Central Notes: Walker, Stewart, Bulls, Bucks

The Pistons are likely holding onto Kemba Walker to see if he might have any value in a potential trade, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes in a mailbag column. There have been rumors since late June of a buyout agreement for Walker, who was acquired from the Knicks in a trade that was agreed upon on draft night but couldn’t be finalized until the moratorium lifted.

There’s little chance that Walker will play for Detroit, but with training camp almost six weeks away, there’s no urgency to complete a buyout. If the Pistons need to open a spot on their 20-man camp roster, a buyout deal can be done at any time, but for now the team is waiting to see if his $9.2MM contract could be a trade asset.

The Hornets have reportedly shown an interest in bringing back Walker, who was a star in Charlotte for eight seasons. He has been slowed by knee soreness and played just 37 games for New York last season.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Isaiah Stewart is a “heavy favorite” to be the Pistons‘ starting center again this season, Langlois adds in the same piece. Stewart was used mainly at power forward in Summer League, playing alongside rookie center Jalen Duren. Langlois notes that Duren will need playing time this season, but it may be hard to get at the NBA level with Stewart, Kelly Olynyk, Marvin Bagley III and Nerlens Noel in the same frontcourt. Langlois suggests that Duren may see some time in the G League while he develops his NBA skills.
  • The Bulls will only have 14 nationally televised games — seven on ESPN, three on TNT and four on NBA TV — which Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic sees as a disappointing number for a playoff team in a major market. Examining Chicago’s schedule, Mayberry notes that a lot of conference tests will come early, with 12 of the Bulls’ first 13 games against Eastern teams.
  • The Bucks will be on national TV 32 times, per Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, including their season opener October 20 at Philadelphia that will feature a matchup of perennial MVP candidates Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid.
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