Atlantic Notes: Towns, Sixers, Nets, Sullinger

Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns said Knicks president Phil Jackson has the “presence” he’s looking for in his NBA experience, reports Marc Berman of The New York Post. “He knows how to win,” Towns said. “At the end of the day, what every player wants to do is win. If I have the opportunity to ever play for the Knicks, that’s what I would love to do.’’ Towns, who is expected to be the first or second player taken in next month’s draft, declined to say if he is rooting for the Knicks — or any other team — to land the top pick. Berman notes that Jackson has said repeatedly that he wants a defensive-oriented center, indicating a preference for Towns over Duke’s Jahlil Okafor.

There’s more this morning from the Atlantic Division:

  • Towns would be a better fit than Okafor with the Sixers, contends Tom Moore of Calkins Media. He argues that Towns’ shooting range and perimeter defense make him an intriguing frontcourt partner for Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid.
  • Count Joe Johnson among the many Nets who expect major changes this offseason, writes Roderick Boone of Newsday. “I’m sure something is going to happen,” Johnson said. “I don’t know what, but I don’t see us coming back with the same team. This is my third year here and I could see if each year we’ve gotten better, but it’s kind of been the opposite.” Brook LopezThaddeus Young and Alan Anderson can all opt out of their current deals. Anderson has already said he plans to test the market, while Lopez and Young haven’t committed. Mirza Teletovic can become an unrestricted free agent if the Nets don’t submit a qualifying offer.
  • Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Jared Sullinger needs to improve his conditioning if he wants to prosper in the NBA, according to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. “I’m a big fan of Jared’s, and I think he has a very, very bright future,” Ainge said. “But I think he’s hurting the longevity of his career and his play now by not being in as good of shape as he can be in.” Sullinger is still on his rookie contract and is under Boston’s control through the 2016/17 season.

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