AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Celtics guard Marcus Smart said he intends to play in the NBA summer leagues this year. The Celtics are expected to have entries in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, and Smart is likely to play for both teams. He participated in last year’s summer league in Orlando.
“I’m sure I will be playing — that’s the plan,” he said. “First-year, second-year guys play. [Phil] Pressey played, [Kelly] Olynyk played their first two years, so I don’t think I’ll be any much different than those two guys were. It will be a great experience, to get more familiarity with the game. I will have known a lot more. It will be good for me.”
Smart missed 10 games in November and December with a badly sprained left ankle that he said has not completely healed. The time between the end of the Celtics’ season and summer league will allow the rookie to rest.
“It’s getting there. It’s not 100 percent,” he said of the ankle. “It’s closer than it was a couple of months ago. Just got to stay on top of it, keep working on it to get it back stronger, get it to its full potential. I’m attacking the rim a lot more, getting in the paint a little more.
“It’s still hard for me to explode off of it but I’m attacking a little more because it feels better.”
Smart, who scored 3 points in Wednesday night’s 113-103 victory over Detroit, is averaging 7.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists.
Moving, at their pace
When players are traded during a season, they must quickly adjust to new teammates, new plays, and a new city. And amid the hullabaloo, it can be a challenge to take care of everyday tasks.
So when former Pistons forwards Jonas Jerebko and Gigi Datome — who were traded to the Celtics on Feb. 19 — returned to Detroit with their new team, they mixed game preparation with other matters.
Datome said his parents came to Detroit to help him close out his lease, and they spent most of Tuesday packing his belongings. Jerebko has been living in a hotel in Boston, and he said he went back to his Michigan home to refresh his wardrobe.
“Time to change the dirty stuff into some new and bring it back to Boston,” he said.
Wait, Jonas, you were traded to Boston seven weeks ago. That’s a long time with dirty clothes.
“The cleaning service at the hotel has been good,” he explained, “but switch it up a little bit.”
Jerebko, who had lived in Detroit since 2009, said his Celtics teammates gave him their complementary tickets so his friends could attend Wednesday’s game.
The Celtics on Monday signed guard Chris Babb to a nonguaranteed multiyear contract and waived veteran forward Shavlik Randolph. Babb has remained with the D-League’s Maine Red Claws.
“He’s been around our team and he’s worked out with those guys,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said of Babb. “He played with us last year, and his intangibles are excellent.”
Babb played in 14 games with the Celtics last season and was with the team during training camp this year. He had 15 points and seven rebounds in the Red Claws’ 104-103 loss to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in their opening game of the D-League playoffs Tuesday night.
Stevens also spoke highly of Randolph, who played in just five games after being acquired from the Suns in January before being waived this week.
“I really enjoyed Shavlik,” Stevens said. “I thought Shavlik added to the team; he added to the culture. He was a great practice guy and he was just awesome on the bench.”
Stevens lauds UConn
UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma won his 10th national championship Tuesday, guiding the Huskies to a 63-53 win over Notre Dame. And he can count Stevens among his admirers.
“Geno is a great coach, and they’ve done amazing things,” Stevens said. “I watch them play anytime that I can . . . You watch them play and they play as a team. They execute, they run great stuff. Hats off to them.”
Playoff subplot looms
The Celtics are tied with the Brooklyn Nets for seventh place in the Eastern Conference and one game ahead of the Heat and Pacers with four games remaining. As the chase goes down to the season’s final days, an interesting subplot has developed. The Celtics visit the Cavaliers on Friday before the teams meet again at TD Garden on Sunday. Cleveland cannot catch the top-seeded Hawks, but Wednesday night’s victory over the Bucks assured the Cavaliers of the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers will have little to play for down the stretch . . . Wednesday’s game against the Pistons was broadcast on ESPN, the Celtics’ first appearance on the network this season.