Eastern Notes: Durant, World Peace, Smith

The early season play of rookie Kristaps Porzingis coupled with Carmelo Anthony‘s return to health has given Knicks fans hope, not just for this season, but beyond. Another benefit the franchise may glean from exceeding expectations is that team president Phil Jackson will have a far more appealing product to sell Kevin Durant when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer, Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News opines.

One issue I have with the Knicks potentially adding Durant is that both Anthony and Porzingis are frontcourt players, and unless Anthony shifted to power forward full-time and Porzingis to the pivot, one of the trio would need to come off the bench. Shifting Porzingis to center would also serve to displace Robin Lopez, who the team inked to a four-year, $54MM deal this past summer, which is obviously not an ideal move for New York given its financial commitment to the big man.

Here’s the latest out of the Eastern Conference:

  • Metta World Peace, discussing his relationship with Pacers executive Larry Bird, said that he has tried to rejoin Indiana over the years, but he may have burned too many bridges with his disruptive attitude in his younger days for that to occur, Dave Zarum of Sportsnet.ca relays (Twitter link). World Peace did note that Bird was extremely patient with him during his time with the team, and that Bird would often go out of his way to work with him to improve his game, Zarum adds.
  • Cavaliers shooting guard J.R. Smith is feeling much more comfortable in the flow of the team’s offense, something he credits to his increased playing time, Jason Lloyd of Ohio.com writes. “It’s hard to just run up and down the court four or five times, then just get one spot shot, then come out of the game, then go back in the game. Getting in a rhythm early is the most important thing,” Smith said. “It’s not even so much to shoot, just to feel the ball, get the motion, get the ‘camaraderie’ within the system. I think that’s big, not only for me but for everybody. It’s not from a selfish aspect, but to feel the ball, feel the flow of the offense a little better.
  • The Cavaliers have recalled shooting guard Joe Harris from the Canton Charge, their D-League affiliate, the team announced. You can keep track off all the D-League assignments and recalls made throughout the season here.
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