Eastern Notes: Raptors, Stiemsma, Celtics, Sixers

The Raptors are one of 13 teams in the league without a one-to-one setup with a D-League affiliate, as our table of affiliations shows. Toronto GM Masai Ujiri said that it’s difficult to establish their own D-League affiliate because it’s difficult to find a suitably close location, Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun reports (Twitter links). Ujiri also said that it was a mid-term goal and not a priority, notes Wolstat. For now, the franchise will continue to utilize the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, which is the only D-League team that’s not in a one-to-one partnership at this time.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Raptors like Greg Stiemsma for his ability to block shots, Wolstat writes in a separate piece. Stiemsma, who won the team’s 15th and final regular season roster spot, has blocked 2.8 shots per 36 minutes over his three year NBA career.
  • Although many would call the Celtics’ strategy rebuilding, GM Danny Ainge doesn’t refer to it as anything besides progress and believes coach Brad Stevens is right man to lead the inexperienced team, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. “We don’t really look at it as rebuilding or changing direction, we’re trying to build a championship,” said Ainge. “We have some really nice players and I know Brad is really understanding the NBA game and all the things that come from making the transition to coaching in college. I couldn’t be happier with Brad and his staff. I think he’s done a great job of communicating to all the players.”
  • While the rest of the league may look down upon the Sixers‘ rebuilding plan, GM Sam Hinkie only cares about winning an NBA title and isn’t worried about the perception of the team, writes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It is really important, I think, not to take your eyes off what matters,” Hinkie said. “And what matters is not feeling great about yourself the third of March, but to give yourself a chance to feel good about yourself on the third of June.” 

Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.

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