While the Heat, Pacers, Bulls, Nets, and Knicks are generally viewed as locks to earn postseason spots in the Eastern Conference, those final three spots are up for grabs, and Lang Greene of HoopsWorld argues that the Raptors are being overlooked as a contender. In his NBA AM piece, Greene takes a look at the Raps, writing that they'll be competing with clubs like the Pistons, Hawks, Wizards, Cavs, and Bucks for those last few playoff berths in the East. Here are a few more Wednesday items out of the conference:
- Even when he was released by the Bucks, Gustavo Ayon didn't consider returning to Europe, as he tells Gonzalo Aguirregomezcorta of ESPNDeportes.com. The Hawks ultimately claimed Ayon off waivers, and the Mexican big man is looking forward to trying to carve out a larger role in Atlanta.
- The Cavaliers are still working to finalize the details, but they'll hire Steve Hetzel to coach their D-League squad, the Canton Charge, according to Bob Finnan of the News-Herald. Hetzel has served as the Pistons' player development coach for the last several seasons.
- Ira Winderman's Wednesday mailbag for the South Florida Sun Sentinel is an all-Michael Beasley edition, but Winderman can't fathom the Heat looking into bringing back its former second overall pick.
- The Bucks have officially announced the assistant coaches who will be a part of Larry Drew's staff in 2013/14.