Gordon Hayward

Celtics Notes: Hayward, Smart, Irving, Baynes

Plans have been delayed for Celtics forward Gordon Hayward to start joining the team on road trips, according to Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. The Celtics want Hayward, who suffered a brutal ankle injury on opening night, to do more conditioning and strength work on an anti-gravity treadmill before clearing him to travel.

“It doesn’t look like it’s any time in the next couple of weeks,” coach Brad Stevens said. “We talked the other day. He’s gonna do another alter-G process or progress starting on Sunday where he goes from 60 percent of his body weight all the way to 100, and then once he gets to 100 — once he can do stuff where he’s running or jumping, then it makes sense to bring him on the road.”

Hayward has said he hasn’t given up hope of playing again before the season ends. However, Stevens reiterated that the plan has always been to bring Hayward on the road for camaraderie and emotional support, rather than as an on-court contributor.

There’s more today out of Boston:

  • Marcus Smart feels fortunate that he didn’t put himself out for the rest of the season when he punched a picture frame last month, relays Chris Forsberg of ESPN. Smart was sidelined for 11 games with lacerations on his right hand, but doctors told him a piece of glass barely missed shredding two tendons near the pinky on his shooting hand. A little further over and Smart probably would have needed season-ending surgery. “So, [the doctors said],’You should go play the lotto or something because you missed your tendons,'” Smart said. “They don’t understand it. They don’t really see how. So I thank God for that every day. It could have been worse.”
  • Even though he asked to be traded, Kyrie Irving had a lot of adjustments to make when he was sent from Cleveland to Boston over the offseason. “Been a lot of newness, honestly,” he said in an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols. “It’s an adjustment in itself. Being with a totally different group of guys, trying to bridge that gap with our group and trying to be my best self with our group. It’s been awesome. Trying at times, but well worth it.” 
  • Center Aron Baynes is sitting out another game tonight with a sprained left elbow, the Celtics tweeted. He will undergo an MRI on Sunday to determine the extent of the damage, relays Jay King of MassLive“He’s still sore,” Stevens told reporters. “But he’ll see our team docs and do the MRI thing tomorrow.”

Atlantic Notes: Belinelli, Fultz, Mudiay, Hayward

Marco Belinelli should provide a boost to the Sixers‘ offense when he signs with the team later this week, writes Sarah Todd of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Belinelli reached a buyout agreement with the Hawks and was officially waived Friday, allowing him to clear waivers today. He announced his intentions to join the Sixers on Saturday night, throwing in a “TRUST THE PROCESS” tweet for added emphasis.

The 31-year-old has been a deadly 3-point shooter throughout his 11-year career and is hitting at a .372 clip from long distance this season while averaging 11.4 points per game. He was part of a title-winning Spurs team in 2014 and will bring some playoff experience to a relatively young roster. He also has a reputation as a clutch shooter and won’t mind taking a shot with a game on the line.

The addition of Belinelli makes it less likely that rookie Markelle Fultz will return this season, according to Todd. It should also cut into the playing time of Jerryd Bayless and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Fultz’s shooting problems appear to be more mental than physical, suggests Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers‘ top overall pick has missed 49 straight games with a “scapular muscle imbalance” in his right shoulder. However, the Sixers issued a statement on December 9 that the muscle imbalance had healed and Fultz no longer had pain in his shoulder. Another team statement in early January said he was cleared “to begin the final stage of his return-to-play program.” However, there has been no progress since then and no guarantee that Fultz will be back this season.
  • Emmanuel Mudiay posted a double-double and kicked the Knicks into a higher gear in his debut game with the team this afternoon, relates Marc Berman of The New York Post. Mudiay, who hasn’t practiced yet with his new team, put up 14 points and 10 assists in 29 minutes off the bench. Veteran Jarrett Jack kept his starting job, but played just the first four minutes of each half. “When we bring in another point guard and young kid in Emmanuel, we have to look at things,’’ coach Jeff Hornacek said about a possible lineup change. “We have a couple more games before the break. Then when we come back we have a few practices before that first game. If we’re going to do something, that will be the time.”
  • The Celtics still plan to start taking injured forward Gordon Hayward on road trips beginning next month, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Hayward continues to make progress from the fractured ankle he suffered on opening night, but he remains unlikely to return to the court before the season ends.

