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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: 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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