With the Bucks currently holding a seven-game lead on the ninth-seeded Sixers for the Eastern Conference's final postseason spot, there won't be a race for the playoffs over the season's final few weeks. But if we flip the standings upside-down, there is a race developing for the best chance at June's first overall pick. A pair of Bobcats wins last week pulled them within two games of the Magic, and the two teams are set to square off in Charlotte this Wednesday. As we, uh, look forward to that contest, let's round up a few Monday items from around the conference:
- Following up on the latest report linking John Calipari to the Nets, Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game suggests (via Sulia) that owner Mikhail Prokhorov is too discerning to simply be interested in Calipari because the Kentucky coach is a "big name." According to Bucher, Prokhorov had genuine interest in Phil Jackson, but Bucher thinks the idea of Calipari being a worthwhile fallback option is "absurd," despite the improvements he has made since his last NBA stint.
- Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun looks ahead to the summer and predicts which Raptors will be back with the team next season.
- Corey Maggette isn't entirely sure why he hasn't played in over three months, but he isn't going to complain about his situation, as David Mayo of MLive.com writes. Earlier this month, a report suggested that Maggette and the Pistons were both open to the veteran returning to the team next year via free agency. I have to think he'll at least explore the market in search of an opportunity for more minutes though.
- Responding to a reader's question in his latest mailbag, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel agrees that Shane Battier has been the Heat's best non-Big-Three signing of this era.
- Last summer, the Celtics participated in both the Orlando and Las Vegas summer leagues. However, since the C's aren't expecting to add as many young prospects to the roster this summer, they'll only participate in the Orlando league, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.