Atlantic Notes: Hayward, Celtics, Luwawu-Cabarrot, Casey

Despite the progress Gordon Hayward has made in rehabbing his fractured left ankle, Celtics coach Brad Stevens reiterated to reporters tonight that he doesn’t expect Hayward to play again this season, tweets Chris Forsberg of ESPN.

Hayward has discarded his walking boot, and a recent report suggested he could start traveling with the team on a regular basis in March. However, he still has a long way to go in recovering from the devastating injury he suffered on opening night.

“He makes a lot of shots standing still,” Stevens said. “I mean, a lot. Like, he’s a heck of a standstill shooter now. And he’s really good in a chair, too. But nothing new. We don’t anticipate him being back this season.”

There’s more Atlantic Division news to pass along:

  • The Celtics held a team meeting in Los Angeles this week in the midst of a four-game losing streak, Forsberg writes in a full story. The streak was the first difficult stretch of the season for a team that remains at the top of the Eastern Conference, and players said called the meeting positive and productive. “When you’re hitting a lull of losing games, you can tend to go your own direction and try to figure it out on your own,” Kyrie Irving said. “For us, we have great leadership at the top with Brad, and he echoes a message to us leaders on the team, and then we go out there and try to maximize that opportunity of getting better every single day. And I think that we did a great job of just putting everything out on the table. And it’s just about being professional and going out there and executing.”
  • A move to the starting lineup has brought out the best in Sixers swingman Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. With J.J. Redick and Jerryd Bayless injured, Luwawu-Cabarrot made his fourth straight start Friday and is posting the best numbers of his career. “When you get more minutes, you have more time to prove yourself,” he said, “play our game and have fun on the basketball court. That was the biggest difference.”
  • Dwane Casey sometimes gets overlooked in discussions about the NBA’s best coaches, but he has a strong reputation around the league, notes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Casey has the Raptors in second place in the East and is one win away from being named head coach of the team captained by LeBron James in the All-Star Game. “They’ve been building this for a long time, since he won a championship in Dallas and he became the head coach here,” Kevin Durant said recently. “He changed the culture and they play extremely hard. He’s a great coach. I’m glad he’s still here. I’m glad he’s still pushing. They’re one of the best teams in the league.”

Atlantic Notes: Williams, Hayward, Lee, Raptors

Lou Williams seemed like a reasonable target for the Celtics a few weeks ago, but his recent scoring surge and the Clippers’ rise in the Western Conference standings has put him out of their reach, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Williams is posting career-best numbers at age 31, averaging 23.3 points per game and shooting better than 40% on 3-pointers. L.A. has climbed back to .500 after a slow start and is just a half-game behind Denver for the final playoff spot.

The Celtics are hoping to find additional scoring punch to make up for the loss of Gordon Hayward, who suffered a devastating ankle injury on opening night. With Williams out of the picture, Blakely suggests the Grizzlies’ Tyreke Evans might be able to provide short-term help in Boston.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Hayward continues to make progress and could begin traveling with the Celtics on a regular basis in March, Blakely adds in a separate story. He’s with the team on its western swing and will remain in California after tonight’s game to get a change of scenery as he recovers. The team wants to make sure Hayward can handle rehab work without an ultra-gravity machine before he becomes a regular on road trips. Coach Brad Stevens cautioned that Hayward has “a long way to go” before he can think about playing again.
  • After a decade in the league, Knicks guard Courtney Lee isn’t easily affected by trade rumors, relays Anthony Rieber of Newsday. Lee is scoring a career-best 13.7 points per game, but there have been whispers that New York may send him to a contender before next month’s trade deadline. “I’ve been in this league 10 years, been traded a couple times,” Lee said. “It’s nothing new. Only thing you can do is control what you can control, show up, be professional, do your work, go hard and leave it all out on the floor and whatever happens happens. I understand a lot about this NBA. It’s a business first and foremost. It comes with the territory, so I definitely understand.”
  • The Raptors have a legitimate chance to land the top seed in the East, but they still have problems that might not be fixable before the trade deadline, according to Michael Grange of SportsNet. Toronto ranks 26th in the league in 3-point shooting percentage, Norman Powell has nearly fallen out of the rotation and the offense relies on DeMar DeRozan as much as ever. An extra shooter or two would help, but Grange expects the team to focus on the players already on the roster rather than go after a short-term addition.

