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NBA Notes: Michael Jordan fires back at LaVar Ball

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AP/USA Today Images

NBA Notes: Michael Jordan fires back at LaVar Ball

Michael Jordan finally issued his response to LaVar Ball's bravado.

"I don't think he could beat me if I was one-legged," Jordan said.

Ball, the outspoken father of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, previously said he would beat Jordan in a game of 1-on-1 back in his prime. Jordan, a six-time NBA champion and considered by many the greatest player ever, had held his tongue on a response -- at least for a while.

BayAreaHQ.com posted a video Monday of Jordan talking to campers at his summer youth basketball camp in Santa Barbara, California.

"You've got to understand the source," Jordan said when asked about Ball. "He played, I think, college. ... maybe? He averaged 2.2 points per game. Really?"

Ball played one season at Washington State.

Warriors: McGee returns on 1-year deal
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors are keeping all three of their centers from a championship season, re-signing 7-footer JaVale McGee to a one-year deal Tuesday for the veteran minimum of about $2.3 million.

McGee is a fan favorite for his ability to deliver on alley-oop dunks when Stephen Curry and the others find the sure-handed big man with high lob passes.

McGee emerged as a reliable option off the bench in Steve Kerr's three-center rotation featuring starter Zaza Pachulia and reserve David West, both of whom also received new contracts.

In Game 3 of the Western Conference finals against the Spurs, McGee scored a postseason-best 16 points -- all in the first half -- as Pachulia sat out with a bruised heel. McGee made all seven of his shots in Game 2 of a first-round win against Portland, shooting 18 for 23 in all in the four-game sweep of the Trail Blazers.

Overall, he averaged 6.1 points and 3.2 rebounds playing 9.6 minutes in 77 games with 10 starts while shooting a career-best 65.2 percent.

Pacers: Seraphin waived after 1 season
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers have made another move in their offseason overhaul by waiving center Kevin Seraphin.

He averaged 4.7 points and 2.9 rebounds in 49 games in his only season with Indiana.

Only six players and two starters remain from the Pacers' playoff roster.

Indiana began its rebuilding project in earnest after agreeing to trade four-time All-Star Paul George to Oklahoma on June 30. The Pacers lost two players in free agency, declined the team option on another and waived four sparingly used players.

NBA: Dumars joins sports agency
NEW YORK -- Basketball Hall of Famer Joe Dumars has joined a sports agency.

Independent Sports and Entertainment announced Tuesday it hired Dumars to run its basketball division, which includes clients such as New Orleans Pelicans star DeMarcus Cousins.

Dumars says he looks forward to beginning the new chapter of his career.

He won consecutive NBA titles as a shooting guard and defensive stopper for the Detroit Pistons, known as the Bad Boys, in 1989 and 1990. He led the franchise to its third NBA title as president of basketball operations in 2004 during a stretch that included six straight trips to the Eastern Conference finals.

The Pistons didn't renew Dumars' contract following the 2013-14 season and he has traveled the world since then, evaluating career options (see full story).

Nuggets: Booth hired as assistant GM
MINNEAPOLIS -- A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that the Denver Nuggets have hired former Minnesota Timberwolves executive Calvin Booth as an assistant GM.

Booth spent the previous four seasons in the Timberwolves front office, serving as director of pro personnel last season. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Nuggets have not announced the move yet.

Booth has quietly emerged as a respected evaluator of talent during his time with the Timberwolves. He leaves the team for more responsibility and a greater say in the direction of the Nuggets, another young team on the rise in the Western Conference.

Booth spent 10 years as a player in the league. Four of those seasons were with the Washington Wizards while Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly was working there.

NBA Notes: Bulls' Mirotic suffers broken bones in fight with teammate Portis

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AP Images

NBA Notes: Bulls' Mirotic suffers broken bones in fight with teammate Portis

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls say forward Nikola Mirotic suffered multiple broken bones in his face as well as a concussion in a fight with teammate Bobby Portis during practice.

The team says Mirotic will likely need surgery and is out indefinitely. They say they are "evaluating disciplinary action" after Tuesday's incident.

Mirotic averaged 10.8 points over his first three seasons with Chicago. A restricted free agent, he signed a two-year contract that could pay as much as $27 million in September. The club holds an option on the second season.

