Central Notes: Pistons, Lawson, Budinger, Butler

Terrence Jones and Meyers Leonard would be attractive free agent options for the Pistons in their search for a backup power forward, according to David Mayo of MLive. Both will enter restricted free agency this summer, which means the Rockets and Blazers can match any offers they get. Mayo notes the teams may want compensation for letting Jones or Leonard go, which could tempt the Pistons to give up a first-round draft pick, something they were willing to do to get Donatas Motiejunas from Houston last month before that deal was voided. Mayo suggests keeping Anthony Tolliver might be the best strategy now that Tobias Harris is on board as the starting power forward. Tolliver is making $3MM in the final season of his contract and is averaging 5.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in nearly 20 minutes per night.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Pacers expect to finalize a deal with free agent point guard Ty Lawson on Sunday or Monday, tweets Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star. Lawson is still working out in Houston after the Rockets waived him Tuesday in a buyout agreement.
  • Chase Budinger‘s brief stay in Indiana was a “dud,” Buckner tweeted after the Pacers waived the seventh-year small forward today. She also laments last summer’s trade that sent Damjan Rudez to the Wolves in exchange for Budinger, saying the Pacers gave up a badly needed 3-point shooter (Twitter link). She credits Budinger for being “a pro” during his time in Indiana, though he never fully understood what the organization expected from him (Twitter link).
  • Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg says shooting guard Jimmy Butler, who has been out of action since February 5th with a sprained knee, is “ready to go” for tonight’s game, tweets Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com. Combo forward Nikola Mirotic, who had acute appendicitis and underwent surgery January 27th, is “close,” Hoiberg adds (Twitter link). Injured center Joakim Noah won’t play anytime soon, but he’ll rejoin the team for “leadership,” tweets K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune.
  • The Pistons have shooting guard Jodie Meeks, who hasn’t played since suffering a right foot injury October 29th, listed as questionable for tonight’s game, tweets Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

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