Central Notes: B. Wallace, Pistons, Cavs, LaVine

Former Pistons big man Ben Wallace is once again involved in the franchise, according to Peter J. Wallner of MLive, who reports that Wallace has reached an agreement to become part-owner and chairman of the Grand Rapids Drive. Wallace, who met with Drive season-tickets holders on Thursday, is expected to be formally introduced by the G League franchise next week.

“It was just the right fit,” Wallace said of his new role with the Pistons’ NBAGL affiliate. “It’s an opportunity for me to get back in basketball. It’s an opportunity for me to learn the business side of basketball, something I’ve wanted to do. And this gives me an opportunity to ease into it and learn as we go.”

Drive president Steve Jbara said he heard through a mutual friend with the Bucks that Wallace was exploring potential business options. As Wallner details, Jbara is looking forward to working with Wallace, who was a four-time All-Star during his career with the Pistons. “I told him, ‘You help me on the basketball side and we’ll make that partnership, and I’ll work with you on the business side and we’ll collaborate on everything,” Jbara said.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • After going on a brief hot streak following the trade deadline, the Cavaliers are once again slumping, posting a 5-7 record since the All-Star break. Following Thursday’s loss to Portland, LeBron James pointed to Kevin Love‘s absence as one big reason for Cleveland’s struggles, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. “It’s been a long time since I haven’t played with another All-Star on my team,” James said. “So, having Kev out has been very challenging for all of us. Kev has a big usage rate on our team. He’ll get the ball when things get tight, chaotic; we can throw it to him in the low post and get some things going.” Love is aiming to return from his hand injury next week.
  • It’s been a frustrating year for Zach LaVine, who missed much of the season as he recovered from ACL surgery and has been inconsistent for a lottery-bound Bulls team since returning. However, he’s looking forward to getting a full offseason with the Bulls, writes Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago. Of course, LaVine will be eligible for restricted free agency, but he’s considered a near-lock to remain in Chicago. K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune takes an early look at LaVine’s upcoming free agency.
  • Re-signing LaVine figures to be one of the Bulls‘ few moves in free agency, according to Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders, who doesn’t expect the club to do much shopping on the open market this offseason.
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