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Chicago Bulls

Mavericks Notes: Nowitzki, Bogut, Rondo, Barnes

Shortly after being ruled out indefinitely with a lingering Achilles problem, Dirk Nowitzki told reporters he is “all in” for the rest of the Mavericks’ season, relays Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. Soreness in his right Achilles tendon has limited Nowitzki to five games this season. The problem began after he played 38 minutes on opening night. The veteran forward, who re-signed this summer for $50MM over two years, said he remains committed to this season despite the pain and Dallas’ 4-15 start. “This is obviously not a career-ending injury that I’ve got,” he said. “It’s something that just keeps lingering unfortunately. I can hopefully get over it. There’s still a lot of season left. December just started. We know that there’s a lot of games coming, so hopefully sometime soon I’ll be out there and then stay out there. I don’t want to jump in and out of the lineup with soreness or fight this whole year. I’d love to be healthy and stay out there once I go.”

There’s more from Dallas:

  • Center Andrew Bogut says the Mavericks have to turn things around quickly to have any hope for the playoffs, tweets Dwain Price of The Fort Worth Star Telegram. “We probably honestly genuinely got about a month left to try and salvage this season,” Bogut said before Saturday’s win over the Bulls. The Mavericks’ performance over the next few weeks may determine if Bogut remains with the team all season. He will be a free agent next summer and could be traded before the February 23rd deadline if Dallas isn’t in contention.
  • Coach Rick Carlisle remains a supporter of Rajon Rondo even though they had a rocky relationship during the point guard’s time in Dallas, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Carlisle gave a glowing report about Rondo to the Bulls’ coaching staff when the team was considering making an offer to him in free agency. “I’ve recommended Rondo to a couple teams who have called me about him the last couple years,” Carlisle said. “As a competitor, you’re not going to find a guy better or more resourceful. It didn’t work out here for various reasons. It just was not a good fit. We did everything we could to make it work.”
  • Harrison Barnes is still adjusting to being a primary scorer after starting his career as a complementary piece in Golden State, writes Pat James of The Charlotte Observer. The Mavericks gave Barnes a four-year, $94MM contract this summer and promised him a larger role in the offense. “You just have to go and be aggressive,” he said. “That’s just the mentality coach has been trying to get me to be in this entire season. When he [Carlisle] draws up that play, it can’t be that I’m indecisive or thinking, ‘What play should I do?’ It’s just got be, ‘Make a read, and make or miss you live with the result.’ ”

Central Notes: Jones, Cavs, Johnson, Bulls

Cavaliers swingman James Jones plans to retire after the 2017/18 season, Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal reports. Jones, 36, becomes a free agent after this season but would likely remain with Cleveland, given LeBron James affinity for Jones as a teammate, Lloyd adds. “I know playing 15 years is a number where I can look back and I can be like, ‘I accomplished something,’ ” Jones told Lloyd. “Fourteen vs. 15 may not be much, but to be able to say I played 15 years, that’s enough for me to hang ’em up.”
In other news around the Central Division:
  • The Cavaliers are in the market for a backup point guard and could fulfill that need later this month, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. That potential acquisition will likely come after December 15th, when free agents who signed contracts over the summer can be traded, Vardon adds. Cleveland doesn’t have a true point guard to back up Kyrie Irving other than rookie Kay Felder, who has played sparingly.
  • Stanley Johnson needs to improve his work habits in order to reclaim his rotation spot, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy told Aaron McMann of MLive and other beat reporters. Johnson, a 2015 lottery pick, was benched in two games the last two weeks and also served a one-game team suspension after showing up late for the morning shootaround, McMann continues. Johnson only played four garbage-time minutes against the Hawks on Friday. “He’s got to be a better practice guy,” Van Gundy told McMann. “He’s got to be a better workout guy. He’s got to be better with all that stuff. Really working to get better. Once he’s out there competing, you don’t have a problem with that. He’ll play as hard as anybody, but he’s got to understand that’s not the whole thing. It’s preparing to play.”
  • Bulls forward Doug McDermott could return sometime next week from a concussion that has sidelined him the last eight games, Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com writes. McDermott has suffered two concussions this season and the might practice with the team’s D-League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls, as well as the NBA team before he returns, Goodwill adds. “It’s gonna take him at least a couple days to have full practices,” Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg told Goodwill and other reporters.

