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Eastern Notes: Pistons, Young, Celtics, Heat

The Pistons are still searching for a third point guard after the season ending injury to Brandon Jennings, but with about two and a half weeks until the trade deadline, the team wants to remain as flexible as possible just in case it can find a trade partner, writes David Mayo of “We could do two 10-days, and then if nothing materializes, we’ve got a guy who’s been with us for three weeks,”  team president Stan Van Gundy said. “And if something does, then we make a move. That’s part of the timing issue.” Mayo identifies Norris Cole of the Heat as a potential trade target that makes sense. The Pistons were one of the teams interested in Cole, and our own Chuck Myron examined the point guard as a trade candidate earlier in the week.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Celtics on Saturday assigned James Young to their D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, according to the team’s twitter feed. Young has already appeared in eight games for the Red Claws, averaging 22.4 points per game while shooting 47.9% from three point range.
  • Going into the season, the Celtics didn’t expect to contend for a playoff berth, but president of basketball operations Danny Ainge would love to make the playoffs as long as the team keeps improving, writes Kevin O’Connor of SB Nation. “I would love to see our team in the playoffs, but I don’t want to see us back into the playoffs with a really bad record and not even have a fighting chance. If our team can keep getting better by developing, if we can make some deals at the trade deadline that put us in position to actually get into the playoffs and have a chance to win a playoff series, I think that would be a lot of fun,” Ainge said. Boston is unlikely to make any moves that sacrifice the future in order to climb up the standings this season.
  • The Heat, with a record of 20-26, remain a good bet to make the playoffs thanks to the improved play of Hassan Whiteside, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. Winderman argues that Whiteside has nearly become irreplaceable for Miami and with Dwyane Wade‘s recent injury, the center may take on an even bigger role. The 25-year-old has 15.3 points, 17.7 rebounds and 4.3 blocks in just 29.8 minutes per game over his last three contests.

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