Eastern Notes: Knicks, Smith, Deng, C’s

Can the Knicks make the playoffs?  Chris Broussard of ESPN.com checked in with four Eastern Conference scouts to find out what they think of New York’s chances going forward.  Two scouts say the Knicks can get home court advantage in the postseason, one scout sees them getting in the lower half but not getting far, and the other scout says their recent success is a product of the Eastern Conference’s weakness.  More out of the East..

  • Mike Woodson said if J.R. Smith isn’t with the program, he should get used to sitting at the end of the Knicks‘ bench, writes Al Iannazzone of Newsday. “Put it this way, he’s going to have to be with it if he’s going to want to be a part of it,” Woodson said. “As a coach, it’s my job to make sure that that happens.’‘  It sounds like the Knicks would like to move the outspoken guard, but that could prove to be difficult.
  • Bob Finnan of The News-Herald says that the newly-acquired Luol Deng is filling the bill at small forward for the Cavs.
  • Caron Butler is happy to be playing for his hometown Bucks, but he wants more playing time, writes Charles F. Gardner of the Journal-Sentinel.  “The information I received before coming here is that ‘You’re going to play a lot,‘” said Butler, who thought being traded from Phoenix to Milwaukee would signal more playing time. “And I want to play. I want to be out there to help the situation.
  • Going from least valuable to most valuable, Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req’d) looks at the Celtics‘ trade assets.  No surprise here, but the worst trade asset the C’s have is the cumbersome contract of Gerald Wallace.
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