Chicago Bulls

Bulls, Aaron Brooks Agree To Deal

The Bulls will re-sign Aaron Brooks for one year at the minimum salary, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Brooks could have signed for 20% more than the minimum via Non-Bird rights, but Chicago gets a break as its poised to pay the tax thanks in large measure to its deals with Jimmy Butler and Mike Dunleavy.

The 30-year-old Brooks served as Chicago’s primary backup point guard this past season, even starting 21 games, but little chatter surrounded his free agency, surprisingly, as his sparse rumors page shows. The Bulls thus keep their primary backcourt contributors in house, with Derrick Rose and Tony Snell under contract, Butler having agreed to re-sign and Kirk Hinrich having opted in.

Butler, a seven-year veteran, will nonetheless see a slight raise, from $1,145,685 to $1,270,964. The Bulls need only pay $947,276, the equivalent of the two-year veteran’s minimum, with the league picking up the rest. The disadvantage of the one-year deal is that Chicago can’t trade him without his consent, as he’d lose his Early Bird rights if he were traded, notes Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link).

Latest On Patrick Beverley

FRIDAY, 5:26pm: The talks between the Kings and Beverley are progressing, and the two sides could be nearing a deal, Kennedy tweets.

1:05pm: New York is ramping up its pursuit of the point guard, and the sides have been talking a lot, Kennedy reports (on Twitter).

12:26pm: The Cavs contacted Patrick Beverley, Kennedy reports (on Twitter), while the Kings, Mavs and Knicks have all called him, too, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

WEDNESDAY, 12:07am: The Knicks have “major interest” and Beverley is interested in them, too, a source tells Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.

TUESDAY, 1:43pm: The Mavericks, Knicks, Bulls, Cavs will challenge the Rockets in their efforts to re-sign Patrick Beverley, reports Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Kennedy confirms that Houston continues to have interest in the point guard, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports wrote this spring that the Rockets were determined to have him come back.

The Rockets have the right to match all offers after having extended a qualifying offer today worth slightly more than $2.725MM, according to fellow Basketball Insiders scribe Eric Pincus (on Twitter). That was largely a procedural move, as the Bill Duffy client appears poised to command much more after having played for just the minimum salary the past few seasons in Houston.

The Bulls and Cavs would appear to be long shots, since they’re both poised to go into tax territory, likely limiting them to the $3.376MM taxpayer’s mid-level exception. The Mavs and Knicks can clear max-level cap room, though Beverley probably isn’t their first priority. The Rockets are in the mix for marquee names, as usual, but GM Daryl Morey thinks the team will most likely remain above the cap and focus on re-signing its own free agents. Even if it doesn’t, it would be relatively easy to retain Beverley’s Bird rights, since his cap hold is equivalent to his qualifying offer.

Kings To Sign Marco Belinelli

4:05pm: The deal wouldn’t fit within the mid-level exception, Stein notes via Twitter. That exception would only allow for a total of $17,129,640 over three years, and while it’s not uncommon for initial reported figures on deals to be off, this appears to be confirm that the contract will exceed the exception amount. That means the Kings will likely use cap room and lose the ability to create trade exceptions for the three players they’ve agreed to trade to Philadelphia, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders points out (on Twitter).

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Detroit Pistons

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

1:36pm: The Kings and Marco Belinelli have reached agreement on a deal worth $19MM over three years, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The contract will include no option clauses, tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Sacramento will likely use part of the cap space it’s set to clear in the wake of its trade agreement with the Sixers, though the deal is cheap enough to fit within the $5.464MM mid-level exception if the Kings choose to operate as an over-the-cap team.

The Hornets had reportedly planned a strong pursuit, and the Warriors had interest, too. The Heat put in a call to express their interest in the client of Sam Goldfeder and Jeff Schwartz, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (Twitter link), but Miami, like the Warriors, is likely limited to no more than the $3.376MM taxpayer’s mid-level exception. The Bulls might have gone after him if they’d have failed to sign Mike Dunleavy, as K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune wrote, but they, too, would likely have been limited to the taxpayer’s mid-level.

Belinelli wanted to re-sign with the Spurs, as Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News heard (Twitter link). They were armed with Early Bird rights to bring him back on a deal comparable to the one he’s getting from the Kings, but they’re in hot pursuit of LaMarcus Aldridge, and may well have had to renounce Belinelli’s rights to squeeze Aldridge under the cap.

Sacramento moves on from having missed out on Monta Ellis and Wesley Matthews with a proven three-point marksman who’s nailed 39.2% of his attempts from behind the arc for his career. Still, outside of two seasons in New Orleans, he’s primarily been a reserve during his eight years in the NBA.

Jimmy Butler To Re-Sign With Bulls

Jimmy Butler and the Bulls are finalizing a max contract for five years with a player option after year four, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter links). It’ll be worth an estimated $95MM, according to Wojnarowski, with the precise value to be determined, when the deal can become official at the end of the July Moratorium next week. Other teams pursuing him have given up the chase, Wojnarowski adds. The client of Happy Walkers and Steve McCaskill was strongly leaning toward taking Chicago’s five-year offer, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com had reported earlier, and it long appeared as though the Bulls would keep him, with the power to match offers and the willingness to pay the max.

