Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant has been named the 2019-20 NBA Rookie of the Year as New Orleans Pelicans sensation Zion Williamson placed third.

Morant became the second Grizzlies player to win the award, following in the footsteps of Pau Gasol (2001-02) after receiving 99 first-place votes for a total of 498 points.

The second pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Morant finished ahead of the Miami Heat's Kendrick Nunn (204 points) and number one pick Williamson (140), who was hampered by a knee injury.

Morant helped the Grizzlies reach the play-in game at Walt Disney World Resort this season as he averaged 17.8 points and 7.3 assists per game.

The 21-year-old also had 15 double-doubles, while he was the only rookie this season to record two triple-doubles.

Morant joined Oscar Robertson (1960-61), Magic Johnson (1979-80), Isiah Thomas (1981-82), Damon Stoudamire (1995-96), Allen Iverson (1996-97) and Trae Young (2018-19) as one of seven rookies in NBA history to average at least 17.0 points per game and 7.0 assists per game.

The New Orleans Pelicans have fired head coach Alvin Gentry after failing to make the NBA playoffs.

Gentry, who had been in charge since May 2015, guided the Pelicans to a 30-42 season in 2019-20, enough only for 13th place in the West.

New Orleans vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said on Saturday: "I'm grateful for and appreciative of Alvin's commitment to the organisation and, most importantly, the local community. The city of New Orleans is richer because of his presence here.

"These types of moves are often about fit and timing, and we believe now is the right time to make this change and bring in a new voice."

Owner Gayle Benson added: "Our intention moving forward is to find the right head coach that will guide this Pelicans team to compete for championships. That is what our fans deserve."

Big things were expected of the Pelicans this year after they landed the number one pick in the 2019 draft lottery and selected standout Duke star Zion Williamson.

Williamson tore his meniscus in preseason, however, and could not make his professional debut until January, by which point New Orleans were struggling to stay in the postseason picture.

Improved displays with the rookie in the team did enough to at least secure an invite to the Orlando 'bubble' amid the coronavirus pandemic, playing eight seeding games.

But Gentry's Pelicans finished last among those Western Conference teams to make the trip to Florida - despite a relatively kind schedule - with Williamson again struggling for fitness after leaving the 'bubble' ahead of the restart before returning.

It was a familiar disappointing theme for New Orleans, who only reached the playoffs in one of Gentry's five seasons at the helm.

Led by Anthony Davis, who made a blockbuster trade to the Los Angeles Lakers last year, the team lost in the conference semi-finals in 2017-18.

Zion Williamson expressed his delight at being allowed to play during the decisive closing stages as the New Orleans Pelicans won their first game since the NBA season restarted.

The Pelicans had restricted the minutes for their star rookie in their first two games in Orlando, with Williamson on the bench as they fell to defeats to the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers.

New Orleans had been following "medical advice" with the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft after Williamson - whose debut season has been disrupted by injury - had to quarantine for four days right before the campaign resumed last week having left the Florida 'bubble' to attend to a family matter.

But Williamson was allowed to play a greater role in the Pelicans' crucial 109-99 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday as he scored 23 points in 25 minutes, outshining fellow rookie star Ja Morant, who managed only 11 points and eight assists in 39 minutes.

"I felt alive again," Williamson told ESPN on being on the court at the end.

"My competitive spirit was there, and I'm glad coach [Alvin Gentry] and the whole team trusted me to finish the game out."

He later added: "I ain't gonna lie to you, it's just different in a bad way when I'm on the bench in the fourth quarter, and there's nothing I can do to help my team win.

"So I said I felt alive. It was just great to be out there doing whatever I can to help my team win. And as for the energy part, me and my team-mates can just feed off each other."

Williamson tied his career-high with five assists, as well as contributing seven rebounds, while his 21 field-goal attempts were an indication of a more aggressive approach.

"It was a little bit of both from myself and the coaching staff," Williamson said of taking more shots.

"They were telling me to try to give the team a spark and that's what I was trying to do, give my team a spark, get them going."

New Orleans are 2.5 games back of the Grizzlies, who own the eighth and final playoff spot for the Western Conference.

New Orleans Pelicans sensation Zion Williamson said it is "very tough" to watch his team-mates lose with his minutes restricted.

The Pelicans have lost both of their games since the 2019-20 NBA season resumed on July 30 at Walt Disney World Resort, after the league was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

New Orleans went down to the Utah Jazz on the opening night of the NBA's return before falling to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday, with Williamson on restricted minutes due to his interrupted preparation in the Orlando bubble.

Williamson, who made his long-awaited debut in January, had to leave the Walt Disney complex to attend to an "urgent family matter", which led to the number one pick spending four days in quarantine.

Having completed just 29 minutes of basketball through two games since the restart, Williamson told reporters on Sunday: "It's very tough, to be honest, because as soon as I start to break that sweat, I look over and that horn is for me and I have to come out the game.

"Also, when I do catch the flow of the game, like I said, that horn goes off and it's for me."

"It's still fun but I guess, like you said, it's not to that full extent as y'all are used to seeing," Williamson added. "I'm a competitor, I want to stay on the court.

"When I'm coming out of the game, my competitive side of me that I want to stay in. I guess that does affect the fun a little bit, but not too much."

Williamson only played 15 minutes and scored 13 points in the Pelicans' 106-104 defeat to the Jazz, while he featured for just 14 minutes as New Orleans were beaten 126-103 by the Clippers.

On the game against the Clippers, which saw the Pelicans trail by as many as 37 points heading into the final quarter, head coach Alvin Gentry explained his decision not to put Williamson back on the court.

"We definitely would have saw him in that situation," Gentry said when asked if Williamson was set to play the fourth quarter originally.

"Obviously in a 30-point game, I'm not going to stick him back in in those situations even though some people think it would give him an opportunity to be on the floor and play. I just didn't feel like that made sense in that situation."

"We talked to him about that," Gentry said. "You just have to be smart in those situations. Everyone wants to play and play right now. We try to spend time as coaches and medical people trying to let him understand that this is going to be for the best short-term and long-term really."

The Pelicans are 12th in the Western Conference with a 28-38 record, adrift of the eighth-placed Memphis Grizzlies (32-34) in the race for the playoffs.

Alvin Gentry explained he was simply following medical advice when asked why Zion Williamson was not on the court during the closing stages of the New Orleans Pelicans' loss to the Utah Jazz.

The 2019-20 NBA season restarted on Thursday with a 22-team tournament in Orlando and the Pelicans' defeat left them 4.5 games back from the eighth seed – and the final playoff spot – in the Western Conference with seven to play.

They were leading by four points when Williamson exited midway through the fourth quarter and the rookie sensation – who scored 13 points in 15 minutes – did not return down the stretch.

Williamson, whose much-anticipated debut campaign in the NBA was delayed until January by a knee injury, had to leave the NBA's 'bubble' in Orlando to attend to an "urgent family matter", only returning last Friday, at which point he had to quarantine for four days.

"Of course, we wish we could've played him down the stretch, but we used the minutes that were given to us and that's the way it is," coach Gentry said, according to ESPN.

"We weren't going to stick him back out there. The medical people said we played them in the minutes that were allowed for us to play him, and just move on.

"I thought he looked good, I thought he had some good moments, and obviously we're a much better and different team when he's out on the floor.

"I was told the minutes that he could play, and that's what I did."

Williamson, who missed the first 43 games of the season following knee surgery, explained that it was a case of finding his rhythm again as he went 6-for-8 shooting.

The rookie said: "They weren't holding me back.

"Yeah, I did want to be out there, but we're just working my way back into my flow. That's all it is."

The Utah Jazz claimed a narrow 106-104 win over the New Orleans Pelicans as the NBA made its long-awaited return amid the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 forced the 2019-20 season to be postponed in March, but the league resumed behind closed doors in Orlando, Florida on Thursday.

