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Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Towns, Noel, Nets

Paul Pierce fired some shots across the Nets‘ bow the other day with his negative comments regarding his year spent in Brooklyn. Current Nets coach Lionel Hollins, who was not with the team during Pierce’s tenure, dismissed the veteran’s barbs, Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily writes. “I don’t really care,” Hollins said. “I wasn’t here. I don’t care. All I can go by is how we are this year, and as I’ve said many many times, the vocal leader of our team early on was Kevin Garnett, and since he’s left it’s been more of a collective. Paul Pierce is entitled to his own opinion. I don’t get into that kind of stuff. Players say stuff all the time. Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it doesn’t. But they’re entitled to it.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers coach Brett Brown said that rookies Jerami Grant and JaKarr Sampson were both “keepers,” Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer relays (Twitter link). Both players are signed for next season to minimum salary arrangements, though Sampson’s pact is non-guaranteed.
  • The Knicks are now assured of having no lower than the fifth pick in this year’s NBA draft. Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal profiles prospect Karl-Anthony Towns, and what he would bring to New York. Towns is currently the No.1 ranked prospect by both and DraftExpress.
  • The Knicks are expected to remake their roster this offseason and Tim Hardaway Jr. wants to remain a part of what New York is building, Ian Begley of tweets. “I gotta get stronger and faster and hopefully I’m back,” Hardaway said. “I wanna be back.
  • Celtics president of Basketball operations Danny Ainge said that Isaiah Thomas was the type of player you had to pounce on when given the opportunity to acquire, the executive told Discussing the trade for Thomas, Ainge said, “You never know when you can get a deal like that again and you can’t sit around and wait for a player like Thomas.
  • Ainge also referred to this year’s NBA draft as “mediocre,” and is unsure if he will keep Boston’s draft picks or look to trade them away.
  • On of the biggest contributions Nerlens Noel brought to the Sixers this season was his energy and hustle, something that Philly’s coaching staff has taken notice of, Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report writes.

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