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Eastern Conference

Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis: ‘For Me, It’s Now Home’

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New York Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis has had a roller offseason. From rumors of being available in trade to rifts with former Knicks president Phil Jackson.

Now, Porzingis is singing a different tune about the Knicks and New York.

“So far it’s been tough in New York, but my journey is only beginning and I hope to stay there my whole career, so as a city we can have some fun and win some games and do something big,” Porzingis said in an interview with NBA.com’s Shaun Powell.

“For me, it’s now home.”

Porzingis touched on the roster overhaul the Knicks have been undergoing which included a new regime in the front office.

“Every year is almost like a new year. There will be a lot of changes. I’m going into the season hoping we have a group of guys who want to work hard and win. That’s what’s important.”

Porzingis talked about Carmelo Anthony, who has long been rumored to be on his way out of the Knicks.

“I would love to have him around and keep playing alongside him. But it is what it is. It’s a business. If it ends, well … I don’t know, it’s out of my hands. I’m really thankful for these couple of years I’ve been with him.”

“He’s an All-Star, an incredible player and I’ve learned so much from him,” Porzingis said.

“There’s still so much for me to learn form him. I would love to have him around and keep playing alongside him. But it is what it is. It’s a business. If it ends, well … I don’t know, it’s out of my hands. I’m really thankful for these couple of years I’ve been with him, just seeing how he works during the summer. It proves he wants to win and he wants to be great. I’m sure he’ll make the right decision for himself.”

Currently Porzingis is hard at work this offseason to improve his game.

“Been working three times a day, lifting weights, running on the track, swimming, basketball, all kinds of stuff,” he said. “Just trying to get myself stronger for next season. It’s going to be a big year for me. I’m so excited, putting in so much work. I can’t wait play again and have it show on the court.”

“My game is inside and out. I want to keep it that way so I worked a lot on my shooting, and my post game, which I know I can get better at. A lot of time was spent and will be spent in the weight room. I want to be able to take contact and be ready for all kinds of situations. All that coming together will help me come together as a player.

“I’m still 22 and still really young but I’m trying to learn as much as I can on the court, and trying to learn as much as I can off the court as well. I want to improve the mental side. I’m actually amazed by Conor McGregor. I’ve been watching so many of his videos, trash talking, how mentally strong he is. I’ve been really interested in that kind of stuff.”

“This is an opportunity to come here and make the NBA grow and change the environment for me this summer. I thought it would be a lot of fun. I’m real excited to be here.”

In the end, Porzingis sounds to be finally happy with the Knicks and his future with the team.

“Look, I was so happy when I got drafted by New York. I was never worried about the big stage or anything like that. I’ve always enjoyed that. I can envision (a championship someday) and see it. But we’re still a long way from there. As we get better, if we can all see that goal at the end and work towards it, anything can happen.”

 

Eastern Conference

Sixers’ Jimmy Butler Says It’s Not All About the Money, Says He is a Good Teammate

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Despite a tumultuous end to his tenure with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jimmy Butler is excited to show the Philadelphia 76ers what a good teammate he can be, saying this he is not chasing a big contract next offseason.

“It’s not. I already got enough money to have me and my family for the rest of my life. It’s not about the money,” Butler said during his 76ers introductory press conference,according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “I’ve got to be able to love where I’m at and have a great chance to win a championship.”

Butler also stated that despite the drama in Minnesota, he is a good teammate.

“I don’t think I’m a bad teammate, but people get whatever they want to say out,” Butler continued. “I think I’m an incredible human being, teammate, and I will show that to the guys here.

“You really wouldn’t know who I am unless you’re around me every day,” Butler added. “And for the most part, that’s why I don’t worry too much about what everybody says. If you know me and you’re around me, you know my heart. You know how I go about what I go about.

“I love my teammates,” Butler said. “I don’t think there are too many of them that will tell you I’m a bad teammate.”

Butler’s stay in Philly will be interesting to see unfold, and it will be interesting to see if Butler ends up inking a long term contract with the Sixers next summer.

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Brooklyn Nets

Nets’ Kenny Atkinson Discusses Caris LeVert’s Injury

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One of the unfortunate headlines to come out of the NBA on Tuesday night was the brutal injury sustained by Brooklyn Nets top scorer Caris LeVert, who suffered a gruesome right leg injury with 0.3 seconds remaining in the first half after trying to contain a Josh Okogie drive during their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

LeVert had to be stretchered off the court, and the injury left many players and fans covering their faces and emotional as they watched him receive medical attention on the court.

“He’s the heart and soul of our program,” Atkinson said, according to Greg Logan of Newsday. “Really tough blow. I feel for him. He’s had a fantastic start to the season. He’s obviously made a huge jump. I just know Caris — if anybody’s coming back from this, knowing the human, the character, the person, the player, he’ll come back from this. Tough, tough blow for the Nets.”

“Our only thoughts are with him. Nothing else matters. The game doesn’t matter tonight. That’s it.”

Teammates such as Nets’ point guard DeAngelo Russell also commented on the injury.

“I saw right away what it was and tried to erase it from memory as soon as I could, but it doesn’t work like that,” Russell said. “It’s something that hurts. It’s hard to speak about.

“You don’t want to see anybody get hurt, but for us to see our brother go down that we practice with every day, that we’re on flights with every day, it’s devastating to the stomach. We can put up our prayers for him and step up and try to build off of it.”

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Eastern Conference

Sixers’ Brett Brown Believes Jimmy Butler Will Put Team ‘Amongst Royalty for a While’

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Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown is excited for the debut of recently acquired All-Star forward Jimmy Butler on Wednesday, and believes the addition of the fiery scorer will vault the team into a new stratosphere in the NBA.

“Maybe [Butler is] the first move in the new reality that our goal is to build for a championship, and play in the NBA Finals, and continue to be an annual — and that’s always the hardest thing — contender” Browns said, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “I think we are building a core, truly, with their ages, that is going to have the ability to do that. We are going to have the ability to do that for a while now.

“We’ll be amongst royalty for a while now. So if you refer to that as sort of the first phase of the legitimate process, I think that’s fair.”

Butler will team with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons to form a formidable Big 3 in the Eastern Conference for what the Sixers hope will be for many years to come.

 

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