Derrick Rose has said in the past that he wants to play with the Bulls for the rest of his career, and while he raised eyebrows with his comments on media day that indicated he was looking forward to hitting free agency in 2017, he recently told Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com he still intends to stay put. The same is true for Damian Lillard, who said Friday that he plans to remain with the Trail Blazers until his playing days are over, calling his relationship with the organization “a hand-and-glove fit” for the way the Blazers have embraced him as a player and a person, as Jason Quick of CSNNW.com notes. Lillard is fresh off signing a five-year extension in the summer, so the matter of his free agency isn’t as pressing as Rose’s, though Lillard’s remarks are nonetheless soothing for Portland, given its history of star defections, Quick posits. See more from around the NBA:
- Rose also told Friedell for the same piece that he doesn’t have any contact with Tom Thibodeau and doesn’t even think about his former coach, despite having had a “good relationship” with him, because he’s focused on adjusting to new Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg. He also spoke fondly of Jimmy Butler, despite reports of friction between the two, answering affirmatively when Friedell asked if Butler is the most talented teammate he’s ever had.
- The Hawks unsurprisingly view 2016 free agent Al Horford as a building block for the long-term, writes Zach Lowe of ESPN.com, though he’s not the only player the team will have to pay if it wants to retain this summer. Estimates of the starting salary Kent Bazemore will be able to command on his next deal range from the mid-level, which tops out at $5.628MM, to $12MM, according to a dozen league executives to whom Lowe spoke.
- The top three, including LSU combo forward Ben Simmons, are unchanged in the latest 2016 draft prospect rankings from Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Insider only), but Marquette big man Henry Ellenson is up to No. 4 from No. 6. Kentucky big man Skal Labissiere, who was Ford’s previous No. 4 and once a serious challenger for the No. 1 pick, has dropped to No. 10.