Celtics guard Marcus Smart engaged in shooting drills Sunday for the first time since undergoing thumb surgery last month and said he could return to action as early as the end of the first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Smart, wearing a new splint on his shooting hand, got up shots before Game 1 between the Celtics and Bucks, then expressed optimism about getting back on the court to help his injury-ravaged team should it hang around in the playoffs.
“Today was the first day with the new splint on to actually get out here and do something. So the thumb felt well,” said Smart, who underwent surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament on March 16.
“We’re on track for [a return in the] next three weeks, possibly Game 7 of the first round, [but] definitely second round. So we’re on the right path.”
Source: Chris Forsberg of ESPN
Sources: Pelicans Pick Up 2018-19 Option on Alvin Gentry
The New Orleans Pelicans have informed coach Alvin Gentry that the franchise is picking up his $4 million option for the 2018-19 season, league sources told ESPN.
General manager Dell Demps told Gentry of the Pelicans’ decision prior to the opening-round sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers, league sources said.
The Pelicans’ assistant coaching staff, including associate head coach Darren Erman, Chris Finch and Fred Vinson, also had their contract options picked up, league sources said. Gentry signed an original four-year deal with a team option in 2015.
New Orleans will play the winner of the Golden State-San Antonio series in the Western Conference semifinals. The Warriors lead 3-1.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN
Sources: Suns Talking to Kidd, Del Negro about Head Coach Job
The Suns will soon move on to the second phase of their coaching search.
Phoenix reportedly has talked to 10 candidates, the latest names revealed Monday when a league source told azcentral sports Phoenix had spoken to former Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd as well as former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro.
Other candidates who reportedly have had interviews, either in person or by phone, include interim coach Jay Triano, former Memphis coach David Fizdale, Utah assistant Igor Kokoskov, former Charlotte coach Steve Clifford, former Orlando and Indiana coach Frank Vogel, former Houston coach Kevin McHale, former Cleveland coach David Blatt and San Antonio assistant James Borrego.
Those interviews could begin late this week or early next week.
Sources: Budenholzer Interested in Knicks Head Coach Job
Mike Budenholzer is genuinely interested in the Knicks’ job, according to an NBA source who has spoken to the Hawks coach.
“New York’s his top choice,’’ the NBA source said. “If they offered him the job, he’d say yes. He wants to live in New York.’’
Moreover, Budenholzer appears so disillusioned with the current Hawks’ philosophy, it’s difficult to imagine him returning. Atlanta is adopting the blueprint set by the “Trust The Process’’ Sixers. Budenholzer was the top decision-maker on personnel until last summer, when Travis Schlenk was named general manager. Now the 48-year-old, the 2015 Coach of the Year, has no power regarding personnel.
The Hawks may look at finances, seeking a way out of the final two years and $13 million of Budenholzer’s contract.
Source: Marc Berman of the New York Post