Division titles matter little for the playoffs, but there’s a distinct chance the Atlantic crown plays a significant role in the first-round matchups this year. The champion of each division is guaranteed a top four seed, though first-round home-court advantage is not a given, so division titlists are in essence guaranteed only a top five position. Usually, the leader of each division is within the top five teams in their respective conferences, but the Raptors, sitting atop the Atlantic, are only four and a half games clear of the Bucks for sixth place in the Eastern Conference, and Toronto has been slumping. Still, even if the Raptors do finish sixth or worse in the East, they’ll still be in the No. 4 versus No. 5 matchup in the playoffs as long as they win the division. Here’s more from the Atlantic:
- The idea of re-signing Jason Richardson was off the table for the Sixers until he returned last month from a more than two-year injury-induced absence, but now Philly is at least considering it, reports Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Sixers coach Brett Brown doesn’t see a reason why the 34-year-old couldn’t play for another couple of seasons, Pompey notes. Richardson, who’s in the final season of his contract, would like to remain with Philadelphia rather than chase a ring elsewhere and said that if he were to go to a title-contender, he’d want more than a bit role, as Pompey relays.
- The Celtics scheduled a meeting with reserve power forward Shavlik Randolph when they appeared close to signing JaVale McGee, but that meeting was scuttled when McGee and the C’s failed to agree to terms, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. That led Bulpett to speculate that Randolph was the likely roster casualty if McGee had signed.
- Amir Johnson‘s declining numbers and expiring contract make it seem decreasingly likely that he’ll remain with the Raptors for next season, writes Eric Koreen of the National Post.