Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony spent a lot of time in his career playing for the New York Knicks, so Saturday’s matchup between the two teams holds a special place of importance for him
“A lot of those guys on that team are close friends,” Anthony said about the Knicks, according to The Vertical’s Michael Lee.
“We talk, text, call. We always check up on each other. Other than that, I wish them guys the best. I hope New York can do it. They hold a special place for me.”
“At the end of the day, it’s business to me,” Anthony said.
“But I’d be lying if I said I’m not ecstatic to be going back and playing there. Like I said, I got a different feeling with New York. A different relationship, different bond with the city, with the fans, with the people. It’s a little bit special for me.”
Anthony is averaging a career-low 17.7 points per game on 40.0 percent shooting from the field and 34.4 percent shooting from three and should receive the loudest, negative or positive, reaction from the New York crowd when the two teams meet this weekend.
Celtics’ Gordon Hayward Says He’s ‘Basically 100 Percent’
Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward says that he is “basically” 100% eleven months removed from his gruesome 2017-208 season opening-night ankle injury, and has been playing 5-on5 games with teammates to prepare for training camp in October, according to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg.
“I would say I’m basically 100 percent,” Hayward said. “There’s certain things that I think are going to take time — even if I was 100 percent healthy, I’m not 100 percent as far as basketball-wise, just because I haven’t played in a year.
“I’m trying to figure those things out. The last step for me as far as from a physical standpoint is a little explosion, that little last juice bounce that you get. So that’s going to take me the longest time. But like I said, for the most part, I feel very good.”
Hayward discussed the latest milestone in his recovery, playing with his teammates again.
“It’s so much fun being able to play again, and play with my teammates,” Hayward described. “Using these past two weeks, and the next month or so, will be good to kind of get back into the game, feel the rhythm, the timing, different things like that. But it feels pretty good.”
“I think when you go through a process like this, you just find out that, if you want to get back to the player that you were, it takes a lot of effort,” said Hayward. “I think you find the fight within yourself because there’s so many days where I wake up and it’s like, ‘Man, here we go again.’ Another day I’m driving in, it’s freezing cold weather here in Boston, below zero, going into the facility, and the team’s in L.A., or they’re in Miami or whatever, and they’re playing, and I’m picking up marbles and putting them into a bucket. I’m standing on one leg and doing balance drills. I’m shooting from a chair.
“Like, all that stuff, to be able to get up and do it every day, and do it a little bit better the next day, and slowly work off getting out of the chair, and getting out of the boot, and now I can stand and shoot, and now I can do one dribble and shoot — and just the long process. I mean, it was a process and a journey. I’m still not there yet, but it just helped me find kind of a fight in me.”
Hayward is ready for the new season and expects to be on the court for the Celtics when the season tips off.
“Yeah, 100 percent I expect to be out there [on opening night],” Hayward proclaimed. “This is what this time is for me — to kind of find my groove a little bit. Like I said, you can do all the drills you want, all the cardio, the jumping [and] agility stuff. But there’s nothing like playing 5-on-5, so when I play out here with my teammates, when we get into practice situations, that’s going to be the best — playing in the preseason games, that will be the best work I can get.”
“Watching the guys last year just gave me a lot of confidence in our team and what I think we have the ability to do,” said Hayward. “I’ve been playing with some of them these last two weeks, and we have a lot of talent on this team. We have a lot of depth, and it’s going to be a fun year.”
Knicks to Target Kyrie Irving Next Summer
The New York Knicks have their eyes on the summer of 2019 when they could have the opportunity to court their top free agent target, current Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving, according to NBC Sports’ A. Sherrod Blakely.
“I’ve spoken with people within [the Knicks] organization. They have made it absolutely crystal clear to me that—if they had their pick of guys that are going to be in the free-agent market [next] summer—Kyrie would be their first, second, third and fourth choice,” Blakely said.
Irving, who is believed to be willing to give the Knicks “consideration” in free agency, is entering the final guaranteed year of his contract and will make $20.1 million with a player option of $21.3 million in 2018-2019.
Wizards Sign Jordan McRae
McRae, 27, last played for the Cleveland Cavaliers back in the 2016-2017 season, and has spent time with the Phoenix Suns and the San Antonio Spurs, who drafted him in the second-round of the 2014 NBA draft.
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