Chicago Bulls Rumors

Knicks Notes: Anthony, Chandler, Jackson

December 17 at 6:14pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Carmelo Anthony gave serious consideration during his free agency this past summer to relocating to Chicago. With the Knicks off to a 5-22 start, second-guessing his decision to return to New York would only be natural, but Anthony won’t allow himself to dwell on what might have been, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com writes. “If I start doing that and saying what if to myself and second-guessing and questioning myself, it won’t be right,” Anthony said. “For me, mentally it won’t be right, so I will not allow myself to sway toward asking myself what if with this situation or that situation. What’s done is done. I kinda don’t look at it. I kinda don’t think about it anymore. That’s in the past for me.

Here’s more out of the Big Apple:

  • Trading Tyson Chandler to the Mavs this past summer is coming back to haunt the Knicks this season, especially since team president Phil Jackson failed to garner an equal return on his most valuable trade asset in the swap with Dallas, Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal opines.
  • As the Knicks’ struggles continue, the scapegoating of Chandler as the alleged source of New York’s difficulties last season seems more like a smokescreen by the team with every passing game, George Willis of The New York Post writes. Judging by the warm reception the big man received from his former teammates before and after Tuesday night’s game against Dallas at Madison Square Garden, Chandler seems to be genuinely missed, and New York seems to be dealing with much more internal strife than a season ago, sans Chandler, Willis notes.
  • Reflecting back on the trade that sent Anthony from the Nuggets to the Knicks, a Denver executive marveled at how desperate New York’s front office was to obtain a player whom they could have just signed as a free agent a few months later, Frank Isola of The New York Daily News writes. “We were trying to figure out a way to create rosters spots because they were willing to give us anything we wanted,” said a Denver executive involved in the negotiations. “We kept thinking, ‘don’t they realize he’ll be a free agent in July?’ They could just sign him then.” Stripping the franchise of all those assets to obtain ‘Melo is still haunting the team to this day, Isola adds.

Central Notes: Monroe, Parker, Hansbrough

December 16 at 5:50pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Greg Monroe is growing weary of the trade rumors surrounding him and the Pistons, Vince Ellis of USA Today reports. “The same thing happened this summer,” Monroe said. “They put that stuff out there, say somebody said it, and then I got to answer for it. I really don’t have time for that. Especially right now. After losing 13 straight and finally getting a couple of games, and then you got to come in here and hear this when you getting ready for a game. At this point, it’s definitely annoying. We’re trying to turn things around here right now, and I gotta come in here and answer to stuff that I absolutely have nothing to do with. It is annoying, yes.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • After being drafted by the Bucks with the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s NBA draft, Jabari Parker said that he would like to remain in Milwaukee for his entire career, a statement Parker still stands by, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes. “I want to be here as much as possible, I want to stay as long as possible,” Parker said. “I want to just grind it out and see what happens. Even if I were to slump and they wanted to trade me, I would probably want to try and get better so I could stay here.
  • The primary reason for Parker’s comfort level with the Bucks is how team owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens have sold their vision for the future of the franchise to the young player, Deveney notes. “I feel very comfortable with them [Lasry and Edens],” Parker said. “A lot of times, when you think of ownership, it is almost like you think of slavery. You’re a piece of property. But with them, it is a partnership.”
  • Ben Hansbrough will have his D-League rights rescinded by the Grand Rapids Drive, the Pistons‘ affiliate, to accommodate an overseas deal, Gino Pilato of D-League Digest reports (Twitter link). Hansbrough was in training camp with the Bulls this season.
  • Larry Drew doesn’t harbor any resentment toward the Bucks after being fired as head coach so that Milwaukee could replace him with Jason Kidd, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. “I’ve seen stranger things happen,” Drew said. “Whether you think it’s fair or not, I don’t really dwell on that. I look back at guys who have been in similar situations and had stuff happen to them. I’ve learned to move on. I don’t any hard feelings about how things happened. Certainly, I wish it could have been handled a little differently [in Milwaukee] but it wasn’t.”

Central Notes: Stephenson, Josh Smith, Bulls

December 15 at 10:00am CST By Chuck Myron

The Central Division hasn’t been the hub of many roster moves so far this season, aside from A.J. Price‘s Cavs-to-Pacers-to-Cavs odyssey and Will Cherry‘s brief tenure in Cleveland. That figures to change before too long, since today is the first day that most offseason signees are eligible for inclusion in trades. The Cavs apparently have their eyes on a pair of Grizzlies, while the Pacers are reportedly one of multiple teams in talks to trade for Lance Stephenson, though Indiana doesn’t appear to be in any hurry to make such a move. There’s more on Stephenson amid the latest items trickling out of the Central Division:

