Central Notes: Garland, Pistons Draft, Haliburton, Pacers

It might make more sense from a cost perspective for a team seeking a point guard to acquire Cavaliers guard Darius Garland rather than Hawks guard Trae Young if both become available this offseason. Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer says some teams are giving off the impression they’ll lean toward Garland in the event that both players end up on the trade block (Apple Podcasts link).

As has been widely reported this week, the Cavaliers may be forced to decide between Garland and Donovan Mitchell to keep long-term. If an extension is reached with Mitchell this offseason, Garland could be on the way out. The Hawks, meanwhile, are expected to seriously consider breaking up their backcourt of Young and Dejounte Murray.

Even though Young has been more productive in Atlanta than Garland has in Cleveland, teams may prefer Garland based on what they’d have to give up to acquire him, as well as his contract situation. Garland averaged 18.0 points and 6.5 assists per game, while Young averaged 25.7 points and 10.8 assists this season. Garland is under contract through 2027/28, whereas Young’s contract runs through at least ’25/26 with an early termination option for ’26/27.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • While James L. Edwards III of The Athletic believes the Pistons should trade their first round pick in this year’s draft, there should still be some intriguing options available when Detroit picks at No. 5. Stephon Castle, Alexandre Sarr, Donovan Clingan, Dalton Knecht and Reed Sheppard top Edwards’ list of desired prospects after the NBA Combine, though it’s likely one or more of those players are gone by the time Detroit picks.
  • The Pistons trading their No. 5 pick might make more sense as the team wants to get better and not necessarily younger, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press writes. The Pistons’ record has gotten worse in recent years as they’ve added more young first-rounders to their core, and pursuing veterans via the trade market might help Detroit improve sooner rather than later.
  • Tyrese Haliburton is under more scrutiny as he takes the Pacers deeper into the playoffs, but he’s always longed for the kind of pressure he’s feeling before Sunday’s Game 7, according to James Boyd of The Athletic. “He’s changed things for the better for this franchise and for this city,” teammate T.J. McConnell said. “When you got a guy, who’s your franchise guy, that really gets people involved … it’s easy for everyone to rally around a guy like that.
  • The Pacers responded well to harsh criticism from coach Rick Carlisle, who was upset by the team’s lack of aggression in Game 5, according to The Athletic’s Eric Nehm. On Friday, the Pacers upped their intensity and came away with a big win. Every player is anticipating a tight Game 7 on Sunday. “I expect probably the most unbelievable environment I’ve ever played an NBA game,” Haliburton said. “I think we’re all excited to go. There’s going to be a lot of energy in the building, from them and from us. And I think just weathering our emotions as much as we can.
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