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Sources: Caris LeVert Could Return Before All-Star Break

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Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert is returning to full 5-on-5 practice and there’s optimism that he can play prior to the All-Star break in mid-February, league sources told ESPN.

LeVert, out since mid-November after dislocating his right foot, has made steady progress and is expected to practice with the Nets’ G League team this week in Brooklyn, league sources said.

LeVert, 24, had appeared to be on his way to an All-Star season for the Nets, averaging 18.4 points and showing the promise of one of the conference’s rising stars. The Nets are 28-26 and holding on to sixth in the Eastern Conference race and expect to get back guard Spencer Dinwiddie from a thumb injury in late February or early March.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

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Sources: NBA Submit Proposal to Lower Draft-Eligible Age to 18

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The NBA has submitted to the National Basketball Players Association a formal proposal that will lower the draft-eligible age to 18 from 19, a person with knowledge of the proposal told USA TODAY Sports.

The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss discussions between the league and the union.

The NBPA and its executive director, Michele Roberts, planned to review the proposal Monday at a post-All-Star weekend meeting in the Bahamas.

The league and union have had informal discussions about lowering the age limit, and NBA commissioner Adam Silver is on record saying the current 19-year-old age limit is not working for the league or college basketball.

This is the first step in formal negotiations to lower the age limit by the 2022 draft. The issue is collectively bargained between the NBA and NBPA, and both sides need to agree to any rule change.

Source: Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY Sports

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Sources: Bucks Interested in JR Smith, Buyout Unlikely

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The Milwaukee Bucks have interest in JR Smith, sources said, though Smith and the Cavs are not close on a buyout. There is very little incentive for Cleveland to buy him out, and at this stage in his life, NBA money is important to Smith.

Smith is guaranteed $3.9 million for next season and $15.7 million if he’s on Cleveland’s roster July 1. What this means for the Cavs is — there is great reason to hold on to him for the rest of the season, and then try to trade him before July 1. If they fail, then they either waive him by June 30, paying him the $3.9 million to walk, they take on his full contract with the hope of being able to trade it by the February deadline next season, or they keep him past July 1 in an effort to trade him by a late August deadline to “waive and stretch” his contract. In essence, this would be risking $12 million for an extra two months to trade him.

Source: Joe Vardon of The Athletic

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Report: Zion Williamson Day-to-Day with Right Knee Sprain

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NEWS: Zion Williamson was diagnosed with a Grade 1 right knee sprain. He is progressing as expected, and his status is day-to-day.

Source: Duke Basketball on Twitter

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