Central Notes: Tucker, Grant, Doumbouya, LaVine, Pacers

Hoops Rumors

After P.J. Tucker requested a trade for months from the rebuilding Rockets, the veteran big man ended up with the Bucks, an Eastern Conference powerhouse in recent seasons. However, despite leading the league in wins two years in a row and getting back-to-back MVP seasons from Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee has endured multiple disappointing playoff exits.

As Milwaukee prepares for another postseason, and hopefully a deeper run, Tucker spoke about his role with the team as it aims for a championship. The 35-year-old has been limited to 12 games off the bench for the Bucks after some injury woes, but he tells Sports Illustrated’s Rohan Nadkarni that the team has been clear about his role.

“Yeah, definitely. Coach Bud (Mike Budenholzer) is super transparent,” Tucker said. “And I’m at the point in my career where I know why I’m here. I’ve lived through every situation possible. It’s not rocket science. They don’t want me to do nothing I don’t do. What happened last year, and how they lost the couple years, winning so many games in the regular season, not getting as far as they should have, they are looking for different lineups that can help win games. For me, it’s about bringing all the intangible stuff that they need.”

The rest of the interview is worth a read, as Tucker also talks about his long career, trade from Houston and his time alongside Antetokounmpo.

Check out more Central Division notes:

  • Jerami Grant raised some eyebrows when he decided to depart from the Nuggets fresh off a deep run into the postseason and join the rebuilding Pistons. However, Grant says he has zero regrets about that decision, NBA.com’s Keith Langlois writes. “Between me and (GM) Troy (Weaver), there’s a lot of trust. Between me and this organization, there’s a lot of trust,” said Grant. “There’s a lot of trust. I’m happy with my decision. I wouldn’t change. I’d go back and do the same thing over and over.”
  • One pleasant surprise for the Pistons this season has been the play of Sekou Doumbouya, who has shown flashes of brilliance in 49 games off the bench. As the season winds down, Detroit hopes the 20-year-old can finish strong, Langlois writes in a separate story. “Sekou is one of our best talkers,” head coach Dwane Casey said. “He’s been in the system. He understands it. I see the carryover from last year to this year and he’s out there explaining to guys. That’s good to see, also.”
  • At 29-33, the Pacers have endured a frustrating season that has only been exasperated by all their opening night starters currently being sidelined, Scott Agness of The Fieldhouse Files writes (subscription required).
  • Bulls guard Zach LaVine joined his teammates on the bench on Friday, marking his first big step in returning to the club. He has missed Chicago’s nine games due to being in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, and while he has cleared quarantine, it remains to be seen when he’ll be back on the court, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes.

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