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Hornets bringing back Clifford as coach

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) 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 Atkinson later informed the team he was not taking the job citing family reasons.

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Banchero unaware he would be No. 1 pick

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) The secret about how Orlando was going to take Paolo Banchero with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft was incredibly well-kept.

Among those who didn't know: Banchero himself.

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OKC selects Holmgren, 2 others in top 12

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) The Oklahoma City Thunder chose Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren with the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night and hit the accelerator on their rebuild by adding three of the top 12 selections.

In Holmgren, the Thunder got a versatile 7-footer who was a second-team Associated Press All-American in his only college season. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.9 rebounds and ranked fourth nationally with 3.7 blocks per game for the Zags.

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Auburn's Smith falls to Rockets at No. 3

HOUSTON (AP) After falling to the third overall pick by the Houston Rockets after most projected him to go No. 1 in the NBA draft, Jabari Smith Jr. wasn't worried about the two teams that didn't pick him. He was looking ahead to how he'll help the one that did.

"Ultimately I just want to win championships and be labeled as a winner, always deep in the playoffs, somebody always competing for championships," Smith said. "That's what I want to be."

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Kings use No. 4 pick on Iowa's Murray

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento Kings selected Iowa forward Keegan Murray with the fourth overall pick in the NBA draft.

A first-team All-American as a sophomore, Murray was the Big Ten's leading scorer at 23.5 points a game and averaged 8.7 rebounds while playing alongside twin brother Kris.

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Purdue PG Ivey taken 5th by Pistons

DETROIT (AP) The Detroit Pistons suddenly have a dynamic backcourt, giving the three-time championship franchise a chance to restore a bit of glory.

Detroit also made a savvy deal to bolster its frontcourt.

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Knicks agree to deal Walker to Pistons

NEW YORK (AP) The New York Knicks removed Kemba Walker and added no players in the first round of the NBA draft on Thursday.

Walker wasn't around the Knicks late in the season and now he won't be with them at all after they agreed to deal him to the Detroit Pistons.

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76ers' Green, pick to Memphis for Melton

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) 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.

The 6-foot-6 Green has started 709 of 819 regular season games in 13 NBA seasons with Cleveland, San Antonio, Toronto, the Lakers and the 76ers. The 46th overall pick in 2009 out of North Carolina, Green is a three-time NBA champ with the Spurs (2014), the Raptors (2019) and the Lakers (2020).

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Lakers select Christie, add Pippen Jr.

LOS ANGELES (AP) The Los Angeles Lakers think Max Christie is the next underrated young talent who will grow into a solid NBA contributor after he puts on the purple and gold.

The Lakers selected the Michigan State guard with the 35th overall pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night. The team also agreed to terms with undrafted guards Scotty Pippen Jr. of Vanderbilt and Cole Swider of Syracuse on two-way contracts.

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Blazers get Grant from Pistons for picks

A person with knowledge of the situation said the Detroit Pistons have agreed to trade Olympic gold medalist Jerami Grant to the Portland Trail Blazers, with the biggest part of the return being a first-round pick in 2025.

Detroit gets the No. 36 pick in the draft Thursday and what would have been Milwaukee's first-round pick in 2025, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither team had announced the agreement publicly.

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