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Report: Marcus Smart Set to Return to Practice

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Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Marcus Smart is expected to be a full participant in Sunday’s off-day practice but Stevens does not expect the team to engage in any live action as it prepares for Game 4 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Smart had said he hoped to engage in full-contact work for the first time since tearing his oblique during the final week of the regular season. Stevens indicated that Smart would likely have to seek any potential contact activity before or after Sunday’s workout.

The team set a 4-6 week recovery timeline for Smart after the injury. Stevens had previously said that he expected Smart to participate in some 3-on-3 or 4-on-4 work as the next step in his rehab. Smart participated in all non-contact activities of Boston’s practice on Thursday.

Source: Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston

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Sources: Mavericks Gauging Trade Value of Kristaps Porzingis

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The Dallas Mavericks set out to fortify their defense around Luka Doncic and their historic scoring attack this offseason.

Yet here the Mavericks stand, ninth in the Western Conference, ranking 27th in overall defense, and Kristaps Porzingis’ steady decline on that end of the floor appears to be the biggest dilemma this front office is now facing.

In fact, Dallas has quietly gauged the trade market for Porzingis, according to league sources, as the Mavericks have begun reevaluating whether the 25-year-old center can truly support Doncic as the second option on a contender. “They’ve kicked the tires on everybody on their roster that’s not named Luka,” one person with knowledge of Dallas’ thinking said. “You know [president of basketball operations] Donnie [Nelson]; they’re always tinkering.”

“They’ve definitely sniffed around on him,” an assistant general manager told B/R. “They’re taking the temperature, because they know at some point it’s gonna come around.”

Source: Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report

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Sources: Timberwolves Dismiss Ryan Saunders

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The Minnesota Timberwolves have dismissed coach Ryan Saunders, sources tell ESPN.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

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Sources: DeMarcus Cousins, Rockets to Part Ways

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The Houston Rockets and center DeMarcus Cousins are planning to part ways in coming days, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Houston wants to go smaller, younger in frontcourt when Christian Wood returns and this allows Cousins to find an opportunity elsewhere.

Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

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