Atlantic Notes: Bennett, Leiweke, J.R. Smith

The Celtics are the only Atlantic Division team to make it to the NBA Finals in the past decade, and that will probably continue to be the case for at least another year. All five of the clubs in the division are taking divergent approaches to changing that, from New York’s commitment to building around superstar Carmelo Anthony to Philadelphia’s scorched-earth rebuilding plan. Here’s more on a few of the Atlantic teams trying to climb the ladder:

  • The Sixers attempted to find a way to end up with Anthony Bennett, but the Wolves were set on keeping him as part of the Kevin Love deal, as Marc Stein of writes. There was never any agreement that would have sent Bennett to Philadelphia, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, in spite of reports from a few weeks ago that indicated the 2013 No. 1 overall pick was on his way to the Sixers.
  • Raptors GM Masai Ujiri was effusive Thursday in his praise of Tim Leiweke, the departing CEO of the company that controls the team, as the GM spoke to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. Leiweke is set to leave his post no later than June 30th, 2015, though Smith presumes the CEO’s exit will happen long before that date.
  • J.R. Smith‘s disappointing 2013/14 season led to trade rumors that persisted into this summer, but Smith is confident that his improved health will lead to a bounceback performance this year, as he tells Ian Begley of Smith spoke of a desire to take on more of a leadership role and seems to fully expect that he’ll continue to be a part of the Knicks roster.

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