Joe Freeman: Jusuf Nurkic opens his postgame zoom inter…

Joe Freeman: Jusuf Nurkic opens his postgame zoom interview by saying the last 12-13 days have been the “hardest days of my life” and urges people to take coronavirus seriously. Why? He said his grandma, Hannah, has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is in a coma.
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November 30, 2020 | 1:26 pm EST Update

Marcus Smart available?

But the Celtics are still centered by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, now both signed to long-term extensions, with Marcus Smart (who’s not ungettable, per league sources) and Kemba Walker back in strong support roles. And making Hayward’s deal a sign and trade with Charlotte gives Boston a huge cudgel with which to take a swing at another star: a $28.5 million traded player exception that the Cs have a year to use in a trade. Given how Boston got throttled in the Eastern finals by Bam Adebayo, looking for a big man upgrade certainly made sense, and while Thompson’s not quite the two-way force he was a few years ago, he’s still quite good at both screen assists and points off of them (4.6 screen assists and 10.4 points per game produced last season, each sixth-best among centers in the league).
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Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and crew would be must-see TV by themselves; adding one of the all-time great players in the two-time league MVP Nash, who’s never coached anywhere at any level, only adds to the palace intrigue. (Having a first-time HC is one reason I don’t think Brooklyn’s going to get James Harden; I just can’t see GM Sean Marks being comfortable putting that much on Nash’s plate as he’s learning the coaching ropes; it’s going to be hard enough for him keeping KD and Kyrie sated.) No one thought Harris was going anywhere, so re-inking him at just under $19 million per is about as well as you could expect the Nets to do. I like Shamet, but he couldn’t secure consistent time in Philly or with the Clippers, and it’s hard to see him getting a ton of burn with Caris LeVert already behind Irving and Harris, but we’ll see.
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