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Atlantic Notes: Nets, Zeller, McCullough, Atkins

Nets GM Billy King said Tuesday that he’s comfortable with Jarrett Jack as the starting point guard, though he admitted he’s unsure if the team is better off without Deron Williams, whom the team waived in a buyout deal. Andy Vasquez of The Record has that and other details from King’s session with reporters Tuesday.

“It’s going to depend on how quickly it jells,” King said. “But I think with the core of guys, proven scorers, proven guys that can win, we have a chance to make the playoffs. And the goal for us going into this is just to try to get better.”

King also made it clear that the team won’t try to improve its record simply to try to keep from forking over draft picks that are too high, as Vasquez also notes. Brooklyn, which owes the Celtics unprotected first-round picks in 2016 and 2018, will rebuild at its own pace, King said. See more on the Nets and Celtics and other Atlantic Division news:

  • Tyler Zeller confirmed he and the Celtics have engaged in extension talks, as A. Sherrod Blakely of details, but while the center acknowledged that he’d like to reach a deal before the November 2nd deadline, he doesn’t sound like he’s especially anxious for one. “It would be nice to have an extension, just a little more security,” Zeller said. “But at the same time, you have to approach the year and you can’t be heartbroken if you don’t get it. You have to make sure you’re fully prepared. Either way, I have to do my job this year. I have one more year on my contract. So I have to go out and do as much as I can to help our team this year.” Chris Crouse of Hoops Rumors examined Zeller’s extension candidacy earlier this month.
  • Nets first-round pick Chris McCullough seemed to make progress over the summer toward his target of a November return for full-contact practice, but he said Tuesday that he’s “nowhere near ready,” observes Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. This year’s No. 29 overall pick is unlikely to make his debut until the second half of the season, according to Bontemps. “We’ll give a timetable on exactly where we think he’ll be after [the first] preseason game,” King said. “We’ll sit down with him and his agent and everybody and really just walk through it. I have an idea in my mind of what we want to do with him, but I want to sit down with him and with his agent and explain it.”
  • The deal between the Knicks and Darion Atkins is partially guaranteed for $75K, a source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post. The team’s interest in the undrafted power forward from Virginia was late-developing, as the Knicks weren’t one of 16 teams to work him out prior to the draft and only turned to him when fellow undrafted rookie Maurice Ndour spurned them for the Mavs, Berman writes.

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