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Atlantic Notes: Draft, Monty Williams, Saric

The Celtics have interviewed Stanley Johnson, Justise Winslow and Willie Cauley Stein, each of whom has a strong chance to be picked within the top 10, tweets Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald, taking it as a sign that the C’s, who have the No. 16 pick, plan to trade up. Of course, NBA teams line up teams and prospects for interviews at the combine, taking place this week in Chicago, so clubs don’t always get the players they want, but teams can give the league an idea of the sort of player they’d like to talk to, Murphy notes (on Twitter). There’s more on the Celtics and the draft amid the latest from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics also interviewed Robert Upshaw, Murphy reports in a second tweet. Upshaw’s combine measurements stood out, but in part because of the issues surrounding the University of Washington’s decision to dismiss him for a violation of team rules in January, both Chad Ford of and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress rank him only 30th.
  • The Raptors will gauge Monty Williams‘ interest in joining their team as an assistant coach, as Marc Stein of hears (Twitter links). Still, it’s much more likely that Williams will wait for his next chance at a head coaching job, Stein adds, postulating that he could get a look from either the Nuggets or the Magic.
  • Sixers prospect Dario Saric insists that his father, a key figure in reports about Saric’s career, isn’t exerting undue influence, as Saric says to Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype. The 2014 No. 12 pick who’s playing overseas for Turkey’s Anadolu Efes largely avoided Sierra’s question about whether he might play with the Sixers next season, though his contract with Efes doesn’t include an escape clause until 2016. “Next season? I don’t know and I can’t speak about that because I don’t know yet the situation, how things are going to work out,” Saric said. “I can say that I’m happy here at Efes and I’m also happy that people from Philadelphia came here and want me there. That’s all I can tell you right now. I don’t have any information or any feeling regarding what could happen. I’m just focused on the rest of the season. If I stay here or if I go to the NBA, I will be happy [either way]. I don’t know what could happen this summer or next summer. Now it’s not the time to talk about that.”

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