Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Knicks, Dolan, Nets

Armed with the third-best record in the East and the fifth-best mark in the NBA, the Celtics and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge don’t have a strong preference about what format the league should take if and when it resumes its season, as Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald writes.

“It doesn’t really matter,” Ainge said. “There’s so many different opinions on what should be done. I think (commissioner) Adam (Silver) has a tough job keeping everybody happy — well, that’s an impossible job. But I think that I trust Adam will do the right thing, and whatever he decides, we’ll follow along.

“There’s not one thing that I’m adamantly dying for from the different plans,” Ainge continued. “I mean, there’s some I like a little bit more, but, listen, we all have to play under the same rules.”

Based on teams’ current records, the Celtics would face Philadelphia in the first round of the postseason, whether the NBA sticks to its usual East/West format or reseeds teams one through 16, regardless of conference. As the third-best team in the East, the C’s won’t be affected by any form of play-in tournament unless the league opts for a group stage format similar to soccer’s World Cup.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • A number of Knicks players and employees were “furious” that the team didn’t make a public statement about the death of George Floyd, according to Pablo S. Torre of ESPN (Twitter link), who passed along an internal memo sent to MSG employees by owner James Dolan explaining the team’s silence. Several Knicks players marched in protests or expressed their opinions on social media, tweets Adam Zagoria of Forbes. Meanwhile, Torre tweets that “dozens of disgruntled” MSG employees met today without Dolan to discuss his memo, prompting the Knicks’ owner to issue another message to his employees. Ian Begley of has the details on that.
  • Nets owner Joseph Tsai is continuing to pay hourly arena workers at Barclays Center, as Net Income of NetsDaily details. While Brooklyn’s season would almost certainly have been over by now, the arena also hosts the WNBA’s New York Liberty and dozens of other concerts and events that have been canceled due to COVID-19.
  • Jared Weiss and John Hollinger of The Athletic discuss how the Celtics should go about building around Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown over the long term.
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