Eastern Notes: Ujiri, Markkanen, Pangos, Pacers

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri admits his franchise is in a transition phase, Gilbert McGregor of NBA.com relays. Ujiri discussed the state of the team with Jayme Poisson on CBC’s Front Burner podcast.

“We are not a team of ‘now,'” Ujiri said. “There are going to be growing pains, trust me, you know like, sometimes it’s going to be tough to watch but we know what’s coming, we know we’re excited about the young talent. They are excited to play – to see how, OG (Anunoby), Pascal (Siakam), Fred (VanVleet), are going to evolve as leaders – as elite players.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Lauri Markkanen, acquired by the Cavaliers from the Bulls in a sign-and-trade, says he’ll bring his new team more than just a stretch four option on offense, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. “Obviously I’m seven feet but I feel like I can do a lot of different stuff. I’m not strictly a post-up guy,” Markkanen said. “I’m not strictly a 3-point shooter. I’ve been shooting more 3s now but I feel I can do a lot more stuff — put the ball on the floor and create for others from there. That’s what I’m looking forward to doing. Just be active on both ends of the floor.”
  • The Cavaliers will use a portion of their mid-level exception to sign point guard Kevin Pangos, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Pangos agreed to a two-year, $3.5MM contract with a first-year salary of $1.67MM. Pangos is receiving $700K above the rookie minimum, Marks notes.
  • The biggest upgrade the Pacers made this offseason was on the sidelines, Zach Harper of The Athletic opines. While the front office acquired a couple of potentially important role players, the key move was hiring Rick Carlisle for a second stint as their head coach. Carlisle replaces Nate Bjorkgren, who quickly fell out of favor with the team’s players and even his staff, Harper adds.
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