Nets players aren’t saying so on the record, but they’re a looser, happier bunch since the team traded Kevin Garnett at the deadline, tweets Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. It’s an odd juxtaposition, since the Timberwolves made it clear that they brought him in with the idea that he’d be a positive influence on their locker room. The Nets, though they have a number of young pieces, are more a team of veterans than the Wolves are, so that seems as plausible an explanation as any for the split opinions. While the KG-less Nets look to secure a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, here’s more from their Atlantic Division rivals:
- Thomas Robinson has bounced around quite a bit since he became the No. 5 overall pick in 2012, but with unrestricted free agency looming in the summer, he hopes he’s found his niche with the Sixers, and he tells Andy Jasner of Sixers.com that he’s “all in” with the team. “I’m getting a lot of minutes and the coaching staff has shown incredible trust in me,” Robinson said. “I know we haven’t won a lot of games here, but I’m getting my chance. To get this kind of opportunity is a great feeling. I want to be as consistent as possible and hopefully be able to stay here for the long term.”
- Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was unsure a month ago of how soon-to-be free agent Gigi Datome fit into the team, but it sounds at this point like coach Brad Stevens is sold, notes Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. “He’s our best shooter, and one of the better shooters I’ve seen,” Stevens said. “I hope we can continue to find opportunities for him, because he’s earned that. I really like him. I’m in his corner, and I’ve had that conversation with all of our people in the front office as well.”
- Sixers rookie Nerlens Noel clarified earlier remarks he made about Ish Smith that seemed to serve as an indictment of Michael Carter-Williams, as Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays. “Nah, I’d never do that,” Noel said of the idea he would take a cut at his former teammate. “He’s a playmaker. There are times when you need a scoring point guard that’s going to get in the lane, create and make scoring opportunities.” Noel’s numbers are up since the team traded Carter-Williams at the deadline and claimed Smith off waivers two days later, Pompey notes.