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Mitch Kupchak: Season About Celebrating Kobe Bryant

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For much of the 2015-16 season, the Los Angeles Lakers have been trying to balance the development of their younger players while also celebrating Kobe Bryant, who is retiring after his 20th campaign in the NBA. Although the season isn’t over, the Lakers sit at 8-28, and general manager Mitch Kupchak told ESPN that this season is about Bryant.

Any plans to more frequently feature their younger core are on hold until he is gone. “Under normal circumstances [in a season like this], at some point, you would probably concentrate on just developing all your young players,” Kupchak told ESPN on Tuesday. “But we can’t do that right now.

Source: Baxter Holmes of ESPN

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Sources: Spurs Plan to Meet with Kawhi, Work Out Differences

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With head coach Gregg Popovich expected to take the lead, the Spurs plan to meet with [Kawhi] Leonard over the summer to gauge whether the sides can work out their differences and continue what has been largely a positive and productive partnership, sources said.

Leonard was sidelined for all but nine games this season because of a quadriceps issue that has led to an icy relationship with the team’s front office over his diagnosis and the rehabilitation process. He continues to rehab in New York.

Popovich, Buford and Leonard’s Spurs teammates have long maintained the squad wants the star forward back in the fold, but they’ve also all said his long-term health is most important.

Source: Michael C. Wright of ESPN

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Report: Hawks, Budenholzer Agree to Part Ways

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The Atlanta Hawks and coach Mike Budenholzer have mutually agreed to part ways, Budenholzer told ESPN.

The Hawks announced the move later Wednesday night.

Budenholzer, the 2014-15 NBA Coach of the Year, and the organization finalized terms of a split Wednesday night.

“I am grateful for the five years that I spent as coach of the Atlanta Hawks and will always cherish the incredible contributions, commitment and accomplishments of the players that I was fortunate enough to work with here,” Budenholzer told ESPN on Wednesday night. “From ownership to management, support staff to the community, I’ll look back with great pride on what we were able to achieve together with the Hawks.”

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

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Sources: NBA, NBPA Talk Lowering Draft Age Requirement

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The NBA and National Basketball Players Association’s conversations on eliminating the one-and-done entry rule have centered on lowering the minimum age requirement no sooner than the 2020 draft, league sources told ESPN.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts have discussed scenarios to end the requirement for American players to wait one year after high school graduation to enter the NBA draft, but no formal agreement could be reached before the NBPA’s executive committee, including president Chris Paul, gather for a meeting at the end of the NBA playoffs in June.

Silver and Roberts have both expressed a desire to change the rule, but it remains to be seen how the process of negotiating a rule change between the league and players will unfold.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

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