Central Notes: Blake, Motiejunas, McRae

Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy downplayed the idea of a Brandon Jennings trade in the weeks leading up to the deadline, but Steve Blake nonetheless readied himself for more playing time in case a Jennings trade happened or a deal that sent Blake himself to another team took place, MLive’s David Mayo notes. Of course, the Pistons traded Jennings to the Magic and kept soon-to-be free agent Blake, who’s glad he’s stuck around.

“I easily could have ended up somewhere else,” Blake said, according to Mayo. “I was praying it wouldn’t happen but I knew it could happen. I knew it was a possibility.”

Reggie Jackson is a fan of his backup, acknowledging that he seeks advice from Blake, a 13th-year veteran, as Mayo also relays. See more on the Pistons amid news from the Central Division.

  • The Pistons aren’t worried about the implications of a grievance that the union is reportedly giving strong consideration to filing in the wake of the voided Donatas Motiejunas trade, Van Gundy said, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. The Pistons want to cultivate a reputation as a player-friendly organization, but they don’t think the flap over the failed deal, which prompted some harsh words from Motiejunas, will hurt the team.
  • Jordan McRae‘s potential to develop was one of the reasons the Cavaliers signed the 58th overall pick from 2014 to a two-year deal this week, GM David Griffin told Sam Amico of Amico Hoops. The sides decided against a second 10-day contract to strike a long-term deal after only a single 10-day stint. “He has fit in well, understands his role and embraces the opportunity he has to improve,” Griffin said. “Jordan has a unique combination of length and scoring ability, and we are intrigued by his versatility and upside.”
  • The Bulls have fallen flat this season, but injuries have played a major role in that, and the team would be unwise to execute a major overhaul in the summer, argues Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Jimmy Butler is a legitimate centerpiece and Derrick Rose is probably better than anyone they could trade him for, so the Bulls should concentrate on marginal changes instead, using their rookie contracts and Taj Gibson as trade bait, Berger contends.

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