Atlantic Notes: Rondo, Knicks, Ross

Three Atlantic Division teams are in line for a top-10 pick in the 2015 draft, as our Reverse Standings show. The presence of the Sixers among that group certainly isn’t shocking, and the Celtics, with the league’s ninth-worst record, aren’t surprising many with their play, either. However, the Knicks are off to their worst start in franchise history at 4-16, and their unexpectedly poor performance doesn’t bode well for the future, either, as we examine amid the latest from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Lakers and Celtics had a brief conversation about a Rajon Rondo trade as recently as a few months ago, but the discussion was short and didn’t go anywhere, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. The Lakers continue to eye Rondo for free agency this coming summer, Shelburne writes in a full story, echoing a report from Chris Mannix of SI.com a month ago. The Celtics are willing to engage in Rondo trade talks merely on an “informational” basis at this point, and if talks were to heat up with the Lakers, they’d likely ask for at least one first-round pick, the sort of asset the Lakers are hesitant to give up, Shelburne hears.
  • The Knicks will make finding a center their top priority in free agency this summer, but they’re not optimistic that they will be able to lure Marc Gasol, a source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post. They’ll make a run at Gasol, the No. 4 player on the Hoops Rumors Free Agent Power Rankings, hoping his friendship with fellow Spaniard Jose Calderon pays dividends, but the Knicks understand he’s more likely to choose a contending team, Berman writes. That’s part of the reason why Knicks management doesn’t want to tank, as Berman explains. Regardless, the Knicks are unlikely to re-sign any of their existing centers aside from Cole Aldrich, according to Berman.
  • Terrence Ross will be up for a rookie scale extension from the Raptors this summer, and he’s getting a sudden chance to showcase his ability to take a lead role on offense in the wake of DeMar DeRozan‘s groin injury, as Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun examines.

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