Central Notes: Watson, Van Gundy, Monroe

Unrestricted free agent C.J. Watson would like to return to the Pacers next season, Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star relays (Twitter link). “I don’t even know yet,” Watson answered when asked if he would return to Indiana.”Hopefully I’ll be back here. I like it in Indy. I love the team and the atmosphere of the city. We’ll see what happens. It’s not really in my hands. So we’ll see.” The 30-year-old appeared in 57 games for Indiana this season, averaging 10.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in 24.9 minutes per night.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • Pistons owner Tom Gores says his belief in coach/executive Stan Van Gundy has only grown since he brought the veteran coach aboard, Keith Langlois of NBA.com writes. “I believe in Stan more today than the day I hired him,” said Gores. “Stan is his biggest critic. I’m very happy with him as a coach. I’m also very happy with him as president of basketball operations. We had the bad start. I think we’ve done what we need to accomplish this year.”
  • Gores also relayed that remaining in Detroit should be appealing to free agent Greg Monroe, Langlois adds. “He’ll have ownership and a coach that is behind him and a real base for his life going forward,” Gores said. “He has the ability to establish a foundation for us. But he’s a professional. Whatever Greg does, it’s going to be up to him. But he’s a real pro. He’s been with us a long time. I’ve never seen him do the wrong thing. He always does the right thing and I hope we can land Greg. And if we don’t, whoever lands him will be a very lucky franchise.
  • While he’s excited at the prospect of free agency, Monroe would have preferred the scenario where he was settled in with the Pistons for the long haul, Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press writes. “You guys have been around here for the past couple of years,” Monroe told Ellis. “I much rather would have been settled in here. That didn’t happen, and I’m in this position.” Monroe is referring to Detroit failing to offer him an extension back in 2013, and not the contract he reportedly turned down last offseason.
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