7'1" Russian center Timofey Mozgov thought New York was a dirty city when he came to visit, but that didn't stop him from signing with the Knicks after he received offers from other NBA teams. Mozgov was most impressed with head coach Mike D'Antoni and his style of play. In an interview with HoopsHype, Mozgov said, "I went to dinner with him and he’s a good guy in my opinion. I don’t know how he’s going to be on the court, but he’s tough. He told me, 'Please, don’t be lazy,' and that if I work hard I will play for sure." Mozgov is definitely keeping his expectations realistic, saying he wants to play 10 to 15 minutes a game. And in case you were wondering who will help him settle into the Big Apple, that would be his girlfriend.
Speaking of Mozgov, here's video of him from Russia's FIBA World Championship game against New Zealand. Two observations show he's ready for New York: 1) He's got the swagger needed to make it here and become a fan favorite, as evident during the team's pregame ritual (see the start of the video); and 2) He's got the defensive instincts and hustle mentality -- he even dives on the floor with his large frame -- that The Garden desperately needs more of like the good ol' days (see the 1:05 mark). Mozgov's first big taste of the NBA comes tomorrow when he faces off against the USA.
Amare Alert: The season hasn't even started yet, and Amare Stoudemire is already being treated like a star. First, he had his very own giant-sized billboard unveiled in Times Square. Then last night, the most powerful person in fashion, American Vogue magazine editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, personally invited Amare to Fashion's Night Out runway show at Lincoln Center (New York Post). Here's video of him from NY1 News showing up at the red carpet (see the 1:39 mark). Now, it's only a matter of time before Amare becomes the next NBA star to grace the cover, following in the tracks of LeBron James who posed with supermodel Gisele Bundchen in 2008 (Styleite).
The Hoops News editor Sam Amico says the Knicks may be better than you think.
Stephen A. Smith hints that Carmelo Anthony has the Knicks on his mind, but he wants them to move quickly to make a deal. Smith tweeted, "Knicks must get a 3rd team involved. He's losing his patience with them."
ESPN 1040 contributor Alex Kennedy tweeted this positive update on Kelenna Azubuike's injury: "[His] camp believes that he'll be ready to start the season. He'll likely miss camp but he should be fine for opening night."
Jared Zwerling is a senior researcher for ESPN The Magazine and a regular contributor to ESPN RISE. You can follow him on Twitter: @jaredzwerling