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Report: Jabari Parker to Make Season Debut Friday

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Bucks forward Jabari Parker will make his season debut Friday night against the New York Knicks, the team announced Monday. Parker has not played since tearing the ACL in his left knee for the second time on Feb. 8, 2017.

“I’m really excited,” Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo said after scoring 31 points and grabbing 18 rebounds in Monday’s 107-95 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. “I know the fans are really excited about that, too. He’s been through this twice in his career, just seeing him every day for the past year now working hard and being focused towards his return, I think it’s big for him and we all got to embrace the moment. I know he’s really excited. I think when he comes back he’s going to take this team to the next level. He’s going to help us defensively and offensively.”

The Bucks are hopeful that Parker will be able to provide some offensive punch alongside Antetokounmpo and continue their winning ways under interim head coach Joe Prunty. Monday’s win marked four straight victories since Prunty took over for fired head coach Jason Kidd last week.

Prunty would not reveal exactly what the plan would be as far as a minutes restriction, but he acknowledged there would be one as Parker makes his way back.

Parker averaged 20.1 points per game last season before his injury, second on the team behind only Antetokounmpo.

Source: Nick Friedell of ESPN

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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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