Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao received as good a vote of confidence as one can get from head coach Byron Scott, who called the Brazilian big man "the best center in the NBA right now." Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio writes that Varejao's statistical production makes Scott's statement a difficult one to disagree with, also mentioning that some fans have wondered if Cleveland should take advantage of his value and trade him. With that being said, Amico asserts that Cavaliers brass currently has no intention of dealing their most tenured veteran. For the rest of tonight's tidbits from the Eastern Conference, you can find them below:
- Bill McCandless, the agent of Mickael Pietrus, told Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com about the other teams that that had been under consideration while they had waited for the right opportunity in free agency. Whereas the Rockets and Timberwolves were potential destinations in the West, McCandless listed the Bulls and Hawks as the other Eastern Conference teams which had been in the hunt along with Toronto.
- Celtics coach Doc Rivers offered a poignant comment about Rajon Rondo and the current state of his team, telling reporters: “I don’t know if I want to rally around my 6-foot guard being the enforcer. That’s nice but at the end of the day, if that’s the threat you’re sending, the other team has to feel [good]" (Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com reports). Although we heard Rivers say earlier that the team is in no rush to make any changes to the roster, Petraglia hypothetically mentioned Kenyon Martin as a possible target if Boston decided to look into free agency for help.
- Aside from wanting rookie guard Maalik Wayns to become a more accomplished defender, 76ers coach Doug Collins likes the direction of his development, writes Mark Narducci of Philly.com.
- Jodie Valade of the Plain Dealer points out that Zydrunas Ilgauskas was at the Cavaliers' practice facility on Thursday to help Byron Scott teach forward Tristan Thompson about making quicker decisions and moves offensively to counter shotblockers.
- Mary Schmitt Boyer (also of the Plain Dealer) discusses the challenge that Danny Ferry faces in building the Hawks into a playoff contender, just as he had done in Cleveland from 2005 to 2010.
- Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes that Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap has taken notice of Jeff Taylor's development as the rookie has stepped in to fill the void left by Gerald Henderson's injury. In another article, Bonnell mentions that the continued lobbying of New Orleans Hornets owners to rebrand their franchise could mean an opportunity for Charlotte to re-acquire the Hornets nickname.
- Nate Taylor of The New York Times discusses Tyson Chandler's offensive efficiency as of late, noting that the 7'1 Knicks center is averaging a career best in points (12.0 PPG) and leading the league in field goal percentage at 71.8%.