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Steve Clifford: Dwight Howard Will Start for Hornets, Zeller to Come Off the Bench

Basketball Insiders

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The new Charlotte Hornets starting lineup will look an awful lot like the one that completed last season.

Coach Steve Clifford said Friday that his projected starters, going into training camp Sept. 26 at Spectrum Center, are Kemba Walker at point guard, Nic Batum at shooting guard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at small forward, Marvin Williams at power forward and Dwight Howard at center.

The only change from last season that would represent is the addition of Howard, who the Hornets traded for in June. He will replace Cody Zeller, who will still play extensively at center and could play some power forward in certain matchups.

That lineup means power forward Frank Kaminsky would continue to come off the bench and rookie guard Malik Monk, the 11th overall pick in June’s draft, would also be in the second unit.

Clifford said Howard, who he coached twice as an NBA assistant, isn’t as athletic as he was when the Orlando Magic drafted him No. 1 overall in 2004. But his defensive impact can still be big on a team that had little or no rim protection last season.

“Dwight is still an elite defender,” Clifford said. “He’s one of the smartest players I’ve ever been around. He’s Marvin Williams” as a traffic cop on defense.

Source: Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer

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New Orleans Pelicans and Cliff Alexander Agree To Deal

Michael Scotto

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The New Orleans Pelicans and free agent forward Cliff Alexander have agreed to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal, a league source told Basketball Insiders.

The addition of Alexander will give New Orleans 20 players heading into training camp.

Alexander spent last season playing 40 combined games with the Erie Bayhawks and Long Island Nets in the G-League, where he averaged 15.8 points and 8.9 rebounds in 27.3 minutes per game. Alexander also shot 52 percent from the field and blocked one shot per game.

The 21-year-old forward was a McDonald’s All-American and won MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic in 2014 before attending Kansas University. Alexander played 28 games as a Jayhawk and averaged 7.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 17.6 minutes per game before declaring for the draft.

After going undrafted, Alexander played in eight games for Portland during the 2015-16 season and received a 10-day contract from the Brooklyn Nets in April.

For more information on the salary cap and roster situation for the New Orleans Pelicans, click here.

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Atlanta Hawks and John Jenkins Agree To Deal

Michael Scotto

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The Atlanta Hawks and free agent guard John Jenkins have agreed to a training camp deal, a league source told Basketball Insiders.

The addition of Jenkins will give Atlanta 20 players heading into training camp.

Jenkins drew interest from several other teams, including the Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwaukee Bucks.

The 26-year-old guard began his career in Atlanta after the Hawks selected him 23rd overall out of Vanderbilt in the 2012 draft. For his career, Jenkins has averaged 5.1 points in 12.8 minutes per game while shooting 45 percent from the field overall and 36 percent from beyond the arc.

For more information on Atlanta’s salary cap and roster situation, click here.

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Knicks, OKC Come to Agreement on Deal for Melo

Basketball Insiders

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The New York Knicks have agreed to trade 10-time All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder, league sources told ESPN on Saturday.

The Thunder will send center Enes Kanter, forward Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-round pick (via the Chicago Bulls) to New York, league sources said. Anthony, 33, will waive his no-trade clause and his $8.1 million trade kicker to accommodate the deal, league sources told ESPN.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

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