Eastern Notes: Raptors, Unseld Jr., Randle, Heat

The Raptors may find it hard to determine what they need ahead of the trade deadline, Doug Smith of The Toronto Star writes. The deadline falls on February 10 this year, which is less than three weeks away.

“We’re trying to evaluate who exactly we are, and if you’re going to try to add a piece or two, which you’re always trying to do, saying, ‘What does this team need?’” head coach Nick Nurse said. “Even in the championship year you’re trying to figure out where can we make it that much better, that much deeper or whatever. It has been more difficult this year to figure it out.”

Like many teams, Toronto has dealt with availability issues this season due to COVID-19 and injuries. The team is currently in the play-in tournament picture at 22-21, good for the eighth-best record in the East.

Should they pursue a trade, the Raptors could benefit from upgrading their offense. The team ranks 27th in field goal percentage (43.6%), 21st in three-point percentage (34.1%), and 23rd in points per game (106.8). On the flip side, Toronto has made the third-fewest turnovers per game (12.6).

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. has exited the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the team announced on social media (Twitter link). Unseld will return to coaching against the Celtics on Sunday. The club went 1-3 in the four contests he missed while in protocols.
  • The Knicks made Julius Randle‘s situation worse by not allowing him to speak to the media after a loss to New Orleans this week, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News opines. New York was fined $25,000 for the decision. Randle has struggled in recent games, scoring four points on 1-of-9 shooting against the Pelicans. He was also fined $25,000 for using profane language during media interviews earlier this month.
  • Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel examines several notes related to the Heat, including the team’s upcoming game against the Lakers on Sunday. Current Lakers players LeBron James, Avery Bradley, Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington and Kendrick Nunn all hold experience with the Heat, though only James, Bradley and Ariza played in Los Angeles’ win over Orlando on Friday. Ellington received a DNP-CD (did not play, coach’s decision), while Nunn continues to rehab a bone bruise.
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