Eastern Notes: Whiteside, Cavs, Barac

Heat center Hassan Whiteside had worked out for the Wolves back in 2012 after being released by the Kings. But Minnesota chose not to sign the big man, who is having a breakout season in Miami, due to reported maturity issues, something that Whiteside has overcome, Joseph Goodman of The Miami Herald writes. “He fell through the cracks as much as anything because of whether it was people questioned his work ethic, they questioned him off the court in some situations and they questioned his discipline,” Minnesota’s president of basketball operations Flip Saunders said. “He has matured. Sometimes young players, when he came out he rose so fast at Marshall, sometimes what happens is they’re not ready for that, they’re not ready for the NBA and everything that comes with it, and they think once they’re there everything is going to fall into place. So, I think more than anything he has matured and he has paid dues.

Here’s more from the East:

  • LeBron James said that he would be willing to come off of the bench if it would help the Cavs continue to win, Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com writes. “It’s about a team and how we all fit together, how the five guys on the court fit together, how the eight guys or 10 guys on the bench all help the guys that are on the floor and so on and so on,” James said. “So, sacrifice is the biggest word in team sports, but it’s not about saying it. It’s about doing it, as well. It’s about living it.
  • Cavs coach David Blatt downplayed Kevin Love‘s recent struggles and called attention to the contributions Love provides that don’t make it into the box score, McMenamin adds. “I think Kevin is very much in the flow of the game and is playing both ends of the court,” Blatt said. “The last thing I really worry about with Kevin Love is if he is going to score. He’s a proven scorer in this league and a proven high-level scorer. And he’s helping the team win. He’s playing to win and that’s really what both concerns me and what impresses me about him, is he’s been willing to do whatever it takes to help us win and that’s what we want.
  • Pacers draft-and-stash prospect Stanko Barac, whom the team was reportedly looking to sign to a deal, won’t be able to leave Cedevita Zagreb until this summer, Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype.com reports. Barac’s contract doesn’t contain a NBA out clause, which will prevent the 7’2″ Croatian from joining Indiana this season, Sierra notes.
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