Donovan Mitchell (20 points) and Rudy Gobert (14 points, 12 rebounds) produced when it mattered most to lead the Jazz past the Pelicans at Walt Disney World Resort, where both teams kneeled in unison for the United States national anthem.

Zion Williamson (13 points) was declared fit to play for the playoff-chasing Pelicans, having been listed as questionable, though he only featured for 15 minutes.

The number one draft pick helped the Pelicans earn a half-time lead over the Jazz, who trailed by eight points heading into the final quarter.

However, the Jazz – fourth in the Western Conference – rallied on the back of an 11-1 run midway through to the fourth period to take the lead.

In a tense finish, Gobert – the first NBA player to contract coronavirus which ultimately led to the league's hiatus – made a pair of free throws to put the Jazz ahead for good.

Brandon Ingram (23 points) missed a late jumper as the Pelicans fell to 28-37 in the race for the postseason in the west.

New Orleans Pelicans sensation Zion Williamson has been named in the starting five for Thursday's NBA showdown against the Utah Jazz.

Williamson had been listed as "questionable" for the opening game of the NBA's restart in Orlando after the 2019-20 season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The number one draft pick left the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida to attend an "urgent family matter" before returning last Friday, while he also completed a four-day quarantine.

However, Williamson is in the Pelicans' starting five alongside Lonzo Ball, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram and Derrick Favors.

Williamson has not missed a beat since debuting for the Pelicans in January, averaging 23.6 points per game in his first 19 games – the most by any player through 19 career games since Chicago Bulls and NBA legend Michael Jordan (25.6).

The 20-year-old has helped fill the void left by Los Angeles Lakers recruit Anthony Davis in New Orleans and the Pelicans – 10th in the Western Conference with a 28-36 record – will be hoping he can lead the organisation to just their second playoff appearance in five seasons.

New Orleans Pelicans sensation Zion Williamson is listed as "questionable" for the opening game of the NBA's restart in the Orlando bubble.

The Pelicans and Utah Jazz headline the league's return at Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday after the season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the Los Angeles Lakers facing the Los Angeles Clippers later in the day.

However, the playoff-chasing Pelicans could be without star rookie Williamson – who left the NBA bubble in Florida to attend an "urgent family matter" before returning last Friday.

Williamson also completed a four-day quarantine, but Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry is still unsure whether the 20-year-old will suit up to face the Jazz.

"Obviously as a coach you want him out there as much as you can possibly have him out there," Gentry said on Wednesday.

"We have guys that are better equipped to make those decisions than I am from a health standpoint and a minutes played standpoint. It'll be collectively something that's done by sitting down and talking about it and figuring it out if he does end up playing."

Number one draft pick Williamson has not missed a beat since debuting for the Pelicans in January, averaging 23.6 points per game in his first 19 games – the most by any player through 19 career games since Chicago Bulls and NBA legend Michael Jordan (25.6).

Williamson has helped fill the void left by Lakers recruit Anthony Davis in New Orleans and the Pelicans – 10th in the Western Conference with a 28-36 record – will be hoping he can lead the organisation to just their second playoff appearance in five seasons.

"I think me and my team are gonna look at what's best for me, my future, and being safe," Williamson said. "If you know me, I wanna hoop. That's just how I am; I'm never gonna change. I'm gonna want to hoop, simple as that."

On his quarantine, Williamson added: "I was able to do some body workouts, just to keep my muscles going. While I was away, it's tough to do stuff. I was dealing with a family emergency, so it's God first and family. So basketball wasn't really there; I was dealing with something serious."

The NBA finally returns on Thursday and it's been a long-time coming.

Not since March 11 have players taken to the court and fans watched official games due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But, after months of waiting, the New Orleans Pelicans-Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers-Los Angeles Clippers clashes will headline the 2019-20 season restart in Orlando, Florida.

Inside the Walt Disney World Resort bubble, 22 teams will resume their regular seasons before the playoffs.

The Milwaukee Bucks topped the NBA standings at the time of the postponement, while the Los Angeles Lakers were flying in the Western Conference.

Using STATS data, we look at the best-performing players prior to the hiatus as LeBron James eyes a fourth championship ring and Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo chases a maiden title.

