Central Notes: Martin, Butler, Knight, Love

We at Hoops Rumors want to wish all of our readers and their families a merry Christmas and a happy holiday season! While we wait for an exciting day of NBA action to tip off, let’s round up the latest from the Central Division:

  • The Cavs were struck with terrible news yesterday when they learned that Anderson Varejao would be sidelined for the remainder of the season with a torn Achilles. In wake of the injury, one free agent big man, Kenyon Martin, admitted he’d be interested in joining Cleveland if the team wanted to bring him aboard, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (on Twitter). “I’m definitely interested,” said the 36-year-old veteran. “I believe I can immediately help in that system. I’m healthy and ready to play now.” Signing Martin could help bolster their depth in the frontcourt, but the title-hopeful Cavs seem more likely to trade for a starting caliber center than to ink Martin.
  • Restricted free agent in waiting Jimmy Butler won’t call himself a star, but Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders writes that a lot of other people around the league are willing to say it for him. Butler’s career year has come on the heels of his decision to turn down a contract extension that would have paid him $11MM per season over the next four years, and although he’s has expressed a desire to stay with the Bulls, it will now likely cost the Chicago a lot more than that figure to keep Butler around after his stellar start to the year.
  • The BucksBrandon Knight is another soon-to-be restricted free agent who is making the most of his opportunity, argues John Zitzler of Basketball Insiders. Knight, the only Milwaukee player to start all 28 games, is averaging 17.5 points, 5.4 assists and 1.3 steals per contest. Knight has indicated a desire to stay with the Bucks, and Milwaukee can match any offer made to the 23-year-old this summer, but Zitzler speculates that the guard could get an offer of more than $12MM annually, similar to deals Kemba Walker and Kyle Lowry signed.
  • Flip Saunders is doing his best to move on from the Kevin Love fiasco and isn’t interested in talking about it anymore, as Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group observes. Before Tuesday’s Wolves-Cavs game, Saunders went out of his way to avoid mentioning Love by name, except for commenting, “From the league, I’m at liberty not really to talk about Kevin Love. So I can’t talk about him.” However, there is no such policy in place by the league, as Haynes points out, and Saunders openly discussed the Love deal as recently as Monday.

 Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

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