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Steve Clifford to Return to Hornets Tuesday

Basketball Insiders

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Following a medical leave of more than a month, the Charlotte Hornets’ Steve Clifford will return to coach his team starting Tuesday at practice, the Hornets announced Thursday night.

The Observer first reported Thursday that Clifford has been cleared to return to work. He has been out since Dec. 4, when associate head coach Steve Silas took over. Previously, Clifford’s health condition was undisclosed. However, a source confirmed to the Observer that Clifford has been suffering from severe headaches, a condition that predates this season.

Clifford will address the media Friday midday at Spectrum Center. His first game back will be Wednesday night, at home against the Washington Wizards.

Clifford has been out since the morning of a Dec. 4 home game against the Orlando Magic. The Hornets were 8-13 before Clifford’s departure, and are now 16-24.

Source: Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer

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Report: Nick Nurse, Raptors Agree to Extension

Shane Rhodes

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The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday they have signed head coach Nick Nurse to a multi-year contract extension. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. This past season, Nurse guided the Raptors to a 53-19 record during the regular season (second best in the NBA) and set a franchise-record with a .736 winning percentage. Toronto also reached the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the fifth straight year.

Source: Toronto Raptors

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Sources: Rockets Interested in Tyronn Lue, Sam Cassell for Head Coach

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Sources: There is mutual interest between the Rockets and Clippers assistant coach Sam Cassell. Cassell started his playing career with the two-time champion “Clutch City” Rockets.


With a head coaching vacancy in Houston, expect the franchise to take a strong look at Los Angeles Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue.

Source: Tim MacMahon and Chris Haynes on Twitter

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Sources: Mike D’Antoni Won’t Return to Rockets Next Season

Basketball Insiders

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Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni has informed the franchise that he’s becoming a coaching free agent and won’t return to the team next season, he told ESPN on Sunday.

“It’s with tremendous sadness and gratitude that my wife Laurel and I announce that our incredible journey in Houston has ended for now and that we’ll be moving to a new chapter,” D’Antoni told ESPN in a statement.

D’Antoni, whose contract expired with the end of Houston’s season in the Western Conference semifinals on Saturday, turned down extension offers before the season.

He will be considered among a group of candidates for the Philadelphia 76ers’ coaching opening, sources told ESPN.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

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