Celtics

Report: Smart out of Team USA's consolation games

Report: Smart out of Team USA's consolation games

After the US lost to France in the quarterfinals of the FIBA World Cup, they have consolation games remaining, including Thursday against Serbia. They'll play them without Celtics guard Marcus Smart, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Smart had missed games with Team USA earlier with calf and quad injuries. An injury on his left knuckle this week and lingering hand soreness led to the decision to shut him down.

Smart's Celtics' teammate Jayson Tatum hasn't played for Team USA since spraining his ankle last week. Celtics' Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown have remained healthy throughout their time on the Gregg Popovich-coached team and are expected to play in the two remaining games.

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Celtics' Kemba Walker approves of Jaylen Brown's extension: 'He deserves it'

Celtics' Kemba Walker approves of Jaylen Brown's extension: 'He deserves it'

Kemba Walker hasn't been Jaylen Brown's teammate for very long; the two players haven't even played a regular-season game together yet.

But after getting an up-close look at Brown during FIBA World Cup play, training camp, and the preseason, Walker likes what he sees from Brown, who inked a four-year contract extension worth up to $115 million on Monday afternoon.

The deal comes just three and a half months after Walker signed a $141 million contract with Boston — and to Walker, this latest deal reaffirms the franchise's commitment to winning.

“I know what these guys are all about, man, and this organization, they want to win,” Walker told Jared Weiss of The Athletic Monday afternoon. “You have to invest in the players, and Jaylen, he deserves it. I’m super, super happy for him.”

Had Brown not signed on the dotted line Monday, he would've been a restricted free agent next summer. But now he can play out the season with job security instead of potentially getting distracted by questions about playing for a new contract.

“I’m not saying Jaylen would do it, but it can be hard for a guy to be playing for a contract just for one year,” said Walker, who marveled at Brown's intelligence on the court. “He could’ve not took it and played the year out to showcase himself to other teams or even the Celtics again. Now it’s just less pressure. Now he really can just play basketball, work on his game and just continue to get better without worrying about his contract situation. I think it’s a huge burden off his back.”

It sure looked like there was a burden off both Brown and Danny Ainge's backs when the pen was put to paper Monday. Brown posted a picture of the big moment on the Instagram page for 7uice, his official brand. 

Brown's big week continues Wednesday when the Celtics open the season against the 76ers — and then on Thursday, when he celebrates his 23rd birthday.

Blakely & Forsberg predict 2019-20 NBA award-winners>>>>>

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Predicting the NBA Awards ahead of the 2019-20 season

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Predicting the NBA Awards ahead of the 2019-20 season

The NBA experienced an unprecedented amount of player movement during the 2019 offseason, and the Warriors are no longer the overwhelming favorite for the championship. Now that the hierarchy in the league has changed and both conferences are more wide open than ever, how will that impact the league's award races?

Chris Forsberg and A. Sherrod Blakely give their predictions for the 2019-20 NBA Awards, including who they think will win MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year.

CLICK HERE FOR THE GALLERY>>>>

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