Eastern Notes: Knicks, Ariza, LeBron

Grant Hill says he understands what Kyrie Irving is going through, telling Sean Deveney of The Sporting News that the criticism and speculation surrounding the Cavs former No. 1 pick is par for the course. “In the NBA, that’s the epitome of it, but also what makes it difficult. The sport we are in, you constantly have to meet and surpass expectations, because you are constantly being evaluated by people. If you don’t succeed, you get traded, you get fired, you get criticized. That is what we sign up for,” said Hill. “After 19 years, you realize that’s part of the job, you are going to be evaluated and you are going to be criticized — it is not all glamour.” More from the East:

  • President Phil Jackson is looking to add one or more additions to the Knicks front office, and he’s targeting a young salary cap expert to assist him and GM Steve Mills, a source tells Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The only candidate for such a position within Jackson’s inner circle would be Steve Kerr, who only appears interested in a return to coaching.
  • Stein says it’s possible that Kerr could wind up coaching and bringing along a front office executive of his own, with one potential name being David Griffin, the Cavs interim GM at the moment.
  • J. Michael of CSNWashington.com thinks the latest defensive performance by Trevor Ariza against Carmelo Anthony is a reminder that the Wizards should do what it takes to retain the small forward when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. Ariza is shooting a career best from three this season, and has helped Washington reach the playoffs after a long drought.
  • Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel thinks the Heat should pay whatever it takes in tax penalties to keep LeBron James. Since James’ salary is limited by the CBA to a value much below his practical worth for Miami, Winderman says exceeding the tax to provide him with a quality supporting cast is one way they can make up the virtual salary gap to him.
  • Cody Taylor at Basketball Insiders looks at what it will take for the Magic to turnaround their franchise as they continue the rebuilding process.
  • Ed Rendell of The Philadelphia Daily News thinks that the Sixers rebuilding strategy is brilliant, and sees it paying off with a competitive team next season.

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