Either the Celtics or a team with LeBron James or Dwyane Wade on the roster has won the Eastern Conference title every year since 2006, with the exception of 2009, when Dwight Howard and the Magic broke through. With D12 in L.A., it seems the path is clear for the Celtics and Heat to once again battle for Eastern supremacy, though there's a lot that could happen between now and June. Until then, here's the latest from around the East.
- Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald figures guard Terrel Harris' endorsement deal with Peak, a shoe company with promotional ties to the Heat, means he's a safe bet to make the opening-night roster. Harris has no guarantee on his minimum-salary deal.
- Steve Novak, a Wisconsin native who went to Marquette, explained his choice of the Knicks over the Bucks in free agency to the New York Post's Marc Berman. "We talked several times when I’ve been a free agent. I never know for sure at what level," Novak said of the Bucks. "But no, I wanted to be back. If I could choose Milwaukee or New York, hands down, New York. It’s the truth."
- Doug Smith of the Toronto Star disagrees with a scout who thought Raptors rookie Jonas Valanciunas looked "soft" and "scared" in a preseason game this week.
- Nets guard Joe Johnson says he's eager to share the ball with Deron Williams and get away from the "iso-Joe" style of play that placed the offensive load on his shoulders when he was with the Hawks, writes Howard Beck of The New York Times.
- John Denton of Magic.com delves into Nikola Vucevic's rich basketball bloodlines, a pedigree that Magic coach Jacque Vaughn believes will serve him well as he attempts the Herculean task of replacing Howard at center.