Rockets forward Jabari Smith Jr. was cleared to play Tu…

Rockets forward Jabari Smith Jr. was cleared to play Tuesday. Whether he will return from his sprained right ankle to play again Wednesday will depend on how he responds to Tuesday’s test. Smith, who missed the past two games with the injury, went through a post-practice session of three-on-three to give his ankle his toughest test since he stepped on Charlotte Hornets center Mason Plumlee’s right foot last week. “I’m feeling good, going to play today, see how I feel for tomorrow,” Smith said after Tuesday’s practice. “I feel good right now. It’s looking good. No more pain.”
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January 31, 2023 | 4:33 am EST Update

Nets feeling no pressure on extension talks with Kyrie Irving

As Kyrie Irving’s agent and stepmother Shetellia Riley Irving told my podcast partner Chris Haynes in a Bleacher Report story last week, Irving hopes to sign a contract extension with the Nets — but substantive talks between the sides have yet to begin. Some league observers have posited that this could be by design on Brooklyn’s part, with the Nets apparently convinced that they are under no pressure to move swiftly on the extension front when Irving would likely need their help via sign-and-trade to relocate in the offseason to any other team he likes.

Orlando eyeing Fred VanVleet?

Teams like the Los Angeles Clippers would like to improve at that position, with John Wall apparently available. The Orlando Magic have eyes on a quality veteran like VanVleet, per sources. The Dallas Mavericks are still looking for a Jalen Brunson replacement. The Washington Wizards don’t have a true answer at the point.