Chicago Bulls Rumors

Poll: Should Cavs Deal Wiggins For Love?

July 27 at 10:51am CDT By Eddie Scarito

Heading into this offseason, the chances of Kevin Love heading to the Cavaliers were slim. But that was before LeBron James decided to return his talents to Cleveland. When LeBron announced his decision to sign with the Cavs, he preached patience, and in a move to lower expectations, implied that the team wouldn’t expect to contend for a championship this coming season.

But acquiring a player of Love’s caliber could certainly accelerate that timetable, which is one reason that Cleveland has seemingly been burning up the phone lines trying to work out a deal to acquire the stat-sheet-filling power forward. The feeling is apparently shared by Love, who, as recently reported, may have formally requested a trade to Cleveland via his agent.

Numerous other teams have been attempting to work out a deal, including the Warriors, Celtics, Lakers, Bulls and Knicks. Golden State still appears to be Cleveland’s main competitors for Love, but the Warriors have expressed an unwillingness to include Klay Thompson as part of the deal, which has stalled talks between the two franchises.

The potential blockbuster deal between the Wolves and the Cavs is being complicated by the insistence of Minnesota coach and president of basketball operation Flip Saunders that Cleveland include No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins as part of any package for Love. Wiggins recently signed with the Cavs, so they will have to wait 30 days before they can officially deal him away. But that is only a minor issue if both franchises are serious about making a trade.

Should the Cavs relent and include Wiggins if it nets them Love? Wiggins has a wealth of potential and could turn out to be a superstar, and the type of player you can build a champion around, but he has yet to play a minute of regular season action. Whereas Love has career averages of 19.2 PPG, 12.2 RPG, and 2.5 APG. He’s also only 25 years old and just entering his prime. The knock on Love of course is that in six seasons he has yet to lead his team to the playoffs, and that he is a subpar defender.

As for Wiggins, his value is more theoretical at this point. There have been numerous players, including first overall draft picks, who enter the league being touted as franchise changing talents, only to disappoint and underperform. The ceiling on the rookie appears to be incredibly high, but is holding onto him and gambling he’ll turn out to be a better player than Love worth the risk?

The other aspect to factor in is the leverage that Cleveland may have gained in the trade talks if Love indeed told the Timberwolves that he would opt out after the 2014/15 season and would not re-sign with the team. And if Love also specifically requested a trade to Cleveland, that could complicate matters further.

Cleveland could also decide to hold off on depleting its young assets and simply play out this season with its current roster, then try to clear enough cap room to sign Love next summer outright. This might allow them to keep Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and whichever other pieces, including draft picks, that they would have had to ship to Minnesota to get this deal done, but it would still be a challenge. The Cavs already have more than $48MM in commitments for 2015/16, assuming James opts in and the team picks up its option on Dion Waiters.

So now it’s time for you to step into Cavs GM David Griffin‘s shoes and make the call. Do you relent and include Wiggins if it will bring Love’s talents to Cleveland? Or do you draw a line in the sand and refuse to offer Wiggins, even if it potentially costs you a LeBron-Love pairing?

And-Ones: ‘Melo, Irving, Rockets, Mavs

July 25 at 5:30pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Carmelo Anthony spent his free agency largely debating between signing with either the Knicks or the Bulls, though the Lakers were briefly his top choice, as he told Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. New York gave him much more lucrative contract than the Bulls could have, but the star forward insisted money wasn’t his primary motivation and said he believes the Knicks are closer to contention than widely assumed, as Goodman writes. Anthony also hinted that he wants to remain with the Knicks for the rest of his career. Here’s more from around the league:

  • Kyrie Irving‘s extension with the Cavs will only provide for a starting salary equal to approximately 27.5% of the cap, rather than the maximum 30%, if he triggers the Derrick Rose Rule this coming season, reports Mark Deeks of ShamSports (Twitter link). It’s similar to the concession Paul George made when he, too, signed an otherwise maximum-salary extension with the Pacers last year.
  • Rockets GM Daryl Morey called the protected 2015 first-round pick he acquired from the Pelicans in the Omer Asik deal “the best draft pick in the league for someone to trade for,” as the GM said to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. It’s protected for the top three and the bottom 11 picks each year through 2018 and the top three and the bottom six picks in 2019 and 2020, as RealGM details.
  • The Mavs were among the NBA teams that invited undrafted Syracuse combo forward C.J. Fair to training camp, but none of them offered any guaranteed money, which is apparently behind Fair’s decision to change agents, writes Mike Waters of The Post-Standard. Fair dropped Torrel Harris in favor of Joel Bell for his representation, as Guido Guida of La Gazzetta Dello Sport was first to report (Twitter link).
  • The Knicks invited summer league power forward Cameron Moore to training camp, but he agreed to terms earlier this month with Venezia of Italy, reports David Pick of Eurobasket.com (on Twitter).
  • Andres Nocioni has signed with Real Madrid of Spain, the team announced (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). The eight-year NBA veteran had reportedly been receiving interest from teams interested in bringing him back to the Association, but he’s decided to remain overseas.

