Eastern Notes: Beal, Love, Rondo, Smith

The Wizards’ Bradley Beal is expected to practice Monday and could be back in the lineup by Friday, reports Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. The high-scoring guard, who hasn’t played since fracturing his left wrist October 10th, went through a dribbling and shooting drill on Saturday. Last month, the Wizards  exercised Beal’s fourth-year contract option worth $5.7MM. Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Even though Kevin Love is likely to become a free agent this summer, the Cavaliers don’t believe he will leave Cleveland, writes Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon Journal. A rumor emerged last week that Love would consider opting out of his current contract at season’s end and to sign with the Lakers. Lloyd cautioned that many more rumors are likely regarding the six-year veteran before the season ends, but the Cavs are confident in his commitment to Cleveland.
  • The CelticsRajon Rondo cites improved health as the reason for his fast start, according to Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. ACL surgery limited Rondo to just 29 games last season, and the eight-year veteran said he never felt comfortable after his return. “I can get to the paint a lot easier now,” said Rondo, who will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer. “Last year I was pretty slow, and now I’m a step faster.” 
  • The KnicksJ.R. Smith remains on the trading block, tweets Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. Begley notes that the team is having ongoing internal discussions about dealing Smith, and has been since July. The 10-year veteran is being paid close to $6MM this year and has a player option for nearly $6.4MM next season.

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