Eastern Notes: Muscala, Jennings, Raptors

Updating an earlier note, former Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo reveals that the 2011/12 season is when he tried to tank the team’s performance for a better draft pick, according to Sam Amick of USA Today. Colangelo says the losing mentality was limited to the roster’s assembly. “I didn’t ‘come out and say, ‘Coach (Dwane Casey), you’ve got to lose games.’ I never said that. I wanted to have him establish a winning tradition and a culture and all of that, but I wanted to do it in the framework of playing and developing young players, and with that comes losing.” Here’s more from the Eastern Conference, home to a few teams suspected of tanking this year:

  • Dwane Casey is still the Raptors coach, and declined to comment on the tanking season in retrospect, per Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun (via Twitter).
  • Mike Muscala spoke with Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constituation about joining the Hawks earlier than expected. “I was surprised. I was playing in Spain and my agent called me and told me about it last week. My whole thought process was to play the entire year (in Spain) so it was definitely a surprise.” Muscala said he is pushing through nerves, uncertainty, and inexperience in an NBA system to gain the most from the final stretch of the season. “I’m not sure in terms of a role but what I should be focusing on is putting more pressure on the rim offensively and defensively, getting rebounds offensively and defensively, playing with the skill I have in the pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop situation.”
  • Brandon Jennings doesn’t think fired Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks received a fair shot before Detroit let him go, he tells David Mayo of MLive.com“You give a coach a half-a-season, with new faces and new chemistry, that’s not enough time, I don’t think. I felt like he was basically in a losing situation.” Jennings is frustrated with Detroit’s struggles this season, after an offseason that was meant to turn them into a playoff team. “It’ll be very disappointing and kind of embarrassing, the fact that with myself coming over here, and Josh coming over here, and us making these moves, and we don’t get it done–it’s going to be real disappointing.”
  • Jennings also told Mayo he doesn’t know whether the rumors of Chauncey Billups and Josh Smith playing a part in Cheeks’ firing are true.
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