Central Notes: LaVine, Mirotic, Felder, Bucks

Zach LaVine will be in the starting lineup when he makes his debut with the Bulls tonight, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. LaVine’s recovery from a torn left ACL took about 11 months, which is about two months longer than originally projected, but Chicago wanted to be sure he was fully healthy before letting him play.

“Extremely excited, ready to get back to playing again,” LaVine said. “You wait all this time, do all this rehab. It doesn’t simulate actual games. Going through practices and scrimmages don’t give you that full itch. Now I have something I can go after.”

LaVine will take over the starting spot occupied by Denzel Valentine, who has started 31 of the team’s 42 games. Justin Holiday will stay in the starting lineup, but will move to small forward. Coach Fred Hoiberg said LaVine will be restricted to 20 minutes per game for about a week, then his playing time will slowly expand.

There’s more news from the Central Division:

  • Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic is refusing to discuss his trade prospects, writes Chris Kuc of The Chicago Tribune. Mirotic, who has been linked to deals involving the Jazz, Pistons and Trail Blazers, will become eligible for a trade Monday. “To be honest I don’t listen too much to what is going on outside,” he said. “I just focus on what is going on here and up to my last day try to be the best player possible and be professional and help this team to be able to win.”
  • Kay Felder, who signed a two-way deal with the Pistons today, has been talking to the organization for a couple of weeks, tweets Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. The Pistons first contacted Felder when starting point guard Reggie Jackson suffered a sprained right ankle in late December. Felder, who has previous NBA experience with the Cavaliers and Bulls, will have 23 NBA days under his new deal and may spend most of that time filling in for Jackson, who isn’t expected back until after the All-Star break.
  • Bucks ownership remains hopeful for a 50-win season despite an up-and-down first half of the year, relays Rich Kirchen of The Milwaukee Business Journal. The Bucks hit the midpoint at 22-19, but there are reasons for optimism with the expected return of Jabari Parker next month and a possible trade for a center before the February 8 deadline. “I think 50 [wins] is tough,” said co-owner Marc Lasry. “We’ll be over 45. Hopefully we get to 50. That would be great. I hope so, but it’s going to be hard.”
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17 thoughts on “Central Notes: LaVine, Mirotic, Felder, Bucks

  1. Dionis

    All signs point to Lavine getting an extension and Jabari also. The Bucks look like they plan on building with Jabari and Giannis, what I don’t understand is if they do get Deandre what happens to Thon? As for Mirotic he makes a solid fit on the Jazz at the 3-4 as a second option behind Mitchell, if they can get Nikola they’ll likely be 7th-8th in the West with Rudy’s return.

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    • JBHoops

      A Parker extension, if someone offers him a max $25+ mil a year, would put the Bucks near the luxury tax. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bucks not matching a max offer.

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      • Dionis

        Dude no one is offering Jabari that much plus he is unrestricted and Milwaukee can match any offer. Who’s offering more then Milwaukee? Possibly Utah only.

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        • JBHoops

          If Parker comes back looking healthy and playing at an elite level, SOMEONE is going to offer All-Star talent that kind of money. Bulls could be players. They could have a ton of cap space in the offseason and Chicago is home.

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          • Dionis

            Meh Bulls already have enough ball handlers in Dunn and now Lavine although Parker would fit in quite nicely at the 3 can’t see it though. I’d like to think the Bulls will go for Knox or Bridges in the draft to fill the 3 position, we’ll see though. Jabari compliments Giannis perfectly, I just can’t see him leaving Milwaukee.

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            • JBHoops

              If I’m the Bucks and Parker comes back playing at an All-Star level, I’m matching ANY offer. Bucks ownership is terrified of the luxury tax rumors say so if Parker gets offered the max, watch for hesitation by the Bucks.

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              • Dionis

                All-star level? I don’t think it is out of the realm for him to average 15-20 ppg when he returns, maybe a deep playoff run and possible ECF appearance locks him up in Buck uniform. I think we are headed for Milwaukee-Boston ECF this season, maybe Toronto sneaks in but if Jabari can have a few breakout games where he shows greatness he stays.

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                • JBHoops

                  Normally, I would agree no one lets Parker go. But there were Parker trade rumors in the offseason and there have been reports the Bucks are afraid of paying him mega bucks if it means luxury tax issues. We’ll see how it shakes out. Just saying don’t be shocked if a team offers him the full max he can get and the Bucks decide not to match.

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  2. x%sure

    Maker is not very good, so unless you’re related, it hardly matters what happens to him.
    Funny how Mirotic has never been more popular. The next Tom Chambers, for those who go back that far.

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    • Dionis

      Give Maker time, in 2 years he’ll likely be the best big in the league. Way too much athleticism,length, and shooting ability to not be great.

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      • bravesfan88
        bravesfan88

        A GM was once quoted as saying, The only thing potential is good for, is potentially getting you fired. Potential is great to have, until it isn’t…

        My personal opinion, it won’t kill a team to allow a player with Maker’s athleticism and potential a roster spot, and development time in the G-League.

        The best Center in the league though?? Good Lord, he better work some miracles in the next two years then..

        What bothers me the most about Maker’s development so far, or lack thereof, is his current lack of size. The dude is a walking pencil, and even with his size, he’s hurting his team defensively. The Bucks are giving up 8 MORE points when Maker is on the court..He gets pushed around for rebounds, he can’t post up anyone with any semblance of strength, and quite frankly, at times, he comes off as being lazy…

        The best Center in the league?? Right now, he isn’t even as good as a once former draft bust, that had “all the potential to be great”…Hasheem Thabeet!!

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        • brewcrew08

          He is better than Thabeet…not to mention everyone wasn’t talking about Giannis 2-3 years into his career now look where he’s at. I’m not saying Thon gets to that point of course but it would be crazy to give up on a guy who has the potential to be a very solid center. Yes potential doesn’t mean a lot unless it pans out but give the guy 4-5 years at least before cutting bait completely

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          • Dionis

            Maker will be MVP level someday, even Jabari said it very confidently it will only be a matter of time. Plus he is being mentored and taught by KG, RIP NBA when he taps into that potential.

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            • jwoh13512

              I thought Kevin Garnett said that when he worked with the Bucks in the pre-season.

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            • x%sure

              Maker is a classic tease. He’s dizzy, lacking spatial awareness (nor sure where he’s at). There might be some situations where he could make a difference, like in last year’s playoff series. But if the Bucks don’t trade for a center because they are commited to Maker– that’s how having him could be counter-productive.

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  3. Danthemilwfan

    Screw the record. I’ll take 41-41 and winning in the playoffs over 50-32. Winning in the playoffs is all that matters.

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    • bravesfan88
      bravesfan88

      Don’t forget those 9 wins could be a vital difference in possibly getting a favorable match up, and ultimately an easier path to the Conference Finals…

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