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.”
Khris Middleton Plans to Re-Sign with Bucks
Wizards Preparing Run at Masai Ujiri
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Wizards are looking to offer Ujiri a deal that could approach $10 million annually and also give him the opportunity for ownership equity.
Ujiri, who has two years left on his contract, constructed the NBA Champion Raptors team that just defeated the Golden State Warriors, and his unique vision and team building is credited as helping the Raptors reach the NBA’s ultimate prize.
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis is expected to reach out to Toronto ownership soon to request formal permission to meet with Ujiri, 48, and make him the astronomical offer which includes running the Wizards’ basketball operations and could also include taking on a larger leadership role in the Monumental Sports and Entertainment company that oversees the Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals franchise.
Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard Becomes First Player to Win Finals MVP in Both Conferences
With the win, Raptors star Kawhi Leonard was awarded the Bill Russell trophy, given to the Finals MVP, marking his second trophy and making him the first player in NBA history to win the award in both conferences.
“This is what I play basketball for,” Leonard said, according to ESPN. “This is what I work out for.”
“I think he’s the best two-way basketball player in the NBA,” Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said of Leonard. “He just goes. You know, I’ve seen some stuff from him this year that you just say, ‘Wow.’ You do. You say, ‘Wow.’ You appreciate the work that he’s put in. He works extremely hard at his game and works extremely hard on his body. And he loves this basketball thing. Loves it.”
Leonard averaged 28.5 points per game on 43 percent shooting in the NBA Finals, playing stellar defense as well.
Leonard took home NBA Finals honors back in 2014 when he was a member of the San Antonio Spurs team that knocked off the Miami Hear super-team led by LeBron James, who he played tough defense on throughout.
“Without a doubt, the best thing about this thing is that somehow I wound up on the sideline getting to watch this guy play up close,” said Raptors coach Nick Nurse, who won an NBA title in his first season as a head coach in the league. “It’s really cool.”
Leonard scored 732 points in the 2019 postseason, which ranks as third-most in NBA history behind Michael Jordan (who scored 759 in 1992) and LeBron James (who scored 748 in 2018).
“I just kept working hard, working hard, and had my mind set on this goal right here,” Leonard said. “I came to a team, a new coast — that mindset was the same as mine, trying to get that Larry [O’Brien championship] trophy there. And this is what I play basketball for; this is what I work out for all summer [and] during the season. And I’m happy that my hard work paid off.”
The Raptors now have to convince Leonard, who is set to enter free agency, to stay with the team for the long-term.
“I’m ’bout to enjoy this with my teammates and coaches, and I’ll think about that later,” Leonard said.
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