John Karalis: Gregg Popovich on Marcus Smart: "He’s g…

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Tim Bontemps: Brad Stevens: “I knew he was gonna play. It was one of those things where he had to get approval from the trainers, and it was one of those situations where it was basically a thumbs up emoji.”
Malika Andrews: Brad Stevens says that Marcus Smart will spend some time on Middleton. Smart will be available to play “short stints” in Game 4.
Sean Grande: Marcus Smart will play in Game 4 tonight. No "minute restriction", but "short stints", per Brad Stevens
Chris Forsberg: Celtics officially upgrade Marcus Smart to questionable for Game 4. He’s the only player on the injury report.
Marcus Smart, who confirmed Friday to the Herald that his plan is to go through contact Sunday for the first time since suffering a torn oblique muscle four weeks ago, remains on schedule. But based on Stevens’ practice plans for today, that contact may be happening off to the side. “I have not heard if he completed a workout today. When he came through, I did not hear if he got on the court,” Stevens said. “I’m going to talk to our training staff after that, and then tomorrow all indication is he will go through our practice. I’m writing up our practice plan now, and I don’t have any live drills on it, so if he does something, it’ll probably be before or after practice if that’s his next step.”
Chris Forsberg: Brad Stevens on Marcus Smart: “From all indications, he’ll go through our practice” on Sunday. Brad says his current practice plan has no live drills on it, so if Smart does any contact activities, it’ll be outside of practice.
Chris Forsberg: Marcus Smart on oblique injury: "Pain level is going down. ... It's not as sore, so that's even better. Mild contact … two weeks ago that was excruciating pain for me. This week it is better. Like I said, day-by-day it continues to get better.” Next step: Live contact.
Marcus Smart is moving closer to a return from his left oblique tear, and while there’s still uncertainty as to when that will be, another question has entered the picture. With the Celtics’ rotation playing so well in his absence through the first five games/wins of the postseason, one might think he’s concerned about messing that up when he’s ready to go.
“The beauty about me is I’m not too worried about the individual things,” Smart told the Herald as the Celts took the court Tuesday morning to prepare for Game 2 against the Bucks. “So, you know, I’m willing to do whatever and I’m going to do whatever when I come back to keep this momentum going, this flow going. And like they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So right now we’re rocking, and it’s no need to change that. So even if I’m able to come back this series or next series or whenever I do come back, there’s no reason to change what’s working right now.”
And no matter how big or small his role may be, “I’m cool with it,” he said. “I’m here to win games and try to win a championship for my team and the city. I’m not worried about individual stats or anything like that. When you win, everything falls into place, so I’ll just try to do everything I can to help this team win when I come back.”
Despite Smart’s progress, Brad Stevens was hesitant to raise expectations. “I didn’t really see (Smart’s treadmill workout),” Stevens said. “It doesn’t surprise me, because they said he’s making good progress. But it didn’t sound like the timeline was changing all that much from when I last talked to the training staff about it. I really haven’t talked about it in the last probably week or so. “I know he’s not close to playing. I know he’s progressed well, but I don’t know what that means.”
Jay King: Marcus Smart said the pain when he first got injured was like if Mike Tyson hit him with a body blow. Said after he went in, when he crumbled, it felt like he got shot.
Adam Himmelsbach: Smart says it still hurts to get shots up but it feels better than a few days ago. “We’re making progress.” Plans to start jogging in “the next couple weeks.”
If there is a short-term sign of progress, it will be Smart’s presence on the bench for Game 2 tomorrow night against Indiana. He wasn’t able to leave his house on Sunday. “I’ll be at the game tomorrow on the bench. It’ll be good to be able to get on the bench and be out there with those guys,” he said. “I had to watch it not from the bench, in the back at home, things like that, so it was really frustrating to not be out there with those guys at that time. But I’ll be there tomorrow.”
Little wonder that Smart’s next steps will be gradual. “I really need to walk fluidly, breathe more fluidly and just the everyday things like around the house like getting up and things like that,” he said. “I couldn’t get up. The last four or five days I needed help. But the next mark to see where I’m at is probably in two weeks, at the four-week mark and hopefully it’s progressed more than now and hopefully I can start running or jogging by then and hopefully shooting a basketball, so that’s my next mark and that’s what I’m trying to get to.”
