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Michael Jordan: Hornets ‘not looking to trade’ Kemba Walker

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Charlotte Hornets majority owner Michael Jordan said Monday night he’s not looking to trade point guard Kemba Walker, and would do so only if the return included a major All-Star, such as the San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard.

“We bred him, we chose him, we groomed him to be a good player for us,” Jordan said of Walker, who the Hornets drafted ninth overall in 2011, to a great extent because Jordan saw traits in Walker that reminded him of his own playing career.

“I’m not looking to trade Kemba, but I would listen to opportunities.”

As Jordan pointed out, his team has underachieved. An expensive veteran roster — they traded for future Hall of Fame center Dwight Howard in June — hasn’t clicked as a group on a regular basis. Jordan said there have been eight to 10 games this season he feels the Hornets should have won and didn’t.

Walker was clearly rattled Friday, following practice, when asked about the reports his name has been discussed in a possible trade. He said he would be “devastated” if the Hornets dealt him after six-plus seasons here. Walker has set down deep roots in the community and is currently building a new home here.

Walker, 27, said Friday his ultimate goal would be to play his entire career in Charlotte, which he now considers home.

Source: Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer

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Sources: NBA Targeting Pre-Christmas Start, 72-Game Regular Season

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The NBA’s league office informed the Board of Governors on Friday that it is targeting to start the 2020-21 season on Dec. 22, three days before Christmas Day, and would like to play a 72-game campaign, sources told The Athletic.

This would mean a return close to the NBA’s normal schedule, significant financial ramifications to start early, a potential finish before the 2021 Summer Olympics, and allow a window for stars to play in the Olympics, sources said. The NBA wants to continue to incorporate the play-in tournament that was utilized in the Orlando restart to determine the eighth seed in the Eastern and Western Conference playoffs, according to sources. ESPN first reported that a Christmas start and playing fewer than 82 games would be discussed on Friday’s call.

The National Basketball Players Association would need to sign off on any plan to start the season on Dec. 22.

Source: Shams Charania of The Athletic

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Sources: Pacers Interested in Gordon Hayward

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Something to keep an eye on once we find out when NBA teams can start making trades: some within the Pacers organization continue to have interest in trading for Celtics’ Gordon Hayward, per SNY sources.

It’s unknown what Boston would want in return for Hayward — or if the club is even open to moving him.

In an NBC Sports podcast in June, the Indianapolis Star noted that Hayward would be a player of interest for the Pacers in the offseason.

Hayward, who starred at Butler, can become a free agent by opting out of the final year of his deal, worth roughly $34 million. It’s hard to see Hayward opting out of his deal without the assurance of a long-term extension in place.

Source: Ian Begley of SNY.tv

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Sources: Warriors Work Out Deni Avdija

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Steve Kerr and other members of the Warriors organization worked out Maccabi Tel Aviv prospect Deni Avdija on Thursday morning in Atlanta, according to sources. By all accounts, it was a positive get together, one in which the 19-year-old Israeli impressed observers. Not only did Avdija perform well in the workouts, but Warriors officials were blown away after meeting with him. The universal takeaway was that he’s a “great kid” with an immense work ethic.

Source: Ethan Strauss of The Athletic

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