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Fred Hoiberg Says Bulls Have Robin Lopez’s Back

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Robin Lopez knew punishment was coming and he was right.

The center was nailed with a one-game suspension without pay for his altercation with Raptors forward Serge Ibaka on Tuesday night in Toronto. He served the suspension Wednesday against the visiting Pistons.

(Said Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg:) “He’s got a fire to him that you just don’t ever want to take away. This game gets very competitive obviously, it gets heated at times. That happened [Tuesday] night. It’s unfortunate what went down, but we’ve all got Robin’s back.’’

Source: Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times

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Sources: Trevor Ariza Seeking $50-60 Million in Free Agency

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Aside from the looming contract talks of Clint Capela and Chris Paul, the free agency of veteran forward Trevor Ariza’s is another issue the Rockets will need to address come July 1.

Throughout his career, Ariza has signed relatively team-friendly deals, never earning more than $8.5 million per season. According to a person with knowledge of Ariza’s thinking, the veteran small forward will seek a larger deal once free agency arrives. Ariza is believed to want a contract in the range of $50-60 million over 4-5 years, more than $30-40 million Houston would likely offer. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on the record about Ariza or the Rockets’ free agency plans.

Source: Kelly Iko of USA TODAY Sports

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Sources: Kawhi Leonard Prefers Trade to Lakers

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San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard has Los Angeles — preferably the Lakers — at the center of his preferences for a trade destination, league sources tell ESPN.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

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Sources: Nuggets, Hawks Contemplating Kenneth Faried Trade

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The Nuggets are aggressively seeking to shed salary by trading forward Kenneth Faried, and the Hawks are willing to accommodate them for the right price, according to a person with knowledge of the NBA trade market.

The Hawks would seek draft picks, young players or both as part of a deal with the Nuggets or any other team that wants to reduce payroll. The Nuggets own the No. 14 overall pick in next week’s draft, and their expendable young players include recent draft picks Malik Beasley and Tyler Lydon.

The Nuggets are looking to reduce their salary commitments for next season. Faried is owed $13.8 million in 2018-19, the final year of his deal, and he fell out of Denver’s rotation this season with a career-low 461 minutes played.

Source: Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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