Marcus Smart

Draft Rumors: Warriors, Smart, Wolves, Thunder, Cavs, More

The Warriors and Celtics had some discussions about a deal that would have involved the No. 2 pick and guard Marcus Smart according to Matt Moore of ActionNetwork.com. Sources tell Moore that those talks didn’t ultimately gain traction and aren’t expected to resume after the Celtics rejected a counter-offer from Golden State.

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype confirms that the Celtics called the Warriors to gauge their interest in moving the No. 2 pick and made Smart available, but talks “didn’t escalate.”

Here’s more on the draft as we prepare for what should be a fun night:

  • Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link) is hearing that the Timberwolves will likely remain at No. 1, barring a “blockbuster” move. However, it sounds like the No. 17 pick is still very much in play. Jeremy Woo of SI.com reports (via Twitter) that the Thunder are exploring a deal for the No. 17 pick.
  • Isaac Okoro is rising on the Cavaliers‘ board, according to Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report (Twitter link), who says if Cleveland trades down to No. 8, it would likely hinge on the team’s ability to land Okoro at that spot.
  • The Clippers are looking to buy a second-round pick and/or trade up from No. 57, league sources tell Scotto.
  • The Suns could still trade down from No. 10 or use the pick in a deal for a veteran player, but they’re unlikely to move up, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7.

Atlantic Notes: CP3, Nash, Stevens, Hayward

After the Sixers were swept out of the first round of the 2020 playoffs, the team fired longtime head coach Brett Brown, who had survived several front office shakeups. But the on-court personnel could use some changes, too. Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer makes the case for a Chris Paul trade.

Paul, an All-Star in 2020 during his first season with the Thunder, is scheduled to earn $41.3M and $44.2M in the final two years of his current contract. With the Sixers, the 35-year-old point guard could give All-Star guard/forward Ben Simmons more off-ball opportunities and serve as a first-rate facilitator for All-Star center Joel Embiid.

Pompey posits that current Sixers forward Tobias Harris or center Al Horford could be packaged (presumably along with future draft equity) into a deal for Paul.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • New Nets head coach Steve Nash acknowledges that he was brought on board with the franchise because of his interpersonal relationships and culture-building skills, rather than his knowledge of X’s and O’s. “I think they understand that my acumen for the game is strong and I can catch up on any of the tactical aspects,” Nash told Pelicans guard J.J. Redick in a recent edition of Redick’s The Old Man and the Three podcast (per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News). “I think they hired me because of my experience, the personality to work with these guys and help them grow and reach their potential and bring it all together.”
  • Following an emotional postgame locker room conversation, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens held a late-evening hotel meeting with four of his frustrated stars, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart met with Stevens to unpack their feelings following a Game 2 loss to the Heat that puts Boston in an 0-2 hole for the Eastern Conference Finals.
  • Celtics forward Gordon Hayward is hoping to return to action for Game 3 on Saturday, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic (Twitter link). Hayward’s addition to the active roster would give Boston much-needed lineup flexibility and shooting help.

Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown Clash After Celtics’ Loss

The Heat rallied Thursday night to take a 2-0 series lead over the Celtics, but the real action was after the game in Boston’s locker room. Malika Andrews of ESPN and Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe both sent out a series of tweets describing angry exchanges and the sound of things being thrown, with much of the yelling coming from Celtics guard Marcus Smart, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Smart, a fiery leader both on and off the court, was reacting after his team let a double-digit lead slip away for the second straight game in the conference finals. Boston led by 17 points in the first half and held an eight-point edge early in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t hold off Miami.

Afterward, a Celtics assistant coach and a team security official mistakenly opened the locker room door and let reporters hear the raw emotions inside. It took nearly 30 minutes before the media were given access to players, Amick adds.

Much of the commotion involved a confrontation between Smart and Jaylen Brown, who had to be separated by teammates, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Sources tell Charania that Smart came into the locker room complaining that he gets too much blame when things go wrong and saying that other players need to be held accountable as well. As Smart got louder, Brown responded that the players needed to stick together and told Smart to calm down. Sources also noted that Smart had verbal confrontations with assistant coaches during the game.

Sources confirmed that objects were thrown in the exchange between Smart and Brown, but teammates were able to separate them before the dispute turned physical. A source said they have already smoothed things over and are focusing on Game 3.

Brown downplayed the incident when talking to reporters, saying Smart was just trying to motivate the team for the rest of the series.

