Central Rumors: Stephens, Hawes

The Cavs and Pistons both had their sights on a playoff berth heading into this season, and their failure to reach the postseason is even more disappointing considering the Eastern Conference’s overall weakness this year. The Pacers are the latest team to disappoint out of the Central, playing .500 ball since the All-Star break, and dropping to the second seed could prove costly if and when they try to advance past the Heat and into the Finals. Here’s more from the struggling division:

  • Former Bucks shooting guard D.J. Stephens will play with Turkey’s Anadolu Efes for the rest of the season, tweets Boston Globe correspondent Jake Fischer. Stephens joined Milwaukee on a 10-day contract last month.
  • Spencer Hawes has been a bright spot for the Cavs since coming over at the trade deadline, and he tells Jodie Valade of The Plain Dealer that he could see himself back with Cleveland next year. “I like it here, I think it’s a good fit,” said Hawes, who will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. “And when July comes you kind of see how the other side of the game, how that all fits together.”

  • For his part, Cavs coach Mike Brown tells Bob Finnan of The News-Herald that he likes the intensity that Hawes brings to the team. “I’d like all the guys back,” Brown said. “You know how that process goes.”

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