Calbert Cheaney

Eastern Notes: Collins, Wizards, Cheaney, Knicks

After his Hawks lost the Eastern Conference Finals to the Bucks in six games, power forward John Collins addressed his impending restricted free agency with reporters, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

“It’s something that I feel like I’ve voiced my opinion about a lot, saying that I want to be here,” Collins said. “We’re going to have to come to a decision very soon, but hopefully, the best one for me is the one that keeps me here.” The Hawks have the right to match any offer tendered to Collins by a rival team in restricted free agency.

Collins was the No. 19 selection out of Wake Forest in the 2017 draft, and should be in line for a significant pay raise after four solid seasons for the Hawks. During the 2020/21 regular season, Collins averaged 17.6 PPG and 7.4 RPG, with a shooting line of .556/.399/.833. In 18 playoff games with Atlanta this season, the 23-year-old averaged 13.9 PPG and 8.7 RPG, while connecting on 54.9% of his shots from the field and 35.7% of his 3.1 three-point attempts a night.

There’s more out of the East:

  • Clubs with depth have been rewarded with extended success in this year’s playoffs, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Hughes posits that the Wizards will need to shore up their roster around stars Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook to move past the first round in future postseasons. Hughes notes just how much the Wizards depended on Beal for wins this season, as the club went 2-10 when the All-Star guard sat. Washington should look to add depth specifically on the wing, Hughes opines.
  • Pacers assistant coach Calbert Cheaney appears likely to return as an assistant under the regime of new Indiana head coach Rick Carlisle, writes J. Michael of the Indy Star. Cheaney was first hired as part of former coach Nate Bjorkgren‘s staff ahead of the 2020/21 season.
  • It became clear that the Knicks lacked a starting point guard in their first-round playoff series against the Hawks. Steve Popper of Newsday explores how New York could upgrade the position in the offseason. Free agent veterans like Kyle Lowry, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Mike Conley could all be viable options.

Central Notes: Carter, Giannis, Pistons, Pacers

On the morning of the 2020 draft, a report indicated that the Bulls had offered Wendell Carter Jr. to Golden State in a trade to move up from No. 4 to No. 2. After Chicago stayed put on draft night, head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas denied trying to trade up.

Asked this week about those trade rumors, Carter didn’t sound too stressed about the subject of some draft-day speculation, suggesting he “had a lot of faith” that he would stick with the Bulls, as Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago writes.

“When I first saw it, I kind of knew it was BS,” Carter said. “I didn’t pay much attention to it. Then my family members started hitting me up about it, like, ‘Man, what’s going on?’ You going to Oakland?’ I’m, like, ‘Man, I feel like I’m good.’ … I knew the coaching staff and the front office believed in me from the talks that we’ve had. … It’s always a little anxiety when you see your name floating around as possibly being traded. But deep down in my heart, I knew I was going to be a Bull.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • The Bucks are anxiously waiting to find out whether Giannis Antetokounmpo will sign a five-year super-max extension with the team, but fellow All-Star Khris Middleton and head coach Mike Budenholzer said on Thursday that they’re focusing on supporting the reigning MVP rather than pushing him to sign. “He knows that I deeply want him to return and sign this extension, but at the same time, I know he’s got a big decision that he’s got to work through himself and with his family at home because those are the most important people,” Middleton said, according to ESPN’s Eric Woodyard. “Whatever he does, he knows that I’ll support him to the fullest.”
  • While the Pistons are no longer carrying as many centers on their roster as it appeared they might early in free agency, general manager Troy Weaver told reporters on Thursday that he didn’t mind the perception that he was stockpiling big men. “Let the record show. I know there was a lot about we were collecting a lot of centers — absolutely!” Weaver said, per Rod Beard of The Detroit News. “I love bigs. … I believe that’s the way you win, by controlling the backboards. It’s held true. I’ve never seen a team win a championship without controlling the backboard.”
  • The Pacers have officially announced a handful of new additions to Nate Bjorkgren‘s coaching staff, including confirming the previously-reported hiring of assistant coach/player development Calbert Cheaney. Bjorkgren is also bringing Tyler Marsh with him from the Raptors as a player development assistant.

Eastern Notes: Pacers, Knicks, Rondo, Hawks, Magic

The Pacers are adding Calbert Cheaney to Nate Bjorkgren‘s coaching staff as an assistant, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). An Indiana native who played his college ball for the Hoosiers, Cheaney spent 13 years in the NBA as a player. He has been an assistant for Atlanta’s G League affiliate for the last two seasons.

Cheaney is the latest addition to a new-look coaching staff that will also feature Kaleb Canales and Greg Foster, in addition to returning Pacers assistant Bill Bayno. Indiana recently issued a press release confirming that all three of those coaches will be part of Bjorkgren’s staff in 2021.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference: