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Clippers Relieve Doc Rivers of Front-Office Responsibilities

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LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is returning Doc Rivers to the primary duty of head coach, freeing him of front-office responsibilities, the owner told ESPN on Friday.

Rivers, who held the title of president of basketball operations, will continue to have a strong voice in personnel and organizational matters and will partner with Lawrence Frank, the team’s executive vice president of basketball operations, Ballmer told ESPN. Frank will now oversee basketball operations, including general manager Dave Wohl.

Both Frank and Rivers will report directly to the owner. Frank and Rivers enjoy a strong personal and professional relationship, which has allowed for them to cement a shared vision on the franchise’s future.

“I’ve owned the team for three years now, and I really better understand what an owner’s responsibility is — and it turns out that running a franchise and coaching are two enormous and different jobs,” Ballmer told ESPN. “The notion that one person can fairly focus on them and give them all the attention they need isn’t the case. To be as good as we can be, to be a championship franchise, we need two functioning strong people building teams out beneath them. There needs to be a healthy discussion and debate with two strong, independent-minded people.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

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Agent: Gordon Hayward Likely Out Rest of Season Following Surgery, Expected to Make Full Recovery

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Celtics All-Star forward Gordon Hayward is unlikely to return during the 2017-18 season, his agent, Mark Bartelstein, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Hayward underwent surgery to repair a dislocated left ankle and a fractured tibia in Boston on Wednesday night, a procedure that Bartelstein labeled a success.

“We expect him to make a full recovery and return to his All-Star form,” Bartelstein said.

Source: ESPN

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Ben Simmons on NBA Debut: ‘It felt like I was playing 2K’

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Ben Simmons finally made his long-awaited NBA regular-season debut against the Wizards in Washington on Wednesday night. And after his extended wait to wear the Philadelphia 76ers jersey in a meaningful game, he said he felt initially like he was in a video game.

“It felt like I was playing 2K, honestly,” Simmons said postgame.

“Just looking at Joel Embiid out there with the lights on his jersey. I was like, ‘man, I’m actually here.'”

Simmons was drafted with the first overall pick by the Sixers in the 2016 draft, but he missed the entire 2016-17 season while recovering from foot surgery to repair a Jones fracture. He suffered the injury on Sept. 30, 2016, less than a month before the start of the regular season. The Australian was originally expected to miss three months, but was eventually ruled out for the entire season.

Source: Nick Metallinos of ESPN

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Sources: Nuggets Release Jameer Nelson

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Sources: Veteran point guard Jameer Nelson has been released by Denver, clears free agency waivers Friday.

Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

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