 

Red-hot LeBron

After a tough first season in Los Angeles, James has returned to his brilliant best in 2019-20. Before the coronavirus-enforced break, the four-time MVP catapulted himself into the mix for a fifth Most Valuable Player honour by leading the Lakers – who have played 63 of their 82-game regular season – to a Western Conference-best 49-14 record.

As the 35-year-old superstar prepares to resume his bid for another NBA crown, James leads the league in assists per game with 10.6. If he maintains his pace, James would be the third-oldest player to lead the NBA in assists per game behind two-time MVP and Phoenix Suns great Steve Nash – who did so in both 2009-10 (age 35-36) and 2010-11 (age 36-37). The former Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers forward has also been averaging 25.7 points and 7.9 rebounds per game this season.

James, whose maiden campaign at Staples Center was cut short by a Christmas Day injury almost two years ago, was playing some of his best basketball alongside All-Star recruit Anthony Davis before the March suspension. In five games that month, James averaged 30.0 points and 10.6 assists per game, while shooting 55.7 per cent from the field. It is the only time in the last 30 years that any NBA player has averaged 30.0-plus points and 10.0-plus assists on 55.0-plus per cent shooting in a calendar month (minimum five games played).

 

Giannis – The Greek Freak

The Eastern Conference-leading Bucks (53-12) are on track for their first NBA title since 1971 thanks to superstar MVP Antetokounmpo after Mike Budenholzer's side lost in the Conference Finals last season.

Antetokounmpo – expected to go close to winning back-to-back MVPs – has not taken a backward step since being crowned the league's best in 2018-19, averaging 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game for the high-flying Bucks this season.

The only players to average 25/13/5 in a season are Elgin Baylor (1960-61), Wilt Chamberlain (1963-64 and 1965-66) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1972-73 and 1975-76).

 

Harden firing Rockets

James Harden's standing among the greats is often debated but there is no doubting his quality and importance to the Houston Rockets.

Harden has established himself as a scoring machine in Houston since joining the Rockets from the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012, especially from beyond the arc, and after averaging 36.1 points last season, the 2018 MVP is at it again.

In 2019-20, Harden – now partnered with fellow All-Star Russell Westbrook – is averaging 34.4 per game. The only players to average 34-plus points in back-to-back seasons are Wilt Chamberlain (six straight from 1959-60 to 1964-65), Baylor (three straight from 1960-61 to 1962-63) and Michael Jordan (1986-87 to 1987-88).

The Rockets – sixth in the west with a 40-24 record – are relying heavily on Harden to lead the two-time champions to their first NBA Finals appearance since 1995.

 

Dallas' dazzling Doncic

If you thought Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic was a one-season wonder, think again.

The reigning Rookie of the Year continues to take the NBA by storm, elevating the Mavericks (40-27) into a legitimate playoff threat after Dallas missed the postseason for a third consecutive year last term.

A first-time All-Star this season, Doncic is averaging 28.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game for the much-improved Mavs in 2019-20.

The 21-year-old Slovenian sensation – who is forming a formidable combination with fellow international star Kristaps Porzingis – is looking to join Oscar Robertson (five times), Jordan (1988-89), Harden (2016-17) and Westbrook (2016-17) as the only players to average 28/8/8 in a season.

 

Williamson following in MJ's footsteps

When it comes to number one draft pick Zion Williamson, believe the hype.

The Pelicans rookie has not missed a beat since debuting in January, quickly making his presence known around the NBA competition.

Likened to James during his college days with Duke, Williamson has averaged 23.6 points per game in his first 19 games – the most by any player through 19 career games since Chicago Bulls and NBA legend Jordan (25.6).

Williamson has helped fill the void left by Davis in New Orleans and the Pelicans – 10th in the Western Conference with a 28-36 record – will be hoping the 20-year-old can lead the organisation to just their second playoff appearance in five seasons.

 

Keep an eye on Nets' LeVert

The Nets will be far from full strength in the NBA bubble. Superstars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are both sidelined through injury, while DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie, Wilson Chandler and Taurean Prince have opted out.