“A lot of emotions flying around,” Brown said. “I think that’s why we love Marcus. You know, he plays with passion, he’s full of fire, and that’s what I love about him most, to be honest. He has that desire and will, and we need him to continue to have that. It’s ups and downs with families all the time, but we embrace each other for who we are. And who Marcus is, I love him for it. So you’ve got to get ready to come back, take that same fire, (and) add it to Game 3.”

NBA Announces 2019/20 All-Defensive Teams

The NBA has officially announced its All-Defensive teams for the 2019/20 season. Unsurprisingly, Defensive Player of the Year (and possible repeat MVP) Giannis Antetokounmpo was the leading vote-getter with 195 total points. Players receive two points per First Team vote and one point per Second Team vote.

This is the Bucks forward’s second consecutive appearance on the All-NBA First Team. Antetokounmpo was listed on 98 of 100 ballots from the 100 broadcasters and writers who comprised this year’s voting panel. 97 of those voters awarded him a First Team vote.

Lakers forward Anthony Davis was featured on every ballot and received a total tally of 187 points (including 87 First Team votes). Sixers guard Ben Simmons tallied 185 points with the third-most votes this year. Jazz center Rudy Gobert, the 2018 and 2019 Defensive Player of the Year, was fourth with 95 total votes (85 First Team), for 180 total points. Celtics guard Marcus Smart rounded out the All-Defensive First Team with 152 points, including 57 First Team votes.

Gobert’s inclusion on the All-Defensive First Team has earned him a $500K bonus, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Antetokounmpo’s Bucks teammates Brook Lopez (67 points) and Eric Bledsoe (59 points) each made the All-Defensive Second Team.

[RELATED: Giannis Antetokounmpo Named Defensive Player Of The Year]

Here are the full voting results for the All-Defensive First and Second Teams, with each player’s point total noted in parentheses:

First Team:

Second Team:

You can find the full voting results right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Marcus Smart Fined For Game 2 Flop

Celtics guard Marcus Smart turned in a masterful performance for Boston in the team’s 102-99 Game 2 defeat of the Raptors to go up 2-0 in the team’s second-round playoff series. Smart connected on five three-pointers in the game’s fourth quarter alone to help seal the victory.

Unfortunately, his energetic play appears to have also hurt his wallet — the NBA has fined Smart $5,000 for flopping during the game, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Smart’s egregious flop came during the third quarter in an effort to draw an offensive foul on Raptors All-Star forward Pascal Siakam.

The defensive-minded Smart, who scored 19 points and went 6-of-11 from long range overall, has been an imperative role player for Boston, currently 6-0 in the 2020 playoffs after sweeping the Sixers in the first round.

Smart joined the Celtics’ starting lineup after forward Gordon Hayward incurred a Grade III right ankle sprain in Game 1 of the team’s Sixers series. Hayward is expected to be sidelined for at least a couple more weeks of game play.

Atlantic Notes: Harris, Crawford, Ujiri, Sixers, Celtics

The Nets will be without sharpshooter Joe Harris and veteran scorer Jamal Crawford for Game 3 and Game 4 of their series against Toronto, head coach Jacque Vaughn confirmed today. Crawford continues to be hampered by a hamstring strain, while Harris left the NBA’s campus on Wednesday.

According to Marc Berman of The New York Post (Twitter link), teammate Tyler Johnson said today that Harris’ absence is related to an emergency family matter. A source close to Harris tells Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter link) that the situation is “day-to-day,” with the 28-year-old’s return date and quarantine period still up in the air. If the Nets can’t pick up a win over Toronto, Harris’ season will be over and he’ll be headed to unrestricted free agency this fall.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Following the release of new footage from last June’s altercation with a security guard at Oracle Arena, Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri said in a statement that the video “sadly demonstrates how horribly I was treated by a law enforcement officer” as Toronto won its first NBA championship. As we noted on Wednesday, Ujiri has filed a countersuit in the matter.
  • In the wake of a dispiriting Game 2 loss to Boston, the Sixers‘ season is on the brink and the team’s disappointment is rising, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN. Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com covers similar ground, suggesting that the post-“Process” 76ers almost look like they need to be blown up.
  • Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston explores how Al Horford‘s departure a year ago created a murky future for the Celtics, and how Kemba Walker‘s arrival brightened that future.
  • Celtics guard Marcus Smart will be under the microscope with Gordon Hayward sidelined, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.

