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Gordon Hayward: ‘Probably smarter’ to Leave West for East

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In an extended interview about his free-agency process, All-Star forward and new Celtic Gordon Hayward visted with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski to discuss the courtships of Boston, Utah and Miami in a wide-ranging visit on The Woj Pod, released on Monday afternoon.

On leaving the Western Conference for the East:

“When we’re going through this process and you keep seeing some of the big-name guys and it’s like, the West is loading up more and more and more, it’s not something where, like, I’m going to go East just so I don’t have to play them, ’cause you don’t want to run from competition at all. That’s not how I am. But there is a sense that it’s probably a smarter thing as far as you’re not going to have to battle it out with all these teams just to make it to the second round, make it to the third round, giving yourself a better chance against a Golden State. So it definitely crosses your mind, 100 percent.

Source: ESPN via Adrian Wojnarowski’s WojPod

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Sources: Jimmy Butler Prefers Trade to Clippers, Interested in Knicks, Nets

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After registering a trade request with the Minnesota Timberwolves, All-Star Jimmy Butler is most interested in pursuing a future with the Los Angeles Clippers, league sources told ESPN.

Butler’s ability to partner on the Clippers with a second star player in a deep summer free agency market holds a strong appeal to Butler, league sources said.

The Clippers have two max contract slots available in July, and are emerging as a front-runner for Toronto’s All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard when he becomes a free agent in July, league sources said.

Butler told Minnesota president of basketball operations and coach Tom Thibodeau that he would like to be traded before reporting for Timberwolves media day on Monday and prefers the possibility of the Clippers — as well as the New York Knicks, league sources said. Butler told the Timberwolves that he planned to leave the franchise in free agency next summer, sources said.

The Brooklyn Nets’ ability to sign two max free agents in the summer will keep them in consideration for Butler, but he has prioritized the Clippers and Knicks over them, league sources said.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

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Sources: Brandon Knight Had ‘clean up’ Procedure on Left Knee

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On @theathleticnba @watchstadium: Houston’s Brandon Knight underwent surgery on his left knee, considered a “clean up,” and will miss some time, per league sources.

Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

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Report: Pelicans Waive Emeka Okafor

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The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that the team has requested waivers on center Emeka Okafor.

Okafor, 6-10, 252, appeared in 26 regular season games last season with New Orleans after signing with the team on February 3, 2018 and finished the season with averages of 4.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game.

Source: New Orleans Pelicans

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