Eastern Notes: Vucevic, Haslem, Cavaliers, Barton, Bulls

Bulls star center Nikola Vucevic is “totally fine” with accepting a reduced offensive role — so long as the team continues to win, Sam Smith of NBA.com writes. Vucevic is averaging just 13.8 points per game on 14.1 shots attempted this season, down from 24.5 points on 20.6 shots with the Magic last year.

“Obviously, my role is a little different than what I had offensively last year when I came here than with Orlando,” Vucevic said as part of a larger quote. “There’s more talent and more guys who can score. So it’s a little different offensively for me.

“So I just try to do different things, passing, defensively rebounding; there are many ways you can impact the game, screening and doing other things that I can to help the team. When you have so much talent around you, you have to adjust, a little bit change your game and play a different way. And that’s what I’ve been trying to do.”

The Bulls have opened the season at 6-2, good for the third-best record in the East and fifth-best in the league. The franchise is motivated to return to the playoffs this season after missing the tournament four straight years.

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference:

  • Heat veteran Udonis Haslem envisions having an ownership stake in the franchise one day, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. Haslem has won three championships with the team, playing 861 regular-season and 147 playoff games over the course of his 19-year career. “Even with so much going on in my life, this organization would be a top priority, a major priority for me,” Haslem said as part of a larger quote. “There’s no way I can be a part of this and not focus on moving the needle. I think everything that I’ve been about these last couple of years has been focused on moving the needle, has been from a position of ‘How can I impact winning without playing?’ Well, you see how I impact winning without being on the court.”
  • The Cavaliers are brimming with confidence to start the season, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes. The team is coming off a hard-fought victory against the Raptors, winning 102-101 on the road. “There’s something special brewing in that locker room,” said head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who’s guided the team to a 6-4 record thus far. “Everybody wants to be a part of it.”
  • The Bulls promised to draft Nuggets guard Will Barton with the No. 29 pick in 2012, the veteran told Mike Singer of the Denver Post (podcast link). Chicago ultimately drafted Marquis Teague, while Barton was selected at No. 40 by Portland. “It created a monster,” Barton said.
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