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NBA Notes: Celtics trade Avery Bradley, pick to Pistons for Marcus Morris

NBA Notes: Celtics trade Avery Bradley, pick to Pistons for Marcus Morris

DETROIT -- One of the biggest questions facing the Detroit Pistons this offseason was what they would do with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

On Friday, they replaced him.

The Pistons traded forward Marcus Morris to Boston in exchange for guard Avery Bradley and a second-round draft pick in 2019. Bradley's arrival gives the Pistons a replacement for Caldwell-Pope, who had been a restricted free agent. Detroit has now renounced the rights to Caldwell-Pope.

Bradley averaged 16.3 points per game last season for the Celtics, but Boston is adding All-Star forward Gordon Hayward and moving on from Bradley. Morris averaged 14 points for Detroit.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge released a statement thanking Bradley for his contributions.

"It's no secret that Avery had been one of my favorite players," Ainge said. "Avery did a lot of the dirty work and often didn't get the recognition that he deserved, but our coaches, staff, his teammates, and our fans who watched him play every night appreciated what a special player and person he is."

Bradley was the longest-tenured member of the Celtics, bridging the gap from the era of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen that won the 2008 NBA title. Picked 19th overall in the 2010 draft, he developed into one of the league's best defenders, making the All-Defensive second team in 2013 and first team in 2016.

Detroit, which missed the playoffs last year, can slot Bradley into the backcourt alongside point guard Reggie Jackson. Bradley, who turns 27 in November, is older than the 24-year-old Caldwell-Pope, but he's also been a better shooter from 3-point range, finishing at 39 percent last season.

The Pistons lose Morris, who has been a steady veteran and a mainstay in the starting lineup over the past two seasons. Detroit has another solid wing player in Tobias Harris, and the Pistons drafted sharp-shooting Duke guard Luke Kennard in the first round (see full story).

Pacers: Team adds help to backcourt by signing Collison
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers have signed free agent Darren Collison.

Terms of the deal were not released Friday amid reports it is a two-year contract worth $20 million.

The point guard returns to a team he played for from 2010-12. Collison averaged 11.9 points and 5.0 in 139 games during his first stint with the Pacers.

Since being taken with 21st overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft, Collison has career averages of 12.7 points and 4.8 assists.

He joins a backcourt that will be led by Victor Oladipo and Lance Stephenson The Pacers are rebuilding after trading four-time All-Star Paul George to Oklahoma City and losing point guard Jeff Teague in free agency.

Indiana also waived forward Rakeem Christmas.

Hornets: Walker played big role in landing Carter-Williams
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- When All-Star Kemba Walker approached Hornets general manager Rich Cho about signing free agent Michael Carter-Williams, Cho said he couldn't help but lend an ear.

"Anytime your best player is endorsing another player and is excited about acquiring another player you have to listen," Cho said.

The Hornets officially signed Carter-Williams to a one-year, $2.7 million contract on Friday, filling a need at backup point guard behind Walker, who's coming off his best season. The Hornets also envision the 6-foot-6 Carter-Williams playing alongside Walker at times as an off guard in certain situations, similar to how they used Jeremy Lin and Walker together two seasons ago during a run to the playoffs.

Carter-Williams' upside remains a bit of an unknown.

He was named the NBA's rookie of the year in 2014, but has been traded twice since and has struggled at times with injuries.

He hasn't come close to matching the 16.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.3 assists he averaged as a rookie for the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Sixers traded Carter-Williams to Milwaukee midway through his second season. The Bucks later traded him to Chicago where he averaged just 6.6 points last season while starting a career-low 19 games.

Heat: McRoberts shipped to Mavs to free cap space
MIAMI -- The Miami Heat have traded oft-injured forward Josh McRoberts to the Dallas Mavericks for center A.J. Hammons and a 2023 second-round draft pick.

The move frees much-needed salary cap space for Miami, which owed McRoberts just over $6 million for next season. McRoberts was limited to 81 games with the Heat in the last three seasons.

Hammons is set to make $1.3 million.

Both players got to the NBA out of Carmel High in Carmel, Indiana. McRoberts graduated from Carmel; Hammons left there and transferred to Oak Hill in Virginia for his junior and senior seasons.

Dallas would become McRoberts' seventh team. He played for Portland, the Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando, Indiana and Charlotte before Miami (see full story).

With Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons set to debut, John Wall and Bradley Beal recall their early days

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With Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons set to debut, John Wall and Bradley Beal recall their early days

The Sixers will have two No. 1 overall picks make their NBA debuts on Wednesday night in Markelle Fultz (2017) and Ben Simmons (2016). They are in for a challenge with the Wizards, one of the best teams in basketball, and with guards John Wall and Bradley Beal.

Wall and Beal know that challenge well. They were both top draft picks in their own right, Wall the first pick in 2010 and Beal the third pick in 2012. They can recall in specifics their first games in the NBA and how humbling they were.

"My first game, I was going against Dwight Howard. It was fun," Wall said. "There was a lot of pressure. There were a lot of people talking."

It's often said that the point guard position is as deep as it's ever been nowadays. The last three MVP awards have gone to point guards, for instance.

There were some good ones back in 2010, too.

"I remember in a five-game span I played like [Rajon] Rondo, Derrick Rose here and then I went out west and played Steve Nash, Chris Paul and Russell [Westbrook]," Wall said. "I don't think it's gotten any harder than it was back then in 2010 with those five guys. You kind of understand what those guys are about when you get to see it firsthand and play against them."

Beal vividly remembers going up against the LeBron James-led Miami Heat as a 19-year-old. It wasn't easy.

"It was the Heat when they had [Dwyane Wade] and LeBron on the same team. That's when D-Wade was electrifying. He still had his quickness. He was strong as I don't know what and I was a baby at that time," he said.

"For me, it was like I was in awe because those are the guys I grew up watching and I was a fan of. Now I'm playing against them and I can't be a fan of them. It was amazing to play against them, but also an eye-opener like, I need to get better."

Now it's Fultz and Simmons' turn to see what matching up with NBA superstars is like and don't expect Wall or Beal to take it easy on them.

"I'm a competitive person, so I'm not going to back down from any challenge," Wall said.

Joel Embiid to start Sixers' season opener, but how much will he play?

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Joel Embiid to start Sixers' season opener, but how much will he play?

WASHINGTON — The first starting lineup of the Sixers' 2017-18 season will be Ben Simmons, Jerryd Bayless, JJ Redick, Robert Covington and Joel Embiid.

Brown is sticking with the group that closed out preseason competition. That group has a balance of veterans and young talent, including Simmons making his NBA debut after missing all of last season with a foot injury.

"It helps a lot (starting together in the preseason) because you're learning guys and how they move and how they play," Simmons said. "I think we have a pretty good connection going into tonight's game and it's only going to get better."

Embiid will be under a minutes restriction but Brown does not have a definitive number. The big man previously said he expected to play 16 minutes. Embiid was the last one to leave the court at the conclusion of shootaround. 

"There's a range that we'll work with," Brown said. "We're going to feel it together. We'll play Joel within some parameters and go from that base." 

Markelle Fultz also will make his NBA debut. The No. 1 pick, who has battled right knee and shoulder soreness, will come off the bench in front of his hometown crowd. 

"I'm excited," Fultz said. "It's anything you can wish for."