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Eastern Conference: November 1st, 2004

Atlanta Hawks

G-Tony Delk participated in his first practice with the Hawks on Monday, signaling noteworthy progress in his comeback from knee surgery three months ago.  Delk was acquired along with F-Antoine Walker in the trade that sent G-Jason Terry and F-Alan Henderson to the Dallas Mavericks…..  The Hawks finished the preseason with a dismal 1-7 record, including a loss to the Cleveland Cavs in their last preseason game.  Said go-to guy, F-Antoine Walker, ”We can make the playoffs.  Our goals are very high.  Don’t look at the preseason record.  We were out there just trying to learn each other.”.  

Boston Celtics

Boston’s rookie G-Delonte West’s broke his right thumb in yesterday’s practice.  He will be placed on the injured reserve list for the Celtic’s season opener against the Philadelphia 76ers…..  After breaking his thumb last week in a preseason game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, veteran G-Gary Payton returned to practice, surprising everybody.  It is still unknown whether he will be available for the Celtic’s opening game……  The Celtics picked up the fourth-year contract option on G-Jiri Welsch last thursay.  Welsch who is entering his third season averaged a career best 9.2 points and 3.7 rebounds last season.  He will receive $2.177 million for the 2005-06 season up from the $1.419 million this season…..  The Celtics finished the preseason with a 2-6 record.  The team won its preseason finale against the Detroit Pistons 96-84, led by G-Jiri Welsch 16 point performance. 

Charlotte Bobcats

The Bobcats traded PF-Brandon Hunter to the Orlando Magic for G-Keith Bogans.  Bogans, who is entering his second season, is noted for his defensive tenacity.  He became expendable in Orlando due to a logjam of guards there with Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley, Hedo Turkoglu, and Deshawn Stevenson…..  The Bobcats finished their preseason with a 93-89 win over the Atlanta Hawks led by 15 points from C-Emeka Okafor and 14 from F-Primoz Brezec, who is continued his strong preseason performance…..  The Bobcats and G-Gerald Wallace hope to complete a contract extension by today’s deadline.   

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls have finally parted with disgruntled G-Eddie Robinson after weeks of speculation, buying out the last two years of his contract for $10.5 million.  The Bulls had high hopes for Robinson when former general manager Jerry Krause signed him to a $30 million, five-year deal.  However, injuries and a strained relationship with coach Scott Skiles had made Robinson unneeded in the Windy City…..  The Bulls roster is set with G-Frank Williams, F-Tommy Smith and G-Jannero Pargo beginning the season on the injured list.  Five rookies are on the active roster, including undrafted center Jared Reiner, the surprise of training camp…..  Coach Skiles and General Manager John Paxon do not think so highly of baby bulls C-Tyson Chandler and F-Eddie Curry, not signing them to contract extensions before the deadline.  Skiles and Paxon have been only moderately impressed by their performance this preseason.  Both Bulls were drafted three years ago, and were expected to be the cornerstones of the franchise.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers have picked up the 4th year option on F-Drew Gooden.  He will make 4 million next season compared to the 3.2 million he’ll make for this season.  As the replacement for departing F-Carlos Boozer, many analysts believe that Gooden performance will be indicative of the success of the Cav’s season.  Coach Paul Silas hopes that Gooden will focus on rebounding this season, in the same way that Boozer this last season…..  G-Dajuan Wagner (right ankle) and C-Desagna Diop (finger) will start the regular season on the injured list.  G-Lucious Harris has been in Los Angeles with his ailing mother.  The team expects him to return for the season opener against the Indiana Pacers…. .  The Cavs finished the preseason with a promising 6-2 record.  They lost their preseason finale against the Toronto Raptors 100-92.  F-Robert Traylor had an outstanding performance in the losing cause with 30 points and 11 rebounds. 

Detroit Pistons

The Pistons will be receiving their diamond-encrusted championship rings in a ceremony before their opening game against the Houston Rockets…..  Questions swirl as the Pistons embark to defend their championship.  Newcomers G-Carlos Delfino looks like he’s ready to contribute but his defense remains a liability.  F-Antonio McDyess could be the free agent steal of the summer, provided he stays healthy.  He has looked strong during the preseason.  C-Darko Milicic looks like he’ll be playing a similar cheerleading role like he did last season…..  The Pistons ended the preseason with a 3-6 record, losing 102-95 in their preseason finale against the Minnesota Timberwolves.  Richard Hamilton had 21 points in the losing effort.

