Jaylen Brown

Injury Updates: Hayward, Irving, Smith Jr., Harris

Celtics‘ president of basketball operations Danny Ainge believes he gave the wrong impression this week when he said Gordon Hayward suffered a setback in his rehab, relays Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Looking back, Ainge believes “setback” was too strong a term and created inaccurate headlines about Hayward’s progress.

“What happened is he went on the AlterG [anti-gravity treadmill] the first day and he felt some soreness,” the Celtics’ top decision-maker explained. “It was the first day he tried the AlterG, a long time ago. He just wasn’t ready for it at that point. That’s all it was. So I think ‘setback’ is the wrong way to put it. I mis-phrased that. I’m not sure what the right word is, but he wasn’t ready for that. So we waited a couple of weeks before we started that again, and since we started that again it’s been great and he’s progressed along on the AlterG. That’s all. It wasn’t like he had an accident or anything like that.”

Despite Ainge’s clarification, the Celtics haven’t changed their opinion that Hayward won’t return to the court this season, which has their stance since he broke his ankle on opening night. Ainge said Hayward hasn’t done any “running or even jogging or real jumping” on the practice court and there’s not enough of the season left to make a comeback realistic.

Here are a few more injury-related updates from around the NBA:

  • The Celtics continue to be cautious with Kyrie Irving, who has been limited by a sore left knee, Bulpett adds in the same story. Irving was held out of tonight’s game, and coach Brad Stevens said the star guard won’t play again until he feels 100 percent. Teammate Jaylen Brown remains in concussion protocol, but the Celtics plan to bring him on upcoming West Coast trip.
  • Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr. is wearing a walking boot after turning his left ankle in Saturday’s game, but he’s confident about playing again this season, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said the team “dodged a bullet” because Smith’s injury wasn’t more serious, but he has already been ruled out for Tuesday’s game.
  • An MRI conducted Friday on Nuggets‘ leading scorer Gary Harris showed he suffered a “sprain/strain” after landing awkwardly on his right leg, relays Gina Mizell of The Denver Post. Coach Michael Malone said Saturday that Harris could miss three or four games, but the team hopes to have him back before the end of its seven-game road trip.

Celtics Notes: Smart, Irving, Brown, Rozier, Theis

The Celtics continue to hold their breath as they wait for Marcus Smart to receive a second opinion on his right thumb injury. Postponed due to a snowstorm, Smart’s appointment to get his injury reassessed is now set for Thursday, per Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald.

As Murphy details, there’s a belief that Smart tore a ligament in his thumb — if it’s a full tear, surgery would likely be required, with the recovery potentially taking three or four months. If it’s only a partial tear, Smart may try to play through the injury. Appearing today on the Zolak & Bertrand radio show in Boston, head coach Brad Stevens downplayed the idea of a quick return for Smart, though he acknowledged there’s a variety of potential outcomes, as ESPN’s Chris Forsberg writes.

“He told me today that he’s going to take a couple of days, see what it feels like early next week, get all of the different doctors’ opinions [then] sit down early next week and weigh his options,” Stevens said. “There could be a slight chance that he’s back sooner rather than later, but I’d say that it’s not going to be any time too soon. And there’s a chance that he would not be back [this season].”

Given how much better the Celtics play defensively with Smart in the lineup, the diagnosis will be a critical one. As the club waits for more details on Smart’s thumb, let’s round up a few more C’s notes…

