        I can tell you that ain’t going to fly with KD and Kyrie. If Harden doesn’t fit in and play team ball. They will have issues. It’s worth watching.

        • buttholesurfer69

          I think it’s more likely Kyrie causes the issue. He’s going to have to be in the Kevin Love / Chris Bosh slot here

          Guy barely wanted to play as a #2 option. I don’t see him being thrilled with being pushed a slot back

      • buttholesurfer69

        I don’t disagree but it doesn’t seem like Beal was available

        Also tbh Nets didn’t have great assets to offer other than a litany of (most likely) mediocre picks. I think they got lucky that Harden wanted to go there and Philly seemed to be either uninterested or driving a hard bargain

        So even if Beal became available I could easily see Philly/Den/Port/Bos, etc outbidding Brooklyn

    • Nbabrothers

      I agree that Obi is our pf of the future. I also believe the Quickley is our pg of the future. When he’s in the pace always quickens and he creates plays because of his limitless shooting range.

  4. Brian stanaway

    Lavert had an injury, so did oladipo.
    Now they need some bigs, be interesting to see who they get, may as well go all in now

    • mlbnyyfan

      I wonder if Taj Gibson wishes he waited to sign his deal. The Nets have an open roster spots and need players who can defend and rebound. Maybe Tyson Chandler comes out of retirement

      • KnickerbockerAl

        Taj would be good for them, too bad lol. Faried is still out there. I’m surprised he’s not signed. They probably sign Shumpert

  5. Chris_Favreau

    So what name are we going with for this tv drama? Days of our Nets? One Nets to Live? Nets Hospital? The Bold and the Nets? Netsas? The Nets and the Restless?

    • Chris_Favreau

      They have all of the shot making/playmaking that you could ask for…. But the D is an absolute turnstyle in the backcourt. Generally speaking it’s been offense>defense in the regular season, but tends to become defense>offense in the playoffs.

      • Brian stanaway

        The truth is in the numbers there mate. Sit back and watch the show with a big bag of chippadillys I say

    • Nbabrothers

      Knicks need to get rid of Nitlikina, DSJ, Payton, and only keep Randle (off the bench) 30 min., Obi (starting) 30min., Quickley (starting), 30 min., RJ, 30 min., Knox 30 min., and Mitchell 30min. as their starters. Also keep Burcs 30 min.That’s seven player rotation equaling 240 minutes-48 minutes per position.

  6. gibba192471

    Thank God the Celtics did not re-sign Irving …. Thank God!!! Another Scumbag NY team getting just what it deserves! This implosion should be epic ….

  7. KnickerbockerAl

    I got one “The fat, The skinny, The emotional“ .
    Who will lead today ??

    Don’t forget Celts got Hayward TE. They could pick up Drummond or Horford. Either one makes them strong for a Title run imo.

    • Walladipo and Wood

      I get that the Beard is the fat, but does that make KD skinny or emotional?

      • KnickerbockerAl

        I’d say Kyrie is way more emotional. I mean even current events make him feel like he can’t play. And KD not only is he slim. But he seems to have the skinny on players.

  8. x%sure

    I suspect Irving has been doing this thing to encourage GM Marks to go through with the Harden trade. Irving’s absence was one of the reasons mentioned for the Nets getting it done finally. He will be questioned when he comes back but I doubt it would be smart to say he was pushing Marks… and politically correct to say he was so socially concerned.

    But Irving is probably feeling quite satisfied right now.

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