Indiana Pacers

Injuries continue to hamper the Indiana Pacers this preseason.  In a preseason loss against the Denver Nuggets, G-Reggie Miller caught his hand in an opponent’s jersey, breaking his hand.  Initially thinking it was just a jammed finger, x-rays revealed a broken hand.  Miller will be out the first 6-8 weeks of the season.  Miller joins other hurt pacers F-Jermaine O’Neal (foot), F-Jeff Foster (hip), G-Anthony Johnson (hand), G/F Jonathan Bender (knee), and rookie C-David Harrison (shoulder)……  F-Jermaine O’Neal, the team’s leader, is questionable for the team’s opening game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.  X-rays revealed a strained ligament in his injured foot, but O’Neal’s teammates have been speaking optimistically about his availability to play…..  The Pacers picked up the 4th year option of G-Fred Jones.  Jones, who was surprisingly drafted 14th overall in the 2001 draft, had played sparingly during his first two seasons, although he has been making significant improvements.  Coach Rick Carlise is impressed by the rookie though, particularly his defensive play.  He should be playing a more predominant role this season especially with recent injuries to Reggie Miller and Anthony Johnson.  

Miami Heat

Newly acquired C-Shaquille O’Neal is ready to begin his quest of bringing an NBA title for his new team, although he is a game-time decision with a strained left hamstring for the Heat’s opening game against the New Jersey Nets in New Jersey.  Team officials are contemplating resting him for the Heat’s home opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers……  The starting lineup is set according to coach Stan Van Gundy.  The team will start: PG-Dwayne Wade, SG-Eddie  Jones, SF-Rasual Butler, PF-Udonis Haslen, and C-Shaquille O’Neal.  Players that should see significant minutes of the bench are C-Michael Doleac, G-Damon Jones, F-Malik Allen and G-Wesley Person…..  The Heat finished their preseason campaign with a 3-4 record, losing their preseason finale 109-103 against the Orlando Magic.  In that game, Shaquille had 24 points and 8 rebounds in the losing effort.     

Milwaukee Bucks

Coach Terry Porter has yet to make a decision between Zaza Pachulia or Dan Gadzuric at center.  He plans to use a 9 man rotation with starters PG- Mike James, SG-Michael Redd, SF-Keith Van Horn, PF-Joe Smith, and either Pachulia or Gadzuric at center.  G/F-Desmond Mason, F-Toni Kukoc, and G-Mo Williams will get significant minutes of the bench…..  The Bucks announced before the game that they had reduced their roster to 16 players by requesting waivers on guard Tommy Adams, forward Juaquin Hawkins and center Jelani McCoy……  F-Zendon Hamilton will miss six weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery.  Hamilton was injured in a preseason game at Dallas on Oct. 19……The Bucks finished the preseason with a 4-4 record.  They loss their preseason finale against the Memphis Grizzlies 99-92.  G-Michael Redd led the team with 20 points. 

New Jersey Nets

G-Jason Kidd will begin the Net’s regular season on the injured list.  Nursing a sore left knee, there is no timetable on the all-star point guard’s return…..  The Nets signed C-Jason Collins to a four-year, $24 million contract extension through the 2008-09 season.  Collins averaged a career-best 5.9 points and 5.1 rebounds last season, his third…..  Although it may change, coach Larry Frank named his starting lineup: PG-Jacque Vaughn (in place of an injured Jason Kidd), SG-Ron Mercer (ahead of Rodney Buford), SF-Richard Jefferson, PF-Eric Williams (over Brian Scalabrine), and C-Jason Collins…..  The Nets finished the preseason with a 4-4 record, including a preseason finale victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.  G-Richard Jefferson led the team with 24 points, 12 rebounds, and C-Alonzo Mourning chipped in 12 points in 19 minutes of play in his first NBA game since less than a year ago when the former all-star received a kidney transplant. 

New York Knicks

The Knicks placed G-Allan Houston (left knee), G-Jamison Brewer (big toe), and C- Bruno Sundov (archilles tendon) on the injured list Monday.  Houston, a key component to the team, has given no indications when he will return…..  The Knicks starting lineup for their regular season opening game against the Minnesota Timberwolves is: PG-Stephan Marbury, SG-Jamal Crawford, SF-Tim Thomas, PF-Kurt Thomas and C-Nazr Mohammed.  G/F-Penny Hardaway, F-Michael Sweetney, F/C-Vin Baker, and F-Trevor Ariza will be key bench contributors…..  The Knicks finished the preseason with a 5-3 record, and won their preseason finale 89-83 against the Utah Jazz.  Tim Thomas scored 23 points, including 19 in the third quarter, to lead the Knicks.  

