Central Notes: Pistons, Giannis, Hield, Theis, Jackson, Smith

Another Central Division team could be making a deal soon. While the Pistons can’t upstage Milwaukee’s acquisition of Damian Lillard, they have been active in trade talks over the last few weeks, James Edwards III of The Athletic reports.

Edwards speculates that James Wiseman, Marvin Bagley, Killian Hayes, Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks are the candidates to be dealt, which could clear a logjam at some positions and open up more playing time for the Pistons’ rookies. In Hayes’ case, the 2020 lottery pick doesn’t appear to be in the team’s plans after acquiring Monte Morris and drafting Marcus Sasser.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Speaking of Lillard, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst says that despite the acquisition of the longtime All-Star guard, there’s no guarantee that Giannis Antetokounmpo will commit to the Bucks long-term (video link). Antetokounmpo has yet to sign an extension this offseason and has financial incentive to wait but he may want out if Milwaukee doesn’t win another championship this season. “Maybe they’re 10 percent better in terms of this title chase, maybe five percent. The real question is, ‘What does it mean for Giannis?,'” Windhorst said. “Giannis made it clear he was not going to sign an extension with this team. He wanted to see them go all-in. They have gone all-in. But if he still doesn’t sign an extension, they’re still on the one-year window.”
  • Even though general manager Chad Buchanan has downplayed reports that the Pacers are looking to trade Buddy Hield, giving second-year guard Bennedict Mathurin a starting job ahead of Hield could cause chemistry issues, Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star opines. Hield is in the final year of his contract and extension talks have stalled, Buchanan admitted this week, though they could be rekindled.
  • The Pacers have multiple options at center behind Myles Turner. Buchanan indicated that Daniel Theis, Isaiah Jackson and Jalen Smith will battle in training camp for the backup role, according to Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star. Buchanan added he won’t look to trade any of those players until there’s more clarity regarding the rotation.
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