  • The chance the Pacers have to bring back their old core for another run in 2015/16 and erase the mistakes they and Stephenson made in free agency this summer should lead Indiana to trade for its former shooting guard, opines Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star. Buckner thinks, after having spoken with league sources, that Stephenson would welcome a Pacers reunion.
  • Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press doesn’t foresee a Josh Smith trade happening soon, figuring that teams would want the Pistons to attach a first-rounder to Smith’s contract, worth $40.5MM between this season and its expiration after 2016/17 (Twitter links). Kings management tried to trade for Smith this summer over the objections of soon-to-be former coach Michael Malone, but the Pistons didn’t like what Sacramento was offering.
  • The Bulls‘ decision to deal Luol Deng turned out to be a prudent one, as Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com writes.  In the short term, the cap flexibility that Chicago freed up in the Deng deal took them out of luxury tax territory.  From a broader perspective, the deal (plus the amnestying of Carlos Boozer‘s contract) gave the Bulls enough wiggle room to land Pau Gasol.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Central Notes: McDermott, Mirotic, Waiters

December 14 at 10:56am CST By Chris Crouse

Doug McDermott will likely be sidelined for six to eight weeks following surgery by team physicians to repair a small meniscus tear in his right knee, reports K.C. Johnson of the Chicago tribune (Twitter link).  Before the injury, McDermott was off to a slow start to the season averaging just 3.2 points per game in 11.6 minutes per game for the Bulls.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • A series of injuries on the Bulls have created an opportunity for Nikola Mirotic and he has thrived in his increased role, writes Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald. Mirotic’s teammates are certainly noticing the stellar play of the forward. “Niko, he doesn’t know how good he is right now,” Derrick Rose said. “He can rebound, he can cut, he can pass. I don’t know what he can’t do on the floor.” Mirotic is shooting 43.9% from the field in 17.7 minutes per game during his rookie campaign.
  • Cavs guard Dion Waiters chalks up his improved play to an attitude adjustment, writes Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. Waiters’ role and minutes on the team have fluctuated and he was the subject of trade talks earlier this season. The up-and-down playing time clearly bothered the former fourth overall pick. “I would be mad before I even got in the game,” Waiters told Haynes. “I was mad, [but] it is what it is.” Now, Waiters is more understanding of his role in Cleveland and understands the team’s intention is to help him improve. “I was just fighting myself, man,” Waiters said. “That’s what I was doing. I just left it alone. I’m going to make the best of it. I’ve got good people in my corner who actually care for me. I’ll be good.”
  • Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the most improved sophomores in the league, opines Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel. Coach Jason Kidd believes Antetokounmpo’s increase in free-throw attempts have been key to his success. “He’s learning how to play without having to score the ball, say shooting threes or shooting jump shots. He can live at the free-throw line. Some of the top players in this league, that’s what they do,” said Kidd. The forward has already shot 98 free-throw attempts in just 24 games this season after only shooting 202 attempts in 77 games last year.

Eastern Notes: Dudley, Rose, Magic

December 13 at 11:03pm CST By Arthur Hill

Clippers coach Doc Rivers never wanted to part with Jared Dudley, writes Charles F. Gardner of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Dudley came to the Bucks via trade last summer after a frustrating season in Los Angeles. “We just had to create roster room,” Rivers said. “We actually really wanted to keep him. He was the one who had the most value. We really haven’t used the [salary] space yet, but we think we may need it at some point.”

There is other news from the Eastern Conference:

  • The BullsDerrick Rose is slowly regaining his MVP form, writes Sam Smith of Bulls.com. Rose scored 31 points in Friday’s win over Portland, his largest outburst since March of 2012. “We all feel he is going to be back to the guy he was,” coach Tom Thibodeau told the team’s official website. “He is going step by step. He has to keep building, keep attacking. When he is aggressive like that, there is no one like him.”
  • Magic coach Jacque Vaughn warned his young guards that they have to take better care of the ball if they want to stay in the game, according to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. The Hawks turned up the pressure in Friday’s game, forcing three turnovers by Victor Oladipo and two by Elfrid Payton“You try to prepare them with a solution,” Vaughn said. “But you also want them to be able to go through the situation and try to swim their way through it as well.”
  • Jared Sullinger‘s sudden scoring slump has hit at the same time as the Celtics‘ three-game losing streak, writes Chris Forsburg of ESPNBoston.com. Sullinger missed all six of his shots from the field in Friday’s loss to the Knicks, but the Celtics are remaining supportive. “Sully’s a really good player who’s had a couple tough games in a row,” said coach Brad Stevens. “I think the most important thing we can do is encourage him, but we certainly need him to be good. But there’s a lot of things when you lose a game that factor into losing the game, and so I don’t think it’s any one person’s play or any two people’s play — it’s a collective effort, win or lose.”

