Eastern Notes: Middleton, Bulls, D. Green, Duren, Butler

Forward Khris Middleton played in the Bucks‘ final game of the preseason last Friday and their regular season opener on Thursday, but he’ll be held out of Sunday’s game vs. Atlanta as the team monitors his workload and plays it safe with the three-time All-Star, per The Associated Press.

Sunday’s game is the first in a back-to-back set, as the Bucks are scheduled to host the Heat on Monday. Head coach Adrian Griffin indicated that Middleton, who underwent offseason knee surgery, will be available for Monday’s contest.

“This is just being smart and ramping him up gradually,” Griffin said on Saturday following the Bucks’ practice. “He participated in practice today and looked really good.”

Although he played on Thursday in the Bucks’ win over Philadelphia, Middleton doesn’t appear ready for a full workload yet — he logged just four minutes in the second half of that game and didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Bulls‘ inconsistent and disjointed 1-2 start to the season has only generated more questions about the fit and future of the team’s “big three,” writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “It’s our third year here together,” Zach LaVine said of the trio of himself, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic. “We know how this business is. We all love each other. DeMar is one of my best friends. We talk all the time. But we have to figure out how to make this thing work.”
  • The Sixers and Danny Green have agreed to adjust the salary guarantee trigger dates on his contract, Hoops Rumors has learned. The veteran swingman earned a $200K partial guarantee by making it to the first game of the regular season and will see that partial guarantee increase if he remains under contract through November 10 (to $500K), Nov. 24 ($750K), Dec. 8 ($1MM), Dec. 22 ($1.25MM), and Jan. 5 ($1.5MM). He’ll lock in his full $3,196,448 salary if he’s not waived on or before Jan. 7.
  • Pistons center Jalen Duren is off to an incredible start in his second NBA season, averaging 18.0 points, a league-leading 15.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 2.7 blocks in three games, including two wins. The big man, who doesn’t turn 20 until next month, is quickly blossoming into the sort of player who can help key the Pistons’ resurgence, says John Niyo of The Detroit News (subscription required)
  • Heat wing Jimmy Butler battled a right knee issue last season and played in both games in just seven of the team’s 14 back-to-back sets. Although Miami held Butler out of the second end of its first back-to-back set this season, that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s how he’ll be managed in back-to-backs going forward, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “No, we’re going to take it week by week,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said.
View Comments (15)