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Eastern Notes: Bulls, Raptors, Ayon

The Eastern Conference playoff field for the upcoming season is difficult to predict. The Cavaliers and the Bulls seem like locks, but beyond that, all bets are seemingly off. A majority of Hoops Rumors readers believe the Pacers, conference finalists the last two years, will miss the postseason entirely this time around in the wake of Paul George‘s injury. Here’s the latest from the East:

  • Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf is prepared to move on after a report of discord between the team and star Derrick Rose, as Reinsdorf said Sunday in a radio appearance with Bruce Levine and Barry Rozner on WSCR-AM, notes Blake Schuster of the Chicago Tribune. Reinsdorf vehemently denied the existence of any tension, and Rose has also walked back some of his comments in the report. 
  • The Raptors are assisting DeAndre Daniels in his efforts to find a team in Europe where he can play this season, tweets Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun. Raptors GM Masai Ujiri has indicated that he’s anxious for Daniels, whom Toronto drafted 37th overall in June, to see playing time overseas, as Wolstat reported a month ago.
  • Free agent center Gustavo Ayon has dropped hints in the past that seemed to indicate that he envisioned a return overseas, but he tells the Mexican news agency Notimex that he’s prioritizing an NBA deal this summer over playing in Europe (translation via HoopsHype, hat tip to Gigantes del Basket). Ayon indicated that he’s turned down NBA offers and plans to choose a team after the FIBA World Cup concludes in September. The Hawks declined to tender a qualifying offer last month, making him an unrestricted free agent.
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8 thoughts on “Eastern Notes: Bulls, Raptors, Ayon

  1. Trock

    I have been a naysayer on the Heat ever since they lost LeBron, but how are they not considered a lock for the playoffs? Although LeBron was a huge part of their success, Wade if healthy is still a very good player. Bosh is still good as well and they brought back a lot of their role players. With how weak the East is and with the Pacers being a big question mark this year with the loss of Paul George, you would have to at least give them some consideration for a lock.

    • Kevin6CD

      While I agree, their hopes hinge way more on health than Chicago or Cleveland’s. An injury to Bosh and/or Wade and you’re looking at a starting five of something like Chalmers, Cole, Deng, McRoberts and Andersen. Could get ugly fast if there are injuries to any of Wade, Deng and Bosh.

      • Manchershaw Engineer

        Exactly. The Heat will probably make the playoffs, and they’re probably the third best team in the East. But it’s possible they completely fall apart. Heck, it’s not even that unlikely.

        • Kevin6CD

          Agree, assuming 55-65+ games from Wade and 75-80 from Bosh. If they don’t get that, then it’s up to Deng to shoulder the load in over 1/4 of the season and I just don’t think he’s up for it. Would be fun to see them hit a rough patch and finish as the 8-seed and end up playing Cleveland in the first round.

          • Manchershaw Engineer

            I wouldn’t assume Cleveland the one seed, even with Kevin Love. The stars will be both new to the club, the coach is new to not only the team, but the NBA, and they’ve got a roster full of players with bad attitudes. I think they’re right up there talent wise with Chicago, but their road is still going to be bumpy. I doubt they’re the one seed come playoff time.

      • Trock

        That is a fair statement. I definitely agree that Cleveland is a lock. LeBron in his prime can take any team to the playoffs. My concern is with Rose staying healthy but even if for some reason he isn’t Bulls have alraedy proved over 2 seasons they don’t need him to get into the playoffs. They just need him to advance in the playoffs. Wade is a big question mark because you are right. If he isn’t healthy (which has proved hard for him over the course of the last 2 seasons) the team cannot rely on Bosh, Chalmers etc to get them into the playoffs. I like Deng a lot and think he will be a huge impact on this team. A lot of pressure on him to go to Miami and see what they can do with the roster less LeBron.

        • Kevin6CD

          I think I’d be more worried about the Heat losing Bosh for a long stretch. Either way, the Deng signing was a good insurance policy on Bosh/Wade. Now they won’t have to go it alone if the other goes down.

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