McDermott Still Not Cleared For Contact

  • Bulls forward Doug McDermott met with doctors Monday, but still hasn’t been cleared for contact, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. McDermott participated in the non-contact portion of today’s practice, but will miss his seventh straight game on Wednesday. He hasn’t played since suffering his second concussion of the season November 12th.

Jimmy Butler, Rudy Gay Changing Agencies?

2:47pm: Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders clarifies (via Twitter) that Butler has not changed his representation, though his agent has moved to a different agency. The Bulls forward will continue to be represented by Steve McCaskill, who now works for Catalyst Sports with Happy Walters.

11:50am: A pair of high-scoring forwards are making changes to their representation, according to Orazio Cauchi of Sportando. Sportando reports that Jimmy Butler has decided to leave Independent Sports & Entertainment, and that Rudy Gay has opted to leave Octagon Basketball.

Butler, a two-time All-Star for the Bulls remains under team control through the 2018/19 season, with a player option for 2019/20, so he won’t require an agent to negotiate a new contract for him anytime soon. As Cauchi observes, Butler’s agency change may be related to Happy Walters’ latest career move. Walters, who previously represented Butler at Relativity Sports, has launched a new agency called Catalyst Sports & Media, so the Bulls forward could end up with Catalyst.

As for Gay, his contract situation is a little more active than Butler’s at the moment — the Kings forward has already informed the team that he intends to opt out of his contract next summer after playing out the 2016/17 season. Gay has also frequently been cited as a trade candidate, so a new agent could attempt to help accommodate a trade out of Sacramento before negotiating a new contract for Gay in July.

Eastern Notes: Vucevic, Mirotic, Canaan, Pistons

Magic coach Frank Vogel shook up the starting lineup tonight with D.J. Augustin, Bismack Biyombo and Aaron Gordon replacing Elfrid Payton, Nikola Vucevic and Jeff Green, writes Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. The change was prompted by a three-game losing streak, but not much improved with an eight-point loss to the Bucks.

Vucevic promised to keep a professional attitude about the move, but he clearly isn’t endorsing it. “I spoke to Frank about it last night, and obviously I wasn’t happy with the decision they made,” the sixth-year center said to Zach Oliver of OPP Magic Blog. “I didn’t think there was a reason for me to go to the bench, but it’s coach’s decision. All I can do is control what I can control, which is when I’m on the court play to the best of my ability and help the team win. Stay professional and whatever is going on, I’ll keep giving my best and give them my full effort.”

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic hopes to stay in the NBA rather than return to Europe after his contract expires at the end of this season, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. The former Real Madrid star is wrapping up a three-year, $16.6MM deal. He calls Chicago “a great city” and says he wants to continue to take on the challenges that the NBA presents. “I think [the NBA] is the best place I can grow as a player,” Mirotic said. “I was very comfortable in Madrid. … That was a perfect place to stay and be in a comfort zone, to sign another five years. But that’s not who I am. I like the challenges. … And I came here to prove that I’m ready.”
  • A season and a half in Philadelphia has helped Bulls guard Isaiah Canaan appreciate the chance to be on a winning team, writes Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly. Canaan signed with Chicago over the summer after the Sixers declined to submit a qualifying offer. “I say it was a blessing for the opportunity, just to prove I can help a team out and show what I can bring,” Canaan said. “It was a humbling experience for me just to have to go through something like that and learn not to take anything for granted.”
  • A June meeting at a Tigers game between Pistons owner Tom Gores and the Ilitch family, which owns the Red Wings, led to the Pistons’ move downtown next season, relays Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 11/27/16