Step up Caris LeVert.

LeVert has been much improved since re-joining the starting line-up with the playoff-chasing Nets. In his first 14 games off the bench, he was only averaging 11.1 points, 2.7 assists and 2.6 rebounds as Brooklyn went 5-9.

Since returning to the starting five, the 25-year-old is averaging 24.1 points, 5.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds through his last 16 games. More importantly, the Nets (30-34) boasted a 9-7 record to be seventh in a congested Eastern Conference.

Zion Williamson is facing a battle to prove his fitness ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans' NBA restart against the Utah Jazz.

The rookie forward left the NBA bubble to attend an "urgent family matter" before returning to Orlando last Friday.

Under coronavirus regulations, Williamson is required to quarantine for four days - provided he returns negative COVID-19 tests.

Pelicans vice president of basketball David Griffin expects the 20-year-old to be released "Tuesday afternoon-ish", but accepts there are concerns about his physical level ahead of the clash with the Jazz on July 30.

"Literally any player on our roster who went 13 days without doing any physical activity, it isn't going to be a given that we would just cut them loose in that next game," Griffin said.

"Particularly a player that generates as much torque as he does. So, we will see where he's at."

Williamson is not the only NBA player to be granted a leave of absence from the NBA's COVID-secure set-up in Florida, but Griffin is not concerned about the possibility of an increased risk of infection given the strict protocols in place.

Instead, he is more worried about the longer-term difficulties of ensuring everybody continues to toe the line.

"The league does such a good job of being hyper-cautious when they bring players back to the bubble that I don't really feel like that is where our jeopardy is," he said.

"I don't think that is where we have any real kind of opportunity to sort of pop the bubble. I think the real issue is going to be as this goes along further and further, is there more and more pull to sort of break rank and just walk off campus? That is when you're really going to see how well this is insulated."

 

Zion Williamson is looking forward to getting back on the court after returning to the NBA campus on Friday.

The New Orleans Pelicans announced the rookie forward had arrived back in Orlando after leaving to attend what the team called "an urgent family matter" on July 16.

Williamson underwent daily coronavirus tests and produced negative results throughout; he immediately went into a quarantine period before he can join up again with his teammates ahead of a resumption in the season.

"My family and I appreciate the love and respect that everyone showed us while we dealt with a private family matter," said Williamson in a statement. 

"I'm excited to rejoin my team in Orlando and look forward to getting back on the court with my teammates after quarantine."

Provided the 20-year-old remains negative for COVID-19, Williamson could be cleared to play in New Orleans' first scheduled game of the NBA's restart, against the Utah Jazz on July 30. 

The 2019 first overall draft pick was averaging 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds when the season was halted due to the global pandemic, having missed the first 44 games while recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

New Orleans enter the restart in 10th place in the West.

There is no timetable for Zion Williamson's return to the New Orleans Pelicans, who insist "he fully intends to rejoin the team".

Williamson, the Pelicans' second-leading scorer at 23.6 points per game, departed the Walt Disney World Resort complex in Florida last week to attend to what the team termed "an urgent family matter". 

"[Williamson] has been getting tested daily for COVID-19 while away from the team and continues to produce negative results," the Pelicans said in a statement.

"While there is no current timetable for his return to campus, he fully intends to rejoin the team." 

Per NBA protocols, Williamson will be required to quarantine for between two to four days once he returns to Orlando, as long as he continues to be tested daily for COVID-19. Failure to undergo daily testing would require a quarantine period of at least seven days. 

Provided the 20-year-old rejoins the Pelicans within the next week and remains negative for the virus, the 2019 first overall draft pick could be cleared to play in New Orleans' first scheduled game of the NBA's restart against the Utah Jazz on July 30. 

Williamson missed New Orleans' first 44 games while recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee but made a significant impact upon returning from the injury. The Pelicans were 17-27 and in 12th place in the Western Conference when the former Duke standout made his delayed debut on January 22, and the team has gone 10-9 with him in the lineup. 

