Eastern Notes: Johnson, Blake, Drummond

Former Nets swingman Joe Johnson took some verbal swipes at a number of his former Brooklyn teammates, whom he blames for much of the team’s woes this season, Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily relays (via Twitter). “Honestly, this season in Brooklyn I was in a tough situation, playing with a lot of young guys, stat-chasing guys that really didn’t want to win,” Johnson said, “And in an organization that really was trying to put a team around guys like Brook Lopez, Thaddeus Young and myself to help us at least fight for a playoff spot. So when I sat back and looked at all that I realized it was no reason to even stick around for the fallout of the situation.” The veteran agreed to a buyout arrangement with the team in February that allowed Johnson to sign with the Heat.

Here’s more from the East:

  • Pistons owner Tom Gores reaffirmed the team’s intent to re-sign center Andre Drummond this summer despite his well-chronicled free throw issues, David Mayo of MLive notes. “We’ll talk about it this summer, but we want Andre,” Gores said. “So to me, I don’t think there’s a lot of question about it. Honestly, it’s how we feel about it.” The owner lauded what the 22-year-old center provided for the team rather than harp on Drummond’s anemic 35.5% mark from the charity stripe this season, Mayo adds. “I think he’s had a great year, an All-Star, more double-doubles [than anyone else in the NBA], and when you look at the other centers in the league — everybody’s got something [a weakness], but I’m proud of the 22-year-old man,” Gores said of Drummond. The big man is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, provided Detroit submits a qualifying offer worth $4,433,683, a move that is all but assured judging by Gores’ remarks.
  • Veteran point guard Steve Blake isn’t ready to retire just yet, having indicated that he would like to play in 2016/17, as Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press relays (via Twitter). Fellow unrestricted free agent Anthony Tolliver also said that he wants to return to the Pistons and “put down roots” in Detroit, Ellis adds.

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