The advice of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, who both missed the 2018 playoffs to injury, counts for even more. “Oh man, they’ve been huge, just really talking to me,” said Smart. “You’re not alone. The team’s here for you. Just showering me with love and encouragement. Obviously they’re devastated that I’m not out there, but really keeping me in my right mind, sane. Being able to get on the court is the way I was able to deal with a lot of things that caused frustration. Not being able to do that now is adding onto it. So it’s good getting that advice now.”
Jay King: Danny Ainge said the Celtics thought Marcus Smart’s injury was a hip pointer until MRI yesterday: “That’s a bummer.” Joked: “Maybe Terry will have some fun now.

http://twitter.com/ChrisForsberg_/status/1116134485924417536
Adam Himmelsbach: Stevens says Tatum and Smart trending upward but both still sore. Tatum further along than Smart.
Not only did the Celtics lose to the Orlando Magic at TD Garden Sunday night, 116-108, but Boston also lost guard Marcus Smart and forward Jayson Tatum to injuries. Smart sustained a left oblique strain, a source tells ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, though coach Brad Stevens called it a bruise. Tatum has a left shin contusion.
Boston eventually called a timeout, and Smart limped to the bench -- only to convince the training staff that he was all right, and could stay in the game. But after the Celtics had the ball for one offensive possession -- a possession where Smart was clearly moving gingerly -- he called for the bench to replace him as he limped back on defense before falling to the ground, holding his side. "He felt like it was spasming on that second trip down the court," Stevens said. Smart would eventually get to his feet and hobble to the locker room with help from the trainers. "We'll see what that looks like tomorrow," Stevens said. "He was a little sore, but was walking around, which was good, in the locker room."
Brian Robb: Rozier and Theis are out due to illness tonight. Tatum (shoulder) and Smart (illness) are expected to play, per Celtics.
Jay King: Marcus Smart said he felt "no soreness" in his thumb after Game 5. "My body's more sore than my thumb is so that's a good sign as well."
Jared Weiss: Brad Stevens explains Marcus Smart's pregame workout: "It was more of a jog through, put a body on people. Those types of things. (Alex) Barlow was the main guy and, I mean, anybody in here can beat Barlow. Getting a little physical. Maybe not Scal."
Jay King: Terry Rozier on Marcus Smart’s return: “It’s going to be huge.”
Celtics guard Marcus Smart said he will have his surgically repaired right thumb evaluated by a doctor in New York on Tuesday, and that he could then be cleared for a return to game action. Smart said that if he is cleared, he believes he will able to play in Game 6 against the Bucks on Thursday. “Right now that’s the plan,” Smart said Sunday, before the Celtics’ 104-102 loss in Game 4 of their opening-round series. “We’re still on the same track. I’ve been doing everything but contact, so once I get the [go-ahead] and start doing contact, I’m ready for game action.”
“I think the thumb, the surgery did its job,” he said. “Thumb is holding up well. I feel ready. I feel strong enough to get back out there. I’m just waiting on the OK.” Smart tore a tendon in his right thumb when he was chasing a loose ball during the Celtics’ March 11 game against the Pacers. He underwent surgery a few days later and the Celtics said he was expected to be sidelined for 6-8 weeks.
Storyline: Marcus Smart Injury
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July 13, 2020 | 2:32 pm EDT Update
His path from experiencing poverty in Greece to becoming a multimillionaire MVP included sacrifice, which he refuses to lose sight of despite his current status. “I’m in a situation where I’m extremely blessed and I cannot complain. Obviously, it doesn’t matter where you are in life, there’s always something to complain, there’s always a problem and an issue,” Antetokounmpo said. “But I try to kind of not focus on that. So as I said, my apartment in Greece, when I was younger, with my four brothers, was way smaller than the suite that I have in the hotel, so I’m just trying to enjoy the moment.
“This is something special,” he continued. “Hopefully, this pandemic never happens again so we never are able to come back in the campus, but at the end of the day, this is part of history, so just being able to be here, participate in this, I’m just trying to be in the moment, trying to enjoy every moment, trying to enjoy basketball. I’m happy that we’re back playing basketball, something that I love doing, so there’s nothing really to complain about.” Even before entering the NBA’s campus at Walt Disney World, Antetokounmpo said he thought “this is gonna be the toughest championship you could ever win” because of the circumstances. He jokingly admitted that he “sucked” during the Bucks’ first five-on-five scrimmage at Monday’s practice but thinks everyone will shake the initial rust once the ball is tipped for real competition.