Clippers, Grizzlies, Warriors In Hunt For Ray Allen

December 13 at 8:18pm CST By Chuck Myron

8:18pm: Doc Rivers said the Clippers are also interested in Allen, tweets Dan Woike of The Orange County Register. Los Angeles had expressed an interest in Allen over the summer, but Rivers said in October that Allen wasn’t a candidate to join the team.

SATURDAY, 3:28pm: Allen’s agent, Jim Tanner, confirmed that their is a wide range of interest in his client around the league, Shams Charania of RealGM reports. In addition to the previously mentioned teams, the Grizzlies have also expressed interest in the veteran free agent, Charania notes.

4:00pm: Warriors GM Bob Myers told 95.7 The Game today that Golden State did reach out to Allen’s representatives, but Allen isn’t sure about what he wants to do, Diamond Leung of The Bay Area News Group tweets.

THURSDAY, 9:01am: Ray Allen‘s name has drawn mention as the Warriors have engaged in internal discussions about their roster, according to Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group (Twitter link). The Warriors have been evaluating their options regarding their backcourt, Kawakami also tweets, though it’s unclear if they’re looking at bringing in someone new or just thinking about giving more minutes to players who are already on their roster. Golden State is a league-best 19-2, so it doesn’t seem there’d be much of a rush to make changes, though the Warriors’ position as a legitimate title threat no doubt gives them a leg up with sought-after free agents.

The 39-year-old Allen has lingered on the free agent market since July as he’s mulled whether to play again or retire. The Cavs, Wizards, Bulls and Spurs were among seven teams that still reportedly had interest in signing Allen as of late last month. Multiple reports from the past few weeks have cast the Cavs as the favorites to land the league’s all-time leading three-point maker should he decide to return to the NBA, echoing similar reports since the summer and an apparent belief that Cleveland’s front office had maintained into the fall. Still, Allen and agent Jim Tanner have shot down several rumors and have consistently maintained that Allen has yet to make up his mind. A report last week indicated that Allen has let teams know that he’ll entertain offers in January and decide about his future in February.

Allen said this summer that he wanted to play for an experienced coach, and while he didn’t rule out playing for the minimum salary, he made it clear that he’s not keen on the idea. That would appear to put the Warriors at a disadvantage should they pursue him, since Steve Kerr is in his first season as a head coach and Golden State is limited to the minimum salary. Kerr is nonetheless the first rookie coach in NBA history to win 19 out of his first 21 games. The Warriors are also one of the few teams in the NBA with an open roster spotLeandro Barbosa and Justin Holiday are on partially guaranteed deals that are de facto non-guaranteed arrangements, since both have earned in excess of the amount of their partial guarantees. Holiday has seen little playing time this season, and Barbosa, who’s averaged 13.6 minutes per game this year, didn’t see action in the second half Wednesday, Kawakami notes (on Twitter).

Eastern Notes: Aldemir, Young, McDermott

December 12 at 10:07pm CST By Eddie Scarito

The Sixers‘ potential signing of Furkan Aldemir to a four-year deal was first reported back on November 24th. But since then, there have been numerous issues with getting the agreement finalized. Aldemir’s Turkish club was initially reluctant to let him out of his contract, and once that hurdle was taken care of, Aldemir was then said to be awaiting his FIBA letter of clearance which would allow him to sign with an NBA team. It’s been almost two weeks since there has been any movement on bringing Aldemir to Philly, and Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Daily News tweets that it still doesn’t look like the signing will be completed anytime soon, if at all.

Here’s more from the East:

  • Celtics coach Brad Stevens gave an update on James Young, who injured his shoulder during a D-League game earlier this week, Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com reports (Twitter link). Stevens said that Young has a “little bit of muscular damage” in his right shoulder, and will rehab the injury in an attempt to avoid surgery. Young is currently listed as being out indefinitely.
  • The Bulls have announced in a press release that rookie forward Doug McDermott will have arthroscopic surgery on Saturday to repair damage to his right knee and will be out indefinitely. Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com was the first to report this news (Twitter link). In 17 appearances this season McDermott is averaging 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 11.6 minutes per game.
  • The sale of the Hawks is moving more swiftly than before, as USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt notes. There has been little chatter regarding the sale since late October, when it was still unclear just what percentage of the team would be on the market.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Central Notes: Kidd, Hammond, Gasol, Pistons

December 12 at 1:37pm CST By Chuck Myron

Jason Kidd has just as much authority on player personnel for the Bucks as GM John Hammond does, co-owner Marc Lasry tells Chris Mannix of SI.com. If Hammond and Kidd disagree, the owners will cast the deciding vote, Lasry adds.

