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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: Mavericks Gauging Trade Value of Kristaps Porzingis

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The Dallas Mavericks set out to fortify their defense around Luka Doncic and their historic scoring attack this offseason.

Yet here the Mavericks stand, ninth in the Western Conference, ranking 27th in overall defense, and Kristaps Porzingis’ steady decline on that end of the floor appears to be the biggest dilemma this front office is now facing.

In fact, Dallas has quietly gauged the trade market for Porzingis, according to league sources, as the Mavericks have begun reevaluating whether the 25-year-old center can truly support Doncic as the second option on a contender. “They’ve kicked the tires on everybody on their roster that’s not named Luka,” one person with knowledge of Dallas’ thinking said. “You know [president of basketball operations] Donnie [Nelson]; they’re always tinkering.”

“They’ve definitely sniffed around on him,” an assistant general manager told B/R. “They’re taking the temperature, because they know at some point it’s gonna come around.”

Source: Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report

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Sources: Timberwolves Dismiss Ryan Saunders

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The Minnesota Timberwolves have dismissed coach Ryan Saunders, sources tell ESPN.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

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Sources: DeMarcus Cousins, Rockets to Part Ways

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The Houston Rockets and center DeMarcus Cousins are planning to part ways in coming days, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Houston wants to go smaller, younger in frontcourt when Christian Wood returns and this allows Cousins to find an opportunity elsewhere.

Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

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