Central Notes: Monroe, Copeland, Ellis

The Pacers finished one game shy of the NBA Finals last season, but the team is determined to keep pushing toward a title, observes Chris Mannix of SI.com. Indiana is 7-0 after a key win in Brooklyn last night, and with Paul George playing like an MVP, it seems there’s no ceiling on what the Pacers can do. Here’s more on them and their Central Division rivals:

  • Pistons power forward Greg Monroe says he’s not focusing on his upcoming restricted free agency, but he acknowledges that there’s extra motivation this year as he seeks a payday in the summer, as Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News observes. Monroe is off to a strong start, and Goodwill points to the big man’s superior career numbers compared to peers who signed max and near-max extensions last month.
  • Chris Copeland was the Pacers‘ most expensive free agent acquisition in the offseason, and while he hasn’t been in the team’s rotation so far, coach Frank Vogel still thinks he’ll play a key role, and Copeland remains pleased with his decision to sign. Fred Kerber of the New York Post has the details.
  • Monta Ellis turned down a more lucrative offer from the Bucks before signing a three-year, $25.08MM contract with Dallas this summer, and though he knew the Milwaukee fans would boo him when the Mavs visited last night, Ellis has no hard feelings toward the Bucks. Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has more from the one-night reunion. “It’s just how fans are,” Ellis said. “When I left this organization, everybody in this organization knew that Monta Ellis played every night, every minute, and he played hard, so that’s all that matters to me.”

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