Coach Dwane Casey isn’t quite sure why DeMar DeRozan has been playing better of late, but the Raptors nonetheless believe his improved shooting and overall play are sustainable, based on an uptick that dates back to this past March, observes Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca. DeRozan has a player option worth slightly more than $10MM for next season, but it seems a near-certainty that he’ll decline it and hit free agency in the summer. See more from around the Eastern Conference:
- Nets CEO Brett Yormark spoke about the need for the team to play better in an interview with Crain’s New York Business, and while his remarks weren’t particularly substantive, they demonstrate a continued increase in Yormark’s basketball chatter, NetsDaily points out (Twitter link). Yormark, if given basketball decision-making power, would like to offer “everything under the sun” to bring John Calipari back to the Nets, as Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post wrote in a chat last week (hat tip to Sam Amico of Amico Hoops). However, owner Mikhail Prokhorov wants to make CSKA Moscow team president Andrey Vatutin the next Brooklyn GM, with current GM Billy King‘s contract up after the season, as Aris Barkas of Eurohoops.net reported earlier today.
- Al Jefferson‘s history of injuries juxtaposed against a rising salary cap suggest that the Hornets face a difficult choice as they ponder whether to re-sign him in free agency this summer, writes Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders.
- Stephen Curry has no shortage of affection for Charlotte, where he grew up, but a multitude of reasons that extend even beyond his idyllic basketball situation with the Warriors convince Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer that Curry won’t give the Hornets a second thought when he hits free agency in 2017.