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Napier Intangibles Impress Celtics Brass

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“[Winning is] big to me,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens after putting (Shabazz) Napier and five others through a late-morning workout on Monday. “I think guys that win find ways to win.”

Added Stevens: “I’ve always been a big fan of his. [UConn] beat [Stevens’ Butler squad] in the national championship game when he was a freshman. And I was with him for 8 or 10 days in Colorado Springs that summer with USA Basketball. So I’ve spent a lot of time with him and watching him grow up. Obviously, a big-time player who, no matter what, when the lights are the brightest, he’s at his best. Kudos to him for the career that he’s had and it’s pretty incredible when you think about a guy winning two national titles in his four years in college. Big fan of his.”

Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge echoed that often-heard sentiment about Napier: Little in stature, big on intangibles.

“Shabazz is not physically overwhelming, but he has toughness, intelligence, and skill. And he’s got extra savvy,” said Ainge. “So he more than makes up for it. He’s going to make it [in the NBA] is my guess. He’s a good player.”

via Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston

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

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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

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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

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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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