Central Notes: Love, James, Jackson, Bucks

The playoffs will shed a lot of light on Kevin Love and his future in Cleveland, writes Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report. Love can become a free agent by opting out this summer, and although he has stated his intentions are to remain with the Cavaliers, some around the league wouldn’t be convinced of that unless Cleveland wins the title this year, as Skolnick details. He has become the third option in Cleveland and his usage rate has fallen to 21.7%, the lowest since his rookie season in Minnesota. Obviously, he went there with LeBron to win a championship,” former Timberwolves assistant Bill Bayno said of the offseason deal that sent Love to Cleveland. “I think he had an idea his role would be a little different, I don’t think he knew it would be this different.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • LeBron James told Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com that he will take responsibility for giving Love a bigger role in the offense during the postseason. “I think Kevin has not had the season that he’s accustomed to having the past few years,” James said, “but in order for us to win, Kevin Love has to play at a high level, and it’s my job to help him get to that point as well.” Like Love, James can opt out and become a free agent this summer, but there seems to be little chance of him leaving Cleveland.
  • The Pistons finally started getting the production they expected from Reggie Jackson toward the end of the season, according to Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. Acquired from the Thunder in a deadline deal, Jackson averaged 20 points, 11 assists and 4.8 rebounds over his final 16 games in Detroit. “If you look at his numbers over the last third of the year, he’s going to be top seven or eight point guard in the league over that time,” said coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy. Jackson will be a free agent this summer, but he is expected to stay in Detroit.
  • The Bucks are running short on time to start building their new arena, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. The franchise is under an NBA-imposed deadline to have a new facility completed or near completion by 2017. With government budgets due by the end of June, funding must be secured quickly. “The arena is a two-year process,” said Michael Fascitelli, a member of the Bucks’ ownership group who is leading the arena development.  “Every day is critical.” 

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