Although Gordon’s and Payton’s situations could change, it seems unlikely that the Magic will reach extension agreements with either Gordon or Payton before Monday’s deadline.
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OrlandoMagic.com: A couple of your young guys, Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon, are eligible for their contract extensions. How do you approach that and how much do you need those two players to make another huge jump this season? Jeff Weltman: “I won’t speak publicly about free-agency issues about our own players. We’re in contact with their agents and if something gets done, that’s great. If not, that’s great too. I’m really eager to get to know them as basketball players. I’ve gotten to know them a little, but they are two sensational kids who are extremely talented and their hearts are in the right place in terms of being just about winning. How does that look out on the court and in our locker room? I’m eager to see how that works, but I’m happy to have them here and I’m eager to see how they develop this season.’’
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October 19, 2017 | 9:32 pm EDT Update
Carmelo Anthony tried grooming Kristaps Porzingis the past two years, knowing that he someday would replace him as the Knicks’ franchise player. Now that he has, Anthony called it “a big, big year” for Porzingis and had some advice. “You’re there. You’re the unicorn. You’ve got to embrace it,” said Anthony, now a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. “You’ve got to understand what it’s about, what’s going to happen, whether good or bad, and be ready for it.”
Filling Anthony’s shoes is a tough task, but he believes he’s ready. “I never doubt myself,” he said. “I never feel like I’m not ready for something, even if it’s the most difficult challenge in my life . . . I’m never too afraid of a situation. I’m here now. I had a great experience watching Melo, how he does stuff on and off the court. I think that’s what I’m going to use to go forward.”