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Kenny Atkinson: Nets ‘need to show progress’ Next Season

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The July whirlwind strengthened Brooklyn’s position. The cap fell far below projections. Teams that spent big in the summer of 2016 were staring down tax payments in 2018 and beyond. Many would need to shed money, and the Nets stood as one of only a couple realistic dumping grounds. They could execute one last, ultra-predatory version of the [DeMarre] Carroll deal — and snare a better pick.

The Nets instead played their last flexibility chip on [Allen] Crabbe — and extracted zero picks for saving the taxed-to-oblivion Blazers almost $45 million. They undid what most executives considered a lucky break in Portland matching Brooklyn’s offer sheet for Crabbe a year ago. “Would we have liked a pick?” [Nets General Manager Sean] Marks asked. “Sure. But this is what it took.”

Carroll can supply shooting at power forward; if he plays well, he could usurp [Rondae] Hollis-Jefferson’s starting spot. As of now, there will be a fierce competition between five players — [D’Angelo] Russell, [Jeremy] Lin, Crabbe, [Caris] LeVert and Carroll — for three starting jobs. (The bet here is on the Lin-LeVert-Crabbe trio, with LeVert’s grip the shakiest.)

That is a good problem for a team that gave too many minutes to fringe players. Flaws aside, Crabbe and Russell are legitimate rotation guys. Shifting sub-replacement-level minutes to borderline starters can have an explosive compound effect. Wagering on Crabbe also shows the Nets feel some pressure to improve.

We need to show progress,” [Nets Head Coach Kenny] Atkinson said, “out of respect for ownership.”

Source: Zach Lowe 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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