The Bulls have had the best record in the NBA for two consecutive seasons, but with Derrick Rose out, they could have a tough time simply recording the best record in the Central Division this year, with the Pacers waiting to pounce. The Bucks, Cavs and Pistons probably aren't division title contenders this year, but they're all arguably improved from last season, meaning the Central figures to be more competitive than it has been in recent years. We'll round up the latest from the division here:
- K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes that playing without Rose will not be an unprecedented situation for the Bulls. The 2011 MVP missed 27 games in the 2011/12 season.
- Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Plain Dealer tweets that there is a 50-50 chance Cavs coach Byron Scott will begin to cut players from the training camp roster after Cleveland's Tuesday preseason game.
- Luke Walton said this week the Cavs haven't approached him about a buyout, but Bob Finnan of the News-Herald believes it isn't out of the question that the team would let him go. Walton is due $6.091MM this year in the final season of a six-year, $30MM contract.
- Scott is impressed with Walton's conditioning, and the 32-year-old forward says he's in better shape than he's been in the past four years, reports Schmitt Boyer. "Can he make the team? Yeah, I think he can make the team, to be honest with you," Scott said. "We’ve got some other tough decisions that I have to make in the next couple of weeks, but right now I’m enjoying the fact that these guys are making it hard on me, which is good."
- K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune checks in with Marko Jaric as he tries to return to the NBA with the Bulls. Chicago doesn't have enough money under its $70.307MM hard cap to put Jaric on the regular season roster for opening day, but the Bulls would be able to add him in late November, when the veteran's minimum pro-rates down to a figure that will fit.
- MLive's David Mayo chronicles the struggles that Pistons rookies are having in camp, and says big man Slava Kravtsov appears to be the farthest along of any of them right now.