September 26, 2018 / 1:08 AM / 3 months ago

NBA notebook: Hayward plans to play Friday

The long-awaited return of All-Star Gordon Hayward is expected to occur Friday, when the Boston Celtics forward plans to play in the pre season opener on the road against the Charlotte Hornets.

Sep 24, 2018; Canton, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Gordon Hayward (20) during media day at High Output Studios. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

According to multiple media outlets, Hayward is ready for his first game action since he dislocated his left ankle and fractured his left tibia in a gruesome ending to his Celtics debut during the 2017-18 season opener.

The 6-foot-8 Hayward, who played seven previous seasons with the Utah Jazz, recently said he’s “basically 100 percent.” On Tuesday, he told reporters that he has dunked off his left foot in practice.

“There’s nothing like playing basketball,” Hayward, 28, told the media on Monday. “There’s nothing like doing in-game stuff that you can’t get from drills. You’re guarding somebody, you’re reacting, you’re getting a rebound and trying to go straight back up with it. Those things I can’t really practice, so to have the ability to do that was really big for me.”

—Jimmy Butler declined an invitation to reconsider his trade demand and opted to reiterate his position to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau met with Butler in Minneapolis following Butler’s physical on Monday, but overtures intended to coax Butler back to the team were rebuffed, according to multiple reports.

On Tuesday, Thibodeau said Minnesota plans to “honor his request” and is currently “seeing what is out there.”

—Rajon Rondo will be the starting point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers when the regular season begins next month.

Head coach Luke Walton told ESPN that Rondo is ahead of Lonzo Ball, who is still recovering from off season knee surgery, in the rotation until further notice. Ball was cleared to participate in workouts Tuesday. He is not yet cleared to scrimmage, Walton said.

Rondo signed a one-year, $9 million deal in July. The 32-year-old is one of several veterans who joined the new-look Lakers on short-term deals, including forward Lance Stephenson and center JaVale McGee, to complement LeBron James.

—Field Level Media

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