Here are Sunday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • Forwards Anthony Bennett and Chris McCullough were recalled by the Nets after being assigned to Long Island earlier today for the D-League team’s game against Grand Rapids, the team announced in an email. Bennett had 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists, while McCullough put up 15 points and nine rebounds.
  • The Raptors have recalled Jakob Poeltl, Bruno Caboclo and Fred VanVleet from Raptors 905, according to The Toronto Sun. All three had been sent down to participate in Satuday’s game against Maine.
  • The Spurs assigned rookie guards Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes and Nicolas Laprovittola to Austin, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio News-Express. They are expected to be recalled in time for San Antonio’s game on Tuesday.
  • The Pelicans have recalled rookie forward Cheick Diallo from Austin, the team announced in an email. He has played six games in the D-League and just one for New Orleans.
  • The Mavericks recalled rookie center A.J. Hammons from the Texas Legends, according to an email from the team. He was assigned Saturday for a game against Salt Lake in which he scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds.
  • The Bulls have recalled forward/center Cristiano Felicio and guards Jerian Grant and R.J. Hunter from their Windy City affiliate, the team announced in an email.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 11/26/16

Here are Saturday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

10:22pm:

  • The Hornets have recalled Aaron Harrison from their D-League affiliate, the team announced on its website. A second-year guard, Harrison has appeared in two games for Charlotte this season.
  • The Mavericks have sent rookie center A.J. Hammons to the Texas Legends, the team announced through email. Hammons has played seven games for the Mavericks, averaging 1.3 points and 1.1 rebounds in 3.4 minutes.

2:42pm: 

  • The Suns assigned Derrick Jones Jr. to Northern Arizona, their D-League affiliate, according to the team’s website. This is his second D-League assignment, as Jones has averaged 15.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in two games with the NAZ Suns. The undrafted 6’7” small forward made his NBA debut on November 19th, playing three minutes against the Sixers.
  • The Bulls assigned big man Cristiano Felício, and guards Jerian Grant and R.J. Hunter to their D-League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls, the D-League team tweets. After defeating the Sixers on Friday, the NBA Bulls have a gap in their schedule, as they don’t play again until Wednesday. The assignments will allow those three reserves to get playing time and stay sharp. All are expected to see action in Windy City’s game against Delaware on Saturday. Felicio has appeared in 11 games with Chicago, while Grant has played in 10 games — including two starts. Hunter has seen action in just two games.
  • The Bucks assigned guard Rashad Vaughn to the Westchester Knicks under the flexible assignment rule, according to a team press release. Vaughn was previously assigned to Westchester from November 19-23, appearing in two games and averaging 11.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in 15.9 minutes. Vaughn has appeared in nine games for the Bucks, averaging 6.0 points and 1.2 rebounds in 14.5 minutes.

Carter-Williams Has Bone Chip In Wrist

  • A bone chip in his left wrist is the latest health setback for Michael Carter-Williams, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. The Bulls had hoped to get the fourth-year guard back as early as next week from a bone bruise on his knee that has kept him out since October 31st. Carter-Williams, who has played just three games for Chicago since being acquired in an offseason trade, will have the wrist re-evaluated in two weeks.

Injury Updates

  • The Bulls could have Michael Carter-Williams back on the court next week, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times reports. “I’m definitely ahead of schedule,’’ Carter-Williams said. “My knee feels great. I just got to find the measure between how hard I can go without hurting it furthermore, so I’m just testing the limit right now. Just trying to get back to 100 percent.’

Hoiberg On Free Agency

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg believes it’s a different era now than when he played in the NBA in regard to how players communicate in the offseason, Nick Friedell of ESPN.com writes. Hoiberg notices that players are forming relationships with each other at the AAU level and its impacting free agency.

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