And-Ones: Luxury Tax, Thomas, Scola, Top Defenders

The Trail Blazers have the highest luxury tax bill at $5.9MM, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Team salaries are now frozen after the one-week transactions period that closed late Tuesday. The Heat ($2.9MM), Thunder ($2.5MM) and Timberwolves ($582K) are also over the luxury tax line but the projected $11.9MM total is the lowest since the luxury tax was introduced in 2002/03, Marks notes.

We have more from around the basketball world:

Atlantic Notes: Walker, Smart, Embiid, Raptors

Kemba Walker‘s left knee is feeling better, but the Celtics guard won’t know how it’s going to respond to competition until he gets to test it against someone, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Walker has gotten plenty of time to rest since the league shut down three weeks ago.

“The knee is doing well,” he said. “It’s difficult because I don’t have anyone around to give me treatments or anything like that. I have to do my own stuff, which I’m trying to do as much as possible; try to stay on top of things.”

Walker developed swelling in the knee during the All-Star break. He had it drained, then received a shot of Synvisc to ease the soreness and minimize swelling. He’s waiting out the hiatus like everyone else and hoping for a chance to try out the knee under game conditions.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Now that Celtics guard Marcus Smart has recovered from the coronavirus, he will donate blood in hopes that it will help to find a treatment for COVID-19, according to ESPN. Three other players who tested positive for the virus also plan to make blood donations, but they haven’t been identified. The league office reached out to team doctors over the weekend to encourage players who tested positive to give blood samples to the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project.
  • Joel Embiid‘s response to a plan by Sixers majority owner Josh Harris to reduce some employees’ salaries while the league is shut down raises questions about his long-term future with the team, suggests Bob Ford of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Harris changed his mind about the pay cuts, but not before Embiid made a public offer to help everyone who would have been affected. Ford claims Embiid’s relationship with the organization has always been “fractious” and states that embarrassing the owner may lead to an eventual parting.
  • In a conference call with reporters, Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri said potential extensions for himself and coach Nick Nurse won’t be discussed while the league is on hiatus (Twitter link from Eric Koreen of The Athletic). The team is currently paused with no talk of extensions or contracts for anyone, adds Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports (Twitter link). “It’s not where our minds are at right now,” Ujiri said. “This is a crucial time for the world. Those things will come.”

Marcus Smart Cleared From Coronavirus

Celtics guard Marcus Smart has officially been cleared from COVID-19, he announced on social media (Twitter link).

The clearance came from the Massachusetts Department of Health, with Smart originally testing positive for the disease two weeks ago.

“Corona Free as of two days ago,” Smart wrote. “Cleared by Mass Dept of Health. Thanks for everyone’s thoughts and prayers and I’m doing the same for everyone that’s been effected by this. Stay safe and stay together- apart! Much love!”

Smart joins Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and Christian Wood as known NBA players to be cleared from the coronavirus. Several other figures around the league, including Brooklyn star Kevin Durant, also contracted the virus this month.

Smart, who’s in his sixth season with the Celtics, is averaging a career-high 13.5 points, 4.8 assists and 1.6 steals per contest.

Atlantic Notes: Smart, Kurucs, Hayward, Dinwiddie

Celtics guard Marcus Smart is doing “great” after testing positive for the coronavirus, coach Brad Stevens told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps and other media members. “He’s great. Great spirits. Joking as always,” Stevens said Friday. Smart is one of 10 NBA players known to have tested positive for COVID-19. Smart revealed his diagnosis on March 19.

We have more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets’ Rodions Kurucs was due in Brooklyn court on Monday for his misdemeanor assault case but that proceeding was postponed, Brian Lewis of the New York Post reports. The case has been administratively adjourned due to the pandemic and a new date will eventually be set. Kurucs was arrested last summer on a domestic assault charge.
  • There’s a general sense that Celtics forward Gordon Hayward will opt in to his contract next season, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. Hayward holds a $34MM option. “It’s too much money to pass up,” an unnamed NBA GM told Deveney. “He could get a longer deal if that is what he really wants. But I don’t think the Celtics want to give it to him. … He can opt in this year and then take a big contract next year.”
  • Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie will be in demand on the trade market this offseason, Lewis opines in a separate story. Dinwiddie, who can opt out after next season, has posted career highs in points (20.6 PPG) and assists (6.8 APG).