Eastern Notes: Bulls, Raptors, Ayon

The Eastern Conference playoff field for the upcoming season is difficult to predict. The Cavaliers and the Bulls seem like locks, but beyond that, all bets are seemingly off. A majority of Hoops Rumors readers believe the Pacers, conference finalists the last two years, will miss the postseason entirely this time around in the wake of Paul George‘s injury. Here’s the latest from the East:

  • Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf is prepared to move on after a report of discord between the team and star Derrick Rose, as Reinsdorf said Sunday in a radio appearance with Bruce Levine and Barry Rozner on WSCR-AM, notes Blake Schuster of the Chicago Tribune. Reinsdorf vehemently denied the existence of any tension, and Rose has also walked back some of his comments in the report. 
  • The Raptors are assisting DeAndre Daniels in his efforts to find a team in Europe where he can play this season, tweets Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun. Raptors GM Masai Ujiri has indicated that he’s anxious for Daniels, whom Toronto drafted 37th overall in June, to see playing time overseas, as Wolstat reported a month ago.
  • Free agent center Gustavo Ayon has dropped hints in the past that seemed to indicate that he envisioned a return overseas, but he tells the Mexican news agency Notimex that he’s prioritizing an NBA deal this summer over playing in Europe (translation via HoopsHype, hat tip to Gigantes del Basket). Ayon indicated that he’s turned down NBA offers and plans to choose a team after the FIBA World Cup concludes in September. The Hawks declined to tender a qualifying offer last month, making him an unrestricted free agent.
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