Atlantic Notes: Ellington, Konate, Horford, Simmons

With Wayne Ellington headed back to the Knicks, he recalls that his first stay with the team was so short that he “never put the jersey on,” relays Steve Popper of Newsday. The Mavericks sent Ellington to New York in a trade during the summer of 2014, but the Knicks shipped him to the Kings before the season started. So it doesn’t officially count as one of his eight stops during a 10-year NBA career.

Ellington is back in New York after signing a two-year deal last month with the first season fully guaranteed. Along with providing a veteran presence, Ellington will bring a much-needed 3-point threat to the Knicks, who were among the league’s worst teams from behind the arc last season.

“I’m here first and foremost to help lead a very young team,” Ellington said. “That’s one of the things (Knicks coach David Fizdale) and I spoke about, helping to lead. And of course, I’m here be a player, whether it’s starting or coming off the bench, whatever Fiz needed me to do, I’m going to be ready and prepared for it. That’s really not my main focus, whether I’m a starter or not, but I’m definitely coming in here to compete.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors are being careful with shot-blocking specialist Sagaba Konate, who missed most of last season at West Virginia because of knee problems, writes Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Konate signed with Toronto shortly after being passed over in the draft, but hasn’t seen much on-court action in the past two months. He was held out of the Las Vegas Summer League and hasn’t participated in five-on-five scrimmages. “We feel really strong about our medical staff and what the proper sort of approach you can take to a rehabilitation project,” assistant GM Dan Tolzman said. “We’re curious to see what he can become. It’s all about getting him ready for the start of the training camp and see what he does from there.”
  • Al Horford is likely to become more of an outside shooter playing alongside Joel Embiid, predicts Rich Hofmann of The Athletic. Horford, who signed with the Sixers in free agency, took 203 3-point shots last season, but Hofmann expects that number to grow as he tries to provide more spacing for his teammates.
  • With a video circulating of Ben Simmons sinking long 3-pointers, Michael Kaskey-Blomain of CBS Sports notes that the All-Star guard’s development in that area could be critical for the Sixers‘ long-term success. Simmons, who signed a five-year extension last month, hasn’t made a 3-point shot during his first two NBA seasons.
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