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DSJ: ‘I definitely thought it possible’ Knicks Would Draft Him

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Before Phil Jackson passed on perhaps the most exciting prospect of the 2017 rookie class, the Knicks president encouraged Dennis Smith Jr. to eat an exotic delicacy.

“We went out to some restaurant and they had me eat some octopus, like an actual octopus tentacle,” Smith Jr. told the Daily News. “First time ever. I wasn’t going to try it, honestly. They kind of put the pressure on me to do it.”

There may have also been some gamesmanship from Mavs owner Mark Cuban, who visited [Frank] Ntilikina in Europe and posed for a picture with the Frenchman that quickly made the rounds on social media. Later, a report surfaced that the Mavericks were set to add Ntilikina’s coach from France to their Summer League staff.

The inference was that the Mavericks were committed to drafting Ntilikina, theoretically making it more enticing for Jackson to draft him a spot higher to keep him out of the hands of a former nemesis. Only the Mavericks never hired Ntilikina’s coach from France for their Summer League squad. Instead, they gave Smith Jr.’s former college coach, Mark Gottfried, a spot on the staff and, as Smith Jr. told The News, a permanent gig with Dallas’ G-League team.

Regardless if there were any deceptive tactics from the Mavs, the Knicks had a chance to draft Smith Jr. and decided against it.

“I definitely thought it was possible,” Smith Jr. told The News. “I flew in there, I had a great meeting with them. Then the draft came and things just changed.

“But I’m thankful for everything that did happen.”

Source: Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News

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Magic Forward Aaron Gordon Misses Game With Concussion

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Orlando leading scorer Aaron Gordon missed Saturday’s 117-110 loss to the Hawks because of a concussion, further draining the short-handed Magic.

The 6-foot-9 Gordon, averaging 18.5 points per game, was injured Friday as the Magic lost to Denver. Mario Hezonja started in Gordon’s spot Saturday night.

Source: The Associated Press on ESPN

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76ers’ Robert Covington Injured After Diving into stands

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Philadelphia 76ers forward Robert Covington was helped off the court by two teammates after crashing into the stands alongside the Cleveland Cavaliers’ bench with 1:08 remaining in the fourth quarter Saturday night.

Covington was diving to save a loose ball.

Source: ESPN

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Pacers End Cavs 13-Game Winning Streak

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With the Cavaliers’ franchise-record-tying 13-game winning streak ending with a 106-102 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Friday night, the biggest disappointment in Cleveland’s postgame locker room stemmed from news that weather issues would delay the team flight home, not the defeat.

If anything, the loss provided Cleveland a chance to reflect on the team it has become in the last 3 ½ weeks, going from a 5-7 record to holding the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

Source: Dave McMenamin of ESPN

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