Eastern Notes: Magic, D-Lo, Tillman, Pistons, Knicks

The Magic are interested in Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell, league sources tell Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Russell holds a player option for 2024/25 worth $18.7MM, but could become an unrestricted free agent if he decides to turn down that option.

Orlando has previously been cited as a potential suitor for Russell. Jovan Buha of The Athletic reported nearly two months ago that, based on conversations he’d had with people inside and outside of the Lakers organization, the Magic were viewed as the biggest threat to poach Russell from Los Angeles in free agency.

While the Magic made significant strides this season, earning a playoff spot and pushing Cleveland to seven games in the first round, they could still use more scoring punch and shooting in their backcourt. Out of 30 NBA teams, Orlando ranked 28th in assists (24.7) and dead-last in made three-pointers (11.0) per game during the 2023/24 season.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Already missing Kristaps Porzingis (calf strain), the Celtics will be without another frontcourt player when the Eastern Conference finals tip off on Tuesday. Xavier Tillman has been downgraded from questionable to out for personal reasons, the team announced today (via Twitter). With Porzingis and Tillman unavailable, Al Horford and Luke Kornet figure to handle center duties in Game 1.
  • With the help of cap expert John Hollinger, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic outlines three potential paths the Pistons could take this offseason. Edwards’ scenarios include a “swing for the fences” three-team trade for Brandon Ingram and Jerami Grant, an all-in approach to free agency focusing on Malik Monk and Tobias Harris, and a combination of signings and trades.
  • With the Knicks‘ offseason underway, Steve Popper of Newsday and Stefan Bondy of The New York Post each pose some pressing questions that the team will need to answer this summer. Exploring OG Anunoby‘s upcoming free agency, Bondy says that people around the league expect the three-and-D standout to receive between $30-40MM per year on his next contract.
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