Eastern Notes: Porzingis, Dellavedova, Ellis

Scout Clarence Gaines believed the Knicks should have taken Kristaps Porzingis first overall if they had won the draft lottery, Knicks GM Steve Mills said Monday on MSG Network, as Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. Mills and team president Phil Jackson weren’t quite ready to do that, Berman notes, but the Knicks dropped to fourth in the lottery and took Porzingis with that selection. Mills said he noticed Guillermo Hernangomez, the 35th overall pick whose rights New York acquired in a deal put together on draft night, on a scouting trip to see Porzingis, as Berman details, adding that the Knicks plan to sign Hernangomez in time for the 2016/17 season.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • There hasn’t been much progress made between restricted free agent Matthew Dellavedova and the Cavaliers, Chris Mannix of SI.com notes. The point guard is seeking a multiyear deal at around $4MM per season, Mannix relays, and Cleveland is reluctant to commit to that amount due to the luxury tax implications. Former Nets executive Bobby Marks (Twitter links) notes that even a $4MM annual commitment for Dellavedova would equate to that of a max salary player due to the approximate $14MM tax hit inking the guard would generate.
  • Celtics executive Danny Ainge views offseason additions David Lee and Amir Johnson as veterans who can help the team’s younger players grow, Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald writes. “Veteran players teach young players how to play, how to live, how to make it through the rough times of a season,” Ainge said. “And they make young players better by their presence on the court. So it’s not always just about getting minutes for young players, although minutes are important in the process of development. But it’s also important for veterans to show the young players the way to play. Brandon Bass was a good guy to have on the team. You ask any good player in the NBA about the people who’ve had a positive impact on their careers and most every one of them will say some veteran that they played with as a youngster.
  • Monta Ellis was sold on joining the Pacers when team executive Larry Bird told him he was the missing piece in the team’s championship puzzle, Michael Marot of The Associated Press writes. “He said all the right things,” Ellis said after signing his four-year, $44MM deal. “It was an easy choice. It made me feel great because they wanted me.”

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

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