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Atlantic Notes: Durant, Okafor, D-League

Knicks coach Derek Fisher has strong ties to Kevin Durant from their time as teammates with the Thunder. Fisher said that he regrets not doing more to help OKC win a title while he was there, and he called Durant “one of the greats,” Marc Berman of The New York Post relays. “We didn’t win a championship,’’ Fisher said regarding playing with Durant. “That was definitely why I was there. We didn’t get that done. Obviously, he’s a great player. I was fortunate to play with a lot of great ones over the course of my career. He’s definitely one of the greats.’’ Not wanting to risk a tampering charge regarding the future unrestricted free agent, Fisher wisely avoided going into detail on what makes Durant great, Berman adds. “This is a new position for me,’’ Fisher continued. “I’ll stay away from celebrating guys I used to play with that are pending free agents. Keep it at that.’’

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers coach Brett Brown is considering shifting rookie Jahlil Okafor to power forward and moving Nerlens Noel to center, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer relays (Twitter link). One of the primary concerns regarding Philly stockpiling big men via the draft is how well they would mesh alongside one another, and it will be interesting to see if this move helps or hurts the development of Okafor, a natural center, in the long run.
  • Establishing their new D-League affiliate wasn’t an easy task, notes Raptors GM Masai Ujiri, but the franchise felt it was an important step if it wanted to properly develop its younger players, writes Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. D-League president Malcolm Turner agreed the process was difficult, but worth it for both the Raptors and the league, Wolstat adds. “Yeah, certainly there’s some back of house, logistics, in terms of crossing the border and other arrangements we needed to make,” Turner said. “We’re growing as a property, it really wasn’t a question of if, but when. The popularity of the sport in this market, in this country, the success of Canadian players throughout the game and frankly, others who are connected to the game, coaches and otherwise, is well-documented.

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