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Eastern Conference

Sixers’ Markelle Fultz Confident He Can Be Major Contributor

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Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz is confident that he can establish himself as a “third piece” in a ‘Big 3’ in Philadelphia with teammates Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons during the 2018-2019 regular season, despite a disappointing rookie year marred by injury and shooting struggles.

“I kind of like when people doubt me and say ‘look for another star,’” Fultz said, according toKeith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I see myself as that player. I just work every day to become better.”

“I really don’t look at other people’s goals [for him], but I definitely look at it to see myself as that next player that can step up in that role.”

Sixers head coach Brett Brown has certainly expressed his confidence in Fultz, hoping that Fultz will take advantage of a starting opportunity.

“My goal is to come and help the team in as many ways as I can,” Fultz said. “We did pretty good in making it to the playoffs, the second round.”

Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavs’ Tristan Thompson Out 2-4 Weeks

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The Cleveland Cavaliers will be without center Tristan Thompson for two-to-four weeks with a sprained left foot, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Thompson exited Monday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks during the third quarter after he landed awkwardly on the foot of Bucks’ guard Malcolm Brogdon.

Thompson, 27, is averaging 12 points and 11.6 rebounds per game this season for Cleveland.

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Chicago Bulls

Bulls’ Zach Lavine Meets Privately with Jim Boylen

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Amid the division within the Chicago Bulls organization between new head coach Jim Boylen, who took over recently for the fired Fred Hoiberg, and a number of players on the roster, has taken another turn.

According to ESPN’s Malika Andrews and Ramona Shelbourne, Bulls guard Zach LaVine spoke with Boylen one-on-one following the players boycotting of Sunday’s practice imposed by Boylen, which they felt was excessive.

“You just want to be real with people,” LaVine said, per the report. “There shouldn’t be any clouds. I think of myself as one of the leaders on the team. I just wanted to voice my opinion to them.”

“This is a business, this isn’t a dictatorship. We are all grown men, so everybody has a voice.”

Boylen has said that he has spoken with the team regarding the purpose of the practice on Sunday, but it is clear that the dysfunction runs deep in the organization.

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Eastern Conference

Knicks Could Trade Enes Kanter

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Enes Kanter’s days as a member of the New York Knicks could be coming to a close as the veteran big man could be traded by the Knicks ahead of this year’s NBA trade deadline, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

If they choose not to trade him, the Knicks could renounce him during the offseason to maximize their cap space so that they could be major players in free agency next summer.

“If the Knicks are going free-agent shopping in July, they will likely do it without Kanter,” Marks speculated. “The impending free agent has a $27.9 million cap hold, and the only clear path for New York to create max room would be to renounce Kanter or let him walk in the summer.

The question leading into the deadline: Will the front office decide to maximize Kanter’s trade value now or keep the center as an insurance policy if they miss out on their free-agent targets?”

Kanter has posted 14.9 points and 11.5 rebounds per game for New York this season.

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