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Eastern Notes: Knicks, Whiteside, Barac

Pacers draft-and-stash prospect Stanko Barac is finally seeking an NBA deal, sources tell Shams Charania of RealGM. The 28-year-old has been playing overseas since becoming the 39th overall pick in 2007, and while he recently signed with Croatia’s Cedevita through the end of this season, he’d like to come stateside, Charania adds. The Pacers have kept an eye on him, but nothing is imminent, the RealGM scribe cautions. Indiana tried to sign him to a lucrative deal years ago to no avail, and there’s interest in him from other NBA teams, according to Charania, but it’s unclear whether any team wants to trade for his rights at this point. He’s one of two draft rights held players that the Pacers have, as Mark Porcaro’s Hoops Rumors database shows.

Here’s more from the East:

  • Phil Jackson indicated to Harvey Araton of The New York Times that the Knicks won’t necessarily chase star free agents this summer, and Marc Berman of The New York Post writes that there’s been a “feeling within the league” that New York will instead target multiple second-tier free agents. Berman names Paul Millsap, Wesley Matthews, Draymond Green, Goran Dragic, Tobias Harris and Greg Monroe as members of that second tier, and while some of them, like Monroe and Harris, have indeed been identified in other reports as Knicks targets, it’s unclear if Jackson is actually eyeing all of those players.
  • Elton Brand spoke with Luol Deng about the Danny Ferry controversy before re-signing with the Hawks, as Michael Lee of the Washington Post writes.  “He said, ‘I don’t understand why it’s in the report, but I forgive Danny and I’m ready to move on,’ ” Brand said of Deng. “So that helped me. As a team, we felt like that’s a management issue. That was up there. We still got to play, we still got to get our fans back.”
  • If Hassan Whiteside continues to show he’s a quality starting center, it will significantly impact what the Heat do and how they allocate their cap space over the next few years, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes.  Whiteside will be an unrestricted free agent n the summer of 2016.  If he keeps this up, Jackson writes that Miami will likely consider moving Josh McRoberts‘ hefty deal that pays him $5.8MM in 2016/17 and $6.02MM in 2017/18 (player option).

Chuck Myron and Zach Links contributed to this post.

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