Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Sixers, Nets, Patterson

Who would want to come to a freezing city with a lousy team? The Knicks are hoping one of the NBA’s top free agents will, reports Mark Herrmann of Newsday. A bitter cold snap wasn’t very welcoming to the free-agents-to-be who were selected for this year’s All-Star Game in New York, but LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol and Paul Millsap brushed off the weather, just as they did questions about their future from the New York media. “I don’t think about free agency yet,” Gasol said. “It’s going to come to one point in time when I’m going to have to do that and I’ll weigh all my options. And when that happens, I’ll look at everything on the table.” None of the players had anything bad to say about New York, with Gasol calling it “one of the capitals of the world,” and Aldridge expressing admiration for team president Phil Jackson and the triangle offense.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Expect Sixers GM Sam Hinkie to go full-speed ahead into Thursday’s trade deadline with his tanking strategy, writes Bob Ford of The Inquirer. He sees two goals for Hinkie: taking on bad contracts to acquire assets, and reducing Philadelphia’s talent level in hopes of moving up the draft board. The Sixers stand a little more than $13MM below the cap floor, the amount they are bound by the collective bargaining agreement to spend on player salary. They rank third in the Hoops Rumors Reverse Standings.
  • If the Nets are sold, Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil expects a huge price tag, reports Cork Gaines of Yahoo! Finance. “I think they go for $1.4, $1.5 billion,” O’Neil said on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.” “[the exact amount] depends on what’s included, what the lease looks like, how much of the arena you get. There is a whole bunch of different factors. But I would say, given the current set up, the current structure now, $1.5-ish [billion].”
  • Patrick Patterson’s stats may not show it, but he has become one of the Raptors‘ most valuable players, writes Eric Koreen of The National Post. Patterson averages 8.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, but his versatility and agility on defense make him a valuable piece in Toronto. “Defensively, he fits in a lot of different schemes,” coach Dwane Casey said, “doing different things: double-teaming in the post, showing in the pick-and-roll, walling in the pick-and-roll.” Patterson is in the first season of a three-year, $18MM contract.

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