With Rajon Rondo out for the year, two of the Celtics' Atlantic Division rivals are in position to give Boston a run for the eighth and final playoff seed in the East. The 76ers are 2.5 games back of the Celtics, while the Raptors are five games back, and both teams hope to have injured players returning to the floor in the next few weeks — Andrew Bynum for the Sixers, and Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas for the Raptors. Here's the latest out of the Atlantic:
- As the summer approaches, the Sixers are hoping to get a better idea of whether it's worth the risk to lock Bynum up to a long-term deal, as GM Tony DiLeo tells TNT's David Aldridge. "We don't have enough information," DiLeo said. "We want to re-sign him. We plan on re-signing him. We made the trade having him as part of our future. That's the direction we're going in right now and we don't have enough information to make a decision."
- The Sixers constructed their roster with the intention of having it revolve around Bynum, so DiLeo acknowledges to Aldridge that the team would have to employ a different approach if Bynum is not re-signed: "We have a good young nucleus, but yeah, we'd probably have to go in a different direction and use our cap room and the draft and trades."
- Zach Lowe of Grantland looks into some potential trade partners for the Celtics if they decide to shop Paul Pierce, noting that they'd likely only be able to land either a good first-round pick or a blue-chip guy on a rookie contract, rather than both. According to Lowe, the Raptors may be the most viable and intriguing match for Pierce and the C's.
- Also within Lowe's piece, he notes that executives around the league view Rondo as a max-contract type player.
- Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com explores the possibility of the Knicks calling up D-League standout Henry Sims, who was in camp with the team in the fall.