Central Notes: Deng, Pacers, Bulls

Anthony Bennett appears to have turned around his season, averaging nearly 20 minutes per game this month for the Cavs, with a boost in production. “I’m just more relaxed on the court, going out there not really thinking about too much, not thinking about the plays or who needs to get the ball where. I just need to go out there play my game, play hard, rebound and then things will start flowing,” Bennett said, according to Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto SunHere’s a look at what else is happening around the Central Division:

  • Cavs guard Jarrett Jack was a heavily discussed trade candidate as the trade deadline came and went, but tells Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer that the rumors didn’t affect him much. 
  • In the same piece, Luol Deng said that all of the contract talk from this year has been “exhausting,” and that his perspective on the Cavs is incomplete as he heads toward free agency, when he will decide whether to stay with the team that traded for him earlier this year: “It’s just the same thing everybody wants. The guy who brought me here [former GM Chris Grant] is not here, and now we have [current GM David Griffin] and Griff is an interim. Those two guys are who really brought me here. I really don’t know if Griff is going to be the GM or what’s going on. I know the direction the organization is going and how everything has been set up. I’ve been happy with that from day one.”
  • The Bulls might be interested in adding Ben Gordon if the Bobcats buy out his contract as expected, per Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Gordon was an impact player for Chicago in his first five seasons in the NBA.
  • Speaking of the pool of players being bought out or waived, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said that any player added by Chicago won’t wind up a forgotten man on the end of the bench, per K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune.
  • The Pacers are sad to lose former face of the franchise Danny Granger after Thursday’s trade with the Sixers, but the team isn’t questioning the front office’s championship-or-bust mentality that brought about the trade, writes Mark Montieth of NBA.com.
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