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Daily NBA Update: The latest from around the league

July 5, 2013

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It’s been a busy week in the NBA, even though we’re coming off a holiday. Today could be even bigger, as there are a handful of stories that could get new chapters by the time the day is over. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the headlines from around the league. 

Examining the Stevens Hire: With former Butler head coach Brad Stevens landing the Celtics gig this week (on what’s reportedly a six-year, $22 million deal), there have been some mixed reactions in NBA circles. Boston will officially introduce their new 36-year-old leader at a news conference today at 11 a.m. ET, which is sure to set off another wave of debate about his prospects for success. 

Stevens comes to the Celtics with no NBA coaching experience (which is a red flag right off the bat for many pundits) but has won much praise for his focused demeanor and determined work ethic. Only time will tell if he was the right hire in Boston. 

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Smith to Return to Knicks: It looks like reigning Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith will be coming back to New York. According to news that broke yesterday, he’s agreed to terms with the Knicks on a four-year, $24.7 million deal. 

Smith had reportedly gotten some interest on the free agent market from the Bucks, Pistons and Mavericks, but decided to stay due in part to his close proximity to his family and his solid relationship with Knicks coach Mike Woodson. 

That ties up another FA loose end now that Pablo Prigioni (who is coming back for three years and $6 million) is on board as well. 

Today’s the Day (Maybe): If you’re tired of hearing the “where will he go” talk about Dwight Howard, we’ve got some good news for you: the talk is about to shift to “here’s where he went.” There’s been a lot of speculation out there that he’ll make his decision today, after taking a couple of days out of the city and mulling his options. The lead dogs in this race are the Rockets, Mavericks and Lakers, with each team having its own advantages and no clear favorite among them. Howard’s focus is on winning championships, and he’ll go with whichever team made the best impression on him during meetings earlier this week. We will see who that is very soon. 

Jefferson to Bobcats: This one won’t become official until July 10, but free agent center Al Jefferson, formerly of the Utah Jazz, has verbally committed to a three-year deal with the Bobcats worth close to $41 million. Jefferson averaged 17.8 PPG and 9.2 RPG last season in Utah. 

Evans in Three-Team Deal: Tyreke Evans will be heading to New Orleans in a three-team trade that happened late yesterday. Here’s how it breaks down: 

Tyreke Evans and Jeff Withey to Pelicans

Greveis Vasquez and two second-round picks to Kings

Robin Lopez and Terrel Harris to Trail Blazers

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