New Knicks coach David Fizdale has told Kristaps Porzingis to set lofty goals for himself and the franchise player appreciates getting pushed. In a WNBC TV interview that was relayed by Kurt Helin of NBC Sports, Fizdale said that he wants Porzingis, who is rehabbing from a torn ACL, to embrace the status that comes with being the team’s star. “He likes the challenge of me saying ‘I want him to be the MVP’ and ‘I want him to be the Defensive Player of the Year.’ That’s real competitors they want that and I’m going right at it with him. I want him to look at himself that way,” Fizdale said.
We have more from the Atlantic Division:
- The Celtics made the right decision by holding onto Jayson Tatum rather than dealing him to the Spurs to Kawhi Leonard, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston opines. Boston would likely have needed to give up Tatum to land Leonard with no assurances that Leonard would stay beyond the upcoming season, Blakely continues. With Leonard’s questionable health and the Celtics already considered the Eastern Conference favorite, it didn’t make sense for Boston to roll the dice, Blakely adds.
- New York’s G League affiliate, the Westchester Knicks, has acquired former Kings forward Duje Dukan, Ian Begley of ESPN tweets. Dukan was chosen by the Wizards’ new G League team, the Capital City Go-Go, in the expansion draft on Wednesday. Dukan has also played for the G League affiliates of the Kings, Bulls and Pacers.
- Buyout issues caused Nets forward Rodions Kurucs to slide in the draft, according to a NetsDaily.com post. Kurucs’ Euro team, FC Barcelona, reportedly priced his buyout at $5MM until late last season and NBA teams can’t pay more than $700K toward an international player’s buyout. Buyout talks also prevented Kurucs from playing in the summer league. Kurucs, the 40th overall pick, signed a four-year, $7MM contract with Brooklyn.