Rodriguez, who last starred with the Yankees, and fiancée Lopez have put $300 million of their own money toward the bid. Other investors include future Hall of Fame offensive lineman Joe Thomas, who spent his entire career with the Cleveland Browns, two-time NBA All-Star Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards, and Denver Nuggets center Mason Plumlee. “Being a former athlete and having a chance to be a part of a group trying to purchase a professional team, it’s pretty cool,” Urlacher told ESPN on Monday. “It’s especially cool to be involved with Alex. Alex is the man. You’ve got Kelce, Joe Thomas, DeMarco Murray. It’s great to be in a group with them.”
July 13, 2020 | 1:31 pm EDT Update

Russell Westbrook tests positive for COVID-19

Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook says he has tested positive for coronavirus. Westbrook tweeted Monday that he tested positive before his Rockets teammates were scheduled to travel to Walt Disney World for the resumption of the NBA season Westbrook tweeted he is “currently feeling well, quarantined, and looking forward to rejoining my teammates when I am cleared.”
1 hour ago via ESPN
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Houston Rockets' Bruno Caboclo breaks quarantine

Houston Rockets forward Bruno Caboclo unintentionally broke quarantine, making him subject to an extended quarantine period and enhanced coronavirus testing, league sources told ESPN. After players entered the league’s bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort last week, anyone who either is caught leaving for an unauthorized reason or who broke the initial quarantine period (which covered being confined to your hotel room until passing multiple coronavirus tests in a longer-than 24-hour span) will be subject to the league’s re-entry protocols.
This means having to undergo enhanced coronavirus-19 testing – meaning the ones with the long swab up the nose, as opposed to the less invasive ones players are getting during their time in the bubble — in addition to a 10-day quarantine period in their hotel room. Caboclo left his room during the initial quarantine period, a source said. He was unaware that he was not allowed to do so, despite the league informing all players and staff of the protocol. “He should’ve known,” the source said. “It was no secret.”
Sources told ESPN that Caboclo’s time in quarantine is now down to eight days. He is expected to rejoin the team once his quarantine is complete. The Rockets are still awaiting the arrival of stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook in Orlando, as well as forward Luc Mbah a Moute. Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said Sunday that all three are likely to rejoin the team sometime this week.
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Since the G League season was officially ended during the league’s stoppage of play and NBA team rosters were expanded for the remaining seeding games and playoffs, Bol has joined the Nuggets in the bubble and has been practicing with the team. “He (Bol) only practiced with us in Denver a few times during the season,” Malone said Saturday. “To see him out there playing and doing things that a lot of people can’t do, it’s really remarkable. I have to remind myself how young he is. He is extremely talented and skilled.”
The Los Angeles Lakers trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Quinn Cook tried to get some 2K action going to pass the time in the bubble, and the results turned out to be catastrophic. Things did not really go as planned, with the servers crashing even before they could get a game in. As it turns out, there were too many spectators on the feed, so the 2K servers were unable to cope.
July 13, 2020 | 11:39 am EDT Update
Rivers: If he was in an era 10 years ago, Boban would be a big-time player. He’s just in an era where he’s 10 years too late. And he’s still in the league doing his thing, but make no mistake about it, if he was in 2003, 2006, Boban would be a force to be reckoned with. Van Gundy: I’ve always wondered if I, you know, should’ve played him more. You get so concerned with the defensive end of the floor, but with what he can do offensively, I’m not sure we wouldn’t have been better off playing him more and dealing with whatever defensive problems came up.
Van Gundy: The guy gets no privacy, yet the way he responds to people is so good and with such generosity and such kindness to people. You would think at some point you would get really, really tired of it, and he may, but he certainly never shows that and I never even heard him convey that. It’s genuine. He’s not out there faking it, and then walking around saying, “I’m really tired of this s— with everybody bugging me.” I think he genuinely enjoys being around people.
