Hornets need young forwards to step up

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The Charlotte Hornets are turning to a pair of young, inexperienced power forwards after losing Josh McRoberts in free agency.

Russell Westbook: Thunder guard won't play for the U.S. in the World Cup to rest his knee.  Drew Gurian
Drew Gurian
Russell Westbook: Thunder guard won't play for the U.S. in the World Cup to rest his knee.

McRoberts was the one player coach Steve Clifford said the team couldn’t afford to lose this off-season.

Yet the seven-year NBA veteran is headed to Miami.

The Heat said Monday they intend to sign McRoberts when the NBA’s moratorium on deals being formally struck ends Thursday.

Clifford hasn’t been made available to the media this week, but it’s expected second-year player Cody Zeller will take McRoberts’ spot in the starting lineup with Noah Vonleh, the ninth overall pick in the June draft, likely to see significant playing time.

The Hornets don’t have any veteran depth at power forward.

Charlotte general manager Rich Cho and Clifford have spent the week courting restricted free agent small forward Gordon Hayward.

HAWKS: Second-round draft selection Walter Tavares, a 7-foot-3 center from Cape Verde, is on the roster for the Las Vegas Summer League.

Atlanta on Tuesday released its team for the two-week event, held at UNLV

The Hawks’ other two draft picks – Adreian Payne and Lamar Patterson – had already committed to playing.

Former Florida star Casey Prather and Abraham Millsap, brother of Hawks forward Paul Millsap, are also among the players on the 15-man roster.

Atlanta plays its first game Saturday against the Washington Wizards.

THUNDER: Guard Russell Westbrook will not play with Team USA in the World Cup of Basketball so he can rest his knee.

Chairman Jerry Colangelo said that USA Basketball had been communicating with Westbrook since the end of the season and knew his withdrawal was a possibility.

TIMBERWOLVES: Signed first-round draft pick Zach LaVine.

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