After getting the 10-day contract with the Knicks that he had been hoping for, the next goal for Thanasis Antetokounmpo is to extend his stay in the NBA, writes Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. The 6’7″ small forward caught the attention of team president Phil Jackson and coach Derek Fisher with his ability to guard multiple positions, according to Isola. The former second-round pick has twice been named to one of the All-Defensive teams in the D-League. “Patience comes with confidence and hard work, so you just believe in yourself and you say, I’m going to work hard and hopefully — it’s not just hopefully — it’s going to come one way or another,” Antetokounmpo said. “For me it’s been every year getting better. The first, came to the States, got drafted. The second year got an invite and a contract with the New York Knicks. This year getting a 10-day. For me the fourth year is about being established on an NBA team.”
There’s more news tonight out of New York:
- Carmelo Anthony has become too valuable for the Knicks to trade, contends Ian Begley of ESPN.com. New York is being outscored by 7.8 points per 100 possessions without Anthony, and Begley believes dealing him away would crush the team’s playoff hopes. That would increase the value of the draft pick that is owed to Toronto in the 2013 Andrea Bargnani trade.
- Jerian Grant hopes to follow the path that he watched several NBA players travel when he served as a ballboy for the Washington Bullets, writes Al Iannazzone of Newsday. The Knicks acquired Grant, the son of Harvey Grant and the nephew of Horace Grant, in a draft-night deal with the hope that he could be a long-term answer at point guard. “I’ve seen a lot of players in Washington grow and grow and get better and better,” Jerian Grant said. “It came from a lot of hard work. Being around my dad and my uncle and basketball so long, you see how long it takes some guys to develop. You see how some guys get a lot better each year.”
- The Knicks will be among several teams pursuing Kevin Durant in free agency this summer, as Iannazzone examines in a separate piece. Durant is close with Anthony and Fisher, he has expressed admiration for rookie Kristaps Porzingis and he likes playing in New York.