Zaza Pachulia had mixed feelings when the Bucks dealt him to the Mavericks during the offseason but he wound up in a better situation, Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes. Pachulia has thrived with his new club, while Milwaukee has floundered without his leadership on and off the court, Gardner continues. “I really was sad to leave all that we were doing last year,” Pachulia told Gardner. “I had such a great relationship with these guys and the coaching staff. … I remember how sad they [Bucks players] were when they heard I got traded. I was making the game easier for them. So I was thinking I was doing something right.” Pachulia would have backed up the Bucks’ prized free agent, Greg Monroe, at center but has emerged as a starter with Dallas, averaging a double-double, Gardner adds.
In other news around the Central Division:
- Point guard Reggie Jackson came to the Pistons during the trade deadline last season with questions about his character after complaining about his role with the Thunder. That didn’t give Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy any concerns when he made the deal. “You look at Reggie’s situation, there was really nothing bad there,” Van Gundy told the assembled media last week, including Hoops Rumors. “He was a guy that was looking for an opportunity to play more and he was sort of villifed for that. I guess people wanted him to be happy being a backup his entire career.”
- Jimmy Butler has put himself in a sticky situation by trying to become the Bulls’ leader with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah still in the locker room, Dan Feldman of NBCSports.com opines. Butler’s power play shouldn’t necessarily be viewed as a problem but it remains to be seen how he handles being the team’s best player, Feldman adds. Feldman was commenting on an assertion by ESPN.com’s Nick Friedell during a podcast with Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post that Butler has “really rubbed some people the wrong way ” with his recent actions and that Butler has not earned the trust of his teammates to be their leader.
- The Bucks’ interest in veteran small forward Caron Butler is now “on hold,” Marc Stein of ESPN.com tweets. The Kings had promised to try and trade Butler, who played 78 games for the Pistons last season but has appeared in just nine with Sacramento.