Eastern Notes: Bynum, Bobcats, Woodson

The Bobcats are going to be buyers at the trade deadline, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.com. With the Bobcats having exceeded expectations this season, and with the overall weakness of the Eastern Conference, the team will try and bolster their roster for a playoff push. The team has been actively shopping Ben Gordon‘s expiring $13.2MM contract, and would be willing to part with a first-round pick for the right player. Charlotte will surrender their pick to the Bulls if it falls out of the top ten, but might still have two first-rounders in this year’s draft. They are owed the Pistons first-round pick (top-eight protected), as well as the Trail Blazers pick (top-12 protected). According to Kennedy, the Bobcats have already inquired about the Sixers Evan Turner, and the Bulls Taj Gibson.

More from around the East:

  • The Pacers have sent Orlando Johnson to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA D-League, the team announced via press release. This is Johnson’s first D-League assignment this season. In the 2012/13 season, he played four games with the Mad Ants, averaging 23.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 3.3 APG. He’s appeared in 36 games this season for the Pacers, and has averaged 2.5 PPG. and 1.4 RPG, while playing 9.4 MPG.
  • Chris Johnson is “thrilled” that the Celtics are signing him for the rest of the season, writes Baxter Holmes of Boston.com. “I just have to give thanks to Danny Ainge for bringing me in and giving me the opportunity, Brad Stevens for giving me the opportunity to play when guys were injured, and my teammates for just giving me confidence,” Johnson said. In eight games this year, Johnson is averaging 7.6 PPG, 2.8 RPG. 1.3 APG, while playing 21.6 MPG.
  • The issues between Pistons guard Will Bynum and coach Maurice Cheeks might not be over. Bynum and Cheeks had to be separated from a sideline confrontation during Wednesday’s loss to the Magic. Bynum doesn’t regret the incident, writes Brendan Savage of M Live.com. According to Cheeks, the two hadn’t spoken about the incident, and Cheeks became testy when pressed. Bynum said, “I don’t regret it. I regret the fact that maybe I was a bit too passionate about it. But other than that, no.” Bynum also said he has no plans to approach his coach about the matter.
  • Nerlens Noel has ramped up his rehab activities, writes Dei Lynam of CSN Philly.com, but the team still isn’t saying if he’ll make his return to the court this season. The Sixers have 32 games remaining, but there is still a long checklist ahead of Noel before he would make his NBA debut, according to the team. With Spencer Hawes being rumored to be on the trading block, it’s unclear if him being moved would affect Noel’s status.
  • Jeff Van Gundy believes that many Eastern Conference teams have “chosen to be bad” this season, writes Steve Reed of the Associated Press. To be clear, Van Gundy is talking about “tanking” for a better lottery pick. He wouldn’t name specific teams, but observed that the problem was real, and blames the current lottery system for the issue. He also stated, “It doesn’t necessarily mean the guys on the floor aren’t trying hard, but it means teams have put some really bad rosters on the floor. A lot of teams right now are happy with losing and that’s really too bad for the league. That’s too bad for the fans.”
  • Knicks owner James Dolan reportedly met with Carmelo Anthony and at least one player after Wednesday night’s game, writes Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. The topic was the state of the team, and whether or not a coaching change was in order. The team’s front office is divided on keeping Mike Woodson, and there have been multiple reports that the coach is on the hot seat.
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