Central Notes: Haliburton, Rivers, LaVine, Cunningham

Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton is locked into a five-year extension that begins next season, but his hamstring strain, which kept him out nearly two weeks until Tuesday’s game against Boston, could prove very costly.

Haliburton’s total salary on that five-year deal could be either $204.5MM or $245.3MM, depending upon whether he’s paid 30% of a team’s salary cap as opposed to 25%. That extra 5% can be earned if he wins the MVP award or Defensive Player of the Year — or is voted onto one of the three All-NBA teams. However, under the new CBA he must appear in 65 regular-season games to qualify for postseason honors. He has already missed 13 games this season.

Haliburton realizes he can’t miss too many more games to get the full amount, Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star writes.

“I’m human like you guys,” he said. “I use the Internet as well. I completely understand it and I understand what’s at stake for me financially as well. But at the end of the day, it’s also that I have to take care of my body to the best of my ability and put myself in the right situation. Yeah, I know I don’t have a ton of games left.”

Haliburton voiced his displeasure regarding the new qualifications.

“I think it’s a stupid rule like many guys in the league,” Haliburton said. “But this is what the owners want, so as players, we have to do our job and play in 65 games if we’re able to. That’s what I gotta do, take care of my body to be able to play in those games.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Bucks coach Doc Rivers said he’s intent on maximizing the potential of the Giannis AntetokounmpoDamian Lillard pairing, Eric Nehm of The Athletic relays. “It’s been effective, but it should be dominant, in my opinion,” Rivers said. “We did a lot of two-man work today. You won’t probably see a lot of it (immediately), but it was clear, I think the whole team pretty much got what we did after 20 minutes of doing the same thing. It’s important for us. And then the three-man game with Khris (Middleton). Throw Khris in there, too. That’s important, as well.”
  • Rivers replaced Adrian Griffin, who lost his job mainly due to the team’s defensive slippage. Even though the Bucks were defeated by Denver in Rivers’ debut, the new coach said the team is quite capable of regaining its defensive prowess, according to Jamal Collier of ESPN. “I told our guys, anyone who told you you couldn’t play defense lied,” Rivers said. “You proved that (Monday). You competed. … Our half-court defense was excellent. I think (Monday) was an offensive loss. I didn’t think we were crisp offensively.”
  • Bulls coach Billy Donovan talks to Zach LaVine on a regular basis, but trade rumors are not a topic for discussion, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times. ‘‘I haven’t talked to him about anything with the rumor piece of it,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘I would just guess that with him being in the league for 10 years that these things would kind of happen. My talks with him have been more centered around his frustration with being out.’’ LaVine is currently sidelined by a right foot injury.
  • Pistons guard Cade Cunningham is listed as probable to play against Cleveland on Wednesday, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press tweets. Cunningham missed eight games with a left knee strain, returned to action against Washington on Saturday, then sat out the second game of a back-to-back on Sunday.
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