Central Rumors: Augustin, Bynum, Cheeks

D.J. Augustin remains the starting point guard for the Bulls even with Kirk Hinrich healthy again, a most unlikely scenario when the Raptors waived Augustin less than two months ago. Still, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau says he isn’t shocked to see the former ninth overall pick enjoy a renaissance, observes Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune.

“We knew he had the capability because he already had done it,” Thibodeau said. “His (four) years in Charlotte told you he was capable of playing well. And I thought he had some really good moments in Indiana (last season). … I knew he was hard to guard.”

The Pacers hope their midseason addition of Andrew Bynum pays off just as well, and there’s news on that amid our look at the Central Division:

  • The Heat spoke with Bynum before he signed with the Pacers this past weekend, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, who tucks the news into his latest power rankings. Still, Pacers president Larry Bird called the notion that the team inked the center just to keep him from the Heat “about the dumbest thing I ever heard.”
  • Pistons owner Tom Gores said this weekend that he doesn’t think the roster is performing up to its capabilities, and coach Maurice Cheeks admits he should be doing a better job of preparing the team to play, notes Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Cheeks has a guaranteed contract through 2015/16 with a team option for 2016/17, but that probably wouldn’t keep Gores from firing him this summer if the Pistons don’t start performing better, MLive’s David Mayo opines. Mayo also senses pressure on president of basketball operations Joe Dumars, who’s in the final year of his deal.
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