Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Knicks, Amundson

Nerlens Noel raised some eyebrows Monday when he complimented Ish Smith seemingly at the expense of former teammate Michael Carter-Williams. The Sixers big man appeared to double down on that Tuesday when Tom Moore of Calkins Media asked him whether he thought the departure of Carter-Williams helped him develop.

“I think there’€™s a lot more fluidity in the game,”€ Noel said. “€œI think there’€™s more balance. Guys are getting more shots. The ball’s not sticking and guys are having fun playing. When you’€™re out there having fun, you feel like you can do anything on both ends of the court. … Even when we need a basket, guys know they can get a shot because the ball’s not going to stick,€ he said. If they’€™re wide open, it’™s going to be given [to them]. When you know you have an opportunity to be a part of the offense and just all-around, it’€™s just a lot more fun.

Noel has called for the Sixers to re-sign Smith, but while he may have cemented a role as a backup, Smith is an unrealistic option as the team’s point guard of the future, writes Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News. Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Members of the Knicks front office expect team president Phil Jackson to make changes among their ranks as soon as the coming offseason, and that feeling predates the team’s D-League coaching move, as Ian Begley of hears.
  • Journeyman Louis Amundson had started seven games in his career before he joined the Knicks, who’ve given him 31 starts in 33 appearances. Unsurprisingly, Amundson tells Jonah Ballow of (video link) that he wants to re-sign with the team when his contract expires this summer. “I think Phil knows, we’ve talked a bit about it, I really appreciate the opportunity they gave me here, and I would love to be here,” Amundson said. “I would love to be a Knick next season. I know they have a lot of decision-making to do, so I’m going to leave that to them, but I think they know that I would love to be here.”
  • The lack of a one-to-one D-League affiliate for the Raptors has, at least to a degree, slowed the development of Bruno Caboclo and Lucas Nogueira, argues Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. Still, GM Masai Ujiri is working on establishing one that he’d prefer to be close to Toronto, Smith notes, adding that it would cost the Raptors about $6MM to set up the arrangement.

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