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Kristaps Porzingis: ‘I believe’ I Can Be Best in NBA

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Less than a week after Enes Kanter lobbied for Kristaps Porzingis to be in the MVP conversation, ex-Knicks center Tyson Chandler said Friday he believes the 7-foot-3 Latvian has a chance to be the game’s best player.

The compliments are pouring in for Porzingis after he’s weaved the best scoring start to a season in Knicks’ history. Never the modest type, Porzingis doesn’t disagree with Chandler, but he does disagree with those who think a lottery berth is the better result this season.

Chandler made his remarks after the Knicks (4-4) routed the Suns at the Garden.

“Those are some big words coming from him,’’ Porzingis said after practice Saturday. “I believe so, too. And that’s something I’m going to work towards.”

Porzingis sat out the practice with a sore left ankle but is expected to suit up Sunday when he brings his unicorn act to face the Pacers. Porzingis is averaging 29.0 points – tied for third in the NBA. He has scored 30 or more points in six of the Knicks’ first eight games and is the main reason they are overachieving as a .500 club.

Source: Marc Berman of the New York Post

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Sources: Jimmy Butler Trade Talks ‘mostly dormant’

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For now, Minnesota’s talks with teams around the NBA are mostly dormant, league sources told The Athletic. The Miami Heat have long been the most aggressive team pursuing Butler, having advantages with a young, promising wing in Josh Richardson, being a team not in Minnesota’s conference and holding other assets to add in a package. Yet days before their own season opener Wednesday, Miami president Pat Riley informed his locker room that the team would stick with the current roster to start the season in a show of loyalty the organization has for their current players, league sources said.

Source: Shams Charania of The Athletic

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Sources: HEAT, Pat Riley ‘pulling the plug’ on Jimmy Butler Trade

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In another rare confirmation of Miami Heat trade negotiations, a team spokesman confirmed shortly before Thursday night’s game that Heat President Pat Riley recently told the team’s players he was “pulling the plug” on trade negotiations regarding disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler.

Amid growing speculation of specific Heat players being offered for Butler, Riley, during a recent practice session, lined up the team’s players on the practice court at AmericanAirlines Arena and told them he was standing by them.

Riley, however, did not state that a trade was categorically off the table.

Source: Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel

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Report: G League to Offer $125K Salaries to Elite Prospects

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The NBA G League today announced a Select Contract as part of a comprehensive professional path that will be available, beginning with the 2019-20 season, to elite prospects who are eligible to play in the NBA G League but not yet eligible for the NBA.  The contracts, which will include robust programmatic opportunities for development, are for elite players who are at least 18 years old and will pay $125,000 for the five-month season.

“Select Contracts are an answer to the basketball community’s call for additional development options for elite players before they are eligible for the NBA,” said NBA G League President Malcolm Turner.  “The supporting infrastructure surrounding these newly-created Select Contracts is designed to provide a rich offering of basketball and life skills developmental tools for top young players to grow along their professional paths from high school to the pros.”

Source: NBA

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