Sam SpiegelmanWelcome to the inaugural Eastern Conference Notebook, which is set to be posted on Tuesdays and Fridays recapping the latest news up and down the conference.
Headlines in the early part of this week have been dominated by the news that Derrick Rose will miss the remainder of the season with yet another knee injury. The news has led to trade speculation, wholesale changes in Chicago, as well as a number of teams believing they can overtake the Bulls in the conference standings.
Here’s the Eastern Conference Notebook for Tuesday, Nov. 26:
The Pacers’ superstar Paul George was featured on the cover of SLAM Magazine. The cover boy is profiled, from the time he was a baby and his mom saw something abnormal with her son, to today, as a 23-year-old budding NBA star leading Indiana to the best record in the Eastern Conference.
Miami won its seventh straight game Monday night, cruising past the visiting Suns, 107-92.
The win was probably especially sweet for Michael Beasley, who played for Suns last season but was essentially paid $7 million in the summer to flea town after being arrested for a handful of off-the-court incidents.
In the offseason Beasley returned to Miami, where he began his career as the No. 2 pick out of Kansas State. Beasley scored eight points and grabbed six boards against his former club.
Jeff Teague is the talk of the town through 14 games this season, and the question now is whether the Hawks’ point guard is worthy of being named an NBA All-Star starter?
Well, Derrick Rose is out for the year. Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo have been plagued by injuries. So the competition comes down to Teague, Kyrie Irving, Brandon Jennings, John Wall and Kemba Walker.
The injury heard ‘round the NBA is bound to have a domino effect. In Toronto, could the loss of Rose open the door for the Raptors to make a push?
Rant Sports suggests the Raptors could now challenge for a top-four spot in the East, behind Miami and Indiana of course. There team could also increase those odds by acquiring some of the talent reportedly on the trading block.
Michael Jordan has made a decision almost everybody will like. When the Charlotte Bobcats return to being the Charlotte Hornets next season, they’ll be rocking the purple and teal colors made famous by Larry Johnson and Mugsy Bogues.
No, it’s not a fashion statement. But it’s tradition. For NBA fans it’ll be a welcomed throwback, and for Charlotte fans, they’re probably hopeful it’ll translate to more wins.
There’s one glaring storyline in the Windy City, and of course it begins and ends with the name Derrick Rose.
Rose underwent knee surgery to repair his torn meniscus Monday morning, meaning the guard will miss the rest of the season. In the past three seasons, Rose has played all of 50 games.
With that in mind, the Chicago Tribune in calling for the Bulls have a fire sale. Luol Deng is an impending free agent, while Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer aren’t cheap to hold onto.
Given how hard Rose had to work to return from his ACL surgery back in May 2012, one can only wonder if the Bulls guard has a future in hoops. His former college coach John Calipari gave Rose an endorsement, but Rose certainly has an uphill climb.
Philly is known for being a sports fan, so it’s a bit surprising to know the 76ers have the lowest attendance in the NBA. That means more fans show up to games in … Charlotte, Milwaukee and Sacramento?
According to a report from the Philadelphia Business Journal, the Sixers are the only team in the league averaging fewer than 14,000 fans per game.
The buzz in Detroit may be the Prince Fielder-Ian Kinsler trade, but the Pistons’ bench is worthy of some talk. Led by Chancey Stuckey’s 27 points, the bench outscored the Nets’, 50—26.
Also lending a hand is Kyle Singler and Charlie Villanueva, who scored 11 and eight points, respectively.
Brandon Jennings also had a statement game against his former club, dropping 15 points and dishing out 13 assists in a lopsided win.
The Wizards have won three of their last four games – including Saturday night against the Knicks. And according to the Wizards, “everybody is in great spirits.”
With the way the East is shaking out, maybe the Wiz have a shot. During the win streak, Washington’s defense has held opponents to fewer than 100 points. Those three opponents: Cleveland, Toronto and New York.
Rajon Rondo continues to be the center of discussion in Boston. The Celtics’ point guard is beginning to participate in 5-on-5 drills, but according to coach Brad Stevens will come back “when the time comes.”
Speaking of Rondo, the trade rumors continue to swirl. The Knicks and Mavericks have been mentioned as possible landing spots, but Celtics GM Danny Ainge would want more than what the Knicks have to offer in return.
With Rose out, perhaps one of the Magic guards could find their way to Chi-Town to help fill the void. The Orlando Sentinal speculates Jameer Nelson or Aaron Afflalo could be options for the Bulls or other point guard-needy teams; as would be Glen Davis for teams looking for a low-post defender.
If Chicago is going to blow up its roster, perhaps Luol Deng could find a home in Cleveland. Leading up to the NBA Draft, there were reports indicating the Cavs were interesting in Deng, and now that Chicago’s season is in disarray, perhaps those talks could heat up.
Why settle for Deng when you can just get LeBron James?
Cavaliers fans are organizing a “Come Home LeBron” campaign to try and sway the All-Star to return to his hometown when he hits free agency for a second time. We all know how well it went for Cleveland the first go-round, but hey, maybe 10,000 T-shirts and some signs will do the trick this time.
Like the Knicks, Nets are off to a disappointing start. So it’s no wonder why both the Knicks and Nets, as well as the Kings and Jazz were reportedly interested in Timberwolves forward Derrick Williams.
The second overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft averaged 12 points last season, but has played sporadic minutes for the Wolves early on this season because he backs up Kevin Love. Last night the sweepstakes ended, as Sacramento pulled the trigger on Williams.
Perhaps the solution for Brooklyn isn’t making a big trade, just allowing the team to get healthy.
The Bucks trotted out a different lineup Monday night against the Pistons. Brandon Knight and Khris Middleton, both of whom are former Pistons, got the nod against the former team, taking the place of Luke Ridnour and Caron Butler.
Head coach Larry Drew said he’d be tinkering with the lineup, and this may just be the first of a handful of moves he might make going forward.