One dicey topic remains: the pending contract negotiations with soon-to-be restricted free agent Zach LaVine. And Paxson wasn’t in a position to clear things up. “Well, the market dictates a lot and how things go,’’ Paxson said. “I think the market has tightened up a little bit the last couple of years since the spike. We obviously value Zach a lot, and we think he’s a part of our future, but he has the opportunity to explore things. “Gar will get with his agent at the appropriate time and begin discussions about that, and it will play out the way it will play out. But we think he fits the direction we’re going, and we have great faith in his ability that he’ll have a great summer in terms of his work and his improvement as a player, and we’ll see. It’s up in the air and not defined yet, but we’ll do it the way we feel is right, and we’ll have good communication with Zach and his agent.’’
April 26, 2018 | 10:56 am EDT Update
April 26, 2018 | 10:42 am EDT Update
The Spurs, though, have a difficult decision on their hands. Do you invest the richest contract in franchise history for a player who didn’t exactly rush back to play this season and who has missed a ton of games over his career? In his first six seasons, Leonard missed 78 games. This year he was out 73. That’s nearly two full seasons of games missed in seven years. “Don’t you have to sign him,” asks one rival executive. “From what I understand, he wants (Gregg) Popovich to lighten up a little with practice and tweak some things. The Spurs may not want to change their ways, but this is Kawhi Leonard we’re talking about.”
“I’m gonna be right there [points about 15 rows back]. You know where [Kanter’s manager] Hilmi [Cinar] sits? I thought I’m gonna get seats right there [points courtside]. They gave me sears up there. It’s messed up. It’s OK.” They can’t put you on the big board. “They can’t?” Tampering. “What does that mean?” Because you’re still on the Knicks. “Am I? Am I?” Are you going to opt out? You are technically on the Knicks. “Until July 1, yes. We’ll talk to teams. We’ll see.” But yes, it’s tampering. I asked.
Despite all the hype surrounding his play, Middleton isn’t letting any of it change the way he approaches the game. “Honestly, I’m trying not to pay too much attention to it,” he said. “All those things, they’re good, but they could be distractions at the same time. So for me, it’s just staying in that same mind state of staying hungry and wanting to win.”
Frank Kaminsky: I think Kanye became my favorite person of all-time today. Not because of his views. But because of how he doesn’t give a shit what anyone else thinks. That’s why he is where he is in life.
April 26, 2018 | 5:44 am EDT Update
No compensation will be needed to hire Budenholzer — once thought of as a potential stumbling block to any potential deal. The Post previously reported an NBA source saying Budenholzer considers the Knicks his “top choice.” “If they offered him the job, he’d say yes,’’ the source told The Post. “He wants to live in New York.’’