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Kyrie Irving on Trade: ‘Me leaving wasn’t about basketball’

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The Celtics formally introduced Irving and fellow summer acquisition Gordon Hayward on Friday at TD Garden. The Celtics traded Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick, and the Miami Heat’s 2020 second-round pick in exchange for Irving. Hayward signed a four-year, $128 million contract with the Celtics in July.

“It was my time to do what was best for me in terms of my intentions, and that’s going after something bigger than myself, and obviously being in an environment that was conducive for my potential,” Irving said. “I think that statement is just self-explanatory because it’s pretty direct in terms of what my intent is — it’s to be happy and be with a group of individuals that I can grow with. That’s not a knock on anything that has transpired in my six years [in Cleveland], because it was an unbelievable experience. To think about what we accomplished in Cleveland and individually as well, it bypasses the amount of moments I had with all the special people out there.

“Me leaving there wasn’t about basketball; it was more or less about creating that foundation of me in Cleveland, and then now taking this next step as a 25-year-old evolving man and being the best basketball player I can be.”

Source: Chris Forsberg of ESPN

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Report: Jimmy Butler to Undergo MRI on Right Knee

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Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Jimmy Butler left Friday night’s 120-102 lossto the Houston Rockets with a right knee injury.

Butler drove into the paint with about three minutes remaining in the third quarter, missed a short jumper, but then clawed the rebound. He dished to a teammate, then crumpled to the floor in pain, holding his knee.

Teammates, coaches and athletic trainers tended to Butler, who had to be helped off the court. He was unable to put any weight on the leg as he was helped to the locker room, where he was evaluated.

Butler was seen hopping on one foot in the Toyota Center hallway as he headed to get an X-ray. He is scheduled to have an MRI on Saturday when the team gets back to Minnesota.

Source: ESPN

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Sources: Multiple Teams Interested in Joakim Noah if Bought Out

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According to league sources, several playoff-bound teams are closely monitoring [Joakim] Noah’s situation in New York and would push to sign him if Noah becomes a free agent.

The Warriors, Timberwolves and Thunder are three such teams that believe Noah, who turns 33 on Sunday, could bolster their respective rosters for the postseason.

Minnesota is an obvious one since it would reunite Noah with his former coach with the Chicago Bulls, Tom Thibodeau. Golden State and Oklahoma City also feel that Noah’s experience and defensive prowess would solidify their respective benches.

Noah remains in limbo following an altercation with Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek last month in Denver.

Source: Frank Isola of the New York Daily News

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Sources: Hawks, Ersan Ilyasova Nearing Buyout, Multiple Teams Interested

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Atlanta Hawks nearing a buyout with Ersan Ilyasova, I’m told.

Milwaukee and Toronto among possibilities for an Ersan Ilyasova landing spot once Hawks buyout is complete, but sense is it could open to other teams too.

Source: Sam Amick on Twitter

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