Eastern Rumors: Jackson, Riley, Muscala

The Eastern Conference’s glut of struggling teams means the worst clubs in the Western Conference have an advantage as they jockey for lottery position, explains Tom Ziller of SB Nation. East teams don’t have to play as many heavies as their Western Conference counterparts do, leading to more wins and fewer ping-pong balls. That helps perpetuate the East’s mediocrity year after year, Ziller writes. Here’s more from the NBA’s weaker side:

  • Phil Jackson tells Sam Amick of USA Today that he remains an “unpaid adviser” to Pistons owner Tom Gores. Jackson, who reiterates that he doesn’t want to coach again, helped the team with its search for former coach Maurice Cheeks, who was fired a couple of weeks ago.
  • Another championship coach is feeling no urge to get back to the sidelines, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel observes. “I’m six years out of coaching right now,” Heat president Pat Riley said. “Look at me, man, I’m full of vitality to have some fun. Six years ago, when I was coaching, I would wake up 5:00 a.m. and it was dark and I was depressed. Not anymore.”
  • The contract that Mike Muscala signed with the Hawks last week is a four-year pact for the minimum salary, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reveals. This year is fully guaranteed and next season is partially guaranteed for $408K, but the deal otherwise contains no guaranteed salary, Pincus tweets. There’s a team option on the final year.
  • Gerald Wallace expressed his displeasure with winding up on a rebuilding Celtics team when the Nets traded him to Boston this summer, but the veteran says he enjoyed his first year in green, as he tells Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe“I just hope the fans didn’t take offense to me saying I didn’t want to be here as me not wanting to be a part of the organization,” said Wallace, who’s out for the season with a knee injury. “My main thing was the rebuilding process, I didn’t want to go through a whole rebuilding process where you have to start all over 13 years into my career.”
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