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Atlantic Notes: Garnett, Lopez, ‘Melo, Sampson

The Raptors have a whopping 14-game lead in the Atlantic Division, leaving the intrigue for the bottom of the division. The Knicks and Sixers are tied for last place in the division and, as our Reverse Standings show, for the second spot in the draft lottery. The future is the focus for those teams, but time may be running short for another prominent name in the Atlantic, as we detail:

  • Kevin Garnett says he’s “all in” with the Nets, and while he downplayed the idea of buying out his contract, he won’t rule it out, as Alex Raskin of The Wall Street Journal writes. “I don’t know what management is going to do,” Garnett said. “When my situation comes up, I’ll obviously give it some attention. Other than that, my attention is trying to get us on a winning streak, get us on a road where everybody’s playing together.”
  • Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post believes JaVale McGee would be part of any Nets-Nuggets swap involving Brook Lopez, no matter the other parts involved.
  • The “prevailing theory” is that Carmelo Anthony will sit out for the balance of the season once the All-Star break is over to rest his sore knee, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. For what it’s worth, the Knicks star won’t commit to playing in mid-March, Berman notes.
  • The Sixers had considered sending JaKarr Sampson on D-League assignment a couple of weeks ago, but two strong defensive games led the team to move him into the starting lineup instead, coach Brett Brown said, as Max Rappaport of writes. Sampson, an undrafted rookie, is in the first year of a four-year contract that doesn’t include any guaranteed money beyond this season.

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