The Sixers reached out to retired shooting guard Jason Richardson prior to their signing of big man Elton Brand, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The Hawks waived Richardson, who played 19 games with the Sixers last season, in late September after signing him to a non-guaranteed, one-year deal the previous month. But Brand was the team’s top target to fill its leadership void, a move that was orchestrated by new chairman of basketball operations Jerry Colangelo, Pompey adds.
In other news around the Eastern Conference:
- Knicks coach Derek Fisher hasn’t lost faith in point guard Jerian Grant, despite the rookie’s decline in playing time, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Grant received a three-game benching last month and played sparingly in others until his 24-minute outing against the Hawks on Sunday, his longest appearance since November 15th. “There’s a lot of good things about him,” Fisher told the team’s beat writers. “That’s why he’s here, and we believe in him. …We still believe in who he is. We’re still invested in him. We like his future.”
- Victor Oladipo returned to the starting lineup against the Pistons on Monday, a change that would have happened even if point guard Elfrid Payton didn’t sit out with an ankle injury, Magic coach Scott Skiles told the assembled media, including Hoops Rumors. The team had shown serious defensive slippage, Skiles indicated, “so it makes sense to put my best defensive player back out there. [Offensively] it’s a tough balance for a player as talented as him — whether to dribble, drive, do things like that, or if the ball movement is more important for our team. You play better when the ball is moving around, so they’re not easy decisions. But we need him to be aggressive.”
- Stanley Johnson needs to improve his shooting but that won’t lead to a reduction in minutes, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said during a Monday press conference that included Hoops Rumors. The rookie small forward has been a fixture in Van Gundy’s rotation since opening night, averaging 21.2 minutes, despite shooting 37.8% from the field. “I’d certainly like to see him shoot the ball better,” Van Gundy said. “I know he’d like to shoot the ball better but it’s not something I worry a whole lot about.”