Eastern Notes: Jennings, Butler, Biyombo

Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings is growing tired of all the trade speculation and questions regarding his next contract, when all he really wants to do is focus on returning to form as he makes his way back from an Achilles injury, David Mayo of MLive relays. “The worst stuff, the stuff I’m tired of getting asked about, is my contract for one, if I’m going to be here next year, and if I’m going to start. Obviously, you guys have heard the trade rumors,” Jennings said. “All I get is Knicks feed in my Twitter mentions. So it’s kind of like, all right, we just won last night, how about our game? How about this person played bad, this person played good? I’m just getting all types of questions that has nothing to do with how I feel or how I’m playing.

Here’s the latest out of the Eastern Conference:

  • With the Magic‘s record currently sitting at 20-17 and the franchise holding a half-game lead over the Celtics for the final playoff spot in the East, the team is facing unfamiliar pressure to win while rebuilding, Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel writes. Orlando is a team still learning how to compete and close out games, and the question still remains as to whether or not the past few seasons of losing basketball has impacted the players’ outlooks, Schmitz adds.
  • The Bulls‘ offense is starting to round into the form the franchise envisioned when it hired coach Fred Hoiberg this past offseason, and it is due to the team moving the ball and playing unselfishly, Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com writes. Much of the credit should go to Jimmy Butler, who is playing less one-on-one ball and more within Hoiberg’s system since his comments regarding the coach’s laid-back coaching style caused a stir, Friedell adds. “I think we all got a lot of love for each other,” Butler said. “Everybody wants to see everybody be successful. That’s why we’re winning games. We’re buying into any given night. It could be anybody that’s scoring. It could be anybody that’s got it going. You get the ball to them and they’ll take us where we need to go. But that’s special just showing how much everybody wants everybody else to be successful.”
  • The struggles on the defensive end the Hornets are enduring can’t be placed solely on the absence of small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but on the organization’s offseason focus to add more offense, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes. Bonnell points to the Hornets’ decision to allow Bismack Biyombo depart as a free agent without so much as tendering him a qualifying offer, and the team’s failure to add a rim protector to replace the center, who signed with the Raptors over the summer.

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