  • Joking that he might have to sign himself to a 10-day contract to help plug the holes in the Celtics’ lineup, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he thinks Kyrie Irving is “going to be fine,” writes Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. However, a league source tells Himmelsbach that it “doesn’t look good” for Smart.
  • Stevens said today that Irving underwent an MRI on his sore knee and “everything looked great” (Twitter link via Murphy). There’s even a chance he’ll play on Friday, according to the team (Twitter link). The club also announced today that Jaylen Brown is “clearly better,” but won’t travel with the C’s on this weekend’s road trip.
  • Ainge tells Himmelsbach that the slew of injuries to Celtics regulars will give the healthy players a chance to shine: “I’ve seen many times where players that were not thought very highly of get an opportunity and make a name for themselves. So over these next couple weeks, there will be some guys that have those opportunities. We’ve seen players throughout the years that have responded, so this is a chance for some of our players to step up and see how much they can contribute to winning.”
  • Terry Rozier is one of the Celtics who figures to play a starring role with Irving, Smart, and others on the shelf. ESPN’s Chris Forsberg takes an in-depth look at the man known as “Scary Terry.”
  • Daniel Theis is scheduled to have surgery on his torn meniscus on Thursday, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Stevens confirmed today that Theis will be out for the rest of the season, tweets Himmelsbach.

Eastern Notes: Van Gundy, Bullock, Nets, Wizards, Brown

Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy won’t coach anywhere next season if he’s fired at the end of the season. Van Gundy said he’s set financially and would simply take time off, enjoying the summer at his Michigan home and winter at his Florida home. “I have all the security I need,” he said during a press conference. “If I’m not here next year, I’m not chasing jobs anywhere else.” Van Gundy is on the hot seat with the Pistons on the verge of falling out of the playoff chase.

In other news around the Eastern Conference:

  • Pistons shooting guard Reggie Bullock deserves consideration for the Most Improved Player award, Van Gundy told Hoops Rumors and other media outlets Sunday. In 41 starts this season, he’s averaged 12.6 points on 49.6 percent shooting overall and 45.4 percent from long range. Bullock, who was involved in a minor traffic accident Sunday, started just seven games in his first four seasons and never averaged more than 4.5 points per game. “You’re talking about a guy who never played over 500 minutes,” Van Gundy said. “Now he’s developed into a solid and efficient starter. That’s a hell of a big jump in a year and he should definitely be in the mix for that [award].”
  • The Nets have won just three of their last 19 games but most of them have been competitive. Coach Kenny Atkinson says his players haven’t quit on the season, mainly because many of them lack long-term security. “For the most part with our guys there’s no relax in those type of guys,” he told Tom Dowd of NBA.com. “None of us have done anything in this league, except for [Timofey Mozgov] won a championship, DeMarre [Carroll] has been to a conference final, then the rest of us, me included, we’re trying to make it.”
  • The Wizards, who have lost four of their last six, need to finish strong in their last 15 games to gain home-court advantage in the opening playoff round. They could finish anywhere from third to eighth and shooting guard Bradley Beal told the Washington’s Post Candace Buckner that they can’t afford to take nights off. “It’s not a situation where we can just sit here and say, ‘Oh okay, we can just coast into the playoffs.’ That’s not it,” he said. “We’re not even playing our best basketball either. So that’s definitely not how we want to approach going into the playoffs.”
  • Celtics forward Jaylen Brown will miss Sunday’s game against the Pacers after entering the league’s concussion protocol and could miss several more, according to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg. Brown was injured during a fall against the Timberwolves on Thursday. “I guess at some point, he becomes day-to-day, but I don’t see that happening anytime in the next couple days or week even,” coach Brad Stevens told reporters.

Injury Updates: Curry, Bell, J. Brown, Collison

After tweaking his right ankle last week, Stephen Curry twisted that same ankle during Thursday’s game against San Antonio. While Curry’s injury doesn’t appear serious, the Warriors will hold him out of their next two games on Friday and Sunday, writes Chris Haynes of ESPN.

“With Steph’s ankle injuries, it’s always a worry,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said. “Especially … he’s done it so many times where you can kind of tell immediately whether he can get through it or not by his reaction. Just by that reaction that he had tonight, it’s kind of a worry.”

Given how often Curry has tweaked or turned an ankle this season, it makes sense for the Warriors to play it safe with the former MVP. As Anthony Slater of The Athletic points out, the latest incident may also prompt the Dubs to consider adding Quinn Cook to their 15-man roster. Currently, Cook is on a two-way deal that allows him to play for the club during the regular season, but not in the postseason.

