The Eastern Conference figures to be more competitive this time around, with Derrick Rose back to boost the Bulls, an improved Pacers squad, and the best team money can buy for the Nets all around to challenge the Heat. Still, the majority of Hoops Rumors readers who voted in yesterday's poll think the East will once more field the league's worst team, picking the Sixers to finish last. Here's the latest from the conference that has produced the last two champions and the last two teams to finish with the league's worst record:
- The Cavaliers surely wouldn't mind it if LeBron James has a change of heart and wants to rejoin the wine-and-gold next summer, but the team isn't counting on him coming back to Cleveland, as Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer writes in her weekly mailbag column. Boyer also says she believes the Cavs are looking for another big man and a backup point guard, and she doesn't think a poor season for the team will mean the ouster of GM Chris Grant.
- Mark Deeks of ShamSports confirms that Michael Beasley's minimum-salary contract with the Heat is essentially a training camp invitation, with no guaranteed money (Twitter link).
- Tracy McGrady reveals to Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star that he wishes he never left the Raptors for Orlando in 2000, and he feels like the heavy minutes he played for the Magic took a toll on his body, which broke down long before most others do.
- We rounded up news on Atlantic Division teams earlier today.