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Center Joakim Noah to be waived by LA Clippers, likely ending his career, agent says

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The LA Clippers are waiving two-time All-Star center Joakim Noah, signaling a likely end to his 13-year NBA career, his agent, Bill Duffy, told ESPN.

In his prime with the Chicago Bulls, Noah built a reputation as one of the league’s best defenders and most ferocious competitors.

“What an illustrious career for Joakim, starting with two national titles at the University of Florida, to becoming an NBA Defensive Player of the Year and ultimately evolving into one of the most passionate, spirited players to ever come through our sport,” Duffy told ESPN on Tuesday night. “It’s been my honor to represent Joakim through his journey.”

Noah, the son of former French Open tennis champ Yannick Noah, helped lead the Florida Gators to consecutive national championships before he was selected ninth overall by the Chicago Bulls in 2007.

Noah’s finest years were with the Bulls as one of the league’s best and most versatile defenders. A two-time All-Star (2013 and 2014), Noah became a three-time All-Defensive performer and the league’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2013-14. In earning All-NBA first-team honors that season, Noah averaged 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals.

Noah — who averaged 8.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks over his career — had stops with the New York Knicks, Memphis Grizzlies and Clippers through his 13 seasons. Injuries cost him a multitude of games on the back end of his career, limiting him to only 129 games since the 2015-16 season. After signing a four-year, $72 million free-agent deal with the Knicks in 2016, Noah played a total of 53 games over two seasons.

Noah, 35, suffered a freak injury in September of 2019 when he dropped a steel ice tub and cut his Achilles tendon. He signed a 10-day contract with the Clippers prior to the pandemic shutdown and played five games during the rest of the season.

ESPN’s NBA reporter Ohm Youngmisuk contributed to this report.

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Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving questionable vs. Milwaukee Bucks after missing 6 games

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NEW YORK — Kyrie Irving is listed as questionable for the Brooklyn Nets‘ game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday. It is the first time since Jan. 5 that Irving’s status leaves room for him to be available to play.

Irving has missed the Nets’ past six games.

If Irving plays Monday, it will be the first time the Nets have had Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden on the court together. The Nets made a trade that brought Harden to Brooklyn on Wednesday.

For the first five games of his absence, Irving was listed as out for personal reasons.

During that hiatus, a video began circulating online of Irving at what appeared to be a family birthday party. The video showed the Nets guard maskless, dancing with his sister and standing next to her as she blew out birthday candles.

The league’s COVID-19 safety rules say that players are not allowed to go to bars, clubs and lounges or attend gatherings of 15 or more people. Irving was found to have violated those rules. The league fined Irving $50,000 and docked him over $800,000 in salary for the two games he had to miss in quarantine.

Irving was out for the Nets’ game on Sunday against the Orlando Magic as a part of the league’s health and safety protocols. League rules allow for players who have had to quarantine to have a few days to ramp up on-court workouts before rejoining their team in a game.

On Saturday, Nets coach Steve Nash said that he anticipated Irving would work out on Sunday with the team’s “stay ready” group of bench players.

Nets general manager Sean Marks said last week Irving will “have the opportunity to address his absence when he is ready to do so.”

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Sunday night’s Philadelphia 76ers-Oklahoma City Thunder game postponed

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Sunday night’s Philadelphia 76ersOklahoma City Thunder game has been postponed because of contact tracing within the Sixers, the NBA announced.

The game was postponed in accordance with the league’s health and safety guidelines as the 76ers don’t meet the minimum roster requirement of eight players.

The contact tracing is connected to Saturday’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Grizzlies listed Jonas Valanciunas as out for Monday’s game against the Phoenix Suns as the center has entered the league’s health and safety protocols. The Grizzlies played the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday before their game on Friday was postponed due to contact tracing within the Wolves. Karl-Anthony Towns announced that he tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday.

The Sixers have been battling against a postponement for more than a week after guard Seth Curry tested positive for COVID-19 on Jan. 7. They played with only eight players on Jan. 9 against the Nuggets.

They used just nine players in Saturday’s loss and had six listed on their injury report. Two were out due to health and safety protocols (Curry and Vincent Poirier) with Joel Embiid (knee), Furkan Korkmaz (groin) and Mike Scott (knee) sitting with injuries. That would leave six other players out Sunday because of contact tracing.

The Sixers are next scheduled to host the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.

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Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic on triple-double in loss

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Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic wasn’t happy after recording a historic triple-double in a 117-101 loss to the Chicago Bulls, saying he played selfishly in the second half on Sunday afternoon.

Doncic had 36 points, 16 rebounds and 15 assists to post the 29th triple-double of his career, breaking a tie with Michael Jordan to move into 15th on the league’s all-time list.

However, Doncic blamed himself for the loss, suggesting that he got caught up with his statistics after a spectacular first half.

“The second half, I played terrible,” Doncic said. “That’s on me, that game. I was being selfish a little bit because I had 30 points in the first half. That wasn’t me in the second half. I’ve got to do way better in the second half. That’s just on me. I’ve got to do way better.”

Dallas, which was missing three starters and a total of six rotation players due to injury and the NBA’s health and safety protocols, trailed by 15 at the half despite Doncic’s 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting. He finished the game 13-of-30 from the floor, including 6-of-11 from 3-point range, and had 10 of his 15 assists in the second half.

But Doncic said he was “taking some shots I shouldn’t be taking” in the second half, adding that the team as a whole needs to play with better energy.

“We were all disappointed with our performances,” said Mavs big man Kristaps Porzingis, who had 20 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. “It is what it is. He always expects greatness from himself. I’m the same way. We have a lot of high-character guys that want to do the right thing on the court. It’s a team game, so we have to find ways how to play for each other so we can feed off of each other’s energy.”

Doncic became only the fourth player in NBA history to record at least 35 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists in a game and the youngest to do so. Oscar Robertson had five such performances. Wilt Chamberlain and James Harden each had one.

“The stats are spectacular,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “I mean, 36, 16 and 15, it’s phenomenal, but without a win, he won’t be happy with it, either. Right now, we’re entering the most difficult seven days of scheduling in Mavericks history. Individual stats are impressive, but we’re in the business of trying to win games.”

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