Eastern Notes: Crowder, Celtics, Magic, Vonleh

Of the three players who came to the Celtics in the Rajon Rondo trade, Jae Crowder may be the likeliest to have a future in Boston, speculates Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com. The 6’7″ swingman has been impressive in a limited role since the deal, and Forsberg declares it should be an easy decision for the team to give him a $1.2MM qualifying offer in the offseason if he isn’t part of salary aggregation in February.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Roster upheaval is one of the reasons December hasn’t gone as planned for the Celtics, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com. Boston entered the month facing a soft schedule and the chance to contend for a playoff spot, but the Celtics are just 6-8 during December and eight games below .500 overall. The team dealt Rondo to Boston on December 18th and Blakely contends the players they got in return — Crowder, Brandan Wright and Jameer Nelson — aren’t good fits with the current roster.
  • The Magic’s backcourt of the future is starting to live up to the hype, according to John Denton of Magic.comVictor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton were Orlando’s top choices in the last two NBA Drafts, and they were recently inserted into the starting lineup together. “It’s on us to make sure that they made the right choice,’’ Payton said after Saturday’s win over the Hornets. “We’re still figuring it out because this is just our [fourth] game [starting] together, but I think we’re making good strides.’’
  • Hornets rookie Noah Vonleh hasn’t seen major minutes this season, but coach Steve Clifford says that’s not a reflection on his talent or effort, but rather the late start he had due to a sports hernia injury, writes Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.  Earlier today, Vonleh was assigned to the Austin Spurs of the D-League.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

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