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Report: Marcus Smart Could Potentially Return by End of First Round

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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

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Sources: Kings Interested in Harrison Barnes

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The Sacramento Kings have interest in trading for Harrison Barnes.

Barnes future with the Dallas Mavericks is uncertain. Barnes has a player option for the 19-20 season worth $25.1 million.

“I know the Kings would love to have Harrison Barnes,” said Brian Windhorst on the Hoop Collective podcast. “Whether or not that can work out? I don’t know.”

The Kings are making a push for the playoffs and do not own their first round pick, while the Mavericks have been a free fall and a have a top-5 protected pick.

Source: Brian Windhorst of ESPN via RealGM

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Report: NBA to Televise All-Star Draft on February 7

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The NBA announced today that the 2019 NBA All-Star Draft will be televised by TNT on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. ET.  The team rosters for the 68th NBA All-Star Game will be revealed during a special NBA All-Star Draft Show, which will be followed by an extended version of the TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader pregame show.

The two NBA All-Star Game team captains will draft the rosters from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves in each conference, making their selections regardless of conference affiliation. The captains will be the All-Star starter from each conference who receives the most fan votes in his conference.  More details about the 2019 NBA All-Star Draft will be announced at a later date.

The NBA also announced today the third fan returns of NBA All-Star Voting 2019 presented by Google.  The Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James continues to lead the Western Conference and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo remains on top in the Eastern Conference.

Source: NBA

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Gregg Popovich: ‘I don’t know’ on Coaching Next Season

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Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs will soon become the fourth 70-year-old coach in N.B.A. history, but he remains undecided about coaching the Spurs beyond this season.

Popovich, who turns 70 on Jan. 28, is in the last season of a five-year contract extension he signed after the Spurs won their most recent championship in 2014.

“I don’t know the answer,” Popovich said when asked about his plans for next season in an interview Wednesday night after the Spurs’ 105-101 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

Popovich said he and R.C. Buford, San Antonio’s longtime team president, have periodically discussed the club’s various options after this season.

Source: Marc Stein of The New York Times

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