A 2015 first-round pick, Portis has averaged 6.9 points and 5 rebounds.

The Bulls open at Toronto on Thursday. Chicago is rebuilding after trading Jimmy Butler and parting with Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo (see full story).

Nuggets: Jefferson reportedly agrees to deal
DENVER -- Michael Malone knows all about Richard Jefferson. Just not Tuesday, with the deal for the veteran forward still waiting on official word.

"Who's Jefferson?" the Denver Nuggets coach coyly said after practice.

Jefferson will join the Nuggets on a one-year deal, a person with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement hasn't been disclosed by the team. ESPN first reported the deal, which it said is worth $2.3 million.

After weeks of fine-tuning his roster through training camp and the preseason, Malone suddenly has to juggle things around. Not that he minds carving out minutes for a player he can't even name just yet. Jefferson adds another leadership presence to a young, playoff-hopeful roster (see full story).

Jazz: Timeline unknown for injured Exum
SALT LAKE CITY -- Dante Exum knew he had a significant injury the moment he awkwardly hit the floor during a preseason game against the Suns on Oct. 6. The diagnosis was a separated shoulder, and the Jazz guard and the team took the next 10 days to decide what to do.

Exum saw three doctors and spoke to several more before deciding to have a surgery on Oct. 24 that will keep him out for an unknown amount of time.

"Even just walking back (to the locker room), obviously I was frustrated," Exum said. "Everything was going through my head. I remember just looking up at everybody and they were just speechless. Didn't know what to say. A lot of people within the Jazz organization know how hard I've worked to get to the point I was. To get an injury like that and the way it took place just sucked."

There were non-surgical options for Exum, but the decision was made in his long-term interest after talking to family, his agent and the organization. That, however, complicates things in the short term financially. The 2014 No. 5 overall pick was hoping to have a breakout year as a restricted free agent.

Exploring the Sixers' 3 options to back up Joel Embiid

Exploring the Sixers' 3 options to back up Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid will be restricted to fewer than 20 minutes early in the season, that much is known (see story). How Brett Brown fills the remainder of the minutes at the center position remains to be seen.

Brown has three healthy big men he can play behind Embiid: Amir Johnson, Jahlil Okafor and Dario Saric. Richaun Holmes, an early candidate for backup minutes, is sidelined by a fractured wrist.

“Even without Richaun, you like the depth and versatility, the variety that is available to me at the five,” Brown said Tuesday. 

Each player is unique in their skill sets and experience levels. There’s the proven veteran in Johnson, the undersized center in Saric, and the sometime-starter-sometime-reserve-sometime-DNP in Okafor. 

Let’s take a look at Brown’s options and why he may lean toward one player over another. 

Okafor
Okafor finds himself in another season of uncertainty. The third-year Sixer still doesn’t have a consistent role in the rotation. In the past, his biggest opportunity for minutes has come when Embiid is out for the entire game. Could the slimmed-down Okafor return to the starting lineup when Embiid doesn’t play? The Sixers face their first set of consecutive games of the season on Saturday. 

Brown on Okafor 
“[His role is] evolving … it’s always fluid. There are times we’ll assess Joel, say, in a back-to-back situation that might free something up. We have one in Toronto coming up. … We all respect his attitude and we respect his body. I think he’s had a good preseason.”

Johnson
The 30-year-old Johnson gives the Sixers a veteran presence and assuring presence on the court. He started in 77 of his 80 games for the Celtics last season and will be an in-game leader for younger players like Markelle Fultz in the second unit. 

Brown on Johnson
“He started for a really good team last year. He’s been in the league for a while. He’s a great pickup. Bryan (Colangelo) did a really great job of signing him. He’s good people.” 

Saric
At 6-foot-10, 223 pounds, Saric is the most unlikely candidate of the three backups. Brown has seen enough from Saric in the NBA and internationally, though, to feel confident in shifting him from the four to the five. Saric showed he can hold his own against traditional bigs when he shot 5 for 8 against the Nets in the preseason. 

Brown on Saric
“He’s stronger than you think. He’s been used to guarding behind people over in Europe on switch outs with four-five pick-and-rolls. … He gives up some weight, he gives up some height. But the trade-off might be he pulls them out and makes threes like he did against (Timofey) Mozgov. You weigh it all up. It’s a little bit unconventional but it is there in our arsenal if we choose to go there.”