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Sources: Wizards Target Tim Connelly to Replace Ernie Grunfeld

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League sources believe the Wizards have centered in on Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly as their top target to replace former president of basketball ops Ernie Grunfeld, who Washington dismissed Tuesday morning.

Connelly, who grew up in nearby Baltimore and has been in charge of the Nuggets front office since 2013, began his NBA career as an intern with the Wizards in 1996, when he was a student at Catholic University. Washington hired him as a full-time video coordinator in 1999. He worked his way up through the front office until becoming assistant general manager of the Hornets in 2010 and eventually heading to Denver three years later.

Source: Fred Katz of The Athletic

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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: Pacers Interested in Gordon Hayward

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Something to keep an eye on once we find out when NBA teams can start making trades: some within the Pacers organization continue to have interest in trading for Celtics’ Gordon Hayward, per SNY sources.

It’s unknown what Boston would want in return for Hayward — or if the club is even open to moving him.

In an NBC Sports podcast in June, the Indianapolis Star noted that Hayward would be a player of interest for the Pacers in the offseason.

Hayward, who starred at Butler, can become a free agent by opting out of the final year of his deal, worth roughly $34 million. It’s hard to see Hayward opting out of his deal without the assurance of a long-term extension in place.

Source: Ian Begley of SNY.tv

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Sources: Warriors Work Out Deni Avdija

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Steve Kerr and other members of the Warriors organization worked out Maccabi Tel Aviv prospect Deni Avdija on Thursday morning in Atlanta, according to sources. By all accounts, it was a positive get together, one in which the 19-year-old Israeli impressed observers. Not only did Avdija perform well in the workouts, but Warriors officials were blown away after meeting with him. The universal takeaway was that he’s a “great kid” with an immense work ethic.

Source: Ethan Strauss of The Athletic

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