Central Notes: Ball, Portis, Walton, Pacers

Echoing Billy Donovan‘s update on Sunday, Bulls president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas said that Lonzo Ball is “progressing” from his left knee injury. However, as KC Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes, Karnisovas’ comments on Ball were somewhat sobering.

“He’s getting better. Probably not at the speed that we would like. But he’s getting better,” Karnisovas said of Ball. “Hopefully, he’s going to be ready for training camp. That’s just our hopes.”

Ball, who underwent surgery on a torn left meniscus in January, was bothered by a bone bruise when he attempted to ramp up his rehab process last season. According to Johnson, Ball has experienced “similar starts and stops” this offseason and still sometimes experiences discomfort when he increases his workload.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • After years of betting on himself with short-term contracts and team-friendly salaries, Bucks big man Bobby Portis was thrilled to be rewarded in free agency this summer with a four-year, $48MM+ deal, as he tells Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “Finally being able to have financial security for not only myself, but my family, is great,” Portis said. “To be able to go into free agency and have a number of teams call and believe that I’m special and want me to join their team, that was cool too.” Portis added that he decided to re-sign with the Bucks in part because his two years in Milwaukee have made him not only a better player but a “better man off the court.”
  • New Cavaliers assistant Luke Walton spoke to Kelsey Russo of The Athletic about his decision to join JB Bickerstaff‘s staff in Cleveland, noting that he appreciates the level of continuity he sees in the franchise. “There’s a lot of people that are still working here that were here when I played here 10 years ago – which is rare in the NBA,” Walton said. “To me, it’s something that’s very important when you’re trying to build a winning team and a winning culture.”
  • We’re still waiting to see how Deandre Ayton‘s free agency will play out, but the Pacers Make a lot of sense as a potential destination for the former top pick, according to Dan Devine of The Ringer. Adding Ayton would give Tyrese Haliburton an ideal pick-and-roll partner and would put Indiana on track to quickly pivot back to respectability, Devine writes.

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