Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen feels extra motivation after he couldn’t reach an extension agreement with the organization by Monday’s deadline, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago writes. “Obviously disappointing, I wanted to get a deal done,” he said. “But that happened, and we’re moving on, and I’m 100 percent committed to this team.”
Markkanen confirmed the sides were never near a deal after he struggled through an injury-marred season. “I don’t think it was very close,” Markkanen said. “I talked to (my agent) obviously a lot last couple days, and (the Bulls’ offer) just wasn’t something I would take, and that’s the end of it.”
We have more from the Central Division:
- As we noted, the Pistons remade their roster more than any team in the league. New GM Troy Weaver promises to continue making changes. “We are going to stay aggressive,” Weaver said, per Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports. Owner Tom Gores is confident that Weaver has the franchise on the right path. “He is concise in how he sees talent. He sees it on a micro-level,” Gores said. “I’ve met a lot of executives who know basketball. Troy is just on a whole different level.”
- The Pacers have officially hired Ted Wu as VP of Basketball Operations, according to a team press release. Wu worked eight years with the NBA league office, specializing in salary cap management. Wu will be the team’s capologist.
- The Pistons have a program that includes night sessions and extended practice sessions for players that would ordinarily be on their G League squad, coach Dwane Casey told Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link) and other media members. The Pistons had been affiliated with the Grand Rapids Drive but are switching to the newly-created Motor City Cruise in Detroit next season. They are not expected to participate in the G League bubble season in Atlanta.
- A strained calf will prevent Kevin Love from playing in the Cavaliers’ opener on Wednesday, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer relays.