East Notes: Heat, Kevin Love, Sixers, James Harden, Magic


  • Guard Tyler Herro will not play in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals vs. the Celtics, as he remains out with a broken right hand, per Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald.
  • Hero still cannot shoot or dribble, coach Erik Spoelstra said, via Chiang.
  • Spoelstra said star wing Jimmy Butler is suffering no ill effects from a sprained ankle vs. the Knicks. “He’ll be fine. He’ll be ready to go,” Spoelstra said, via Chiang.
  • Heat power forward Kevin Love is back in the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2018, when he was a member of the LeBron James-led Cavaliers. Love and the Cavs agreed to a contract buyout in March.
  • Love suggested he’s glad he picked the Heat over the 76ers once he hit the buyout market. “This was always the first choice,” he said, via Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
  • Love is averaging 7.7 points and 6.4 rebounds in 11 playoff games, shooting 36 percent from the field and 34 percent on 3-pointers. All are playoff career lows.
  • Love said he did watch the Heat-Celtics Game 7 last year as a member of the playoffs. “When you play for another team, you hope they all can lose,” he said with a smile, via Winderman.


Star guard James Harden continues to be linked to a return to the Rockets, as we relayed here.

Harden gave no hints on where he may wind up next, assuming he opts out of his contract in June, as expected.

“I haven’t even thought about it,” he said, via Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “… I just want to have a chance to compete.”

  • Center Joel Embiid voiced his support for Doc Rivers remaining as Sixers coach. “Coach has been fantastic,” Embiid said, via Bontemps. “He’s done a great job, in my opinion.”
  • Rivers told reporters he expects to be retained. “Yeah. I think I have two years left (on his contract),” he said, via Bontemps.
  • Harden described his relationship with Rivers as “OK” when asked by reporters.
  • Embiid indicated that winning league MVP meant little when comparing it to failing to get the chance to play for a title. “If I don’t finish first, it is a failure,” he said, via HoopsHype. “It doesn’t matter if you’re losing in the first round of the Finals. You don’t get the trophy for being second.”


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