Eastern Notes: Realignment, Love, Butler, Pistons

The Pacers, for all their woes, would make the playoffs if they began today, as Eastern Conference teams enjoy a much easier path to the postseason, but Mavs owner Mark Cuban isn’t the only one around the league pushing to change that. Discussion about realignment is just in “some infant stage” as it circulates among the NBA’s power brokers, Grantland’s Zach Lowe writes, but commissioner Adam Silver says the league is closely studying the issue. Suns owner Robert Sarver and Thunder brass are among those who’ve advocated the idea of simply taking the 16 best teams for the playoffs, Lowe reports. Those teams would stand to benefit from such a structure this year, and there’s concern around the league that self-interest will drive the debate, as Lowe also notes. While we wait to see whether momentum gathers for change, here’s the latest from the weaker conference:

  • Kevin Love indicated his desire to remain in Cleveland for the long term shortly after the trade that brought him to the Cavs, and he reiterated his intention to do so in a radio appearance with Chris Mannix of SI.com and NBC Sports Radio, as “The Chris Mannix Show” Twitter account relays. Love can opt out of his contract at season’s end, but last month he batted down a rumor that he had interest in signing with the Lakers this coming summer.
  • Rasual Butler has proven quite a find for the Wizards after having made the team out of camp on a non-guaranteed deal for the minimum salary, as Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post examines after Butler’s game-high 23 points in Monday’s win against the Heat.
  • Stan Van Gundy‘s failure to offload either Greg Monroe or Josh Smith in the summer stunted his ability to affect real changes for the Pistons, who are stuck between full-on rebuilding and trying to win now, opines Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News.
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