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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: Spurs, LaMarcus Aldridge Agree on Extension

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San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge has reached agreement on a contract extension, league sources tell ESPN. The deal includes a partial guarantee in the third year.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

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LeBron James Still Uncertain for Season Opener

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LeBron James tested his injured left ankle during a portion of practice Sunday, but it’s still not known if he’ll play in Cleveland’s season opener.

James has been slowed since spraining his ankle in practice on Sept. 27. The three-time NBA champion sat out the Cavaliers’ first three exhibition games before making his debut last week against Chicago. He played 30 minutes but may have aggravated his ankle while making a spin move in the loss.

Source: USA Today Sports

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Rodney Hood, Jazz Don’t Come to Agreement on Extension

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Rodney Hood and the Utah Jazz will not come to an agreement on a contract extension, barring a last minute change, sources tell The Salt Lake Tribune, clearing the way for Hood to become a restricted free agent next summer.

Source: Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune

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