Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
New Net DeAndre Jordan shed a little light on his decision to sign with the Nets over the Knicks in free agency.
"Not to knock the culture the Knicks are creating," he said during an a promotional appearance for Dunkin', according to Gothamist, "but we like what [Nets coach] Kenny [Atkinson]'s doing and [general manager] Sean [Marks] has been awesome and the organization, from top to bottom, has been great. So you want to be a part of something like that, especially when you have a chance to play with other great players and build something."
The 'we' in Jordan's answer is, presumably, a reference to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Jordan's signing was seen as significant in the Nets' acquisition of Irving and Durant because he has a strong relationship with both.
Jordan was acquired by the Knicks in the Kristaps Porzings trade and played 31 games with the club. He was playing behind young center Mitchell Robinson for a portion of those games. Some with the Knicks viewed Jordan as a pivotal piece in their approach to signing Durant and, to a lesser extent, Irving.
Jared Dudley, who played with the Nets last season, said on an ESPN podcast that Jordan was considering signing with the Knicks. Dudley sold the virtues of the Nets to Jordan, who signed a four-year, $40 million deal with Brooklyn.
"I told him all the good, it's 95 percent good over there," Dudley said. "It's one of the best practice facilities in the league. You can live in the city, because most players want to live in New York City and go there, they don't have to drive an hour to Westchester, to the Knicks practice facility."
Jordan, Durant and Irving choosing Brooklyn over the Knicks was a gut-punch to the franchise in Manhattan. After losing out on Durant and their other top targets, the Knicks signed Julius Randle, Marcus Morris, Bobby Portis, Elfrid Payton and others in free agency. The Nets added Garrett Temple, David Nwaba and Wilson Chandler to a roster that has a strong young core.
"We've got a lot of talent on this team," he said. "You know obviously Kevin [Durant] had a tough injury, he's going to be out for a while, but he's progressing great, he's recovering fast, we'll be even better when we get him back and healthy."
Gordon says Payton is 'tough as nails':
Young Magic star Aaron Gordon played for three years with new Knick Elfrid Payton. He said on Monday that his former teammate will bring a toughness to New York.
"He's tough. EP's tough as nails so he's not going to get rattled easily," Gordon said at the NBPA/Five-Star Camp at Basketball City on Monday. "He plays hard every day. HE's thorough. He was born and raised like that."
Payton signed a two-year deal with the Knicks that essentially has a team option for the second year. He will have every opportunity to win the starting point guard job this season, per sources. Payton also should have a positive impact on the Knicks' young locker room.
"EP is a helluva player, helluva ballplayer. But even better person. So you guys got an even better person than he is a ballplayer, and that's saying a lot," Gordon said. "Because he's a great ballplayer. He can get better and better. HE's going to be in this league for a long time."
Gordon, a 23-year-old forward, talked about Payton and a few other topics during a chat with reporters on Monday:
On spending time with campers at the NBPA/Five-Star camp:
"It's really cool because basketball has given me so much and has given so many people so much that you've got to give back. So these kids, they see me. And if I could make it, they can make it to. That's basically what I want to explain to them. It's just good for them to move their bodies, be active, and play a game that's fun to play."
On the Nets adding Durant and Irving:
"I'm not thinking about it too much right now. But in a year it's going to be a problem, they're going to be a problem. But right now we're just focused on the Orlando Magic, and that's it."
On the computer coding program in Orlando that he funds through his charitable organization:
"My mom (Shelly Davis Gordon) is a computer scientist and she did really well for herself. Coding, it's not discriminatory at all even though it seems like the demographic of coders is kind of, like, white. So it would be good to see kids with less privilege and more minorities getting into coding programs and really, developing apps that could potentially create a lot of jobs and create careers for themselves and make a lot of money with them and their family. (The program's impact on kids) has been amazing. It's been a dream of mine and my mom's for a long time so for it to come to fruition is beautiful. My mom is choking back tears every day."