In order to make Cook playoff-eligible, the Warriors would have to convert his two-way contract into an NBA deal before the final day of the regular season. Golden State is unlikely to rush that decision, since Cook still has plenty of time left on his 45-day NBA limit, and the team would have to waive a player – possibly Omri Casspi – in order to add the guard to the 15-man roster.

Here are a few more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • The Warriors also avoided a serious ankle injury earlier this week, when Jordan Bell‘s latest sprain was deemed a minor one (video link via Slater). Even though Bell’s ankle injury isn’t considered as serious as the sprain that sidelined him for over a month earlier this season, he won’t be re-evaluated until Tuesday, tweets Melissa Rohlin of The Bay Area News Group.
  • Jaylen Brown suffered a scary fall during Thursday’s game against Minnesota, losing his grip on the rim after a dunk and hitting his head on the court. While the Celtics may initially have been having Gordon Hayward flashbacks, Brown tweeted late on Thursday night that he’s “OK” — with the exception of a headache. While Brown has avoided a worst-case scenario, he’ll continue to undergo tests and be monitored for concussion-like symptoms in the coming days, as A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes.
  • Darren Collison, who last played on February 3, has a chance to return to the Pacers‘ lineup on Friday night after recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, says Clifton Brown of The Indianapolis Star. “I had a chance to get up and down with the guys the past few days,” Collison said. “A lot of hard work trying to get back in shape. I feel really good about (Friday).” The veteran figures to come off the bench behind Cory Joseph until head coach Nate McMillan is ready to reinsert him into the starting lineup.
  • The Thunder announced today in a press release that rookie Terrance Ferguson suffered a concussion on Thursday night and has been placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Mozgov, Harris

There are a number of reasons why the Celtics didn’t make a dramatic move at the trade deadline, not least because there wasn’t a grandfather offer presented that would prompt them into action. As A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes, another motivating factor was preserving opportunities for young players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to play and develop.

We’ve got some big decisions in our franchise going forward with those young guys and and we love them all and they all bring something different to the table and we have a lot of confidence in them but yeah, bringing in other players can jeopardize their growth and development,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said.

While the article mentions Marcus Smart as another sub-23 young asset, it was Smart who was most discussed as a possible trade chip ahead of the deadline. Prior to that deadline, the Celtics insisted that they would only consider a significantly haul in exchange for the former lottery pick and obviously didn’t get one that impressed them.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors figure to be active in the buyout market, Josh Lewenberg of TSN tweets. The scribe also notes, in a second tweet, that general manager Bobby Webster reiterated that the franchise is willing to dip into the luxury tax next season.
  • With just one 20-minute showing under his belt so far this season, there’s no denying that veteran center Timofey Mozgov‘s role is limited. Despite the lack of playing time, however, Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes that Mozgov and the Nets haven’t discussed a buyout.
  • The Nets view 26-year-old shooting guard Joe Harris as a potential part of their core, Zach Lowe of ESPN writes. In 54 games this season, Harris has averaged 10.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.

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.

Celtics Pick Up 2018/19 Options On Brown, Rozier

The Celtics have picked up a pair of 2018/19 team options, locking in Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier for next season, according to RealGM’s log of official NBA transactions.

Brown’s third-year option will count against the Celtics’ cap for about $5.17MM in 2018/19, while Rozier’s fourth-year option is worth approximately $3.05MM. The Celtics will eventually have to make a fourth-year option decision on Brown, but the team’s next decision on Rozier will be whether or not to extend him during the 2018 offseason. If Rozier doesn’t sign an extension, he’ll be on track for restricted free agency in 2019.

Brown and Rozier are two of just four Celtics who finished last season in Boston and remained on the club’s opening night roster, joining Al Horford and Marcus Smart as the lone holdovers. With Gordon Hayward expected to miss the entire season and players like Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder no longer in the mix, both Brown and Rozier figure to be leaned on for increased roles in 2017/18.

So far this season, Brown has averaged 15.4 points in 33.3 minutes per contest, while Rozier has recorded 9.4 points and 5.4 rebounds in 24.6 minutes per game. Each player averaged approximately 17 MPG last year.

