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Billups: Dennis Smith Jr. Can Win Rookie of the Year Award

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There’s been a lot of hype surrounding Dennis Smith Jr. since the Mavericks selected him with the ninth pick in June’s NBA draft. The former North Carolina State point guard earned first-team All-Summer League honors in Las Vegas and bookkeepers consider him an early leader for Rookie of the Year.

Former NBA point guard and current ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups isn’t about to argue you with you if you put your money on Smith Jr. taking home that trophy at the end of the season.

“I love him. I love him. I think he’s got the potential to be the rookie of the year in the league this year,” Billups said in a phone interview promoting the BIG3’s stop in Dallas on Sunday. “I think he’s the most polished out of all the point guards that were out there this year. I think he’s the most polished, pro-ready in my opinion and there’s some really good ones that came into the draft this year and I like almost all of them.”

Billups and Smith Jr. have a personal relationship, with the five-time All-Star taking on something of a mentor role with the new Maverick. And Billups is excited to see his protege in good hands with the Dallas coaching staff.

Source: Adam Grosbard of the Dallas News

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Sources: HEAT Aggressive in Pursuit of Jimmy Butler

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So far, Pat Riley and Miami have been as aggressive as any team in pursuit of a Jimmy Butler trade with Minnesota, league sources tell ESPN. Ownership still prefers to find a deal by early this week, sources said.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

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Sources: Knicks, Joakim Noah Nearing Buyout Agreement

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Sources on @TheAthleticNBA @WatchStadium: Joakim Noah and the New York Knicks are near agreement on his waive and stretch. Noah will not report to training camp this week as sides part ways before media day.

Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

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Sources: Cavaliers Interested in Jimmy Butler

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ESPN Sources: Another team pursuing a Jimmy Butler trade with Minnesota: Cleveland. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert was seen talking privately with Glen Taylor at NBA Board of Governors meeting on Friday. Both owners played a part in negotiating the Love-Wiggins deal.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

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