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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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Paul Millsap Returns to Practice, Return Still Unknown

Basketball Insiders

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Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap on Wednesday returned to his first full practice since undergoing left wrist surgery in November. Although Millsap said it felt good to be back with his teammates, he stopped short of putting an exact date on when he’ll return to game action.

“Hopefully pretty soon,” Millsap told reporters, according to the Denver Post. “It feels good now. We’ll see how it feels in the morning or after [Thursday’s] practice, and we’ll go from there. My intention was to come right back after the All-Star break and get into it, but we have to be smart about it. This was my first practice today, full contact, and I have to be smart about my wrist and my body.”

Source: ESPN

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Mark Cuban Fined $600K for ‘Tanking’ Comments

Basketball Insiders

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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been fined $600,000 by the NBA for saying his team should tank this season.

Cuban called tanking “brutal” but acknowledged that he told his team that it would be best to lose for the rest of the 2017-18 season. Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement that the fine was for “for public statements detrimental to the NBA.”

Source: ESPN

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LeBron on Potential Playoff Reseeding: ‘Let’s not get too crazy’

Basketball Insiders

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Fresh off being named MVP of the NBA All-Star Game played in a reimagined format that seemingly reinvigorated the February festivities, LeBron James urged the league to pump the brakes when it comes to potential changes to the playoffs.

“It’s cool to mess around with the All-Star Game — we proved you can do that — but let’s not get too crazy about the playoffs,” James said after Cleveland Cavaliers practice Wednesday. “You have Eastern Conference and you have Western Conference. You have Eastern Conference champions, you have guys from the Eastern Conference that win the big dance and sometimes you have it from the West as well.”

Source: Dave McMenamin of ESPN

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