Central Notes: Middleton, Lue, Carter-Williams

The Bucks turned down a proposed trade deadline swap with the Timberwolves that would have sent Khris Middleton to Minnesota and brought point guard Ricky Rubio to Milwaukee, a deal the team was wise to nix, Zach Lowe of ESPN.com opines. The scribe cites Middleton’s versatility, solid production and reasonable contract as reason why the Bucks were smart to hold onto the swingman. The Wolves even offered to sweeten the deal with the inclusion of a protected 2016 first-round pick, but the Bucks, who never seriously entertained trading Middleton, declined that offer as well, Lowe notes. The Bucks did submit a counterproposal to the Wolves, offering Michael Carter-Williams in exchange for Rubio, a swap that Minnesota quickly shot down, Lowe adds.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers have gone 12-6 thus far under Tyronn Lue and despite a few bumps along the way, LeBron James is pleased with the job the new coach has done since replacing the fired David Blatt, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes. “I think he’s done a great job,” James said of Lue. “He’s even-keel as well. He just wants us to get better every single day and not waste an opportunity. Continue to focus on what needs to be done, the job at hand, and if we do that we’re going to give ourselves a great chance to win. He gets on us when we’re not doing our job and when we’re not doing it to the capabilities that we’re capable of doing it at, so that’s when he’s on us. And he stays on us.”
  • Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy openly expressed his appreciation of the Spurs and how that franchise is able to maintain a championship-caliber roster while not running afoul of the salary cap, David Mayo of MLive.com relays. “There’s no question when you don’t have to pay guys market value it’s pretty easy to build depth,” Van Gundy said. “The salary cap is hard on most of us trying to build depth. But with them, when they’ve got Tim Duncan playing below market value, Tony Parker playing below market value, Manu Ginobili playing below market value, David West playing below market value, when those guys all give up money, well, then it’s easy to add other people and allow you to go out and do what you need to do to build depth. They’ve done a great job of that.
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