Central Notes: Stephenson, White, Sykes, Paige

The Pacers have an open 15-man roster spot. Lance Stephenson made a strong case to fill it with his 30-point game on Wednesday, and Domantas Sabonis is hopeful that will happen, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files writes. “He’s a legend here, everybody loves him,” Sabonis said. “We knew the fans were going to go crazy when he came back. We love him, everyone else loves him here so it’s really fun to have him back.” Stephenson’s current 10-day hardship contract runs through Monday.

We have more on the Central Division:

  • There has been talk that Coby White might be traded for a power forward. However, the young Bulls guard is making a case to be part of the team’s long-term future, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. White has reached the 20-point mark three times in the last four games and has also made plays for his teammates. “I’m hoping he’s gaining some confidence in terms of his value for what he can do for our team,” coach Billy Donovan said. “It’s an important role for us.” The Bulls have already exercised their fourth-year option on White, who is extension-eligible after the season.
  • Keifer Sykes had his salary guaranteed for the remainder of the season and his coach said it was well deserved, James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star writes. “He earned it,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s earned it really starting in the summer just with his approach, his work ethic, his level of improvement, which has been gradual and consistent. And these (five games) that he’s played, he’s played tremendously.” Sykes is averaging 10.4 PPG and 3.6 APG in his first five games (26.8 MPG).
  • The Pistons terminated the 10-day contract of Jaysean Paige a couple days before it expired, Keith Smith tweets. The Pistons used the hardship exception to sign Paige but their players have returned from protocols. Early terminated 10-day deals still pay the player the full 10-day amount, as Smith notes.
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