Kaminsky: The first time I ever played against Boban, we were playing in San Antonio. Tyler Hansbrough was on my team at the time. … And Boban checks into the game, and he’s standing next to him at the free-throw line, and I’m trying to talk to him, but Tyler’s standing there staring up at him, like, This is the biggest guy I’ve ever seen in my life. Literally, there’s a video, I’m standing on that side of the lane trying to get his attention, he’s just standing there, like, [Kaminsky pauses, leans back, looks upwards, mouth agape, miming what Hansbrough looked like].
The league’s first crack at sponsored entertainment for the players fell flat. On Saturday night, the NBA brought in three disc jockeys to spin records at poolside parties at each of the three Disney hotels housing players. Almost no one showed. “The first time I heard about the DJ thing was (Sunday),” Davis said. “Dwight (Howard) told me he was the only one there. I think, quite frankly, a lot of guys didn’t know about it. I know the NBA is trying to make this as comfortable as possible and as relaxing as possible for us, and just make everyone feel as home as possible.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Another African American senior league executive, speaking anonymously, asked why Eversley didn’t get interviewed for the top job. “With all due respect, I am delighted that Marc Eversley is the GM of the Bulls,” the league executive said. “But why wasn’t Marc Eversley interviewed to be the president of basketball operations? Why was there no one of color interviewed for that position? You mean to tell me that there was nobody in the mind of the leadership of the Bulls qualified to take on that job as president? Or was it just that they don’t know anybody? “So the question I’m asking is what took them so long. Somebody needs to ask the question. That question needs to be asked more and more league-wide.”
As in any industry, connectivity is imperative, and often times cultural perspective can get ignored. But that perspective is pivotal in every aspect of NBA business, from scouting to coaching to negotiations. “It’s a relationship business,” the Western Conference exec said. “You’ve got to have relationships with the players and coaches. For all of us to be connected in some form or fashion it only bodes well. There should be no separation. Everyone should be working together to push the franchise forward and win.”
Pocius went on to play for Real Madrid and Galatasaray — a team in Istanbul — with two more stints with Zalgiris Kaunas sandwiched in between. Seven years into his playing carer, Pocius initially had no intention of stopping. However, his body had a different idea. “Since I played at Duke, I had had seven surgeries,” Pocius said. “It took a toll on my body and I was in this cycle of getting injured, having surgery, trying rehab, all to come back and then have it happen all over again … I was reaching a point where I wasn’t enjoying basketball as much as I used to. I was a gym rat and I loved the gym, and it wasn’t fun being there anymore.”
Connelly looked at Pocius and said, “Well, if you just want to retire and come join us, we’ll make that happen.” Pocius thought it was a joke. And at that time, retiring seemed far-fetched. But after he made the decision to stop playing Pocius reached out to Connelly to see if the offer was still on the table. “I flew out to Las Vegas for Summer League and I met with Tim and all the other guys and one thing led to another,” Pocius said. “I’m truly happy that I decided to retire when I did.”
July 13, 2020 | 9:17 am EDT Update
Alex Poythress joined Zenit Saint-Petersburg on a one-year deal, the Russian club announced on Monday. Eurohoops previously reported on the deal between the two parties. “I am very pleased to join Zenit, an organization that plans to make a breakthrough in EuroLeague this season,” he noted upon signing per the official site of his new team, “I heard a lot of amazing things about Saint-Petersburg and can’t wait to join the team.”
Storyline: Alex Poythress Free Agency
Three weeks ahead of the NBA’s planned resumption of the 2019-20 season at Walt Disney World Resort, the league’s Global Innovation Group is considering several scenarios for next season, including one that would begin in March and run through October 2021. An internal planning document obtained by Morning Consult outlines four scheduling scenarios the league is considering for next season, including one in which it would push the start of next season back to March if there is a path to a coronavirus vaccine or therapeutic treatment that increases the likelihood that its teams could host fans in their home arenas over the course of an 82-game schedule.
The document spells out a wide variety of “levers” the league could pull in developing its plans for next season depending on the state of the pandemic. These include holding a play-in tournament for the playoffs, playing with the timing of a potential All-Star Game, rolling schedule releases, increasing game density, building in buffers for canceled or rescheduled games and potentially using alternate sites like neutral markets or practice and G League facilities. One plan, which is contingent on an improving COVID-19 situation, would essentially involve the league putting on a traditional 82-game regular season, just bumped back from its usual October start date. It would feature a traditional schedule release and standard matchups (16 games against divisional opponents, 36 nondivisional intraconference games and 30 interconference games).
