Celtics Notes: Smart, Theis, Hauser, Open Roster Spots

The Celtics blew out the rival 76ers on Tuesday by a score of 135-87 and now have the best net rating (+5.5) of any team in the Eastern Conference. Currently the No. 6 seed in the East, Boston is just 3.5 games back of the first-place Heat and Bulls.

However, Tuesday’s resounding win was marred slightly by the departure of Marcus Smart, who didn’t return to the game after spraining his right ankle in the second quarter, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

The Celtics are assessing the severity of the injury today, but head coach Ime Udoka said on Tuesday night that Smart “rolled his ankle pretty bad,” so it seems unlikely we’ll see him back on the court on Wednesday in the team’s last game before the All-Star break.

“We’ll check him out tonight, obviously tomorrow, see how he feels,” Udoka said after the win, per Bontemps. “Didn’t look very good walking out, but we’ll see.”

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • Speaking to reporters after being traded back to the Celtics following a brief stint with the Rockets, center Daniel Theis said it feels good to be back in a familiar spot. “I wouldn’t say (I was) shocked,” Theis said (Twitter link via Jared Weiss of The Athletic). “I was kind of relieved, happy. Houston just didn’t work out for me as I planned it. If I could’ve been traded, I wanted it to be here.”
  • Sam Hauser‘s new contract with the Celtics is a minimum-salary deal that covers next season as well as the rest of 2021/22, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. Boston has a team option for the 2022/23 season and Hauser would be assured of a $300K partial guarantee if that option is exercised, Smith adds.
  • The Celtics still have three open spots on their 15-man roster after promoting Hauser and signing Luke Kornet. However, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston doesn’t think the club should be in a rush to fill them until confirming whether or not Jaylen Brown will be named an All-Star replacement, since Brown’s All-Star bonus would move team salary much closer to the luxury tax line. Even after that, Forsberg isn’t convinced Boston needs to scour the buyout market for more veterans, suggesting it might make more sense to call up a prospect or two from the G League. President of basketball operations Brad Stevens has acknowledged that’s a possibility.
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