Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo indicated the Eastern Conference is wide open and there for the taking entering the final stretch of the regular season.
“Obviously, every year, it’s probably like four teams [that can win],” Antetokounmpo said at All-Star Weekend, via Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “This year, it’s probably four to six teams that have a chance to win a championship. I believe we are one of them. But nothing is guaranteed.
“I have never seen anybody that just showed up and they gave you a championship. You have to earn it. But it’s definitely open.”
- The Bucks have officially signed center/forward Meyers Leonard to a 10-day contract, per Jim Owczarski and Ben Steele of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. We have more on the Leonard signing here.
- Leonard will likely be a sub for Bobby Portis now that Portis is expected to begin playing again, per Owczarski and Steele. He has been sidelined since late January with a sprained MCL.
- Along with that, should Antetokounmpo miss time because of his right wrist injury, “Leonard can fit alongside center Brook Lopez if Lopez shifts into more of an interior post presence,” Owczarski and Steele wrote.
The Cavs haven’t won a playoff series without LeBron James in three decades, though star guard Donovan Mitchell seems to think that can change this season.
“I think at the end of the day we have a group of guys that they put the time and the work in throughout the regular season,” Mitchell said, via Bontemps. “That will point to success in the playoffs. And I think, for us, it’s not putting too much pressure on that moment. And I think we have a lot of guys that are really good at that.”
- The Cavs were just one of two teams that didn’t make a deal at the trade deadline, with the Bulls being the other, per Bontemps. Overall, an NBA-record 49 players were moved.
The firing of Nate McMillan isn’t likely to solve the Hawks’ problems, at least not in the short term, wrote Jeff Schultz of The Athletic.
“This was something where I felt I needed to light a fire under them,” GM Landry Fields told Schultz. “Our objectives haven’t changed this season.”
Barring a successful playoff run, McMillan was likely to be fired after the season, per Schultz. So the Hawks just decided to get it out of the way.
“It’s something I’ve been monitoring. To have the showing that we did (this season) … I don’t want to put too much on the last couple of (losses against) Charlotte and New York, but those were definitely significant, and we’re just not seeing enough progress,’ Fields told Schultz.
Looking for the latest NBA Insider News & Rumors?
Be sure to follow Hoops Wire on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NBA News and Rumors for all 32 teams!