The Bucks can pull within a game of the eighth-place Knicks in the East tonight, and they couldn't ask for a better matchup — Milwaukee will host the Cavaliers, who have lost eight straight games and are coming off a 125-90 shellacking at the hands of the Spurs. Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain Dealer acknowledges that a team like the Cavs needs to go through years like this to build through the draft lottery, but wonders if all the losses will affect young players like Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, and Alonzo Gee. Here are a few more Wednesday morning links from out of the Central Division:
- Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and GM Gar Forman have both downplayed an ESPN.com report that suggested Thibodeau was unhappy with his contract situation. We heard yesterday that Forman and the Bulls initiated extension talks with the coach prior to the season and intend to resume them at season's end. Forman discussed this further with Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times, noting, "It’s our objective to have Tom as coach of the Bulls long-term, and I think it’s Tom’s objective to be the coach of the Bulls. Usually when your objectives are the same, you should be able to reach a resolution."
- Charlie Villanueva, who has only played 15 minutes all season, is growing increasingly frustrated by his role with the Pistons, writes Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News. Villanueva has two years and $16MM+ remaining on his contract after this season, and as Goodwill points out, the veteran forward could be an amnesty candidate. "I know this summer this will be addressed, my future will be talked about," Villanueva said. "I want to be here. But I'm a realist at the same time."
- Fellow Pistons big man Ben Wallace has stated repeatedly that he'll retire at season's end, but Wallace left himself some wiggle room with his most recent comments, says David Mayo of MLive.com.