Celtics pick up contract options on Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier


Celtics pick up contract options on Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier

BOSTON — As expected, the Boston Celtics picked up the option years on two of their brightest up-and-coming players, Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart.
Both Rozier and Smart are now under contract with the Celtics through the 2017-2018 season and will make $1.988 million and $4.538 million, respectively.
It is unclear if the Celtics will pick up the fourth-year option on James Young. 

CSNNE.com spoke with Young shortly after Monday’s practice. He said he had not been told one way or another if the Celtics were going to pick up his extension.
Multiple league sources told CSNNE.com prior that the Celtics were unlikely to pick up the fourth year on Young, which would have paid him $2.8 million next season.
If Boston opts to not pick up Young’s option, that means the 21-year-old Young, the 17th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, will be a restricted free agent this summer.
Young edged out R.J. Hunter, another first-round pick of the Celtics, for the 15th and final roster spot at the end of training camp. Hunter has since signed with the Chicago Bulls.
Locking up Rozier and Smart for another year didn’t become official until today, but the Celtics were planning to do this for quite a while.
Based on Rozier and Smart’s play in respect to the increased salary cap space teams now have following the new national TV deal, their contributions make each a player whose value extends far beyond the weight of their contracts.
I asked Rozier a week ago about his third-year option being picked up by the Celtics. At the time, he said he had heard nothing about it and not surprisingly, he didn’t seem the least bit worried.
“I let my agent and the Celtics handle that kind of stuff,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “All I can do is play the best I can, and whatever happens after that, happens. Anything can happen in this league, but I’m a Celtic. And I don’t see that changing anytime soon.”
Rozier has been among the first players off the Celtics bench this season, a significantly different role than the one he had last season as a rookie.
In three games this season, Rozier has averaged 6.0 points, 3.0 assists and 3.3 rebounds while averaging 24.0 minutes per game. He is shooting 43.8 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from 3-point range.
Smart has yet to play in a game this season due to a left ankle sprain he suffered in Boston’s last preseason game on October 19. CSNNE.com reported that Smart would be out for a couple of weeks, putting his return at the earliest, sometime this week.
On Monday Smart said he will return to the lineup for Wednesday’s game against the Chicago Bulls.

Ainge: 'Setback' wrong word to use about Hayward

Ainge: 'Setback' wrong word to use about Hayward

When is a setback not a setback?

When Danny Ainge says, "You know what? Sometimes I talk too much," Ainge told the Boston Herald over the weekend. "'Setback' wasn't the right word, so let me rephrase that because it's not exactly true to say it - or say it that way.

The Celtics president of basketball operations, in his weekly radio interview with Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub and simulcast on NBC Sports Boston, used that word when he was describing how Gordon Hayward is coming along in his recovery. 

"He had like one setback for a couple of weeks, maybe a month and a half ago," Ainge said on the radio last week. "We were progressing a little bit too fast, we thought."

Ainge clarified that to the Herald's Steve Bulpett. 

"What happened is he went on the AlterG [anti-gravity treadmill] the first day and he felt some soreness," he said. "It was the first day he tried the AlterG, a long time ago. He just wasn't ready for it at that point. That's all it was."

Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been adamant that Hayward, recovering from his gruesome leg and ankle injury in the season opener, will not play for the Celtics this season. On Sunday, Stevens, via MassLive.com's Jay King, characterized Stevens' soreness as a "small" issue. 



Chest pains and lack of sleep lead to medical leave for Cavs coach Lue

File photo

Chest pains and lack of sleep lead to medical leave for Cavs coach Lue

CLEVELAND - Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is taking a leave of absence from the team to address health issues that have included chest pains and loss of sleep.

Lue said Monday in a statement that tests have offered no conclusion about what the issue is and offered no timetable for his return. The coach said he feels he needs to step away "and focus on trying to establish a stronger and healthier foundation" from which to coach the rest of the season.

Here's a portion of Lue's statement:

I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is.

"While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team. I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season," Lue said. "My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the championship we are all working towards."

A stress-filled season for the Cavs has taken a toll on the Lue, 40, a former Celtics assistant under Doc Rivers who led them to the 2016 NBA championship after taking over for David Blatt midway through that season. They are j40-29, third in the Eastern Conference, behind the second-place Celtics and East-leading Toronto Raptors, and have endured roster shake-ups, injuries and other distractions as they try to return to the NBA Finals.

David Aldridge of TNT reports that the plan is for Lue to return in a week. The NBA playoffs begin April 14. 

"We all want great players, we all want the best teams, but with that comes a lot of pressure as well. And what Ty Lue has had to go through this year with that team, with the trades and the injuries and the pressure, it's unrelenting," Denver coach Michael Malone said. "So I hope that he gets healthy and is able to get back in time for the playoffs and help that team win as many games as possible."

Lue spent the second half of Cleveland's victory in Chicago on Saturday in the locker room because of an illness, the second time this season he left a game because he wasn't feeling well. The former NBA guard also sat one out against Chicago at home in December.

Associate head coach Larry Drew coached the second half of Saturday's game, the finale of a six-game, 11-day road trip. Cleveland is back home to host Milwaukee on Monday.

"We know how difficult these circumstances are for Coach Lue and we support him totally in this focused approach to addressing his health issues," general manager Koby Altman said.

Charlotte coach Steve Clifford also left his team to address his health this season. He took six weeks off. Medical tests revealed that the 56-year-old Clifford did not have any internal problems, but the doctor's diagnosis was the coach was suffering from severe sleep deprivation.

AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.

© 2018 by The Associated Press