As we prepare for an evening schedule that includes the Celtics looking to extend their winning streak to eight in Charlotte and the Wizards looking for their fourth straight win in Milwaukee, let's check in on a few stories out of the Eastern Conference....
The latest news and notes from around the NBA on Sunday evening:
Here's a quick look around at what's going on in the busy Eastern Conference.
- A point guard who spent much of the summer embroiled in relentless trade rumors, Jose Calderon told the Toronto Sun's Ryan Wolstat that he never demanded a trade, and that he wants to win games in Toronto. (Twitter link) Rumors first began to surface when the Raptors traded a lottery pick for former Rockets point guard Kyle Lowry, making Calderon his backup. Given his contract as one of the team's highest paid players, (he's due $10.5MM for the 2012/13 season), the Spanish guard was also seen as a likely amnesty candidate, but it appears he's steadied both those storms and will head to Raptors training camp feeling comfortable about his situation. Calderon is set to become a free agent next summer.
- After undergoing offseason surgery on both of his shoulders, Celtics guard Avery Bradley will not be back until at least December, possibly January, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers told ESPNBoston.com's Jackie MacMullan. An earlier report by CSNNE.com's A. Sherrod Blakely surmised that Bradley could return as soon as opening day.
- Rookie guard Moe Harkless will miss all of Magic training camp as he recovers from sports hernia surgery he had in August. The Orlando Sentinel's Josh Robbins believes the missed time could be a crucial hindrance for Harkless' development. He isn't expected back until the middle of November.
- MLive.com's Brendan Savage writes a profile on former Duke and current Pistons forward Kyle Singler.
JULY 11TH: The Pistons have officially announced the signing of Singler, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com (via Twitter).
JUNE 29TH: The Pistons will sign 2011 second-round draft pick Kyle Singler on July 11, the first day free agents can officially ink contracts, said Joe Dumars, the team's president of basketball operations, as Larry Lage of The Detroit News reports. Singler played the 2011/12 season in Spain after Detroit took him with the 33rd overall pick last June. The 6'8" forward averaged 16.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in his final season of a four-year stay at Duke.
Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars conducted his exit interview with the media today, and made a number of interesting comments -- for one, Dumars said it was reasonable for Detroit to expect a playoff berth next season. Keith Langlois of Pistons.com shared that statement and a number of others on his Twitter feed, so let's run through the highlights....
- Dumars vowed to make offseason moves to improve the roster, whether those moves happen via draft, free agency, or trades.
- The team won't necessarily use its amnesty clause this summer, though that option will be discussed.
- Dumars on the amnesty clause: "You have to have a plan. You don't do it just to do it. If there's someone to acquire or to have flexibility, maybe."
- The Pistons will prioritize areas of need in the draft, but there's a chance they just end up selecting the best player available.
- Detroit is in touch with 2011 second-round pick Kyle Singler, who played overseas this season, and Dumars intends to visit him soon.
- Jason Maxiell has a player option and the Pistons would love to have him back, but the decision is "totally in his hands."
- There are no financial restrictions on the team heading into the summer, and Dumars has been told to "think outside the box" when it comes to upgrading the roster.
The Knicks suffered another tough loss last night as they fell to the Celtics, 91-89. Here's more on New York and other items from around the league..
- Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak doesn't regret trading Lamar Odom to the Mavericks in December, writes Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times.
- Kyle Singler isn't sure if he'll play for the Pistons next season, writes Justin Rogers of MLive.com. The Duke product, who was taken in the second round by Detroit in 2011, says he's enjoying his time with Real Madrid in Spain.
- Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star asked Andrea Bargnani if he'll consider leaving the Raptors at the end of his deal in 2015. The former No. 1 overall pick said that he has made it "pretty clear" that he wants to remain in Toronto.
- Chauncey Billups recruited Kenyon Martin heavily to join the Clippers, tweets J. Michael Falgoust of USA Today. Martin and Billups are both represented by agent Andy Miller.
- Massachusetts high school center Nerlens Noel now appears to be in line for the 2013 NBA Draft rather than 2014 after reclassification, writes Adam Zagoria for Sheridan Hoops. Earlier this week, Noel told Dave Telep of ESPN.com that he's now set to graduate with the class of '12 rather than '13. The center now projects as the top pick in the 2013 draft according to DraftExpress.com.
- Despite uncertainty surrounding his job, Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni will not be fired today despite back-to-back, last-second losses to the Bulls and Celtics, NBA sources tell Marc Berman of the New York Post.
- Even though the Knicks were linked to Kenyon Martin, the guy that they've really had their eye on is J.R. Smith, writes Moke Hamilton of Sheridan Hoops. Smith said to be considering five teams, including New York. The Clippers are also in that group but they can only make Smith a minimum offer after agreeing to sign Martin using their room exception.
- Six weeks after undergoing surgery on his right foot, Nets center Brook Lopez still isn't sure when he'll be able to return, writes Colin Stephenson of the Star-Ledger. The Nets will likely need a healthy Lopez in order to put together a package for Orlando's Dwight Howard.
- Friday marks the league deadline for teams to either release players with non-guaranteed contracts or guarantee their deals for the rest of the season. Pistons 29-year-old rookie Walker Russell is making a strong case to stay with Detroit, writes David Mayo of MLive.com.