Bulls Told Nikola Mirotic They Wouldn’t Trade Him

July 25 at 12:20pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Nikola Mirotic freed himself from his Spanish league contract last month only after the Bulls made a commitment not to trade him, a source tells David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune. Fellow Tribune scribe K.C. Johnson had reported that the 6’10″ forward had sought such assurances, but it hadn’t been clear whether the Bulls had responded. Chicago reportedly offered Mirotic to the Timberwolves this week as part of a package for Kevin Love, but Mirotic and his representatives at Xpheres Basketball Management are under the impression that Chicago has made him a part of no such offer.

Agent Igor Crespo secured a 15% trade kicker for Mirotic that the Bulls would have to pay were they to deal him anywhere. The highly touted European prospect came away with a three-year deal worth more than $16.6MM after staying out of the NBA for three years after becoming the No. 23 overall pick in the 2011 draft. Remaining out of the league for so long meant he’d no longer be confined to the rookie scale once he did come to the NBA. A scale contract would have afforded him a salary of no more than $1.3MM for this season.

Mirotic became a star in Europe over the past few years while he waited to join the Bulls, and he’d no doubt have been a sought-after commodity if he’d been available on the free agent market. The offer the Bulls reportedly made involved Taj Gibson and 2014 No. 11 overall pick Doug McDermott in addition to Mirotic. Still, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times couldn’t confirm the presence of Mirotic’s name in the offer when he wrote that Gibson and McDermott were indeed on the table.

Contract Details: LeBron, Deng, Carter, Gasol

July 24 at 10:04am CDT By Chuck Myron

The idea that the Cavs would trade LeBron James sometime during his two-year contract is outlandish, but just in case it happens, the deal includes a 15% trade kicker, according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports. Deeks has updated his salary database with plenty of new information on deals signed within the past few weeks, so we’ll pass along some of his noteworthy findings. All links to go the relevant salary page at ShamSports.

  • Luol Deng, LeBron’s replacement with the Heat, also has a 15% trade kicker, as do new Grizzlies swingman Vince Carter and Knicks signee Jason Smith.
  • The last year of Pau Gasol‘s three-year deal with the Bulls is a player option.
  • The final season of the contract Joe Harris signed with the Cavs is non-guaranteed.
  • Eric Griffin‘s three-year, minimum-salary contract with the Mavs is non-guaranteed, with the exception of a $150K partial guarantee for this coming season.
  • Jodie Meeks‘ deal with the Pistons was originally reported to be more than $19MM, but it actually checks in at $18.81MM.
  • Damjan Rudez will make $3.449MM over the life of his three-year deal with the Pacers, which includes a team option for the final season. Shayne Whittington‘s partial guarantee with the team this year is worth $25K.
  • Russ Smith‘s deal with the Pelicans runs three years at the minimum salary, but only the first season is fully guaranteed. Fellow Pelicans rookie Patric Young‘s two-year deal is non-guaranteed, save for a $55K partial guarantee this year.

Contract Details: Brooks, Bairstow, Brown

July 23 at 7:55pm CDT By Alex Lee

As free agent transactions around the league become official, so do the monetary specifics of their contract agreements. Here’s a round up of the latest contract details to come to light this evening:

  • The minimum salary contract Aaron Brooks signed with the Bulls is for one year, as Mark Deeks of ShamSports reveals on his updated Bulls salary page.
  • Cameron Bairstow‘s three contract with the Bulls is guaranteed for $425K in year two and otherwise non-guaranteed past the first season, Deeks also reports.
  • Markel Brown‘s two-year deal with the Nets is fully guaranteed in year one, with a series of guarantee dates for the second season, as Deeks shows.
  • The two-year deal the Nets gave Cory Jefferson is similar, except it’s only guaranteed for $75K this year, Deeks also notes.
  • The Nets gave Bojan Bogdanovic a 15% trade kicker on his three-year deal rather than the player option that he initially appeared to be getting, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports on his Nets salary page.
  • Robbie Hummel‘s deal with the Timberwolves is fully-guaranteed for $880K for the upcoming season, reports Pincus. It was originally reported to be worth $900K. Pincus adds that the deal allows Hummel to block any trade Minnesota may try to include him in (Twitter links).