Orlando Magic

The Magic traded G-Keith Bogans to the Charlotte Bobcat for F-Brandon Hunter.  General Manager John Weisbroad said he was unhappy to get rid of Bogans but the excess number of guards in Orlando made him expendable.  With Hunter, the Magic receives a tough interior presence who won’t back down from anyone…..  After four years, four surgeries, four training camps, a whole lot of ice and even more questions about how he feels, F-Grant Hill says his left ankle is finally free of pain, and is ready to tackle the new season.  Hill has played in only 47 games since the Magic obtained him for $92.8 million over seven years in a sign-and-trade deal with Detroit in the summer of 2000…..  The Magic finished the preseason with a 4-3 record, winning their final preseason game 103-109 against the Miami Heat.  New additions G-Steve Francis and G-Cuttino Mobley, acquired for G-Tracy McGrady, had 22 and 17 points respectively to lead the Magic. 

Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers placed 11-year veteran F-Glenn Robinson on the injured list Monday with left ankle tendonitis, and will try to trade the former No. 1 pick.  The emergence of rookie F- Andre Iguodala has made Robinson expendable.  Recently, Iguodala was named to the starting SF spot over Robinson.  The team also placed veteran G-Kevin Ollie (left hip pointer) and G-John Salmons (groin strain) on the injured list to get down to the 12-man roster limit…..  G-John Salmons had his forth year option picked up by the team.  He is slated to make $1.67 million next year, a raise from the $925,680 he’ll make this year.  The 6-7 Salmons averaging 6.2 points and 2.5 rebounds last season…..  The Sixers will be traveling to Boston for their regular season opener, in a homecoming for new coach Jim O’Brien, who coached the Celtics last season…..  The Sixers finished their preseason campaign with a promising 6-2 record, but lost their preseason finale against the New York Knicks 96-94.  F-Kenny Thomas and F-Andre Iguodala had 15 points apiece in the losing effort. 

Toronto Raptors

G-Vince Carter is in court in South Carolina, testifying against his former agent, William ’Tank’ Black, who is suing Carter, wants $9 million in commissions for endorsement deals that he landed for Carter, as well as $5 million in damages, according to the suit filed last year.  Carter is counter-suing Black…..  G-Jalen Rose will be involved in basketball commentary for Canada’s sports network, TSN.  Rose has had experience on television, and has gained a reputation as an eloquent and knowledgeable personality…..  The Raptors have made no changes to the roster entering their season-opening game against the Houston Rockets.  It was widely speculated that non-guaranteed players, F-Matt Bonner and F-Pape Sow were on the bubble, however with injuries to G-Alvin Williams, G-Milt Palacio and F-Jerome Moiso, the Raptors have retained them…..  Coach Sam Mitchell is expected to field a starting lineup of PG-Rafer Alston, SG-Vince Carter, SF-Jalen Rose, PF-Chris Bosh, and C-Loren Woods for their opening game.  Alvin Williams (knee), Jerome Moiso, and Pape Sow will be on the injured list…..  The Raptors finished the preseason with a 2-5 record, but ended with a high note defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 100-92.  G-Vince Carter scored 20 points and F-Donyell Marshall had 16 points, 10 rebounds to lead the Raptors. 

Washington Wizards

The Wizards and C-Brendan Haywood have agreed to a 5 year, $25-million contract extension.  Haywood averaged 7 points, 5 rebounds and a team-high 1.3 blocks last season, his third with the Wizards.  Haywood will be serving a 3-game sentence for his involvement in a fight against Chicago’s F-Antonio Davis and F-Eddie Curry in a preseason game…..  It is unknown when former first overall draft pick, F-Kwame Brown will return to play for the team.  Brown has undergone surgery to repair a broken foot, which he suffered in a summer pickup game.  He set career highs by averaging 10.9 points and 7.4 rebounds last season…..  The Wizards finished the preseason with a 3-5 record.  They lost their preseason finale 97-87 to the Los Angeles Lakers.  G-Larry Hughes led the team with 15 points.