Andrea Bargnani failed to live up to lofty expectations with the Toronto Raptors, and he's looking for a fresh start with the New York Knicks. As the Knicks' main offseason acquisition to help Carmelo Anthony following a disappointing playoff exit, there would seem to be high expectations placed on Bargnani yet again.
But Anthony says not so fast, according to Mitch Abramson of the New York Daily News:
"Ain't no pressure on him," Anthony said at the end of practice on Tuesday, the Knicks' first of training camp. "You come here and play ball. All the pressure is on me. It should be easy for him."
The bulk of the pressure will certainly be on Anthony, but it's a bit simplistic to say that it's all on him and that things should be "easy" for Bargnani. Things haven't really been easy for Bargnani in years, and there will be plenty of critics prepared to jump all over the seven-footer if he plays poorly. Not to mention the fact that both J.R. Smith and Amar'e Stoudemire aren't healthy to start the year, which will put an increased offensive burden on Bargnani's shoulders.
To Bargnani's credit, he does realize that there's pressure on more than just Anthony, and that the team as a whole will be under a lot of scrutiny.
Bogut wants extension
But while most of the focus is on the upcoming year, Bogut does have impending free agency to think about next offseason. When asked about his contract situation with the Warriors, the big man was pretty adamant that he wanted to remain with the team for the long haul, according to Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News:
I honestly want to stay here. But I'm not (overlooking) that I've been hurt, so my value has been diminished a little bit. And obviously I want to have a good year.
But I'm not one of those guys who wants to have a good year, get my deal and then shut it down. I wouldn't do that. People might think that because of last year and the injury, but it's a unique circumstance.
I just want to keep playing. I want to get to the playoffs and make a run at that and then let the chips fall where they may.
Bogut said there haven't been any contract talks, and he understands it if he doesn't get an extension. For now, he just wants to continue working hard in order to give the Warriors a shot at a title.
Evans fine with a Ginobili-type role
The New Orleans Pelicans revamped their backcourt this offseason, acquiring both Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans. With Eric Gordon already in the fold, things will be a bit crowded if everybody stays healthy.
Figuring out how to distribute the minutes and keep everybody happy could be a challenge, but Evans has said that he's okay with a bench role. In fact, Evans told Raul Barrigon of HoopsHype that there's a specific player he'd like emulate if he did come off the bench:
A Manu Ginobili kind of role. Stepping on the court, being aggressive, helping run the team and staying there at the end if the game is on the line. Something like the Spurs did with Ginobili.
Even if Evans does come off the bench to start, there will likely be plenty of situations where coach Monty Williams plays his three young guards together at the same time. And as long as Evans is on the court at the end of games, he should be happy.
Salmons surprised he's back in Sacramento
Salmons played rather poorly last season, and he admitted that he was a bit surprised the Kings kept him around, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee:
"A little bit," said Salmons, when asked if he was surprised to still be with the Kings. "A little bit. I can't lie about that. But I'm good with being here, but I am a little surprised."
The Kings did acquire Luc Mbah a Moute to upgrade the small forward position, but they chose to keep Salmons around as well. While Salmons' future with the team is still rather murky, he's happy to be in Sacramento for now and likes the direction the franchise is going under new ownership.
Howard says former coach advised him to pick Rockets
Howard and Van Gundy had a rather contentious relationship during the end of their time together with the Orlando Magic. Van Gundy even knew that Howard wanted him fired before it happened.
But clearly, things seem to have smoothed over between the two.