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Eastern Conference

Wizards’ Brass High On Kelly Oubre Jr., Want To Keep Him Long-Term

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Washington Wizards’ Kelly Oubre Jr. has made an impression in Washington with the front office and ownership.

Wizards’ owner Ted Leonsis and head coach Scott Brooks are both high on Oubre Jr and are hopeful that they can keep him long-term.

“He’s another great, high-character kid with great athletic skills. And yeah, he wants to be where these guys are,” Leonsis told CSN Mid-Atlantic.

“Our coach really, really likes him. He thinks he can be a difference maker. He kind of has that X-factor in his game.”

And although the Wizards have financially committed to keeping John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. in the fold with long-term deals, Leonsis insists that money is no issue.

“So yeah, he’s going to come back and work really, really hard and challenge us to pay him a lot of money, too, which I’m glad to do,” Leonsis said.

“I think that that is important, that young players realize we would much rather pay them to stay with the organization than think the grass is greener and that some free agent from some other team is going to come in and make a big difference for us.”

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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