Atlantic Notes: Afflalo, Durant, Powell, Early

Executives around the league believed Arron Afflalo was likely to turn down his $8MM player option for next season with the Knicks even before the shooting guard and interim coach Kurt Rambis began publicly disagreeing about whether they discussed Afflalo’s benching, reports Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. Afflalo’s choice is key since the team would have the cap flexibility necessary to chase middle-tier max free agents if he opts out, Begley notes. Afflalo and teammate Derrick Williams must decide on their player options no later than June 22nd, the day before the draft.

See more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Former Providence College head coach Tim Welsh said in an appearance on “Toucher & Rich” on WBZ-FM that his conversations with NBA types of late indicate that the Celtics will be on the list of teams Kevin Durant‘s will at least look at in free agency this summer, in large measure because of the allure of coach Brad Stevens (video link via Comcast Sports Net Northeast).
  • DeMarre Carroll‘s injury has given Raptors 2015 second-round pick Norman Powell more of a chance at the NBA level that first-rounder Delon Wright has had, and Powell is playing a much different role in Toronto than he did early this season on assignment with the team’s D-League affiliate, notes Eric Koreen of Sportsnet. Still, Raptors D-League coach Jesse Mermuys sees Powell’s time with Raptors 905 reflected in his play of late. “All he saw was the rim, no matter how many bodies were there,” Mermuys said of Powell’s D-League performance. “We really wanted to try to develop when he got to the paint and got to the rim and there was a crowd, [that he would be] able to make the right play and the simple play, which he dramatically improved in his time. The more time he played and worked at it, it was a pretty rapid improvement, which was a huge sign for him. His ability to improve at that rate is why he is in the position he’s in now.”
  • The Knicks have recalled Cleanthony Early from the D-League, the team announced (Twitter link). Early has made only one 19-second appearance at the NBA level since he was injured in a December shooting.

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