There are just two days left in the NBA regular season and the playoff picture in each conference is becoming more clear. The New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, and San Antonio Spurs all clinched playoff berths on Monday night, while a loss dropped the Miami Heat to No. 7 in the East - only a half-game ahead of the Washington Wizards. The final playoff spot in the West will be decided on Wednesday night when the Minnesota Timberwolves will host the Denver Nuggets, with the winner earning the No. 8 spot.
Of course, teams are also looking ahead to the offseason, where some big-name players could be on the move. Here are all the latest NBA news & rumors you need to know:
Return date set for Marcus Smart
The Boston Celtics will already be without Kyrie Irving for the postseason, but they expect to get Marcus Smart back before the end of April, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.
Sources: Celtics guard Marcus Smart had reevaluation on torn right UCL Monday in New York and is expected to receive clearance to return to game action at six-week mark of surgery (April 27). Smart has been cleared to start light non-contact shooting.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 9, 2018
Smart is averaging 10.2 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game.
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Boston's possible offer for Kawhi Leonard
Several teams are planning to pursue a trade for Kawhi Leonard this offseason due to the ongoing drama and his unhappiness with the Spurs, and the Celtics figure to be one of them.
Bleacher Report's Dan Favale theorizes that Boston could offer Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum, Daniel Theis, and a 2019 top-eight protected first-round pick from Memphis for Leonard.
Negotiations wouldn't be so difficult for the Celtics a few months down the line. They could build an offer around a zillion first-rounders—including the 2019 Sacramento Kings pick—if they had the salary filler to do so. That might allow them to retain both Brown and Tatum if the Spurs are looking to begin a full-tilt rebuild.
But the Celtics won't have a more expensive Smart and, presumably, someone earning a portion of the mid-level exception until next February's trade deadline. And even then, the Spurs probably demand Brown or Tatum as part of any package.
Leonard, who averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game last season, will be an unrestricted free agent in 2019 and may not be willing to re-sign with San Antonio. If that's the case, the Spurs will likely look to trade him this offseason.
Knicks targeting David Fizdale to be next head coach?
The New York Knicks are expected to fire head coach Jeff Hornacek this offseason, and if they do, Joe Giglio of NJ.com reports that David Fizdale is among the frontrunners to replace him - and may help try to lure LeBron James to the team.
Keep an eye on this name if the Knicks head coaching job opens--especially if the franchise truly believes a run at LeBron James is possible: David Fizdale.
The former Memphis Grizzlies head coach and longtime assistant for the Miami Heat during the championship years with James and Dwyane Wade is out there and looking for his next gig.
Fizdale, who was an assistant for the Heat from 2008-2016, went 50-51 in 101 games as head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies before being fired 19 games into this season.Back to the NBA Newsfeed