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Westbrook exercises Lakers' $47M option

(AP Photo/Ashley Landis, File)

Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook is exercising his option to play for $47.1 million next season, a person with direct knowledge of the decision said Tuesday.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither Westbrook - a past NBA MVP and one of the league's top 75 all-time players - nor the Lakers revealed the decision publicly. ESPN first reported Westbrook's decision.

It certainly was not a surprise, considering Westbrook would not have commanded anywhere near $47.1 million for this coming season had he chosen to become a free agent. He'll turn 34 next season, his 15th in the NBA.

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Irving picks up option to stay with Nets

NEW YORK (AP) Kyrie Irving has decided to exercise his $36.9 million option for the coming season and will remain under contract with the Brooklyn Nets, two people with knowledge of his decision said Monday.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the Nets had not confirmed the decision publicly.

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Wall to join Clips after Rockets buyout

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.

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Bulls remain hopeful LaVine will re-sign

CHICAGO (AP) 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.

Executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas has been consistent in saying publicly the organization wants to keep LaVine. And he did it again on Monday.

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Hornets bringing back Clifford as coach

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.

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Rare LeBron card sells for $2.4M

RUNNEMEDE, N.J. (AP) 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.

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Presti hopes Holmgren latest draft gem

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) 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. The trio took the Thunder to the NBA Finals in 2012, and all three were on the NBA's 75th Anniversary team listing the 75 greatest players in league history.

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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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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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