Nick DePaula on Giannis Antetokounmpo having a very uni…

Nick DePaula on Giannis Antetokounmpo having a very unique shoe: “If you look at Kevin Durant’s Nike shoe, it’s really clean and simple, which is exactly what KD wants because he wants his shoe to mimic his style of play. When you look at what Nike is going to do for Giannis and you factor in how his game is so unique and how we’ve never seen someone do the things he does at his size and you consider that ‘The Greek Freak’ is his nickname, it gives Nike some room to come out with a shoe that is really funky and unique and different and kind of out there. I think they’re going to take a lot of chances with his shoe. He has this sort of hybrid, never-before-seen style on the court and I think they’re looking at his shoe to have the same kind of design language. I think people are really excited for the shoe. Giannis gives them the ability to play and really try some stuff. I think they’re going to take some risks on it and it’s going to be exciting.”
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July 21, 2018 | 10:37 am EDT Update
What factors are you considering in free agency? What things are most important to you as look at potential destinations? Shane Larkin: The most important thing for me is playing time. I’ve been in a lot of different situations throughout my career thus far. Sometimes I’ve played a lot of minutes, sometimes I haven’t gotten many minutes, sometimes the minutes have been very inconsistent. I’m just trying to find a team that wants me to play good minutes so that I can continue to grow and develop for their team.
Shane Larkin: To be clear, I have no problem going back to the Celtics. I loved it there this year. I loved the role I had and they have a great, up-and-coming team that’s going to be outstanding for many years. This was the most fun year I had in the NBA, the most fun I’ve had since I left college. Boston is always an option that I would be interested in, but whichever team offers me the best chance go out there and continue to grow will be my main focus in free agency. I’d love to be back in Boston, given the right circumstances, though.
July 21, 2018 | 6:57 am EDT Update
Ujiri could have seriously downplayed the reports that Leonard is unhappy to be coming to Toronto and started to try to rehabilitate the (perhaps momentary) hit his reputation has taken. He didn’t. The most Ujiri could say is that he has talked to Leonard and his representatives. “That’s my job, and I think that’s why I’m in this seat, is to try and figure that part out,” Ujiri said of selling Toronto on Leonard, a free agent in 2019 who apparently only has eyes for Los Angeles. “I’ve had conversations with Kawhi, with his agent, with his uncle and everything has gone well. I’m looking forward to meeting with them face-to-face. … Our responsibility is to figure it out and to make them as comfortable as possible and, on his part, hear more on what he wants in our team, in the future, and go from there. I take responsibility for that and I’m confident. I think we have a good game plan and we’ll see how that goes.”
If the Leonard gambit fails, the Raptors risk looking like a franchise that at once cannot keep a true star and does not know good enough when it is staring them in the face. “We’ve been doing this for how many years? You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again,” Ujiri said. “And when you get a chance to get a top-five player — which isn’t very often — I think you have to jump on it.”