A few Eastern Conference teams have picked up their play of late, but there are still only four East clubs with a record of .500 or better as the All-Star break arrives. Here’s the latest on the NBA’s weaker half:
- Larry Sanders will be out at least six weeks after surgery to repair a fractured orbital bone, the Bucks announced. The team has reportedly been rejecting trade offers for the center, and today’s news makes it seem even less likely that he’ll be dealt.
- Danny Ainge is “more open to a deal than most” NBA executives as the deadline approaches, but rivals believe he’d like to hang on to his future draft picks while adding as little money to the Celtics books as he can, writes Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald.
- The Bulls have been at 12 players since February 1st, and they were facing a Saturday deadline to add to their roster, but the league has granted the team an exception to its two-week limit on 12-man teams, tweets Mark Deeks of ShamSports (Twitter link). Chicago can stand pat until Monday.
- Bleacher Report’s Ethan Skolnick identifies Caron Butler as a player the Heat may target if the Bucks agree to a buyout after the trade deadline, citing mutual admiration between the veteran small forward and Miami’s front office. Skolnick also says Butler or Shawn Marion could become a free agent replacement for Shane Battier this summer, when Battier is likely to retire (video link).