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Harden to Help Rockets Recruit Durant in Future?

Basketball Insiders

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The Rockets are widely expected to take a step back this season, thanks to all the depth they squandered on the Bosh dice roll, but they expect to have significant salary-cap room next summer — when they can chase point guards as accomplished as Goran Dragic and Rajon Rondo if they choose — as well as in the summer of 2016.

Which is when, sources say, they’d like to give (James) Harden an opportunity to serve as Houston’s lead recruiter in the pursuit of a free agent named Kevin Wayne Durant.

Morey is naturally unwilling (and not allowed by league rules) to discuss any specifics on those fronts. But he likewise won’t budge from his oft-recited claims that the Rockets — no matter what you think of their July dealings or how his critics in rival front offices see it — remain a top-five destination in the league that is home to two of the NBA’s top 10 players.

“We are always going to be swinging big,” Morey said. “We’re only about trying to win championships and how to make that happen. We take big swings at things. Obviously, it worked out the last two summers, but the only way you can land a James Harden or a Dwight Howard is by taking big swings. Sometimes, you hit. Sometimes, you miss. Bosh chose to stay in Miami, but that’s not always going to be the case.

via Marc Stein of ESPN

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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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