Central Notes: Bagley, Hield, Caruso, LeBron

Marvin Bagley III is delivering exactly what the Pistons expected when they acquired him in a four-team trade, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Bagley has provided inside scoring for a Detroit team that ranks 29th in offense, serving as both a lob threat and a post-up option. His defense has been less effective, but Edwards states that he’s putting in the effort.

The Pistons opted to trade for Bagley rather than wait for free agency because they wanted to see how he would perform in their system. After three-and-a-half frustrating years in Sacramento, the former No. 2 overall pick is enjoying the opportunity.

“This whole thing has been a different experience for me,” Bagley said. “I’ve never been traded before. Coming from the West Coast to the East Coast, that in itself is a different thing for me. Learning new faces, new names and trying to build relationships with people. I’m continuing to learn the place, learn the city, get out in the city more. There are a lot of things I’m looking forward to doing while I’m here. I’m just going to embrace it and keep building off what we have here. We can take this thing to the next level. I’m excited about that.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Buddy Hield, Bagley’s former teammate in Sacramento, is also starting a new chapter of his career after being traded to the Pacers, notes Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. Tramel suggests that Hield is getting his first experience in a stable NBA environment after starting his career with the Pelicans and Kings. “I’m somebody that wants to win,” Hield said. “Somebody that’s been eager to win for a long time and hasn’t had a chance to. Come out here and do what I do best. Try to score the basketball and help the team out the way Coach (Rick Carlisle) wants me to. I’m very excited. Can’t tell you how much I’ve been waiting for this opportunity.” 
  • Bulls guard Alex Caruso will resume basketball activities in a few days, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Coach Billy Donovan confirmed today that Caruso has made progress in his conditioning and now needs to get a feel for the game again. “The biggest thing will be once he gets a ball in his hand, it’s finding his rhythm, shooting again,’’ Donovan said. “He hasn’t been able to do any of that stuff. We’re really hopeful that early next week he can get on the floor and start to do those types of things.’’ Whenever Caruso returns, the team plans to have him on a minutes restriction.
  • LeBron James hinted at a potential return to the Cavaliers last week, but Marc Stein of Substack is skeptical that owner Dan Gilbert and president of basketball operations Koby Altman want to go through that experience again. Stein states that James and Rich Paul of Klutch Sports virtually ran the team during the last four years that LeBron was in Cleveland, and the Cavs will be reluctant to break up the core of young talent that they’ve assembled.
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