New Orleans enter the restart in 10th place in the West, 3.5 games behind the eighth-placed Memphis Grizzlies.

Zion Williamson has left the NBA bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida to attend to an urgent family matter, the New Orleans Pelicans announced on Thursday.

The Pelicans said in a statement that star rookie Williamson, the Pelicans' second-leading scorer at 23.6 points per game, plans to rejoin the team for the restart of the NBA season at a later date but did not offer any specifics. 

'We fully support Zion's decision to leave the NBA campus to be with his family," the Pelicans' vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said. 

"Out of respect for the Williamson family, we will have no further comment at this time."

Whether Williamson will miss any games remains to be determined. Per NBA protocols, he will be required to quarantine between two to four days once he returns to Orlando provided he is tested daily for coronavirus during his time away. Failure to undergo daily testing would require a quarantine period of at least seven days. 

New Orleans are scheduled to return to play July 30 against the Utah Jazz.

The number one overall pick of the 2019 draft missed New Orleans' first 44 games while recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, but has made a significant impact upon returning from the injury. 

The Pelicans were 17-27 and in 12th place in the Western Conference when Williamson made his delayed debut on January 22 and the team has gone 10-9 with the former Duke standout in the line-up.

New Orleans enter the restart in 10th place in the West, three and a half games behind eighth-place Memphis.

The NBA officially revealed its schedule for the resumption of the 2019-20 season following the coronavirus-enforced break and opening night features a star rookie and a marquee matchup. 

Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans will face the Utah Jazz at the Disney World complex near Orlando, Florida on July 30 in the first game of the resumed season, which will consist of a 22-team format.

The second game of the nationally televised doubleheader has LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers facing Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers.  

The opening game will come more than four months after the season was paused on March 11 after Utah's Rudy Gobert became the first player in the league to test positive for COVID-19.

On Friday, the league officially completed talks with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) on the terms for restarting the season, paving the way for the 88-game schedule of what are being called seeding games between 22 teams to be released. 

"We're coming back because sports matter in our society," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. "They bring people together when they need it most."

Each team will play eight "seeding" games that will take place in a 16-day span before ending on August 14.

The league will then begin a typical playoff format with the NBA Finals set to begin September 30 and ending no later than October 13. 

Excluding the opening night of the restart, there will be between four to seven games each day spread across three different courts. 

Games will start as early as 13:00 (local time) on weekdays, 12:30 on weekends and ending with 21:00 starts.  

Several players have opted out of the restart plan with reasons related to the coronavirus, while others – including the Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic, Sacramento Kings team-mates Jabari Parker and Alex Len and the Indiana Pacers' Malcolm Brogdon have tested positive.  

Ja Morant believes he deserves to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award over Zion Williamson.

Morant was selected second overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2019 NBA Draft, with Williamson having gone first to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Williamson, who played just one season of college basketball at Duke before declaring for the draft, was the heavy favourite for Rookie of the Year honours going into the season.

However, Williamson suffered a torn meniscus in October, delaying his professional debut until January.

But he has been spectacular since returning from injury, averaging 23.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists per game. Williamson has shot 58.9 per cent from the field and 46.2 per cent from three-point range.

Morant, though, has the advantage of playing 59 games to Williamson's 19 during this season, which has seen him average 17.6 points, 6.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds.

He has shot 49.1 per cent from the field and 36.7 per cent from beyond the arc.

His performances had Memphis in the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference when the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking on Bleacher Report's 'Take it There with Taylor Rooks', Morant was asked if he felt like it should even be a close race for the award.

He replied: "Nah, I feel like I've done enough. I deserve it.

"I feel like my play this year proved all that. Had a great season so far. This corona stopped that short a little bit."

The prevailing sentiment among NBA players appears to be towards an eventual resumption of the 2019-20 season, rather than ending it prematurely.

Asked if he had spoken to anybody who feels the opposite, Morant said: "I haven't talked to anybody who hasn't wanted to play.

"I'm sure everybody wants to except for teams probably not in the playoffs."

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