Smart called his torn ligament “fixed,” but said he still needs to rebuild the muscles around his thumb before returning to the court. He didn’t entirely rule out a return before Game 7 of the first round, but the current plan calls for another evaluation almost two weeks from now to decide the next step. Smart’s return, whenever it comes, would push the Celtics to another level, especially on the defensive end where he gives more teeth to an already fierce bite. With Kyrie Irving set to miss the entire playoff run, the Celtics have a greater need now for Smart’s pick-and-roll playmaking, as well.
July 17, 2018 | 12:43 pm EDT Update
Alex Kennedy: Some of you have asked for clarification on the Orlando Magic’s talks with Isaiah Thomas. Thomas met with the Magic for several hours in Las Vegas, but the two sides obviously didn’t reach a deal. He signed with the Denver Nuggets shortly after.
Alex Kennedy: It’s worth noting that the Magic never made a formal offer to Isaiah Thomas, although the two sides did bring up money at one point during the talks. That’s where the confusion seemed to stem from in reports.
And then, an agreement. “Me having a real close relationship with coach Malone was probably the biggest key,” Thomas said. “And knowing that I wanted to go somewhere where they were going to allow me to be who I am, allow me to play to my strengths and at the same time be around a good group of guys that got the potential to be special.”