The Nets became the third Eastern Conference team to clinch a playoff spot last night, and owner Mikhail Prokhorov issued a statement today suggesting that he's hoping for more from the team than just a postseason berth.
"Of course I'm pleased the Nets have made the playoffs, but I can't say I'm surprised," Prokhorov said in a press release. "We have a lot of talent which is really coming together now and starting to gel. I am confident that the team's best days on the court are still ahead."
Here are a few more notes from around the Atlantic Division:
It's been nearly two months since Delonte West was added to the roster of the D-League's Texas Legends, but it appears West is finally ready to make his debut. After not reporting to the team for several weeks, West recently joined the Legends and is expected to play tomorrow, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein (via Twitter).
If and when West debuts for the Mavericks' D-League affiliate, there figure to be a number of NBA teams monitoring his progress. We recently heard West cited as a potential target for the Knicks as the club considers adding another point guard, and Stein confirms (via Twitter) that the Knicks will indeed be one of the teams keeping an eye on West.
Regardless of how West performs in the D-League, there will likely still be concerns about his off-court presence and his locker-room influence. But if he shows that he can still contribute on the court, I'd expect at least a couple teams to express some interest, thinking that the pros will outweigh the cons.
Citing a source close to the team, ESPN New York's Jared Zwerling reports that the Knicks are considering adding a veteran point guard to supplement Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni. While injuries have decimated their frontcourt, Zwerling says a lack of free agent options has led the Knicks to consider opting for guard help.
Zwerling indicates that the Knicks are ideally looking for a point guard that has some speed and quickness, in contrast to the wisdom and decision making of the older Kidd and Prigioni. The source points to Delonte West, Sundiata Gaines and Jannero Pargo as options, with West being the most likely. While West has some issues - as evidenced by his absence from the NBA this year - the Saint Joseph's product would join a veteran roster in New York. Meanwhile, all signs point towards Pargo signing a 10-day contract with Charlotte tomorrow. So unless that deal falls through, the Knicks would have to hope the Bobcats let him walk once his contract expires if they want to pursue him.
Two of those veterans are injured big men Amare Stoudemire and Rasheed Wallace, both out for the remainder of the regular season. Zwerling says Mike Woodson remains committed to Wallace, probably making James White the odd man out should the team decide it needs a roster spot.
Should the Knicks decide their need for frontcourt help is too pressing to consider anything else, Zwerling lists Henry Sims, Tony Battie, Josh Boone, Brian Cook, Dan Gadzuric, Troy Murphy, Ben Wallace, Hassan Whiteside and Sean Williams as potential targets. While Sims provides the most intrigue of the bunch, Zwerling says the Knicks would prefer a veteran.
Eddie Sefko of SportsDayDFW writes that the Mavericks are now in the market for adding a player after severing ties with guard Dominique Jones. Sefko comprises a list including Mike Bibby, Michael Redd, Earl Boykins, and Gilbert Arenas as available veterans who could be worth a look. Among the D-League hopefuls who could warrant an opportunity, Justin Dentmon, Chris Wright, or Sean Singletary come to mind. Sefko rules out the chances of Delonte West making a return to Dallas, citing that the team wouldn't want to reconnect after how badly things ended with him last year. You can find more of tonight's miscellaneous news and notes below:
Today's NBA D-League assignments and recalls all in one place:
Neither Celtics president Danny Ainge nor coach Doc Rivers is shy about talking to the media about their team's roster and potential needs. Earlier this week, Ainge discussed potential roster moves for the C's in the wake of season-ending injuries to multiple key players. This morning, appearing on WEEI in Boston, Rivers did the same, answering a number of questions about the Celtics' roster options. Here are the highlights from Doc, via Jerry Spar of WEEI.com:
On the Celtics' next move:
"Danny and I, we thought about it and we all have been thinking about it since all the injuries. With the last one with [Leandro] Barbosa, now we can't look at one position anymore. That's what we were looking at -- looking at size first, then a guard. Now we're looking at players. We need players. We need to pick up a couple of players as soon as we can get them. That's what basically we're doing."
On the timetable for making a move:
"We don't want to do anything so quick that somebody else comes available and then we don't have room because we're at the cap threshold. We have to be very careful in what we do."
On the Celtics' biggest need:
"I would say a ball-handling guard. It's no longer a point guard, it's just a guard. If I had my perfect guard for this group right now, it would be a guard that can play multiple positions and that can shoot, that has some toughness.... And then you need a big. You're not going to find a center, so a four. Obviously a five would be great, but a four that can stretch the floor. Or a four that can rebound, just a great rebounding four that has skills."
On where the C's are looking:
"There's so many places to look. The China league ends in a week. So now some of the American players that are playing over there will begin coming back over to our league. The D-League. And then obviously through a trade. We don't have a lot of assets to trade, so we have to be very careful there."
On possible interest in Delonte West:
"Yeah, that's something we're looking at. I don't know where we're going to go with that. Again, we have to be so careful. One thing I love about Delonte is his toughness. But the other thing you don't like is that he does get injured a lot. So you're worried about that as well, beside the other stuff."
On whether rookie Fab Melo is ready for a larger role with the team:
"I don't think he's ready yet. I can tell you he's really working on it. I just don't think he's ready yet."
Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge made his weekly appearance on 93.7 WEEI FM in Boston to discuss a number of topics about the team, most notably saying that a tough week lies ahead in terms of making personnel decisions. Here's an outline of some of the highlights from the transcript:
Trade talk has come in fits and starts over the past few days, but the action should start to pick up soon. Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is among many who expect discussion to intensify this weekend, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. As the clock ticks closer to the deadline, which is a week from Thursday, here are a few late-night nuggets:
Each week seems to bring news of another season-ending injury for the Celtics, who had already lost Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger for the year, and now appear on the verge of ruling out Leandro Barbosa for the rest of the season. As the team considers its free agent options, Shelvin Mack is a possibility, but Delonte West is not being considered, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter).
Mack, 23, was on the Wizards' roster in camp, and though he didn't make the regular-season roster, Washington brought him back for a couple weeks before the contract guarantee deadline. After he was released for a second time by the Wizards, Mack secured two 10-day contracts with the 76ers. In between stints with NBA team, the Butler product earned a spot in the D-League's All-Star game, having averaged 19.6 PPG and 7.6 RPG in 19 contests with the Maine Red Claws this season. The Red Claws are the Celtics' D-League affiliate.
The Celtics are considering other options besides Mack, according to Wojnarowski, and there's no indication yet that the team is in a rush to make a move. With two open roster spots, the team could sign a player to a 10-day deal and still have a little roster flexibility at the trade deadline to add a player, as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com suggests (Twitter link). It's possible Danny Ainge waits until after the trade deadline to re-assess the available options.
However, it doesn't sound as if West will be one of the options considered by the C's, despite the fact that he started his career in Boston and returned to the team in 2010/11. West was cut by the Mavericks earlier this season for off-court issues and hasn't caught on with another NBA team since then.
West signed with the Dallas Mavericks-affiliated D-League squad in January to attempt to revive his NBA career, although Mavs owner Mark Cuban immediately ruled out the possibility of a West return to the Mavs. The Legends are reportedly open to having West return to the team, but are awaiting word from his camp.