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NBA notes: WNBA star Sue Bird joins Denver Nuggets front office

NBA notes: WNBA star Sue Bird joins Denver Nuggets front office
Sue Bird and the Storm had plenty to smile about last season when winning the WNBA title. (Bettina Hansen / Associated Press)

WNBA champion Sue Bird is joining the Denver Nuggets' front office while continuing her professional basketball playing career.

Tim Connelly, the Nuggets' president of basketball operations, said Bird's new title is basketball operations associate.

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In a statement, Connelly said, “We are very excited to have Sue join our organization. Her resume certainly speaks for itself and as a still active player she will offer an extremely unique perspective.”

Bird recently completed her 16th season in the WNBA with her third championship, all with the Seattle Storm.

The New York native was the first overall draft pick in 2002 out of UConn, where she won two national titles.

Etc.

Pelicans point guard Elfrid Payton is returned from a nine-game absence Friday night when New Orleans hosted the New York Knicks. Payton had been listed as questionable because of a right ankle sprain, but he was listed in the starting lineup before tip-off. Acquired as a free agent this past offseason, Payton has played in five games for New Orleans, averaging 11.6 points and 6.4 assists per game. New Orleans went 4-1 in games in which he played and 3-6 in games he has missed.

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