The teams that would occupy the top four playoff seeds in the Eastern Conference are all in action tonight, and all of them are in fairly compelling matchups. The first-place Knicks and would-be No. 4 seed Bulls square off, while the Hawks, the third-best team in the conference, travel to Memphis to face the Grizzlies, who sit atop the league. The Heat take on the lowly Hornets, but after Miami's loss to the Wizards this week, nothing's a given. Here's today's news from around the East:
- Ersan Ilyasova signed new a five-year, $40MM deal with the Bucks this summer, but has since been benched, as Yannis Koutroupis of HoopsWorld chronicles. "It is a little bit (tough)," Ilyasova said. "We got a lot of big guys in different spots. It’s hard to find room some times. It doesn’t really matter. Whenever I step out on the floor I just try to be myself and give 100 percent."
- The Bucks also acquired Samuel Dalembert via trade this offseason, and he, too, is on the bench despite a $6.7MM salary in the final season of his contract. Dalembert is questioning the way the team has deployed him, according to Koutroupis. "It is not working," Dalembert said. "It’s not quite, I thought my role would have been a little bit more. But, like I said it’s coaching and everybody is doing their best."
- Tom Moore of Phillyburbs.com cites examples from Sixers coach Doug Collins' comments as he argues that Collins' patience with Andrew Bynum has worn thin, and wonders if the coach has moved on from the idea of having a franchise center around.
- Stephen Brotherston of HoopsWorld believes any player on the Raptors roster is liable to be traded, and predicts a major move in the near future. Brotherston thinks GM Bryan Colangelo and coach Dwane Casey might not be long for Toronto, either.
- Jan Vesely, the sixth overall pick in the 2011 draft, has fallen out of the Wizards rotation, but the team isn't planning to send him to the D-League, sources tell Michael Lee of The Washington Post.