Although Lance Stephenson says returning home and playing for the Nets would be a “blessing,” the guard is just focusing on getting back on track with his current team, writes Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “I’m just trying to get my mind off of basketball, go to my neighborhood and get my hunger back,” Stephenson said. “With me, it’s all mental. I feel like once I get mentally into it, coming back to get that hunger. ‘Cause sometimes you lose your hunger. You’ve been doing it for so long you forget all the hard work that got you here. So I’m just getting back on that, getting focused.” Stephenson was mentioned in trade discussion with the Nets, as Arthur Hill of Hoops Rumors notes in his trade candidate piece.
Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- The Sioux Falls Skyforce, the D-League affiliate of the Heat, have reacquired Andre Dawkins after his second 10-day contract with the Celtics expired, tweets Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. Dawkins was a member of the Heat earlier this season but the team waived him right before his contract was set to become guaranteed. Dawkins had appeared in four games this season for Miami, accumulating a total of three points and two rebounds. The Duke product did not see court time during his two 10-day stints with Boston.
- The Celtics can learn from how the Hawks play on the court and how the franchise constructed its roster, writes Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. “The thing that stands out is just the quick decision making,” coach Brad Stevens said of the Hawks. “I’m hoping that’s a function of age.” Murphy believes it’s also a function of good scouting and drafting. The Celtics’ own picks over the next two years will most likely be the team’s only chance to draft in the top five. Like the Hawks did with Al Horford, who was drafted third overall in 2007, the Celtics need to land at least one elite talent with these opportunities. The Hawks also nailed their mid-to-late first-round picks, which helped elevate the team’s talent without adopting a complete tanking strategy. The Celtics have plenty of opportunities to nab good, young talent as they have several first rounders in addition to their own, as our Future Draft Pick Tracker indicates.
- If anyone understands what Bradley Beal is going through, it’s teammate John Wall, writes J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. Wall, like Beal, had injuries keep him out of games while he was still under his rookie contract. “You do [think about it]. The main thing he can learn from what I did was come back and try to have a great end to the season and try to finish the season well,” Wall said of Beal, who is eligible for an extension this summer of up to four years. “If you have a good end of the season they (know) where you are and you’re taking the right steps. I was fortunate to have the chance to come back from injuries and play well … and let them see what I can do.”