Eastern Notes: Cavs, Riley, Harkless

The Cavs improved their win total over last season’s by 20 games and appear to be the favorite to win the Eastern Conference. LeBron James returning to Cleveland was a huge factor in the team’s improvement, but GM David Griffin deserves credit for the moves he made during the last 14 months, as I wrote in his Executive of the Year Candidate piece.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • President of Basketball Operations Pat Riley may have taken a jab at LeBron James during the Heat’s season ending press conference today, Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald writes. “No more smiling faces with hidden agendas, so we’ll be going in clean,” Riley said in response to a question about the draft. When ask to clarify if that comment was about James, he said, “that could be anyone across the board. I’ve already got about half a dozen emails from people I don’t even know recommending [a player], and somewhere in that email or text is always a smiley.”  
  • Maurice Harkless regressed during his third season in the league and Ken Hornack of Fox Sports Florida believes he is unlikely to remain in Orlando long-term. The forward is eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason.
  • The Cavs have recalled Joe Harris from their D-League affiliate, the Canton Charge, according to the team’s website. To date, the guard has played in 48 games for Cleveland this season while seeing only 9.1 minutes per game.

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