Atlantic Notes: Hayward, Eddie, Williams, Hood, Raptors

The Celtics suffered their third straight loss, a 105-93 defeat to the Magic on Sunday, putting an end to a horrific week for the team with the best record in the Eastern Conference. This recent stretch highlights how much the Celtics miss Gordon Hayward, who went down with a season-ending ankle injury on opening night, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes.

Hayward, along with Kyrie Irving, was one of two major offseason acquisition designed to help Boston maintain and improve upon their first-place finish in the East last season. However, on nights where Irving sits due to injury or the Celtics need an added offensive punch, they miss Hayward’s shooting and scoring abilities.

Despite the rough stretch, the Celtics still have the best record in their conference at 34-13, two games ahead of the Raptors.

Check out other news from the Atlantic Division below:

Jazz Notes: Favors, Sefolosha, Exum

The Jazz have been charged with the task of growing and developing their way into the postseason all over again, Gordon Monson of The Salt Lake Tribune writes. All things considered, they’re off to a decent start.

The scribe offers up a scathing critique of how Gordon Hayward handled his exit from Utah, suggesting that Hayward left the team out in the cold, unlike ex-Pacers star Paul George, who at least gave Indiana’s front office a clear heads up that he had an interest in leaving.

While Monson sheds light on a handful of the assets on board in Utah, from trade candidate Derrick Favors to underwhelming fourth-year forward Rodney Hood, he also places some blame on general manager Dennis Lindsey for not having a better read on the Hayward situation prior to last offseason.

Of course the best thing going for the Jazz is their core duo of Rudy Gobert and rookie Donovan Mitchell. Everything will revolve around those two players, Monson says — that’s a particularly intriguing thought for Utah, considering that Gobert is just 25 years old while Mitchell is 21.

There’s more from the Jazz today:

  • As the trade deadline draws closer, Derrick Favors is hearing his name pop up in more and more speculation. The 26-year-old has managed to successfully tune out the conversation thus far, Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News writes.
  • In the same feature for The Deseret News, Woodyard reports that forward Thabo Sefolosha‘s knee surgery went successfully on Wednesday.
  • After being cleared for non-contact basketball activities, Jazz guard Dante Exum has set his sights on returning to action after the All-Star Break, Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune writes. Exum damaged ligaments in his shoulder during preseason.

Celtics Notes: One-And-Dones, Hayward, Morris

The Celtics may represent the best example of one-and-done collegiate players thriving at the NBA level, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes, citing the recent success of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum as the reasons why.

I’ve been real impressed with our last two guys who came from college, played one year,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “They were obviously ready for a lot of the demands of the NBA.”

Of course not every player that comes out of college early can step up for their team out of the gates, Blakely mentions former first overall pick and current Celtics G League affiliate player Anthony Bennett as one particularly notorious example.

There’s more Celtics news this afternoon:

  • Although an image circulated today of Gordon Hayward not wearing an ankle brace, the timeline for his recovery hasn’t changed, Abby Chin of NBC Sports Boston says. Per president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, the organization is still of the mindset that Hayward will play next year.
  • Since his return from a knee injury last month, the Celtics have been cautious with Marcus Morris. Now, NBC Sports Boston’s A. Sherrod Blakely writes, his minute restriction has been lifted.
  • While he could have made more money by continuing to play in Europe, Celtics rookie Daniel Theis didn’t want to miss his opportunity to play in the NBA. Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald spoke with the forward about his decision to come over.

Atlantic Notes: Sessions, Kanter, Hayward, Brown

Ramon Sessions may be in his last days with the Knicks, but the issue isn’t being addressed behind the scenes, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. New York reportedly wants to sign guard Trey Burke from its G League affiliate, but first it must create a roster opening. Sessions, who started the season’s first three games but has barely played since, seems like the prime candidate to be waived.

