Central Rumors: Fredette, Bennett, Deng

Bulls center Nazr Mohammed tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times that growing friendships between players at the NBA level is changing the way teams are constructed. Mohammed says that animosity between rival players is no longer the norm. “AAU, social media, that’s all gone. Basketball on a high school level has just meshed all these kids from all over the country, especially with social media, so playing with each other at this level is no big deal. There’s no longer that dislike,” said the 15-year veteran. “Ultimately, it’s good for the league. You’ve got guys that like each other, want to play with each other. Why not? The collective-bargaining agreement is going to settle some of it because either guys are going to take huge pay cuts to play with their best friends or you can’t do it because of the CBA.” Here’s more from the Central division:

  • Steve Luhm of The Salt Lake Tribune thinks that the environment Jimmer Fredette now has with the Bulls will help him succeed. Luhm says the combination of great coaching, talented teammates, stable ownership, and skilled management–things he didn’t have with the Kings–create an ideal situation for the dead-eye shooter.
  • Anthony Bennett has improved his play after a disastrous start to the season, but the Cavs first-overall pick from the 2013 draft now faces a potential minutes reduction as Anderson Varejao returns from injury. Bob Finnan of The News-Herald says that Bennett needs to improve and get in better shape over the offseason if he wants to shed the perception that he’s a bust. 
  • In the same piece, Finnan says there is “no pretense whatsoever” that Luol Deng will re-sign with the Cavs this offseason, as Finnan is hearing from many that Deng is counting the days until he can flee Cleveland.
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