Central Notes: Smith, Jackson, Monroe

J.R. Smith is a “wild card” to stay with the Cavaliers this summer, according to Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon Journal. Smith, who has been an important part of the Cavaliers’ second-half surge, can opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent. However, he has expressed an enjoyment for playing in Cleveland, so his plans are unpredictable. Lloyd added that he expects restricted free agents Tristan Thompson and Iman Shumpert to both be retained.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • An important decision led Reggie Jackson to change his style of play and may have secured his future with the Pistons, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. After wanting for years to be a starting point guard with his own team to run, the early returns after his mid-season trade to Detroit were disastrous. In mid-March he chose to change his approach. “I decided if I’m going to go out and this isn’t going to work, I’m at least going to go out being myself,” Jackson said. His numbers have improved, the Pistons started winning and he seems likely to stay in Detroit when he hits free agency in June.
  • Greg Monroe is a good bet to leave the Pistons this summer, opines David Mayo of MLive. He sees little value in signing the unrestricted free agent unless it’s for a long-term contract that will seem like a bargain once the salary cap expands.
  • The BullsDoug McDermott may be frustrated about his lack of playing time, but Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders reports that he found a sympathetic ear from teammate Jimmy Butler. The Bulls’ break-out star and restricted-free-agent-to-be had a similar experience in his rookie season, appearing in just 42 games and averaging eight minutes of action. “He said he didn’t handle it nearly as well as I did,” McDermott said. “He’s got that attitude where it’s him against the world, and he felt like he should have been playing. He said he didn’t have a great attitude about it, that he didn’t go in a lot, wasn’t working on his game enough, but he told me if he were to go back he would’ve done it the opposite way, because that’s the way it works here.”

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