“This is my 10th team if you count Milwaukee and Charlotte twice, so I know how it works,” he said before tonight’s game. “I come in here and do my job, and the rest will take care of itself, man. I’ve been in the league since 2007 now. I’ve heard it all. I’ve been traded plenty of times. For me, it’s just like another day, just waking up and doing what I do.”

Sessions added that he hasn’t talked about his status with coach Jeff Hornacek or anybody in the front office. He signed a one-year, $2.33MM contract over the summer, but once Jarrett Jack took over as the starting point guard, Sessions’ primary responsibility has been working as a mentor to rookie Frank Ntilikina.

There’s more tonight from the Atlantic Division:

  • Enes Kanter is baffled by his new role in the Knicks‘ rotation, Berman adds in a separate story. Kanter is still the starter and he puts up double-doubles most nights, but he hasn’t played in the fourth quarter of the last five games coming into tonight. Hornacek has been trying to find minutes for four centers, which has reduced Kanter’s playing time. “What’d [Hornacek] say,” Kanter asked. “I have no idea why. I guess it’s a little weird. I have no idea. I look at the coach. He look at me. OK? I’ll sit on the bench.’’
  • Celtics fans were excited to see a photo posted by president of basketball operations Danny Ainge of Gordon Hayward without his ankle brace, but coach Brad Stevens told A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston not to read too much into it. “This is exactly what they thought the timeline would be like, just being out of a brace,” Stevens said. “There’s a long way to go.” Hayward continues to make progress in his recovery from a fractured left ankle, but Stevens added that the timeline hasn’t changed.
  • Sixers coach Brett Brown told reporters in London that he doesn’t like to hear Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons or any of his other young players being referred to as stars, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “We don’t yet have stars,” Brown said. “We don’t have any championships. We don’t have any all-stars. Like, we are very much at the foundation to get to where you just brought us too quickly, in my opinion. I’m the coach. I have to keep it real.”

Celtics Planned To Use Hayward As No. 2 Playmaker

The Celtics planned to run a Warriors-style offense this season prior to Gordon Hayward‘s serious leg injury on opening night, Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated reports. The coaching staff wanted to utilize Hayward as a second ballhandler with Kyrie Irving running the attack. Many of Boston’s sets centered around Irving and Hayward playing a two-man game in the mold of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson with the Boston duo making plays off weakside screens and pindowns, Jenkins continues. Forward Al Horford would have also had a playmaking role, much like the Warriors’ Draymond Green, spacing the floor and distributing the ball to cutters. Without Hayward, Irving has been relied upon more as a scorer and Horford’s playmaking duties have been expanded, Jenkins adds.

Other nuggets from the SI piece on Hayward include:

  • GM Danny Ainge sees a healthy Hayward as the missing piece to a championship team. “What do we need? A versatile 6’8” defender who can switch one through four, handle the ball, create offense for others and make shots,” Ainge told Jenkins. “That’s what we need. That’s Gordon Hayward.”
  • It’s not out of the question Hayward could return this season if the Celtics make a deep playoff run. Hayward is trying to be realistic about his situation, so that he doesn’t set himself up for disappointment. “Wishing to be on the court, trying to be on the court, those are the thoughts that kept me up at night,” he told Jenkins.
  • Hayward’s predicament led to deeper bond among his teammates. That helped the Celtics get off to a strong start without him. “I think Gordon’s injury made us closer,” guard Terry Rozier told Jenkins.

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Vinsanity, Hayward

While they may not be touted as the much anticipated products of The Process, NBA veterans like J.J. Redick, Jerryd Bayless and Amir Johnson have had a major impact on the Sixers, Ian Begley of ESPN writes.

Unlike token veterans who the Sixers have employed in the past like Jason Richardson and Elton Brand, both established players in the twilight of their careers, players like Redick, Bayless and Johnson still suit up and play for the squad every night.

To now have players sweating on the court that can add the leadership in real time, instead of something static in a video room — that is priceless,” head coach Brett Brown said. “I think the abundance we have this year and the fact that they play, the combination is powerful, and I appreciate [Sixers president and general manager] Bryan Colangelo helping me, helping us design the team with that in mind.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

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