Eastern Notes: Young, Lowry, Bulls, Heat

With just a handful of games left in the 2012/13 regular season, only one postseason club in either conference is locked into its playoff seed — the East's top team, the Heat, remain a comfortable 10 games up on the second-place Knicks, despite the fact that New York has won 13 consecutive contests. The Bucks aren't locked into that No. 8 seed in the East yet, but they'll likely end up there,  meaning last night's game in Miami, in which the Heat beat Milwaukee 94-83, figures to be a playoff preview.

Here's more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • When he hits free agency this summer, a long-term contract will be a priority for current Sixers guard Nick Young, as he tells Lang Greene of HoopsWorld.
  • Kyle Lowry called his first year with the Raptors frustrating and disappointing, but believes the team has the talent to bounce back next season, writes Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. As Smith notes, Lowry's contract for 2013/14 is mostly non-guaranteed, but after giving up a likely lottery pick for Lowry and trading Jose Calderon, the Raptors are a mortal lock to bring back the former Rocket next season.
  • Given Jimmy Butler's emergence, the Bulls should "think long and hard" this offseason about whether to consider shopping Luol Deng, says Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com.
  • Earlier this week, Heat president Pat Riley suggested that he wants to keep Miami's Big Three intact for years to come and "have one of those 10-year rides." Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel explores Riley's comments in his latest mailbag.
  • Pistons coach Lawrence Frank, who may be on the hot seat this summer, expressed some annoyance to Terry Foster of the Detroit News about the way many of his coaching colleagues are criticized.

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