Central Rumors: Bulls, Walsh, Hammond, Pistons

The Bulls figure to have a tough time repeating their success of the past two seasons with Derrick Rose injured and most of their key reserves playing elsewhere. Still, they have the advantage of playing in the NBA's easiest division, according to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, who believes they'll be able to tread water and come up with 46 wins, likely enough for a playoff berth. If Rose is back, a higher seed probably won't want to see Chicago in the first round, but until then, here's the latest on a few teams trying to benefit from the Bulls' misfortune.

  • Donnie Walsh is back in familiar surroundings as Pacers president of basketball operations after a stint in the Knicks front office, as Harvey Araton of The New York Times examines in a lengthy feature. Walsh admits his recovery from spinal cord surgery, which forced him to meet with LeBron James unprepared and in a wheelchair, affected the team's pitch for the superstar in 2010, and the 71-year-old doesn't envision himself as a long-term solution for the Pacers.
  • Though he's not expected to give Brandon Jennings a long-term extension this month, Bucks GM John Hammond is confident his backcourt of Jennings and Monta Ellis can work, and sees the Pacers and Jazz as small-market models to follow, as Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe details. "The goal today is not to make trades," Hammond said. "The goal today is to try to find a way to keep some of these young pieces together and build with this young nucleus but continue to keep a fair salary structure that will give us flexibility to change and improve this team."
  • Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press looks at how the Pistons are moving against the small-ball trend.
  • The Pistons' rotation is starting to take shape, as Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News examines. 
  • A more competitive on-court product this season is critical for the business side of the Pistons, argues Tom Walsh of the Detroit Free Press.
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