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Eastern Notes: Okafor, Stokes, Jennings

Sixers rookie center Jahlil Okafor has already experienced various offcourt incidents, but he and the team look at them as an opportunity for growth, Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune writes. “Those of us who know him or get a chance to talk to him, all you have to do is look at him and let him interact and you see there’s goodness in him,” coach Brett Brown said. “He’s a good guy. The situation that happened was unfortunate. He was ashamed, he was embarrassed. That seems like a distant memory.

I’m sure there are scars, but raising anybody in the NBA, let alone somebody that has a profile like he has at 19 years old, there are challenges all over the place,” Brown continued. “In a twisted way, I hope we look back at that experience — all of us, from a program’s perspective, from his perspective — and it toughens him up, it hardens him, it teaches him a real hard life lesson. We’re with him. I am personally with him. I’m very fond of him.

Here’s more from the East:

  • The Pistons have not discussed any potential trades regarding injured point guard Brandon Jennings, Aaron McMann of relays. “We haven’t one talk with anybody about him,” coach/executive Stan Van Gundy said. “I just think that people assume that with Reggie Jackson here and the way Brandon played last year, I think people just make that assumption. He’s no more or less available than anybody else we have. Until he’s back on the court and playing, there’s nothing to even talk about. My preference is, that when he’s fully healthy, he’s able to help us. That’s my preference. I’ve even talked to him about a vision going forward where he helps us even beyond this. But right now, we’re just trying to get him back.”
  • Bulls center Joakim Noah‘s minutes have been down this season, though according to coach Fred Hoiberg, that is more a product of the team’s frontcourt depth than a decline in the big man’s performance, K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune relays. “That’s the luxury, slash, problem we have with our bigs,” Hoiberg said. “It’s not always going to be the same guy. Taj Gibson finished the last game with Pau Gasol. Nikola Mirotic has finished a lot of games for us. And it was Jo [Saturday]. That’s what we have. We’ve got the depth to play different lineups and go with the guy that’s getting the job done.
  • The Heat have recalled power forward Jarnell Stokes from their D-League affiliate in Sioux Falls, the team announced. Stokes has appeared in seven games during his two stints with the Skyforce, averaging 18.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.29 steals, 1.14 blocks in 29.0 minutes per contest.

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