Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Nets, Celtics, Knicks

A number of experts around the NBA opine that the Sixers have a brighter future than the Knicks, Adam Zagoria of writes. When Zagoria asked an NBA executive which franchise is in a better position to improve, the executive said, “If [Joel] Embiid is Hakeem Olajuwon instead of Greg Oden, the answer is Philly. The Knicks have one first-round pick in the next two years, zero second-round picks and zero worthwhile International Rights guys. Philly has two first-round picks this year, four second-round picks in the next two and the rights to [Dario] Saric and [Vasilije] MicicCarmelo Anthony is better than any current 76er but Philly has a far better coach [Brett Brown] and more talented young players. The Knicks need to start building a roster and stop waiting for a miracle free agent. There are too many destination markets with cap room and better rosters and a weak ’15 free agent class.”

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Despite the recent reports that the Nets are willing to trade Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, and Joe Johnson, Williams isn’t concerned he might be dealt, Tim Bontemps of The New York Post writes. “I’m not worried about it, man,” Williams said. “I’m a Net until they tell me otherwise. It is what it is. It’s a business, so stuff like [trade rumors] happens. I don’t see any problem [dealing with it]. Brook [Lopez] has dealt with it, so I don’t see it being a problem for him, and I don’t think Joe [Johnson] is too worried about it. No matter what’s being written or whatever, I’m still here. I’m still a Net. My priority is to play for this organization.”
  • Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been using Marcus Smart during the fourth quarters of recent games at the expense of playing time for Rajon Rondo. But no matter how well Smart plays, the idea of him replacing Rondo as a starter this season would be crazy, A. Sherrod Blakely of opines. If things ever get to the point where that becomes a serious consideration, Boston would just as soon trade Rondo rather than have him become Smart’s backup, but the rookie’s steady progression can do nothing but hurt Rondo’s trade value in the eyes of potential suitors, Blakely adds.
  • After a horrendous 4-19 start to the season, the Knicks could be looking at even more difficulties ahead. Anthony has been playing in pain all season courtesy of a sore left knee, and now he may require surgery to correct the problem, which would keep him out of action indefinitely, Frank Isola of The New York Daily News reports.

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