East Notes: Wizards, Brown, Tatum

The Wizards have gone all-in on preserving their core and head coach Scott Brooks understands just how important that can be. Brooks has, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic writes, seen what happens when a promising young roster falls apart thanks to his time with the Thunder.

We have our three players that we drafted all wanting to stay here and stay long-term,” the Wizards’ bench boss said. “That’s good. That’s good because if you don’t have your best players wanting to stay here, then nobody wants to stay here.

Thanks to Wizards’ owner Ted Leonsis‘ willingness to commit to their young players, Washington was able to match the offer sheet that the Nets signed Otto Porter to this summer and then follow that up with a supermax contract extension for John Wall.

Under their current deals, Wall, Beal and Porter will be under Wizards control for seven total years. Eight, if Porter ultimately exercises his player option for the 2020-21 season.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

Celtics Notes: Bogut, Irving, J. Brown, Tatum

It has been an eventful week in Boston, with the Celtics having acquired a four-time All-Star on Tuesday, sending Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick to Cleveland in exchange for Kyrie Irving. The NBA world is still buzzing about that deal, and we have a few more Celtics-related notes on the swap to pass along today:

  • The Celtics aren’t in a rush to fill their newly-opened 15th roster spot, but have been in touch with a few free agents this week, including veteran center Andrew Bogut, reports Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.
  • Appearing on The Bill Simmons Podcast this week, Finals MVP Kevin Durant praised Irving for standing up for himself and deciding it was time for him to move on from what seemed like a good situation in Cleveland. “He showed a lot of courage, man, because it’s hard to take that type of criticism,” said Durant (link via ESPN.com), who has some experience in that field himself.
  • Durant also suggested during that podcast appearance that Irving and the Celtics will be “perfect” for each other, as DJ Bean of CSNNE.com details. “It’s a perfect fit, because he’s a 6-foot-3 Isaiah Thomas, basically,” Durant said. “And Isaiah just thrived in that system, and then he’s got Gordon Hayward and Al Horford that are going to be able to make plays for him, too. It’s going to be pretty sweet. I think it was a great deal.”
  • Revisiting Danny Ainge‘s assertion that the Celtics “have a lot of good players, but need some great ones,” ESPN’s Chris Forsberg makes the case that Ainge’s willingness to roll the dice on Irving signals that the team is making good on that statement and raising the roof on its expectations for 2017/18.
  • Young wings Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum may end up being the biggest winners of the Irving blockbuster, according to Benny Nadeau of Basketball Insiders, who notes that the departures of Avery Bradley and Crowder open the door for those youngsters to take on significant roles in Boston.

Celtics Notes: Crowder, Morris, Thomas

The Celtics landed Gordon Hayward and Marcus Morris this week but the reigning Eastern Conference No. 1 seed isn’t comfortable yet.

Per a CSN New England report, president Danny Ainge is searching for further moves that can improve their roster this offseason. It’s just a matter of figuring out what those moves might look like.

Initially the report speculated that Ainge could be targeting rebounding, something the Celtics lacked in 2016/17, but the executive noted that he feels young forwards Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum could help in that regard.

Another area that Boston could address is their backup point guard position. That said, the team president also mentioned that he was currently impressed with backup point guard Terry Rozier.

There’s more from Beantown:

  • The Celtics have no intention of trading Jae Crowder, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe tweets. The forward had been floated as a possible component of a sign-and-trade deal to bring Gordon Hayward to Boston prior to the Avery Bradley deal.
  • Veteran point guard Isaiah Thomas told CSN New England’s A. Sherrod Blakely that he believes he’s a max contract guy and that the Celtics are aware that they’ll need to bring the Brinks trucks out to retain his services when he becomes a free agent next summer.
  • Newly added Celtics forward Marcus Morris comes with legal baggage and a CSN New England report breaks down the pending trial that will begin on August 21.
  • The Celtics wouldn’t have had enough Brinks trucks to retain both Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas, Chris Forsberg of ESPN writes, a harsh reality that led to the trade that sent Bradley to the Pistons.