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Milwaukee Bucks’ Thanasis Antetokounmpo to miss at least 2 weeks with knee injury

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MILWAUKEE — Bucks reserve forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo will miss the start of the playoffs after suffering an avulsion fracture to his right patella tendon in his team’s regular-season finale.

Bucks officials said Tuesday that he will be out for at least two weeks and would be evaluated again at that point. Antetokounmpo, 28, had an MRI after a leg injury had knocked him out of a 118-112 loss at Chicago a night earlier.

Milwaukee is the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and opens a first-round series with the Miami Heat on Saturday.

Antetokounmpo, the older brother of teammate and two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, has played 57 games and made three starts this year. He is averaging 2.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 9.7 minutes.

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Norman Powell, Cody Zeller agree to deals with Portland Trail Blazers

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Free-agent guard Norman Powell has agreed to a five-year, $90 million deal to return to the Portland Trail Blazers, his agent Thaddeus Foucher of Wasserman told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Monday.

The Trail Blazers also struck a deal with free-agent center Cody Zeller, as the sides agreed to a one-year contract, his agent Sam Goldfeder of Excel Basketball told ESPN.

The Raptors dealt Powell to the Trail Blazers before last season’s trade deadline in exchange for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood.

Powell, 28, played in 27 regular-season games for the Blazers and averaged 17 points, a number he matched in six playoff games.

A second-round pick by Toronto in 2015, Powell has blossomed into a strong shooter with an ability to create his own shot.

Since beginning to play starter-level minutes in 2019-20, Powell has averaged 17.5 points per game while shooting 48.4% from the field and 40.6% from 3.

Zeller, 29, has played his entire career in Charlotte since getting selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft.

He started 21 out of 48 games last season, averaging 9.4 points and 6.8 rebounds.

Zeller had said he was angling to join a “winning team” this offseason on an episode of The Woj Pod late last month.

“In my mind, that’s a winning team,” Zeller said of teams who are consistently competing for home-court advantage in the playoffs. “Even if that means me playing 15, 20 minutes as the backup center on a team like that, that would be my ideal role in free agency.”

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Blake Griffin returns to Brooklyn Nets on one-year deal, agent says

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Six-time All-Star and five-time All-NBA forward Blake Griffin has agreed to a one-year contract to return to the Brooklyn Nets, his agent, Sam Goldfeder of Excel Sports Management, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Monday.

After revitalizing his career in Brooklyn, Griffin returns to engage in another attempt to pursue his first championship.

Griffin, 32, was bought out by the Detroit Pistons in February with more than year left on the five-year, $173 million max contract he signed with the LA Clippers in 2017. He then signed a deal to go to the Nets for the rest of the 2020-21 season a few weeks later.

He fit in extremely well as a role player alongside Brooklyn’s Big Three of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving. Nothing exemplified that more than Griffin going from not completing a single dunk with the Pistons to throwing down 18 with the Nets.

Griffin went on to be the primary defender against Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo throughout the epic seven-game Eastern Conference semifinal series the two teams played in June, one that Brooklyn ultimately lost in seven games. Now, he and the Nets will get a chance to run things back and take another shot at winning a championship.

A title is one of the few things not on Griffin’s star-studded resume, which includes All-Star and All-NBA selections, as well as averaging more than 20 points in a season seven times and winning the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award in 2011. But for all of his success with both the Clippers and Pistons individually, he has never been able to make it out of the first round of the playoffs.

The hope for both him and the Nets is that will change next season. Brooklyn still has several other moves to make to fill out its roster, including sorting out the future of free-agent guards Spencer Dinwiddie and Bruce Brown. Forward Jeff Green, a key piece from Brooklyn’s team last season, agreed to a two-year deal with the Denver Nuggets, sources told ESPN’s Malika Andrews.

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Dwight Howard returns to Lakers and makes some obscure history

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How do you rejoin an old team of familiar faces and create a club of one at the same time?

Eight-time All-Star Dwight Howard can tell you how. The likely future Hall of Famer will reportedly return to the Los Angeles Lakers for a third stint. Howard won his first career NBA title in 2019-20 after six seasons away from the team.

Last season, Howard averaged a career-low 7.0 points and 8.4 rebounds in 69 appearances with the Philadelphia 76ers. He has played for seven teams over his 17-year career.

When announcing his decision on Instagram, Howard expressed a desire to properly celebrate the next championship celebration.

There is also an element of history for Howard’s third tour in purple and gold.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, he will be the first player in NBA history to spend three different stints on a team he was named an All-Star with. Howard joins Devin Harris (Dallas Mavericks) as the only All-Star to play three different stints for any one team.

Howard won’t be the only familiar face on the Lakers’ roster next season. Los Angeles is also reportedly bringing back Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington and Kent Bazemore. If each player suits up for the Lakers at least once next season, Los Angeles would be the third team over the last 40 years to return four players who each previously played for them.

The 2019-20 Houston Rockets and 2012-13 New York Knicks are the others.

Following the team’s first-round playoff elimination last season against the Phoenix Suns, Lakers fans will hope Howard’s third Hollywood visit can bring some charm next season: an NBA-record 18th championship.

ESPN Stats and Information contributed to this story.



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