Eastern Notes: Raptors, Casey, Noah, Pistons

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri can’t envision the team using all of the four of the first-round picks ticketed to come the team’s way in the next two years, as he told Zach Lowe of ESPN.com, essentially confirming an earlier report from Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun that the team doesn’t plan to add four rookies.

“We already have so many young players,” Ujiri said to Lowe. “And those extra picks over the next two years — we can’t use all those picks. So [a trade] is always something you’re looking at.”

Still, most signs point to the Raptors standing pat for now, with Ujiri believing that increased parity will reduce the volume of swaps, Lowe writes. See more on the Raptors amid the latest from the Eastern Conference:

  • Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are advocates for Dwane Casey‘s continued presence as Raptors coach, Lowe notes in the same piece. Toronto has a team option for next season on Casey’s contract.
  • Joakim Noah has returned from his shoulder injury, but he isn’t playing much, and he remains displeased with where he stands in the eyes of the Bulls, a source tells Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, adding that the center isn’t enamored with coach Fred Hoiberg. The source cautioned that Noah hasn’t been a distraction. The Bulls have reportedly made Noah available for a trade, and I examined his trade candidacy last month.
  • Reggie Jackson is entrenched as the starter, Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake are on expiring contracts and Spencer Dinwiddie appears poised to stay on D-League assignment for the long haul, but Stan Van Gundy is once more casting doubt on the idea of trading a point guard, notes MLive’s David Mayo“I think there’s a very good chance that we don’t move any of those guys before the trade deadline,” Van Gundy said. The Pistons coach/executive added that the team still has hopes for Dinwiddie, who said GM Jeff Bower told him he’ll be in the D-League for the rest of the season, but Dinwiddie has to show he’s “better than just being a roster guy,” Van Gundy said, as Mayo relays.
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