Central Notes: Crowder, Portis, Leonard, Hampton, Boylen

Jae Crowder and Bobby Portis have been through some memorable battles over the years, including the 2021 NBA Finals, but they’ve put any animosity behind them since becoming teammates, writes Lori Nickel of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

After Crowder was traded to the Bucks, he called Portis to invite him to work out together during the All-Star break. They joined teammate Joe Ingles for several days of training in Miami.

“Good guy, great guy, got nothing bad to say about him,” Portis said when asked about Crowder. “Sometimes you don’t know with guys because you play against guys all the time – and me and Jae always been the type of guys that kind of got into it. We always kind of bumped heads, but we bumped heads in a good way. We’re kind of similar; we brought intensity to the game, bring a chip on our shoulders.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Meyers Leonard is grateful to be back in the NBA after an absence that lasted nearly two years, per Jim Owczarski of The Journal-Sentinel. After signing a 10-day contract with the Bucks this week, Leonard met with the media to talk about the lessons he learned after being suspended for making an antisemitic comment in 2021. “It’s a mixed bag of emotions, for sure,” he said. “It’s certainly the hardest two-year stretch I’ve ever had in my life, as an adult, as a man. The truth is – let’s just cut to it – I made a really big mistake, the biggest mistake of my life. And it was an extremely difficult time because, first of all, just let me say to anybody who’s listening, I’m incredibly sorry. It was an ignorant mistake.”
  • R.J. Hampton played nearly five minutes Saturday afternoon in his debut with the Pistons, even though he hasn’t practiced with the team yet. Hampton signed with Detroit on Thursday after clearing waivers following his buyout with Orlando. “He’s a good defender, but most of all his athleticism and his size at the two guard is something we want to look at,” coach Dwane Casey told Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). 
  • Pacers coach Rick Carlisle talked to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files about the contributions of Jim Boylen, who has been serving as a consultant with the team in addition to his coaching duties with USA Basketball.
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