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Eastern Notes: Budenholzer, Crawford, Nets

The Nets won’t necessarily be gunning for the top players in the free agent market this summer, but instead, will be seeking players with high character and a strong work ethic who are on the verge of breaking out, Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com relays (ESPN Now link). “I think veteran leadership is important,” coach Kenny Atkinson said regarding what kind of players the team would be targeting. “I think undervalued guys, guys that might be under the radar and can produce and maybe not necessarily the big star, maybe we’re not in position to get that guy and really guys like Isaiah Whitehead that fill the characteristics we’re looking for — hardworking, high character, high basketball IQ is important for us and competitors.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • After dealing Victor Oladipo to the Thunder, the Magic are extremely interested in unrestricted free agent guard Jamal Crawford, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets.
  • Hawks coach/executive Mike Budenholzer has been found not guilty of DUI charges stemming from a 2013 traffic stop, The Associated Press relays. Budenholzer relayed that he believes the trooper may have been confused about him being impaired because the coach has chronic redness around his eyes, previous ankle injuries and a foot surgery that causes imbalance, according to the report.
  • Despite not being able to pull off a big draft night trade to land a star player, the Celtics‘ players are still behind team executive Danny Ainge and believe he did the right thing by not pulling the trigger on any of the rumored deals Boston was linked to, Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com notes (ESPN Now link). “We trust Danny [Ainge] and we believe in Danny. And we know Danny made the right decision. We stand behind him 100%,” point guard Marcus Smart told Forsberg.
  • New Magic coach Frank Vogel is bringing over Spurs assistant Chad Forcier to join his coaching staff in Orlando, Marc Stein of ESPN.com tweets.
  • The Sixers are expected to exercise their 2016/17 team option for swingman Hollis Thompson, Derek Bodner of Philadelphia magazine tweets. Thompson is scheduled to earn $1,015,696 next season.

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