“[Frank Ntilikina] just looked exhausted sometimes,” Jeff Hornacek said. “His knee hurt for a while there, and that’s stuff we have to build up. And again, this is going to be a great last 23 games for him because, we’ll see, can he play the 30 minutes without his knees hurting? Part of that is growth. He’s young. But these last two practices, we’ve had hard practices, guys are going extremely hard. And he’s looked really good and he’s not complaining about any knee issues so the rest may have done him some good.”
June 30, 2022 | 12:16 am EDT Update
“When Kyrie announced he was opting in, I was like ‘okay, we can move on. This won’t be a thing,’ said Windhorst. “But that’s not what my phone was telling me. That’s not what the executives were telling me. That’s not what the agents were telling me. They are saying this ain’t over, because the Nets made it clear to everybody they did not want the status quo. If nothing else changed, they were not going to be happy. They were not sure if that this satisfied that situation.
“It was not just because of the lack of the vaccine mandate. The entire way that Kyrie operated for the last couple of seasons, not just what happened with the vaccine, was part of what Sean Marks, and really by proxy Joe Tsai, was talking about at the end of the season. “I would like to say this can be put to bed, but that’s not what my sources are saying. They don’t know if this is going to work.”
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Get Up that organizations will keep calling about both Irving and Kevin Durant: “Teams are going to continue to touch base with Brooklyn to make sure that they plan to keep this group together,” Wojnarowski said.
Harden owns a $47 million player option for 2022-23 and the deadline to act on it is Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the possibility of Harden declining that option and taking a discount to improve the Sixers’ financial freedom is something entertained by both the star guard and the organization. “In a perfect world for the Sixers, and I think in James Harden’s mind, opting out of that deal and then negotiating a new contract here when free agency opens, gives the Sixers a lot more financial flexibility to go and improve this team in the offseason,” Wojnarowski said. “He can still get long-term, guaranteed money or certainly guaranteed money at a very high number over a couple of years by opting out and it gives the Sixers the ability to add to their roster.
Wojnarowski added that he believes “Harden’s gonna be in Philly … on a new deal,” one that would allow the Sixers to bolster their roster in free agency and “get better in the East to compete for a championship.”
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on the most recent The Hoop Collective podcast that he would “keep an eye on Indiana” in regards to restricted free agent Deandre Ayton and that the Pacers were interested in a potential Ayton trade before last season’s February trade deadline (38:20 mark), though the Suns didn’t want to break up their core at the time.