“Ron Adams is our resident – is oenophile correct?”Kerr asked on this week’s “Hoops, Adjacent” podcast. “In fact, when I interviewed Ron to come aboard with the Warriors in 2014, my assistant Nick U’Ren and I took Ron out to dinner to interview him. We ordered a bottle of wine. It was an Italian restaurant. They didn’t have any California Pinots, which is what we were looking for. And the waiter said, ‘You know, if you want, I’ll bring you kind of the Italian version of a Pinot.’ We said great. “So he brings back the wine, he opens it up, he gives Ron the taste – you know, how you swish it around (in your mouth)? Well, Ron became the first person I’ve ever been to dinner with who sent the wine back. On a job interview!”
The Detroit opportunity comes with a pretty dismal short-term outlook, but it also could be more promising in the longer term. Sources tell me owner Tom Gores has been willing to spend money on the things fans don’t see (staff, scouting, training resources) that make life a lot easier for a rebuilding team. Additionally, the team is at a pretty clear transition point for Weaver to put his stamp on the team. The post-Blake Griffin-trade delusions of grandeur have been replaced by the grim acknowledgment that this team needs to rebuild and it could take a while.
July 13, 2020 | 9:15 am EDT Update
Alex Poythress joined Zenit Saint-Petersburg on a one-year deal, the Russian club announced on Monday. Eurohoops previously reported on the deal between the two parties. “I am very pleased to join Zenit, an organization that plans to make a breakthrough in EuroLeague this season,” he noted upon signing per the official site of his new team, “I heard a lot of amazing things about Saint-Petersburg and can’t wait to join the team.”
Storyline: Alex Poythress Free Agency
Three weeks ahead of the NBA’s planned resumption of the 2019-20 season at Walt Disney World Resort, the league’s Global Innovation Group is considering several scenarios for next season, including one that would begin in March and run through October 2021. An internal planning document obtained by Morning Consult outlines four scheduling scenarios the league is considering for next season, including one in which it would push the start of next season back to March if there is a path to a coronavirus vaccine or therapeutic treatment that increases the likelihood that its teams could host fans in their home arenas over the course of an 82-game schedule.
The document spells out a wide variety of “levers” the league could pull in developing its plans for next season depending on the state of the pandemic. These include holding a play-in tournament for the playoffs, playing with the timing of a potential All-Star Game, rolling schedule releases, increasing game density, building in buffers for canceled or rescheduled games and potentially using alternate sites like neutral markets or practice and G League facilities. One plan, which is contingent on an improving COVID-19 situation, would essentially involve the league putting on a traditional 82-game regular season, just bumped back from its usual October start date. It would feature a traditional schedule release and standard matchups (16 games against divisional opponents, 36 nondivisional intraconference games and 30 interconference games).
“Ron Adams is our resident – is oenophile correct?”Kerr asked on this week’s “Hoops, Adjacent” podcast. “In fact, when I interviewed Ron to come aboard with the Warriors in 2014, my assistant Nick U’Ren and I took Ron out to dinner to interview him. We ordered a bottle of wine. It was an Italian restaurant. They didn’t have any California Pinots, which is what we were looking for. And the waiter said, ‘You know, if you want, I’ll bring you kind of the Italian version of a Pinot.’ We said great. “So he brings back the wine, he opens it up, he gives Ron the taste – you know, how you swish it around (in your mouth)? Well, Ron became the first person I’ve ever been to dinner with who sent the wine back. On a job interview!”
The Detroit opportunity comes with a pretty dismal short-term outlook, but it also could be more promising in the longer term. Sources tell me owner Tom Gores has been willing to spend money on the things fans don’t see (staff, scouting, training resources) that make life a lot easier for a rebuilding team. Additionally, the team is at a pretty clear transition point for Weaver to put his stamp on the team. The post-Blake Griffin-trade delusions of grandeur have been replaced by the grim acknowledgment that this team needs to rebuild and it could take a while.
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