Atlantic Notes: Batum, Nets, Ex-Raptors, Celtics-Cavs

Sixers forward Nicolas Batum kept things fairly open when it came to talk of his potential NBA retirement, writes Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The 35-year-old is now a free agent, having wrapped up his two-year, $22.6MM contract at the end of Philadelphia’s 2023/24 season. There were rumors prior to the season that it could be his last in the NBA.

Batum told gathered media that he is, for now, just thinking about playing for his native Team France in this year’s Paris Olympics. He then reflected on his initial impressions of the Sixers.

“One thing I’ve learned is Philly is not for everybody, though,” Batum said. “You’ve got to be ready to play for that city, and I loved it. … I could feel the passion of this city for sports, for the Sixers. And I [felt] it right away, my first game against the Wizards. I [came] in and could feel it… And those fans, even when they’re not happy, you get booed, but I understand why. … I tried to [say to myself], ‘OK, they’re right. Because we suck right now, so we’ve got to play better.’”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets are set to retain assistant coach Jay Hernandez under new head coach Jordi Fernandez, but will be parting ways with assistants Will Weaver and Ronnie Burrell, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).
  • A pair of beloved former Raptors championship-era teammates, OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam, are set to square off against one another for the first team in an impending matchup between the former’s Knicks and the latter’s Pacers, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. “Yeah, it’ll be weird,” Anunoby said this weekend. “I never played against him. He’s always been my teammate, so it’ll be weird, but it’ll be cool, I’m sure. He’s looking forward to it, too.”
  • The NBA has revealed its full schedule for the Celtics’ second-round series against the Cavaliers. Game 1 will tip off on Tuesday, in Boston, at 6 p.m. CT via TNT. They’ll meet again for Game 2 on Thursday, at the same time, on ESPN. The series will move to Cleveland for Game 3 on Saturday, and will start a bit later, at 7:30 p.m. CT, on ABC. A start time for Monday’s Game 4 has yet to be announced.
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