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Report: Kawhi Leonard not expected to return to San Antonio Spurs for playoffs



Kawhi Leonard is not walking through that door.

The San Antonio Spurs All-Star is not expected to return to the team for the playoffs, according to a report by Yahoo! Sports Shams Charania

The Spurs were routed in Game 1 of the first round series against the Golden State Warriors, 113-92 on Saturday.

Leonard has missed all but nine games this season while nursing right quadriceps tendinopathy, an injury that flared up late in the offseason. He returned to the team’s lineup briefly but has not played since complaining of soreness in his injured thigh following the Spurs’ home win over Denver on Jan. 13.

Leonard opted to go to New York this week to work with his own team of doctors for the second time this season after first working with them prior to the All-Star break in February. The Spurs’ medical staff has been present for both of Leonard’s extended stays in New York to stay updated on his progress.

The 6-foot-7 forward has worked out at the NBA Players Association facility in Manhattan during both of his stays in New York.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Boston Celtics’ Marcus Smart ‘ecstatic’ to have summer in limbo over



BOSTON (AP) — There was a moment during the past month in which Marcus Smart wasn’t sure where he’d be playing basketball this upcoming season.

A day after signing a four-year deal to remain in the only NBA jersey he’s ever played in, Smart said he’s focused on doing what he can to help the Celtics win their 18th championship.

”I’m ecstatic. This is a blessing,” Smart said Friday.

After being in limbo since the start of free agency, Smart cemented his pact with the Celtics on Thursday. A person with knowledge of the agreement told The Associated Press that Smart will be paid $52 million over the next four years. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team did not disclose the terms of the contract.

Boston brings back a 6-foot-4 defensive cornerstone who has developed a reputation for toughness and doing the little things that help the Celtics win. Smart is also the longest-tenured player on the roster.

The confidence that general manager Danny Ainge is showing in his abilities is not lost on Smart, who acknowledged he knew he was entering a tough free agent market this summer.

”To be honest, I didn’t know where I was gonna end up. I was just enjoying this whole process,” he said. ”It is a business, so things aren’t perfect. That’s why it’s called negotiations. You guys come together and you finally agree on something. We both agreed. Boston loves me and I love Boston. Boston wants me here and I want to be here. I am here. So we made it work.”

Barring any late changes, Smart’s return also means Boston will be bringing back the core of the team that won 55 games and reached the Eastern Conference finals while battling numerous injuries and being without both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward the entire postseason.

Smart was a huge part of the run, stepping in to a starter’s role after returning from thumb surgery late in the first round of the playoffs. He averaged 9.8 points, 5.3 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game as Boston pushed LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in the conference finals.

Now, James is in the West with the Lakers, and given the emergence of youngsters Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, Smart said he doesn’t see any reason why the Celtics shouldn’t be a favorite to come out of the East.

”We demonstrated the talent and ability we had to do that last year with a few missing pieces. With those missing pieces back in action, I think it really makes it hard for teams,” Smart said. ”I think we have a real shot.”

The signing also will allow Smart to shift his attention back to his mother, 63-year-old Camellia Smart, who continues to undergo treatment for the bone marrow cancer she was diagnosed with in April.

”When you kind of go through adversity and something like this hits you and your family, it kind of puts everything in perspective and everything else kind of becomes a blur to you and really not that important,” he said.

He has been with her in Texas since the season ended and said she’s stable and doing well.

”She’s hanging in there,” Smart said. ”This is a hard time. But at the same time, it’s an exciting time for my family. So, with the signing, it kind of brings a little joy to a situation and lightens up the situation that was a little darkened for me. … As of right now, she’s doing great.”

As far as basketball is concerned, he’ll continue trying to improve.

”I’m just gonna be working on all aspects of my game. The uniqueness about me is I don’t do one thing perfectly or great. I do a little bit of everything. That’s what makes me so unique. I’m just trying to master a little bit of everything. … If I could just get better a little bit each year, then I did my job.”

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Reports: Michael Beasley to join Los Angeles Lakers



The Los Angeles Lakers continue to add pieces around LeBron James. According to multiple reports, the Lakers have added forward Michael Beasley to the roster. 

The overall No. 2 pick by the Miami Heat in the 2008 Draft, played 78 games with the New York Knicks, where her averaged 13.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. He shot 39.5 percent from three-point range.

The 6-foot-9 lefty, will be playing for his seventh team (Miami 2 stints, Minnesota, Phoenix, Houston, Milwaukee). His third season in the league was his best where he averaged 19.2 points with the Timberwolves.


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Masai Ujiri sees championship potential in Toronto Raptors after Kawhi Leonard trade



Before the trade happened, ESPN had reported the Raptors’ brass had met with DeRozan during NBA Summer League and told him he would not be traded

As word of the trade circulated the NBA social media atmosphere on Wednesday, DeRozan took to Instagram and posted a story there that read: “Be told one thing & the outcome another. Ain’t no loyalty in this game. Sell you out for a quick bit of nothing … Soon you’ll understand … Don’t disturb.” 

Ujiri on Friday said he will do “anything in his power” to honor DeRozan in the future. He also opened his news conference by apologizing to DeRozan for a “gap in miscommunication” leading up to the trade.

“I want to not only apologize to DeMar DeRozan for a gap of miscommunication but also to acknowledge him and what he’s done here with the Raptors, for the city, and for the country,” Ujiri said. “There’s no measure to what this kid has done.”​

“I had a conversation with DeMar at Summer League, and I really want to leave it at that … I think maybe my mistake is talking about what we expected from him going forward. DeMar has done so much for this organization. When you’re in my position you always have to be open in what you can do. Both of us had a conversation, and me and DeMar know what that conversation was. Maybe I could have handled it better. That’s what I’m apologizing for.

“He’s the greatest player to play for the Raptors to this point. No one can dispute that.”


Relive DeMar DeRozan’s top 10 career plays in Toronto.

News of the reported deal broke early Wednesday as the Raptors and Spurs reportedly engaged in serious talks involving the Raptors acquiring the two-time Kia Defensive Player of the Year and former NBA Finals MVP Leonard. The details of the trade were still being worked out early Wednesday, but centered on Leonard and DeRozan, writes Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania.

Leonard’s future was a subject of league-wide fascination ever since it was first reported he wanted to leave the only team for which he has played. Despite attempts by the Spurs — including a try by Popovich — to mend the relationship, Leonard and his camp steadfastly maintained their distance as the offseason has worn on.

The strain between Leonard and San Antonio built throughout the 2017-18 campaign as the former 15th overall pick dealt with a quad injury that kept him from playing in all but nine games. The unusual recovery time was compounded by his physical separation from the team, as Leonard continued his rehab in New York. His absence was especially notable during the Spurs’ first-round playoff exit to the Golden State Warriors. Leonard was then spotted at a Los Angeles Dodgers home game three weeks later.

Los Angeles had long been reported as Leonard’s preferred destination. Talks between the Spurs and Lakers reportedly took place on more than one occasion, but never gained enough momentum for completion.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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