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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.”

 

Brooklyn Nets

Nets’ Kenny Atkinson Says ‘Tanking is Not a Word We Use’

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The Brooklyn Nets have had a rough couple of seasons, some of which they clearly looked like a team that was tanking with 21, 20, and 28 win seasons over the past three years, but head coach Kenny Atkinson says that tanking is not a part of the franchise’s rebuilding plan.

Atkinson and general manager Sean Marks are trying to build a winner for the future, and while tanking may be a word associated with a team in the cellar of the Eastern Conference standings, it’s not a word Atkinson would use.

“No, because we’ve never talked about tanking,” Atkinson said, according to The Athletic’s Michael Scotto. “Sean and I, I’m just going to be honest, internally we don’t use the word. We don’t talk about it. We talk about internal improvement. We talk about player development. We talk about culture, but tanking is not a word we use. It’s just not in our…I don’t think the fans in New York want to see that.”

Marks has spent the past few seasons stocking up on high end draft picks and utilizing the draft to fill the roster, but the Nets aim to be players in the 2018-2019 free agency period and a marked improvement in the win column could help lure players to the Big Apple next summer.

“That’s the dream, right, the quantum leap,” Atkinson said. “I think that’s the big goal in the sky. I also think we’ve been making solid steps and solid improvements. I’d be happy with that too, but we understand what you’re saying about the quantum leap. I think our players see that it’s a possibility. I do think we have to come to it in a humble way too. We only won 28 games last year, an eight-game improvement, which is good and is hard in the NBA. I’d take another eight or 10-game improvement. That would be fantastic.”

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Eastern Conference

Jamal Crawford Considering Joining 76ers

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Free agent veteran guard Jamal Crawford is still on the free agent market, but one potential destination is standing out for him, and he is considering a potential move to that team. That team, is the Philadelphia 76ers.

Crawford, 38, is a three-time Sixth Man of the Year winner, and would become an incredible asset off the bench for the Sixers.

“I think for me, especially being out there as a free agent, something could work out” Crawford said, during an interview with Scoop B Radio’s Brandon Robinson. “I would be honored to play there, but things obviously have to take its course and I kind of got to sit back, but who wouldn’t want to play there?”

Crawford was complimentary of the city of Philadelphia, head coach Brett Brown, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Markelle Fultz, and J.J. Reddick.

“I like their city. I like how into it they are about basketball. I like their knowledge of basketball, how passionate they are. I’ve always loved coach Brett Brown. I’ve been on record. I’ve been a fan of his for years. He just needed talent, and now he has that. He added Ben Simmons, I love his game. I love JoJo. They’re both among my favorite players in the league to watch. Markelle is like a little brother to me. Obviously, he went to the University of Washington, and we talk every other day. J.J. Redick is like a brother to me, we’ve been through wars together, so there’s so many things to love about Philadelphia for sure.”

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Atlanta Hawks

Hawks’ Trae Young Eager to Learn from Jeremy Lin

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Atlanta Hawks rookie guard Trae Young is excited to start his rookie season, and is eager to learn from experienced players, such as his teammate, veteran point guard Jeremy Lin who was acquired this offseason.

“From what I’ve heard, he’s going to be a great mentor for me,” Young said, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. “We’ve been talking. He’s a good dude. He’s been through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. He’s seen it all, so I’m looking forward to picking his brain.”

Lin is widely believed to be the Hawks starting point guard this season, but that won’t deter Young, who is looking at the big picture for Atlanta.

“I think we’ll work really well together,” Young said. “This is a rebuilding team, and we’re going to try some things. Some are going to work, some aren’t, so we’re just going to work together and do whatever we can to turn this franchise around.”

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