Atlantic Notes: Siakam, Bullock, Sixers, Bruce Brown

Raptors forward Pascal Siakam chatted about the challenges facing the relocated club this year and the expectations that arrive with his status as a maximum-salaried player this week, as Josh Lewenberg of TSN details.

“It’s different, it’s crazy, you get so much more attention and it’s something that I’m not used to and it’s not really me or my character,” Siakam said of life as a max player.

“Adversity, obviously, is not something that you want to go through but sometimes it defines the type of person you are,” he added, referring to the team’s struggles this season following its temporary move to Tampa from Toronto during the pandemic.

The Raptors, winners of the 2019 NBA title, will miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2012/13 season, well before Siakam was drafted. “I know that I’m a better player coming out of this and just going through the different struggles and stuff, and I’m excited about the future,” he said.​

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks are hoping to re-sign shooting guard Reggie Bullock, an unrestricted free agent, during the summer, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. New York head coach Tom Thibodeau praised Bullock as the team’s “unsung hero” this past weekend. The club will hold Bullock’s Early Bird rights during the upcoming 2021 offseason. Berman notes that sources around the league believe Bullock could fetch a deal in the vicinity of the full mid-level exception ($9-10MM). He is making $4.2MM this season.
  • As the playoffs near, the Eastern Conference’s top-seeded Sixers could use their final four regular season games to figure out the back end of their rotation, opines Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Pompey says that reserve center Dwight Howard‘s place appears secure, but that Philadelphia still seems to need to experiment with minute allocations for guards Matisse Thybulle, Tyrese Maxey, George Hill, Shake Milton, and Furkan Korkmaz.
  • The injury-plagued Nets are dealing with another banged-up rotation player, after guard Bruce Brown fractured his nose during a team practice, tweets Malika Andrews of ESPN. The (now quite literally) tough-nosed Brown will play through the injury in a mask against the Bulls tonight, and the club will then equip him with another mask back in Brooklyn.
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