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Larry looks back: Bird on Magic, free agency and shooting 3s

Larry Bird’s place in NBA history stretches from the record book to the rule book. He is the only person to be voted MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year. Set to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award, he discussed his relationship with Magic Johnson, having his name on an important piece of league business, and how the game has changed since he was a player.

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Zion Williamson welcomed to New Orleans by a grateful franchise

Zion Williamson and his family were met with applause as they walked into the New Orleans Pelicans’ headquarters. The practice gym was filled with team employees and executives eager to welcome the player who has infused the franchise with far more promise than it appeared to have when six-time All-Star Anthony Davis requested a trade five months ago. Williamson says he’s keeping immediate expectations realistic because he hasn’t played an NBA game and is still just short of his 19th birthday.
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Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett may meet in Summer League opener

Former Duke teammates Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett are slated to make their NBA Summer League debuts against one another. The NBA said Friday that Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans will face off against Barrett and the New York Knicks on July 5, the first day of the league’s annual summer showcase at UNLV. Williamson was the No. 1 pick in Thursday’s draft, and Barrett was selected No. 3 overall. All 30 NBA teams will play in Las Vegas, as will the Chinese and Croatian national teams.
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Long-range plan: Darius Garland’s shooting floored Cavs in workout

UPDATED: Fri., June 21, 2019, 4:34 p.m.

Darius Garland showed the Cavaliers his range from 2,000 miles before they selected him in the NBA draft. The Cavs selected Garland with the No. 5 overall pick Thursday night despite the point guard playing in five games at Vanderbilt before injuring his left knee. The team sent new coach John Beilein and his entire staff to watch Garland work out last weekend in Los Angeles. Beilein joked that Garland “was shooting the ball in Nashville and we were in California.”
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AP source: Hassan Whiteside opts in for $27 million with Heat

A person with knowledge of the situation says Hassan Whiteside has told the Miami Heat that he is exercising his $27.1 million player option for next season. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Friday because neither the Heat nor Whiteside announced the decision publicly.
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Next game for Raptors: Making final pitch to Kawhi Leonard

The title won and the draft over, the Toronto Raptors turn to the next order of business: keeping Kawhi Leonard. He is expected to opt out of the final year of his contact and become a free agent June 30. The Raptors can offer the two-time NBA Finals MVP a five-year deal worth about $190 million. That’s one year and some $50 million more than any other suitor. Leonard says he isn’t worried about the tight timeline. “You don’t need too many days to figure it out. We’ll see what happens.”
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With short window after season’s end, Warriors turn to draft

Warriors general manager Bob Myers is still emotionally spent after watching superstars Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson go down with serious injuries in the last two games of the NBA Finals. Now, Myers must turn his attention to the draft and trying to find someone who can make an immediate impact next season given Thompson’s long rehab road ahead on his left knee and the same for Durant if he chooses to re-sign with Golden State as he recovers from surgery for a torn right Achilles tendon.
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Zion’s time: Williamson the center of attention at NBA draft

Zion Williamson tried to portray himself as an ordinary player just hoping to be drafted. Actually, he’s perhaps the most-hyped one since LeBron James. Soon he can start showing if he has the game to match. The powerhouse power forward from Duke will almost certainly be doing it in the uniform of the New Orleans Pelicans, who hold the No. 1 pick Thursday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
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After lottery setback, Hawks look to add to young core

UPDATED: Wed., June 19, 2019, 6:20 p.m.

Even though the lottery didn’t work as they hoped, the Atlanta Hawks are preparing for another intriguing draft. With three first-round picks and six choices overall, the Hawks are poised to add to a promising young core led by Trae Young and John Collins. It also seems likely that more trades are coming – and maybe even a chance to move up to the No. 4 spot in the draft.
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AP source: Grizzlies trade Mike Conley to Jazz for 3 players

UPDATED: Wed., June 19, 2019, 12:19 p.m.

A person with knowledge of the decision says the Memphis Grizzlies have traded veteran point guard Mike Conley, who has played the most games in franchise history, to the Utah Jazz. The person says the Grizzlies swapped Conley for Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver and Grayson Allen. Conley says on Twitter that he’s excited to give his all for Utah and the Jazz.
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Study: NBA earns overall A grade in diversity hiring

UPDATED: Tue., June 18, 2019, 1:52 p.m.

A diversity report shows the NBA still leads men’s professional sports leagues in racial and gender hiring practices. The annual report card from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at Central Florida reported almost identical scores from last year. That includes an A-plus for racial hiring, a B for gender hiring and an overall A grade. The WNBA is the only professional league with a higher overall grade from the past year, with an A-plus.
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Attorney: Deputy in clash with Raptors exec has concussion

UPDATED: Tue., June 18, 2019, 1:47 p.m.

A lawyer for a deputy involved in an altercation with the president of the Toronto Raptors as he tried to join his team on the court to celebrate their NBA championship said his client suffered a concussion and is on medical leave. Attorney David Mastagni said Tuesday the veteran of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office has a jaw injury and is considering filing a lawsuit. The team has said it was cooperating with the investigation and gathering information on its own. It had no further comment
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Toronto police seek 4th person in Raptors rally shooting

UPDATED: Tue., June 18, 2019, 3:14 p.m.

Police in Canada are looking for a fourth person and haven’t recovered the gun involved in a shooting at a rally for the NBA champion Raptors that left four people wounded and sent thousands fleeing. Toronto Police Chief Marc Saunders said Tuesday they are looking for a male wearing a white button down T-shirt. Police arrested three people who are now facing firearm charges for Monday’s shooting, but the shell casings at the scene didn’t match two guns seized.
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Texas’ Jaxson Hayes headlines list of big men in NBA draft

Texas’ Jaxson Hayes headlines the list of big men in the NBA draft. Hayes is a lottery prospect after spending one season with the Longhorns. Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke, Kentucky’s PJ Washington and Oregon’s Bol Bol are also among the top prospects, particularly with Washington and Bol able to step out of the paint. Other names to watch include international prospect Goga Bitadze, Georgia’s Nicolas Claxton and Maryland’s Bruno Fernando.