There had been some speculation that New York Knicks superstar Kristaps Porzingis may have been unhappy about not signing a rookie scale contract extension with the team this offseason, but team president Steve Mills is shooting down any rumors of unhappiness.
“We believe it was the smart move, but primarily because over the summer, GM Scott [Perry] and I sat down with KP’s brother [Janis Porzingis] and talked about the different options that we have in front of us as it related to his extension” Mills said, during an appearance on The Michael Kay Show,via Ian Begley of ESPN.com.
“We were clear that the best option to make the Knicks a better team long term and have a better group of guys that KP can grow with long term was to not do the extension at this point. We think it ended up in a situation that’s best for the long-term view of the Knicks which ultimately will be the best in the long term view for KP because he’ll have a better team that he’ll be part of.
“We’ve been very straightforward in our communication with KP’s brother, who is his agent. KP has a long history with us. One thing about my relationship with KP is that when he is unhappy about something or disappointed about something he’s been very forthright in coming to me and saying, ‘Steve you know what? I’m not happy about this.’ And throughout this whole process he’s been very excited about David Fizdale as the coach, he’s been very excited about the players, the young players that we have. So I think we’re in a good place.”
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.
Pau Gasol Wants to Return to Bucks
Pau Gasol would like to stay with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Gasol, 38, spent the 2019-2020 season with the Bucks, playing in only 3 games prior to suffering a season-ending injury prior to the start of the playoffs.
“I would be positive and I would like to continue with the Bucks of course” according to Bleacher Report’s Tim Daniels. “That’s why I left San Antonio and I did to join this team, which I think has real potential to win the championship. It was close this season, we fell to Toronto in the playoffs. I don’t know if my presence would have helped to beat Toronto or not.”
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