Eastern Notes: Bazemore, Pistons, Whiteside, Lin

The HawksKent Bazemore stands to significantly increase his $2MM salary as he heads toward free agency, but he tells Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe that he has been too busy to think about it. “Honestly, I haven’t had time,” Bazemore said. “It’s been a very aggressive year as far as scheduling, as far as the physical and mental load. I think in December, I had already played 300 more minutes than I had the whole last year. So physically, it was a lot.” Bazemore probably attracted a lot of suitors by averaging 11.6 points and 5.1 rebounds in his first full year as a starter with the Hawks. He was the team’s fourth-leading scorer and third-leading rebounder. Although he can expect to get plenty of offers this summer, Bazemore’s first choice is to remain in Atlanta. “Being able to be out there and play through your mistakes and have a coach [Mike Budenholzer] who takes it personal to coach you,” Bazemore said. “He loves my competitiveness and I love how competitive he is. It’s a match made in heaven.”

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Cleveland’s 3-0 lead over the Pistons in their playoff series has helped expose some of the changes that need to be made this offseason, according to David Mayo of MLive. The team could use another player who can create off the dribble, Mayo writes, along with more shooters and a reliable backup point guard. The Pistons will also look at what Tobias Harris has brought to the team since he was acquired in February and see how to compensate for the weaknesses in Andre Drummond‘s game.
  • The Heat were hurt by not having the taxpayer’s mid-level exception available last season, writes Bobby Marks of The Vertical. Miami had to use its room mid-level, which limits contracts to two years, to sign free agent center Hassan Whiteside. He emerged into a player who may demand a max contract this summer, and the Heat don’t own his Bird rights because he only had a two-year deal.
  • The hiring of coach Kenny Atkinson, who was Jeremy Lin‘s mentor with the Knicks, could give the Hornets point guard a reason to come to Brooklyn, according to NetsDaily. The Nets need backcourt help and may be interested in Lin, who passed on a $3.5MM mini-mid level offer from Brooklyn last season.

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