Eastern Rumors: Aldridge, Russell, Raptors

The Celtics should target LaMarcus Aldridge on the free agent market this summer and coach Brad Stevens could be their biggest selling point, according to Gary Tanguay of CSNNE.com. Stevens is a winner and a player’s coach who is adept at making strategic adjustments and getting his team to play hard, Tanguay continues. That should be attractive to a veteran like Aldridge, who probably realizes he cannot win a championship with the Trail Blazers in the loaded Western Conference, Tanguay opines. Adding Aldridge, along with a couple more solid moves, would make the Celtics serious contenders in the Eastern Conference, Tanguay concludes.

In other news around the Eastern Conference:

  • D’Angelo Russell would be an intriguing addition for the Sixers if they draft the Ohio State freshman guard, Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Russell would address a glaring need since they already have two young post players in Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel but Philadelphia’s draft strategy shouldn’t be based solely on filling that void, Sielski continues. An NBA source told The Inquirer that Russell is the top prospect on the Sixers draft board but Sielski doubts that GM Sam Hinkie has already made up his mind. However, it’s quite possible Hinkie may not be able to pass on a 6’5” point guard with a smooth shooting stroke who averaged 19.3 points for the Buckeyes, Sielski adds.
  • Raptors coach Dwane Casey says DeMar DeRozan must become a more vocal leader, Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun reports. Casey feels that DeRozan can no long sit back quietly when issues arise and the team is struggling, Ganter continues, and the team’s playoff collapse against the Wizards reinforces that notion. “This is his team,” Casey said during a press conference on Monday. “If something is going wrong in the locker room, speak up, say something. Don’t just complain about it. He is at that stage in his career where he can speak up and be a leader, not depend on someone else to do it. If you don’t agree with something, say something.”
  • The Magic might not hire a head coach until after the NBA Finals, a league source told Larry Ridley of NBC affiliate WESH in Orlando (Twitter link). The Magic fired Jacque Vaughn during the middle of the season, then hired James Borrego as interim coach for the final 30 games.

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