Eastern Notes: Gortat, Budenholzer, Zeller, Hoiberg

The WizardsMarcin Gortat is upset about being singled out by coach Randy Wittman following Tuesday’s 24-point loss to the Thunder, writes Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. Wittman angrily said that even he could get one defensive rebound in 27 minutes, as Gortat did in the blowout. “I don’t think it was necessary to call me out in the media like that,” Gortat said. “But it happened. I heard a different story in training camp, that stuff like that won’t happen. But it happened. So I disagree with what he did.” Gortat still has four seasons left on a five-year, $60MM deal he signed in 2014.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Hawks released a statement this evening from coach/executive Mike Budenholzer explaining his absence from Friday’s game. On Friday morning, I returned to Atlanta from Boston to be with my family due to an emergency medical situation involving my wife,” Budenholzer wrote. “We are encouraged by her progress to this point and remain cautiously optimistic.” He promised to return to the team “as soon as possible.” Assistant Kenny Atkinson will continue to coach the team until Budenholzer returns, writes Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • The CelticsTyler Zeller, who was passed over for an extension earlier this month, is dealing with severely reduced playing time, according to Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com. Zeller has become the odd man out in Boston’s crowded frontcourt, getting just 14 minutes of court time over five games before his role was expanded in Friday’s victory over Atlanta. “Tyler’s a really good player. We just have a lot of bigs,” said coach Brad Stevens. “I don’t know how else to say it. We haven’t shot it great, so you want to play some guys that can stretch the floor and be guarded when the floor is stretched. And that leaves at least one person out.”
  • Despite a couple of disappointing losses to the Hornets and Wolves, Bulls president Michael Reinsdorf tells K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune he is completely happy with the performance of new coach Fred Hoiberg. “Fred connects with the players,” Reinsdorf said. “He connects with everyone he talks to because of his experience as a player, executive and coach at the college level.” This is Hoiberg’s first NBA coaching job after spending five years at Iowa State.

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