The Magic‘s biggest need heading into the 2015 NBA draft is for a rim protector who can also stretch the floor with his shooting, Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel writes. Two players who could fill that need, and who Orlando could look to select in the first round, are Kristaps Porzingis or Willie Cauley-Stein, Robbins notes. While Porzingis may have a higher ceiling, the Magic’s need to win now may predicate the team targeting the more NBA-ready big man in Cauley-Stein, the Sentinel scribe adds. Orlando had hoped it found the stretch-four it was seeking when the team inked Channing Frye to a four-year, $32MM contract last summer. But Frye only notched averages of 7.3 points and 3.9 rebounds in his 75 appearances for the team in 2014/15.
Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- The Nets have not picked up the team option on assistant GM Bobby Marks‘ contract for 2015/16, Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links). The deadline to do so was May 1st, though the team could still elect to extend Marks’ deal once other offseason personnel decisions have been made, Mazzeo adds.
- Celtics coach Brad Stevens is looking forward to what he hopes is a productive offseason for the franchise, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe writes. When asked what he was most excited about this summer, Stevens responded, “I like the draft. I think it’s a fun thing to watch guys, to come in to learn, to meet them in interviews, to talk to them. I know a lot of them or at least a lot about them. And then free agency, we didn’t get a chance to experience it much last year because we didn’t have any [salary cap] space. And we knew that. We made a couple of calls but really we didn’t have any chance, because we didn’t have very much money available.“
- Khris Middleton, coming off of a season where he averaged 13.4 points and 4.4 rebounds, both career highs, is likely in line for a hefty pay raise this summer. The Bucks can make the 23-year-old a restricted free agent if they tender him a qualifying offer worth $2,725,003. For his part, Middleton hopes to re-sign with Milwaukee this offseason, Matt Velazquez of The Journal Sentinel writes. “I got here, nobody really knew what to expect,” Middleton said. “We had a terrible season, then this year I feel like we found our foundation of what we can be and what we can become. I feel like we have a great young team going in the right direction. Would love to be a part of that here.“