Central Notes: Middleton, George, Jackson

Khris Middleton refuses to bring up the subject of his impending restricted free agency even with his agent, as he tells Grantland’s Zach Lowe. “It’s a little awkward” to share an agent with Bucks coach Jason Kidd, Middleton also admits. The forward’s agent is Mike Lindeman of Excel Sports Management, while Kidd’s relationship with Excel founder Jeff Schwartz has been a flashpoint for controversy. Union executive director Michele Roberts indicated in November that she would take a tougher stance on a rarely enforced rule that bars agents from representing both coaches and players. Kidd also has a significant measure of player personnel control for the Bucks. There’s more on Middleton amid the latest from the Central Division:

  • Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird tells Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com that he expects George will play for the Pacers at some point this season, adding that he believes George has received medical clearance to do so (Twitlonger link).

Earlier updates:

  • Middleton told Lowe for the same piece that he loves living in Milwaukee but expressed reservations about the Bucks‘ deadline-day trade that sent out Brandon Knight and Kendall Marshall and netted Michael Carter-Williams, Miles Plumlee and Tyler Ennis. “Yeah. It was tough, man,” Middleton said about learning of the trade. “We had things rolling before the All-Star break. We thought we’d just get back on track rolling after the break, too. But it’s a business. They thought it was a good trade for the team, so, I mean, we’ll see.”
  • The Bucks prevailed upon the Pistons to include Middleton in the 2013 Knight/Brandon Jennings trade, and the experience of getting traded left Middleton with some painful feelings at first, as Lowe also details.
  • Paul George insisted today that there is no timetable for his return as he continues to recover from his broken leg, and he denied a report that the Pacers were targeting this week for his comeback, tweets Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star.
  • Reggie Jackson says Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy is “making it easy” as he’s turned him loose for Detroit, observes Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. Jackson hinted that he would have been OK with staying on the Thunder, who have a better shot at the playoffs, but he’s glad that his duties are more well-defined on the Pistons, notes Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald“It’s good,” Jackson said of knowing his role. “That’s one less monkey on my back. Wherever I got my shot was where I was going to get my shot. I was just vocal about what I wanted my shot to be, and some people were mad about that. Some people understood where I was coming from. But it’s always been about getting out there and competing.”

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