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Bulls Offer Gibson, Mirotic, McDermott For Love

July 23 at 12:45pm CDT By Chuck Myron

12:45pm: The Wolves contacted the Bulls within the last 24 hours to tell them that Cleveland’s proposal was their favorite but that it wasn’t enough to convince them to trade Love just yet, a source tells Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. The Bulls responded with their offer, Cowley adds, having heard that Chicago put Gibson, McDermott and a few other assets on the table for the Wolves. Cowley’s source couldn’t confirm whether Mirotic was part of the offer, but regardless, the Wolves are giving the proposal strong consideration, the Sun-Times scribe writes. The Bulls are confident, after reaching out to Love through backchannels, that he will commit to staying in Chicago for the long term, Cowley adds.

11:32am: The Bulls are offering a package of Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott for Kevin Love, as a source confirms to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (on Twitter). Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com was the first to report the offer. Sheridan hears the Wolves like Chicago’s package best among those on the table, but Wolfson contends that Minnesota would prefer a deal that nets them Andrew Wiggins from the Cavs (Twitter link).

Still, there’s confusion around the league about why the Wolves haven’t agreed to a deal with the Cavs if Wiggins is truly available, Grantland’s Zach Lowe tweets. Some close to the situation said prior to the report of Chicago’s offer that Love would likely wind up with the Bulls, according to USA Today’s Sam Amick (on Twitter).

The general belief has been that the Wolves would seek Gibson, Jimmy Butler and other assets from the Bulls, as Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reported Tuesday, and Wolfson noted at the time that the Wolves are high on McDermott, too. Neither McDermott nor Mirotic can officially be traded until the middle of next month, since both signed their rookie contracts in the past few days. That’s true of Mirotic even though he didn’t sign a rookie scale contract. The same complication will exist regarding Wiggins once Cleveland signs him, as expected.

Amick heard yesterday from the Cleveland camp that the Wolves still weren’t showing urgency to complete a deal for Love (Twitter link). In the same vein, the Bulls have continually told Gibson not to worry about trade rumors, as Gibson told reporters today, including K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Mirotic, while in the midst of finalizing a buyout from Real Madrid of Spain before he signed with Chicago, reportedly sought assurances from the Bulls that they wouldn’t trade him, but it’s unclear if Chicago made any such promise. The Warriors and Nuggets also reportedly remain in the mix for the All-Star power forward as the Wolves seek the involvement of a third team and clubs line up to help make any Love swap a multiteam transaction.

Bulls, Cavs Angling For Love, Nuggets In Mix

July 22 at 4:57pm CDT By Chuck Myron

4:57pm: A source who spoke to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times disputes that the Bulls are once more pushing to trade for Love.

4:08pm: The general belief is that the Wolves asked for Joakim Noah when they held preliminary talks about Love with the Bulls prior to the draft last month, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. Presumably, Chicago rebuffed Minnesota on that point.

3:40pm: Dieng’s name hasn’t come up in talks with Cleveland, and neither has Martin’s, reports Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press. Krawczynski cautions that Martin’s name was indeed a part of talks with the Warriors earlier in the offseason (Twitter links).

2:44pm: Gorgui Dieng‘s name has also come up in talks between the Cavs and Wolves, sources tell Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio (Twitter link).

2:11pm: Cleveland’s search for non-guaranteed contracts are in fact in an effort to sweeten their offer for Love, Wojnarowski writes in a full story, as they would provide cap relief for Minnesota once waived. The Cavs are also dangling future first-round picks in search of an experienced center, sources tell Wojnarowski, though it’s unclear if that, too, is related to Love. Wojnarowski is among the reporters contending that the Cavs are willing to put Wiggins in the deal, a point of frequent debate.

The Nuggets also remain in play for Love, according to Wojnarowski, and their package is Minnesota’s favorite outside of Cleveland’s and Golden State’s, if the Warriors were to relent and offer Klay Thompson. Denver reportedly offered multiple packages in June, but it’s unclear what the Nuggets have on the table now. The Wolves are insisting that teams take on J.J. Barea as part of any Love trade, and possibly Kevin Martin, too, Wojnarowski adds.

1:15pm: The Wolves also like Bulls rookie Doug McDermott, but their priority remains acquiring Wiggins if possible, Wolfson tweets.

12:57pm: The Bulls are indeed making another push to get involved in the Love sweepstakes, report Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. The general belief is that the Wolves would seek Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler and other assets from Chicago, according to Stein and Windhorst. The Bulls and Warriors were seemingly Love’s top two destinations when he made a push to be traded in May, but Chicago put any pursuit of him on the backburner while it chased Carmelo Anthony.

Still, the Cavs remain in the lead for Love and are increasingly optimistic that they can find a package that will work for the Wolves, Stein and Windhorst write. Their offer would center around Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a first-round pick, Stein and Windhorst hear, echoing a report last week from fellow ESPN scribe Chris Broussard and perhaps signaling a renewed willingness from Cleveland to part with Wiggins.

