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Eastern Conference

Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo Sets Sights On MVP Award

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Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo had a breakout campaign in the 2016-2017 season and is focused on doing much more in the 2017-2018 season.

Antetokounmpo spoke to Jim Paschke of Bucks.com.

“First off all we gotta say congrats to Malcolm (Brogdon) for winning the rookie of the year” Antetokounmpo said.

“He did a great job helping this team and i know he is going to do a great job, do great things for this team moving forward.”

When Paschke pointed out that Antetokounmpo wouldn’t be able to win the Most Improved Player award again, Antetokounmpo asked “why?”

“I might be the MVP this year.”

“If i win the MVP, I can be the most improved” Antetokounmpo said.”I’m really happy for the award. I want to thank the coaching staff, my teammates, I couldn’t do it without them, and I want to thank everyone who pushed me forward to get better every day.

Not just from this year, from day one. Because there was a lot of people who helped me from day one when I was 18 years old, now I’m about to turn 23, so I want to thank all of those people who pushed me to get better.”

Antetokounmpo also discussed what he learned from the playoff series with the Toronto Raptors.

“For me, the intensity was really high, the physicality was there” Antetokounmpo recounted.

“It taught me how I got to be mentally tougher, mentally stronger, it taught me how a team we have to stick together through ups and downs.

We were up 2-1 and unfortunately we lost 4-2 so it really doesn’t matter in the playoffs if you’re up or down, you still gotta fight through everything.

Our goals and our expectations are going to be a lot higher and as a team we realize that and moving forward hopefully we can achieve big things.”

With Antetokounmpo at the center of this franchise’s future, it’s hard to discount the Milwaukee Bucks.

Eastern Conference

76ers, Ben Simmons Agree to Contract Extension

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Ben Simmons

The Philadelphia 76ers and Ben Simmons have agreed to a five-year, $170 million contract, according to Simmons’ agent Rick Paul, via The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

The Sixers had extended a max contract offer to Simmons at the start of free agency, so the deal had been on the horizon for a while.

Simmons, 22, has been a franchise cornerstone for the Sixers, and averaged 16.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game for Philadelphia last season.

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Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavs Expected to Waive and Stretch J.R. Smith

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The Cleveland Cavaliers are expected to waive guard J.R. Smith after failing to find a suitable trade, according to The Athletic’s Joe Vardon.

According to Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, the Cavs plan to stretch his contract over the next three years.

Smith played in only 11 games during the 2018-19 season as the Cavs veered towards a youth movement.

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Eastern Conference

76ers’ Re-Sign Mike Scott

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Mike Scott

The Philadelphia 76ers have re-signed Mike Scott to a two-year, $9.8 million deal, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

“Mike epitomizes what Philadelphia loves – a fierce competitor with a tireless work ethic, who’s driven by the desire to win,” Sixers’ general manager Elton Brand said in a statement. “His toughness, grit and passion are palpable, as the city of Philadelphia has come to know. We are thrilled to have Mike back with the 76ers.”

Scott was a key reserve player for the 76ers last year, averaging 7.8 points per game.

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