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    A person with knowledge of the negotiations says Boston Celtics assistant Will Hardy has accepted an offer to become the coach of the Utah Jazz. Hardy and the Jazz were in the process of finalizing contract language, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither side announced the deal publicly. Hardy will become an NBA head coach for the first time. He’ll replace Quin Snyder, who decided to leave the Jazz earlier this month after eight seasons. Hardy spent one season in Boston, helping the Celtics reach the NBA Finals. His previous 11 seasons were spent with the San Antonio Spurs.

      The Cleveland Cavaliers made the expected move and extended a qualifying offer to guard Collin Sexton, who missed most of last season with a knee injury. Sexton is now a restricted free agent and the high-energy scorer could draw interest from other teams. If Sexton receives an offer sheet, the Cavs can match it. Teams can begin negotiating with free agents on Thursday. A first-round pick in 2018, Sexton played in just 11 games last season before tearing meniscus in his right knee and undergoing surgery. The 23-year-old had been playing well and seemed to accept a lesser scoring role alongside All-Star Darius Garland.

        A person with direct knowledge of the decision says Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook is exercising his option to play for $47.1 million next season. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither Westbrook nor the Lakers revealed the decision publicly. ESPN first reported Westbrook’s decision. The past NBA MVP and one of the league’s top 75 all-time players turn 34 next season, his 15th in the NBA.

          John Wall and the Houston Rockets have agreed that his contract will be bought out, a move that will free him to sign with any team of his choosing, two people with knowledge of the situation said Monday night. Wall’s preference will be to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers, according to one of the people who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the five-time All-Star guard had not announced his intentions publicly. Wall will receive roughly $41 million from Houston, according to the other person who spoke with AP. Wall was scheduled to make $47.4 million this coming season, his last in what was a four-year contract.

            Kyrie Irving has decided to exercise his $36.9 million option for the coming season and will remain under contract with the Brooklyn Nets. That's according to two people with knowledge of his decision. They spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the Nets had not confirmed the decision publicly. The Athletic first reported Irving's decision. Irving's future had been one of the biggest storylines as the NBA prepares for the start of free agency later this week. Irving could still have his contract extended. Also, the Nets could still trade him.

            The Chicago Bulls remain hopeful All-Star guard Zach LaVine will choose to re-sign with them rather than join another team as an unrestricted free agent. Bulls top basketball executive Arturas Karnisovas says they “hope Zach is here for a long time, and nothing changed.” Karnisovas has said several times he would like to retain LaVine and a keep a core that helped Chicago reach the playoffs for the first time in five years intact. The free agency negotiating period starts Thursday evening. The Bulls introduced recent first-round draft pick Dalen Terry on Monday.

            Someone has paid $2.4 million for a one-of-a-kind LeBron James trading card, a purchase price that fell well short of what some expected. The auction of the “Triple Logoman” card ended Saturday. Officials at the collectibles marketplace Goldin, which ran the auction, suggested earlier this month that the card could fetch the largest price ever for a card. It didn’t come close. The record remains $6.6 million spent for a Honus Wagner trading card last year.

            Thunder general manager Sam Presti has a stunningly successful history with high draft picks. Back when the Thunder were still the Seattle SuperSonics, Presti made Kevin Durant the No. 2 overall pick in 2007 and Russell Westbrook No. 4 overall in 2008. The team moved to Oklahoma City for the 2008-09 season before Presti selected James Harden third overall in 2009. They took the Thunder to the NBA Finals in 2012. Presti picked Chet Holmgren No. 2 overall on Thursday, making him a key building block to a possible resurgence.

            Steve Clifford is heading back to Charlotte. Clifford has agreed to a multiyear contract to return as head coach of the NBA’s Hornets four years after being fired by team owner Michael Jordan, the team announced Friday night. Charlotte previously agreed to terms on a four-year contract with Golden State assistant Kenny Atkinson to become head coach, but he later informed the team he was not taking the job citing family reasons. The 60-year-old Clifford spent five seasons coaching the Hornets, compiling a 196-214 record with a team that included Kemba Walker, before being fired in 2018. He coached the Magic from 2018-21. Charlotte fired James Borrego in April.

            The Memphis Grizzlies announced Friday the final pieces of their draft night trade sending guard De’Anthony Melton to the Philadelphia 76ers for the draft rights to forward David Roddy and wing Danny Green. Roddy was selected with the No. 23 overall pick Thursday night. The Mountain West Player of the Year led Colorado State to the NCAA Tournament this season for the first time since 2013. Green is a three-time NBA champ with the Spurs (2014), the Raptors (2019) and the Lakers (2020). Melton has spent the past three seasons with the Grizzlies.

            The secret about how Orlando was going to take Paolo Banchero with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft was incredibly well-kept. Even Banchero didn't know until the final seconds. The secret is out now. Banchero arrived in Orlando on Friday, one day after his name got permanently etched on the list of No. 1 draft picks. The 6-foot-10 forward out of Duke will officially start workouts next week for Orlando’s July 7 opener at NBA Summer League.

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            The Minnesota Timberwolves have added a potential rim protector to complement star Karl-Anthony Towns with the acquisition of 7-foot-1 Auburn center Walker Kessler. The Timberwolves sent the No. 19 pick to Memphis for a pair of first-rounders. The first one became Kessler. He won two national defensive player of the year awards for the Tigers last season. The second pick was packaged to Houston for the rights to Duke's Wendell Moore Jr. Moore was the second-leading scorer for the Blue Devils on their way to the Final Four.

            Dallas Mavericks general manager Nico Harrison can finally say he has made a draft pick. The Mavericks traded back into the NBA draft to get 37th overall pick Jaden Hardy from the Sacramento Kings. The Mavericks originally had the 26th pick in the first round but traded it to Houston last week in a deal for Christian Wood. It's Harrison's second year as GM. He didn't have a selection in his first draft last summer. Hardy will have difficulty breaking into the rotation in a backcourt led by young superstar Luka Doncic.

            The Memphis Grizzlies have packaged its two first round picks and sent them to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Grizzlies moved up in the draft to obtain Jake LaRavia of Wake Forest in Thursday's NBA draft. The 6-foot-8 forward has a reputation as a strong shooter. He started his career at Indiana State but transferred to Wake Forest. His transition to the ACC improved his play, averaging 14.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists last season, along with 1.7 steals.

            The Milwaukee Bucks capitalized on a rare opportunity to pick in the first round of the draft by taking NBA G League Ignite wing MarJon Beauchamp with the 24th overall selection. The 6-foot-6 Beauchamp averaged 15.1 points for the Ignite this season. That was the latest step in a circuitous path to the NBA that included stops at four different high schools and Yakima Valley College. Beauchamp shapes up to be the first opening-round pick the Bucks have kept beyond draft night since taking Donte DiVincenzo 17th overall in 2018.

            The Los Angeles Clippers drafted forward Moussa Diabate from Michigan with the 43rd pick in the NBA draft. Diabate was the second player from Michigan to be picked in the second round. Caleb Houstan went to Orlando with the 32nd selection. The 6-foot-11 Diabate helped the Wolverines reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in his freshman season. He started 26 of 32 games, averaging 9.0 points and 6.0 rebounds. He shot 54% from the field, second-best on the team. Diabate moved to the U.S. from France at age 14, two years after he started playing basketball.

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