Atlantic Notes: Walton, Nored, Raptors

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri says the progress of the franchise shouldn’t be judged by how the team performs during the 2015/16 postseason, Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca relays. “[Winning a round] would be nice, but it’s not the end of the world, I guess that would be the way to put it,” Ujiri said. “It would be really cool for us. The players deserve it, the coach deserves it. Look at what they’ve put in the past two or three years, you root for them. … It would be great for us, but with the progress we’re seeing I just don’t think it’s the end of the world.

The GM also lauded the benefits of the team’s new D-League affiliate and state-of-the-art practice facility, Grange adds. “Those practice facilities are built once every 20 or 30 years,” Ujiri said. “What we’ve done now, we’re just starting. That facility is for the next 20 years. We have a D-League team 20 minutes away, right there in our backyard. … We are so lucky to have that. To me that’s a bright future for our organization. I know it comes down to wins and losses, that’s what everybody sees, but there’s a bigger picture.

Here’s the latest from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets have named Ronald Nored as head coach of the team’s new NBA D-League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, the team announced. Nored played under Celtics coach Brad Stevens at Butler and later served as a Celtics assistant coach under Stevens. The D-League team begins play next season. “We are excited to welcome Ronald as head coach of the Long Island Nets,” said GM Sean Marks. “Ronald is a bright young mind in our game whose experience under Brad Stevens as both a player and a coach, as well as his ability to connect with today’s players, have prepared him for this role.  His commitment to player development, along with his enthusiasm and passion for the game, are aligned with the vision we have for both the Brooklyn and Long Island Nets.
  • If the Knicks want to interview Warriors assistant Luke Walton during the NBA playoffs, Golden State won’t stand in the way, Marc Berman of The New York Post relays. The Warriors’ official policy is that an assistant can interview for a head-coaching position “as long as it does not interfere with the team’s preparation during the playoffs,’’ Berman adds. New Orleans interviewed Alvin Gentry during Golden State’s playoff run last year.
  • Sixers coach Brett Brown is glad the team’s dismal 2015/16 campaign is over and said his relationships with the players are what kept him going throughout the season, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “It was a season of distraction,” Brown said. “I concede that. You would not be telling the truth that every moment of your … day was dedicated to where it should have been, coaching basketball. There are many times that you do get pulled to the left or the right.

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