Atlantic Notes: Pierce, Ujiri, Raptors, Ward

A recent News-Herald report suggested the Celtics are "likely" to buy out Paul Pierce before his contract becomes guaranteed on July 1st, but Rich Levine of isn't so sure that's the case. According to Levine, a C's source "laughed off" that report — not because the idea of buying out Pierce is outlandish, but because the idea Boston is "likely" to do anything isn't accurate at this point. With over a month to make a decision on Pierce, the Celtics figure to continue exploring all their options before making a move.

Here's more on Pierce and the rest of the Atlantic Division:

  • Three NBA executives who spoke to Sam Amico told the FOX Sports Ohio scribe that buying out Pierce would be a no-brainer if they were running the Celtics (Twitter link).
  • The Raptors and Nuggets may have closure as soon as today on Masai Ujiri, according to Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld. Kyler says the Raptors are "all-in" for Ujiri, but adds that both Toronto and Denver have started kicking the tires on possible alternatives. Ujiri is currently weighing offers from both teams, though the Nuggets' counter-offer is not believed to be as competitive financially as the Raptors', tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
  • Canadian shooting guard Warren Ward won't be draft-eligible next month, but as a free agent, he's drawing interest from a few NBA teams, including the Raptors, says Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld. Kennedy also identifies the Pacers, Magic, and Hawks as other clubs with potential interest in Ward.
  • As we heard this morning, the Nets are expected to request permission to speak to Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, perhaps as soon as today.
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