Central Notes: Kidd, Motiejunas, Hoiberg

Bucks coach Jason Kidd appears to be losing his influence with team ownership after a number of personnel decisions have gone awry or have met with disapproval, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports relays (video link). Kidd, who holds sway over the team’s basketball operations, was the engineer of the trade that shipped out Brandon Knight in exchange for point guard Michael Carter-Williams, which, according to Wojnarowski, has upset team management in the wake of his disappointing play.

The scribe also relays that ownership nixed a potential deadline trade with the Pelicans this year that Kidd was spearheading, though the players involved were not named in the report. The team is also showing increased reluctance to allow Kidd a say in personnel matters, which may become an issue for the coach, considering Kidd reportedly wants to move into a front office position that would allow him even more power, Wojnarowski adds.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pistons may have dodged a bullet when the three-team trade that would have landed Donatas Motiejunas was nixed over medical concerns regarding the power forward, David Mayo of MLive writes. The Pistons now retain their 2016 first round pick and will still have the opportunity to pursue Motiejunas this summer when he becomes a free agent, though doing so may raise some eyebrows around the league after the team pulled out of the trade, Mayo adds.
  • Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg lacks the fiery outward demeanor of his predecessor Tom Thibodeau, but he scoffs at the notion he isn’t tough on his players, K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune writes. “We’ve had some pretty heated conversations over the course of the year,” Hoiberg said. “If we need a little kick in the butt, you get on them and hopefully they respond. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.” Chicago has been criticized this season for lacking toughness and Hoiberg wonders if that can be altered this late in the season, Johnson adds. “I just look at the different ebbs and flows,” Hoiberg said. “If you look before January 1st, we were winning a lot of these battles. We were fourth in the league in defense and doing a lot of really good things on that end of the floor. It was winning games for us when our offense wasn’t very good. We’ve slipped. Some of it has to do with some of the bodies we don’t have. But guys have to give effort. In this league, if you don’t make first contact, you’re going to get hit.”
  • Longtime Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao wasn’t taking a shot at his former club when he announced upon arriving in Golden State that he was glad to come to a locker room where the players love each other. He was merely expressing his excitement at joining the Warriors, Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer writes. Varejao signed with the Warriors after being waived by the Blazers, who acquired him from the Cavs in a deadline deal. When initially informed of Varejao’s comments, LeBron James responded, “I would hope if you’re 50-5 that everyone loves each other. … What else do you want at that point? … Duh,” Pluto notes.
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