Orlando is currently sixth in the East and owns a four game lead over the seventh place Knicks. A New York win against the Nets and an Orlando loss versus the Celtics tonight would reduce the lead to three with four games left to play. For both teams, the stakes involve avoiding a first-round matchup with Miami or Chicago. The Clippers have a chance at the third seed in the West with a win against Denver and a Lakers loss to Golden State. Those are just a few of the many storylines to follow as the NBA inches closer to its conclusion within the next week and a half. With that aside, here's the latest news from the world of basketball:
- Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports reports that the Pacers' Paul George has signed with Creative Artists Agency, the same organization that represents LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Paul to name a few (Sulia link).
- Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler is expected to miss the rest of the season, says Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post. Chandler had tried to play through pain on Sunday, but decided after the game that it would be best to shut himself down for the rest of the season.
- Don't expect to see the Pistons participating in the annual Las Vegas Summer League this year, as coach Lawrence Frank has opted to send his team to Orlando Magic Summer League instead (David Mayo of MLive reports). Frank cites the organizational structure and condensed schedule as the deciding factors.
- Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune writes that Jazz guard Blake Ahearn hopes to earn a second contract with the team and finish the rest of the season, as his initial contract is set to expire today. GM Kevin O'Connor says that he won't make a decision until after tonight's game against Portland.
- Lang Greene of HoopsWorld engaged in his weekly chat with fans tonight. A few thought provoking points included his assessment of Harrison Barnes as a player who won't be a franchise changer for a lottery team, the possibility that Austin Rivers slips in the draft, and Kendall Marshall as a player who belongs in the 16-20 pick range, among other topics.
- K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune examines the emergence of Nikola Mirotic, a 6'10 sharpshooting forward for Real Madrid whose draft rights are currently owned by the Bulls. Johnson also writes that Mirotic could have a legitimate shot to make the Spanish team for this year's Olympics.
- Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune reports that the Louisiana State of Exposition District board of commissioners has approved a long-term lease extension for the Hornets through 2024.
- Billy Witz of Fox Sports takes a closer look at Jerry Colangelo's criteria for assembling Team USA amidst a season of injuries and uncertainty for a number of players who are in his selection pool. Colangelo doesn't appear fazed, implying that the pool is deep enough to counter the potential unavailability of some of his choices for summer.