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Central Notes: Middleton, Pistons, Cavaliers

The BucksKhris Middleton can expect a huge jump in salary when he hits restricted free agency next month, according to Gene Sapakoff of The Post and Courier. The versatile 24-year-old, who made $915K last season, could command an annual salary in the range of $13M to $15M, Sapakoff writes. After seeing limited playing time as a rookie in 2012/13, Middleton blossomed into a valuable player the past two seasons, ranking among the top 10 this year in ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus ratings“I didn’t play too many games my first year,” Middleton said. “I was a little nervous. Well, I wouldn’t say nervous but I just wasn’t comfortable I guess. Now I feel like I know what I’m doing out there and I know my style and the game comes to be a lot easier.” Milwaukee is hoping to keep Middleton as part of a young foundation that includes Giannis AntetokounmpoMichael Carter-Williams and Jabari Parker.

There’s more news from the Central Division:

  • The Pistons aren’t counting on signing Golden State’s Draymond Green in free agency this summer, tweets Vincent Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. Although Detroit would love to add Green to its roster, the front office believes the Warriors will match any offer the restricted free agent receives.
  • Tristan Thompson has eased the Cavaliers’ pain after losing Kevin Love to injury in the first round of the playoffs, according to Carl Steward of the San Jose Mercury News. Love, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent July 1, tore his shoulder while chasing a loose ball in an April 26 game against Boston. Thompson stepped into the starting lineup and has averaged a double-double in his place. “It’s my job to be a little nasty, bring the energy, protect the paint and protect our guys,” he said. Thompson will be a restricted free agent this summer.
  • The Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving had successful surgery this morning on his fractured left kneecap, the team announced. He is not expected to resume basketball activity for three to four months.

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