“I don’t want John to say we need to do something and Jason to say the opposite, and then there is a fight,” Lasry said. “If John wants to do something, Jason should be on board. If Jason wants to do something, John should be on board with it. That’s how we do it in our business, that’s how we want to do it here.”

Reports from before Milwaukee hired Kidd as coach this summer indicated that Kidd was seeking to become Bucks president of basketball operations. Hammond’s deal with Milwaukee runs through 2015/16, but the new owners were reluctant to commit to him for this season before ultimately deciding to do so. Here’s more from around the Central Division:

  • The style of play the Bulls employ was key to their recruitment of Pau Gasol and to his early-season resurgence, as he told reporters, including Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com. “It’s just a really nice fit for me and something I evaluated before I made my decision,” Gasol said. “… The system, the way we run things, our principles, how we want the ball to touch the paint and get to the post and then operate from there.”
  • Gasol’s performance so far this season has been impressive enough to create a compelling case that he was the most important free agent acquisition this summer outside of LeBron James, writes K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. The ex-Laker is averaging 19.8 points and 12.2 rebounds per game.
  • The Pistons figure to be active in trade talk this season, and MLive’s David Mayo, amid his latest mailbag column, identifies a few potential buyers and sellers with whom Detroit could partner.

Eastern Notes: Knicks, Heat, Mahinmi, Murphy

December 8 at 4:30pm CST By Chuck Myron

Phil Jackson maintains that the Knicks aren’t ready to turn their focus to the draft, despite their 4-18 start, notes Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link). Still, people on the “non-playing side” of the organization believe the team doesn’t have many players who can master the triangle, as TNT’s David Aldridge writes in his Morning Tip column for NBA.com. Carmelo Anthony says he and his teammates must “kind of be comfortable with being uncomfortable” as they learn the triangle, as he told Aldridge last week. Comfort is tough to find on the court or off in New York for now, and we passed along more on the Knicks earlier today. Here’s news from the rest of the Eastern Conference:

  • The Heat wouldn’t have built this season’s roster the way they did if they knew going into July that LeBron James wouldn’t re-sign, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes amid his mailbag column. James announced his decision on July 11th, more than a week into NBA free agency.
  • Ian Mahinmi will be out six to eight weeks with a torn left plantar fascia, the Pacers announced. Mahinmi suffered the injury in the first half of Friday night’s contest against the Kings.
  • Former Bulls big man Erik Murphy, currently with the Spurs affiliate in the D-League, is in talks with Turkish club Galatasaray, according to Orazio Cauchi of Sportando. Murphy, who spent most of last season with Chicago after the Bulls chose him 49th in the 2013 draft, was last on an NBA roster with the Celtics, who let him go at the end of the preseason.

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

And-Ones: Knicks, Mekel, Mirotic, Kerr

December 6 at 9:37pm CST By Chris Crouse

The Knicks have started the season with a record of 4-17, but there is upside to the team’s horrendous start, writes Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. Ending up in the early part of the lottery could lead to the addition of a franchise changing player to the team either by the draft itself or by a trade that sends the pick out in a package that lands the Knicks an elite talent, like the Cavs did with Kevin Love this past offseason. Isola points out that the Knicks haven’t been the most patient franchise when it comes to developing talent and notes that the last two Knicks’ draft picks to make the All-Star team were David Lee, who was drafted in 2005, and Mark Jackson, who was selected in the 1987 draft.

Here’s more from around the Association:

  • Gal Mekel‘s two-year, non-guaranteed deal he signed with the Pelicans will pay him $639K this season, and he’ll earn $947,276 during the 2015/16 season, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). That means the deal is a minimum-salary arrangement.
  • The Bulls‘ three-year wait for Nikola Mirotic brought back memories of a similar saga with Toni Kukoc two decades ago, writes Steve Aschburner of NBA.com. But while Kukoc was publicly dissed by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, Mirotic has gotten a friendly reception from Chicago’s current stars.  “He can put it on the floor, he can make plays for people, he can get to the basket,” Mike Dunleavy said of Mirotic, who is in the first season of a three-year, $16.6MM deal. “Defensively he’s pretty good — blocks shots, gets his hands on a lot of balls. As he gets used to everything a little more, he’ll foul less and be a pretty effective defender.”
  • Steve Kerr, who has the Warriors off to the NBA’s best start in his first season behind the team’s bench, tells Sam Smith of Bulls.com that his coaching style borrows from every coach he ever played under. Kerr played for two of the league’s most successful coaches ever in Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich, but said he learned something everywhere he went. Cotton Fitzsimmons and Lenny Wilkens and Lute Olson; you sort of take a little from each person,” Kerr said. “But what they all told me was to be yourself. They said you have to be yourself, that players will know if you are trying to do something that is not you.” 

Arthur Hill and Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.