Eastern Notes: Pistons, Afflalo, Oden, Bennett

January 15 at 10:34pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Detroit’s “Big Three” of Greg Monroe, Josh Smith, and Andre Drummond haven’t been as successful as Joe Dumars anticipated writes Zach Lowe of Grantland. His offseason signing of Smith to a four-year, $54MM contract has resulted in a 16-22 record and has them currently sitting as the seventh seed in the weak Eastern Conference, just a half a game up on the Nets in the playoff race. This underachieving calls into question Monroe’s future with the team, with his contract set to expire after the season. The other alternative according to Lowe, is to try and find a taker for Smith, no easy feat considering the size of his deal. Smith said “It’s easy to use me as a scapegoat“, when speaking to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Zillgitt opines that improved shot selection from Smith would go a long way toward improving the team.

Some other notes from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel explores the idea of the Magic possibly trading Arron Afflalo. He says the main difficulty in making a trade is that teams want to get him for pennies on the dollar, and aren’t willing to sacrifice young players or draft picks, which would be the primary goal if a trade was made.
  • Greg Oden made his return to the hardwood this evening for the Heat, his first action since 2009, writes Joseph White of the Associated Press. His performance going forward will have a direct bearing on the possibility of the Heat signing Andrew Bynum.
  • The Cavaliers’ struggling number one overall pick, Anthony Bennett, stated he would be open to playing in the D-League, writes Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer. Bennett is averaging 2.4 PPG in just 10.4 MPG. His playing time doesn’t look likely to increase any time soon with the recent acquisition of Luol Deng. A stint in the D-League, and the chance to log some heavy minutes to get himself going might be just what Bennett needs. Despite Bennett’s willingness to take a trip to the D-League, and the Cavs having had discussions about the move, the team doesn’t have any immediate plans to send him, writes Jason Lloyd of Akron Beacon Journal.
  • The Cavaliers have assigned guard/forward Carrick Felix to the Canton Charge, their D-League affiliate, according to a press release. Felix played in six games for the Cavs this season, and averaged 1.5 PPG. In a previous three game stint with the Charge, he averaged 9.3 PPG and 5.3 RPG.
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