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Mario Hezonja Trade Talks

Michael Scotto

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Orlando has explored the trade market on former No. 5 overall pick Mario Hezonja, league sources told Basketball Insiders. The Magic must decide whether to exercise his fourth-year $5.2 million team option by 11:59 PM Eastern Time today.

The Sacramento Kings and Magic discussed a swap of Malachi Richardson and a second-round pick for Hezonja but trade talks stalled recently, league sources told Basketball Insiders.

Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic have kept tabs on Hezonja since the 2015 draft process. Sacramento nearly selected Hezonja, but Orlando selected him the pick before. Instead, Sacramento chose Willie Cauley-Stein with the sixth pick in that draft.

Hezonja has shot the ball well through the first six games of the season in limited action. The 22-year-old is shooting 50 percent from the field overall and 63 percent from beyond the arc while averaging 4.5 points in 13.0 minutes per game.

Richardson was selected No. 22 overall in the 2016 draft and is averaging 6.0 points in 13.3 minutes per game. Sacramento will pick up the 21-year-old’s third-year team option, according to Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune.

For more information on Sacramento’s salary cap situation, click here.

Michael Scotto is a Senior NBA Writer for Basketball Insiders in his sixth season covering the league. He also works for The Associated Press focusing on Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks game coverage.

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

Basketball Insiders

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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

Basketball Insiders

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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

Basketball Insiders

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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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