NBA Free Agency 2011 Roundup: Central Division

The Milwaukee Bucks haven't been involved in Dwight Howard or Chris Paul trade rumors. They haven't amnestied anybody with a gargantuan contract (or a small expiring one...). But they've made moves, and the roster seems to be coming together fairly quickly, giving the coaching staff a near-full complement of players to work with in training camp.

Elsewhere in the NBA's Central Division, the commotion has been a little louder. Here's an update on the latest moves from Milwaukee's division rivals, beginning with the defending division champion Chicago Bulls. Much of the coverage comes from other member blogs of SBNation's NBA network. Be sure to check them out for all the latest free-agency news.

Chicago Bulls

Chicago Bulls center Kurt Thomas signs with Portland Trail Blazers - ESPN Chicago
Former Buck Kurt Thomas, the NBA's oldest current player, will not return to Chicago next season after signing a two-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Bulls GM says little on Howard, Hamilton - SI.com
Chicago has been pegged as the most likely landing spot for Richard Hamilton, whose contract was bought out by the Detroit Pistons (more on that with the rest of the Pistons news).


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Indiana Pacers

David West Signs With Pacers For 2 Years, $20 Million - SBNation.com
So, here's a bit of unfortunate news: Veritable Buck-killer David West is coming to the Central, joining the new up-and-coming squad expected to make noise in the division. West is coming off an ACL tear and he's not getting any younger, but there are few deadlier players in the pick-and-pop game.

Side-note: After the Pacers gave the Bulls some trouble in the first round of the playoffs last year, I scrawled a note on my whiteboard that read "this year's Pacers last years Bucks?". It remained there for months as I pondered whether the Pacers seemed like a team that could build on momentum, or if they might be a short-lived sensation like the "Fear the Deer" Bucks. There is definitely talent on the Pacers' roster--maybe not enough to make the Central Division anything more than "The Bulls and Co.", but they look like a solid playoff pick...sound familiar?

Pacers Try to Sign-and-Trade for OJ Mayo - Eight Points, Nine Seconds
The Pacers apparently aren't done yet, and after grabbing a new starter at power forward, Indiana has turned its sights on Memphis shooting guard O.J. Mayo. Details remain sparse, but definitely something to keep an eye on.

Jeff Foster to sign 1-year deal with Pacers - Twitter / @MikeWellsNBA
There's also this. Ok.

Detroit Pistons

NBA Rumors: Detroit Pistons waive Rip Hamilton, according to Free Press - Detroit Bad Boys
Richard Hamilton's departure from Detroit is currently being finalized, but the most interesting wrinkle is already being discussed: instead of invoking the amnesty clause to waive Hamilton, the Pistons chose to simply buy out his contract. Matt Watson at Detroit Bad Boys offers a pair of reasons as to why the Pistons may have chosen to do so.

Pistons officially announce Jonas Jerebko's return - Detroit Bad Boys
Detroit also extended the contract of Jonas Jerebko, who missed all of last season with a partially ruptured Achilles. Jerebko had a pretty solid rookie season and the Pistons were't about to let the promising big man get away.

Re-Signing Tayshaun Prince is a massive mistake... - Detroit Bad Boys
And in more disgruntled news...

Cleveland Cavaliers

Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson Sign Rookie Contracts - Fear The Sword
The Cavs haven't made many headline appearances either, but signing a pair of top-5 draft picks in one year is a nice, quiet way to drastically change, and hopefully improve, a team.

Cavaliers' Traded Player Exception Extended Until December 16th - Fear The Sword
Some relatively big news for the Cavs, however, is the extension of the large traded player exception they received from Miami in the LeBron James deal. The TPE's original expiration date fell within the lockout, so the Cavs were given additional time to make a deal.

Cavs Owner, Dan Gilbert Linked To Blocking Chris Paul Trade - Fear The Sword
The noisiest thing in Cleveland has been the owner of the Cavs, Dan Gilbert, whose open letter to David Stern regarding the original Chris-Paul-to-LA trade has drawn a wee bit of ire.

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