11:09am: The notion of including Andrew Wiggins in a trade for Kevin Love appears to be a matter the Cavs have tabled for now, but Cleveland remains in daily contact with the Wolves, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. The Wolves are ready to pull off a deal, but the Cavs are reticent to trade future first-round picks, as Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times hears (Twitter link). Minnesota is interested in the protected 2015 first-round picks the Cavs have coming from the Heat and Grizzlies, according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com (Twitter links).

The Bulls could find themselves in position to acquire Love, especially given the presence of Nikola Mirotic on the roster, if the Cavs won’t give up the picks the Wolves want, sources also tell Woelfel (Twitter link). As Mirotic was finalizing his buyout from Real Madrid of Spain, he reportedly wanted the Bulls to assure him that he wouldn’t be traded, though it’s unclear if Chicago ever addressed that issue.

The Cavs are on the prowl for non-guaranteed contracts that they can flip and use as trade ballast in subsequent deals, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (on Twitter). Cleveland remains under the cap, so it isn’t subject to a two-month waiting period that would prevent it from immediately aggregating salary it received via trade in another swap. It appears as though the Cavs are going after these contracts at least in part to help build their portfolio for a Love trade, though that’s just my speculation.

Bulls Sign Aaron Brooks

July 22 at 2:47pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Bulls have signed point guard Aaron Brooks, the team announced on its website. Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported a few days ago that the sides were close to a deal, not long after Aggrey Sam of CSNChicago.com indentified mutual interest. It’ll have to be a minimum-salary arrangement, since the Bulls are capped out and already spent their room exception on Kirk Hinrich, and K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune wrote last week that it would be for the minimum.

The Creative Artists Agency client split last season between the Rockets and Nuggets, turning in a strong performance for an injury-ravaged Denver team down the stretch. He averaged 11.9 points. 5.2 assists and 2.3 turnovers in 29.0 minutes per game over 29 appearances.

Brooks, 29, will vie with Kirk Hinrich to become the primary backup to Derrick Rose, with former Bulls point guard D.J. Augustin having signed with the Pistons for three years and $6MM. The six-year veteran Brooks started all 82 games for the Rockets in 2009/10, so he gives the Bulls a trusty insurance policy at a low cost should Rose once more be injured.

Bulls Sign Doug McDermott

July 22 at 2:36pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Bulls have signed No. 11 overall pick Doug McDermott, the team announced via press release. The sharpshooting forward from Creighton will likely receive a salary of nearly $2.278MM this season, as our table of salaries for 2014 first-round picks shows.

Chicago acquired the rights to McDermott on draft night in a trade with the Nuggets. McDermott was a consensus All-American during each of his final three seasons with the Blue Jays, and he averaged 26.7 points and 7.0 rebounds with 44.9% three-point shooting from behind the arc this past season. His defense is a concern, but his ability to stretch the floor with his shot certainly isn’t, as Cray Allred of Hoops Rumors examined when he compiled McDermott’s Prospect Profile.

The timing of the announcement is somewhat curious, since McDermott’s name surfaced in a report earlier today as a player the Wolves are high on as the Bulls make another run at trading for Kevin Love. The Bulls will have to wait 30 days to trade McDermott after having signed him, but they could have traded his rights immediately had they held off on officially coming to terms.

And-Ones: Kings, Turner, Mudiay, Union, Bulls

July 22 at 12:30pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro told Grantland’s Zach Lowe that the two keys to his rebuilding strategy are to surrender nothing of lasting value in exchange for capable veterans like Rudy Gay and to be willing to take quality players on inflated contracts.

“There are players that are being paid more than the league thinks they should be paid,” D’Alessandro said. “We see those contracts as an opportunity. Our first question is, ‘Do we like the player?’ If we do, then can we use a contract the league doesn’t look favorably on as an opportunity to make our team better?”

We passed along more on the Kings from Lowe this morning, and we’ve got plenty from around the rest of the league here:

  • The Celtics had been in contact with Evan Turner almost every day between the start of free agency and Monday, when they reached agreement on a deal, writes Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.
  • Emmanuel Mudiay isn’t the first well-regarded high school player to turn pro overseas rather than play in college, but his $1.2MM pact with Guangdong of China makes him the most highly compensated ever to have done so, notes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
  • Three candidates remain for the players association’s vacant executive director position, tweets Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times. The job has been open since the union ousted Billy Hunter at the All-Star break in 2013 and installed Ron Klempner in an interim capacity. It’s unclear whether Klempner is one of the finalists.
  • Cameron Bairstow‘s deal with the Bulls is for three years, starting at the minimum salary, reports K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. That means the team used all but a sliver of its remaining cap space to sign the rookie out of New Mexico, whom the Bulls picked 49th overall in last month’s draft. The first season of Bairstow’s contract is the only one that’s fully guaranteed, Johnson adds.
  • Chris Andersen‘s two-year deal with the Heat is for a total of $10.4MM, all of which is fully guaranteed, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com.