Eastern Notes: Sixers, Thomas, Dinwiddie

The Sixers will eventually have to decide between Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor, an unnamed league executive told Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Daily News. That duo hasn’t played well together, the executive explained, in part because neither has the shooting range to stretch defenses. It will be imperative to shed one of them via trade if Joel Embiid returns next season from foot surgery because it will essentially give Philadelphia three starting-quality bigs, the story continues. In that case, it makes more sense to keep Noel because Okafor and Embiid are limited defensively, the executive opined to Pompey. “They are both centers,” he said. “They both can only guard centers. They can’t defend power forward or stretch fours in this league.” 

In other news around the Eastern Conference:

  • Knicks small forward Lance Thomas could be a candidate for the Most Improved Player Award and that might make it difficult for the club to re-sign him, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Opposing coaches have taken notice of Thomas’ two-way impact off the bench, going out of their way to praise him, Berman continues. Thomas, arguably the team’s best defender, signed a one-year, $1,636,842 contract during the offseason but his price tag going back into the free agent pool this summer is growing and the Knicks will have competition for his services, Berman adds.
  • The Pistons plan on keeping second-year guard Spencer Dinwiddie with their D-League affiliate in Grand Rapids for the foreseeable future, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com tweets. With the return of Brandon Jennings from his Achilles injury, Dinwiddie is the team’s No. 4 point guard on the roster behind Reggie Jackson, Jennings and Steve Blake.
  • The Heat recalled shooting guard Josh Richardson on Monday from their D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the team’s website announced. Richardson has played four games with the Skyforce this season and helped them capture the D-League Showcase Championship.
  • The Wizards could decide to become sellers nearing next month’s trade deadline if they don’t go on a hot streak or get most of their key pieces healthy before that point, league sources indicated to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
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