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

The restricted free agent reportedly intended to seek short-term offer sheets, but wound up re-signing with Chicago on a deal that won’t allow him to choose free agency until 2019. Still, when the Bulls tendered a maximum qualifying offer, that meant Butler couldn’t sign an offer sheet that would let him into free agency sooner than 2018, and he apparently put off meetings with the Lakers, Sixers and Mavs when that offer from Chicago came in. The only recourse would have been to sign his standard qualifying offer, worth less than $4.434MM, and while that would have let him into unrestricted free agency next summer, it would have been a profound financial sacrifice for this coming season.

Butler already gambled on himself when he passed up $11MM salaries on a proposed extension with Chicago this past fall. The former 30th overall pick apparently would have settled for between $12.5MM and $13MM a year at that point, but his performance this season, which earned him this year’s Most Improved Player of the Year award, sent his value skyrocketing.

The result will cost the Bulls even more than the difference between what he might have taken in an extension and an estimated $16MM starting salary for this coming season. Chicago, which also agreed to a three-year, $14.4MM deal with Mike Dunleavy today, is almost certain to pay a stiff tax bill, since it entered free agency with $63MM already against a tax threshold likely to land somewhere around $82MM when the league sets it at the end of the moratorium.

Jimmy Butler Ponders Max Offer From Bulls

10:46am: The Bulls are open to a player option, Johnson reports (Twitter link).

9:17am: The Happy Walters client is strongly leaning toward Chicago’s five-year offer instead of a shorter deal, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

12:48am: Butler wants a player option in any deal that he signs, and while he may shop himself to other teams if the Bulls don’t grant that request, Chicago would still match any offer, according to K.C. Johnson the Chicago Tribune (Twitter links).

WEDNESDAY, 12:12am: The swingman is thinking about doing a five-year max deal that includes a player option on the last season with the Bulls, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM.

TUESDAY, 11:09am: Butler put off meetings with the Lakers, Celtics, Sixers and Mavs when the Bulls made their max qualifying offer and is now deciding how many years to sign for on a deal with Chicago, reports Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

MONDAY, 3:43pm: The Bulls have given Jimmy Butler a maximum qualifying offer, meaning other teams can’t sign him to an offer sheet that runs fewer than three years, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter links). Those three years can’t include an option. Opposing teams would otherwise be limited to offer sheets of at least two years had Chicago merely extended a standard qualifying offer. The Bulls have also made the standard QO, worth nearly $4.434MM, that Butler can accept if he is intent on reaching unrestricted free agency as quickly as possible, though that would entail great financial sacrifice this season.

The max qualifying offer, by rule, is a fully guaranteed five years with a starting salary at the max and 7.5% raises. It can’t include any option years. The Bulls and Butler are free to negotiate different terms, but it nonetheless raises the stakes, with Butler reportedly wanting to sign a short-term deal with the Lakers.

David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune reported back in January that the Bulls planned a max offer for Butler, so today’s news is no surprise. Still, paying an estimated max salary of around $19MM to Butler next season will likely send the Bulls, who already have about $63MM in guaranteed salary for 2015/16, into tax territory, with the tax line projected to come in at $81.6MM.

Free Agent Rumors: Gasol, Carroll, Green, Lin

The Grizzlies and Marc Gasol are likely to reach a deal, as long expected, today or Thursday, as TNT’s David Aldridge hears (Twitter link). Gasol and Grizzlies owner Robert Pera are both in Spain today, working out the details on a new deal, a source tells TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link). While we wait for what appears to be an inevitable conclusion for the Arn Tellem client, here’s more from the first day of free agency:

  • The Pistons are believed to have spoken to DeMarre Carroll overnight, according to Terry Foster of the Detroit News.
  • New York would reportedly like to meet with Danny Green, and that interest appears mutual, as “anybody turning down a meeting with them would be crazy,” Green said to Marc Berman of the New York Post“I don’t think people are scared of the Knicks,’’ Green said. “They’re rebuilding. … Some guys want to go where they’re already winning. They get a couple of good pieces this summer, I’m sure it’ll attact more guys.’’
  • Jeremy Lin heard from the Lakers overnight, and the Mavericks, Grizzlies, Pacers, Bulls and Clippers, a league source told Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. Still, Lin appears unlikely to re-sign with the Lakers, Media opines on Twitter.
  • The Lakers reached out to Wayne Ellington overnight, and the Cavaliers, Warriors, Wizards, Spurs and Hawks also showed interest, Medina reports in a separate piece.
  • Willie Green and the Knicks have engaged in preliminary discussions, speaking twice since free agency began overnight, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM.
  • Mike Dunleavy had no shortage of interest from others, but he’s quite pleased about his new deal with the Bulls, as he expressed to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). “I’m thrilled to be back,” Dunleavy said. “It’s a really fair deal. I’m looking forward to playing for [coach Fred Hoiberg] and love our team.”
  • The Magic‘s apparent four-year, $80MM offer to Paul Millsap has executives more optimistic that Orlando won’t match offers for restricted free agent Tobias Harris, reports Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link). Marc Stein of ESPN.com had speculated as much earlier.

Bulls To Re-Sign Mike Dunleavy

9:08am: The sides have reached agreement, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (on Twitter). It’ll be $14.4MM over the course of the three years with a partial guarantee on the final season, Wojnarowski also tweets.

8:16am: The Bulls and Mike Dunleavy are close to a three-year, $15MM deal, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Chicago has remained the favorite even as other teams were poised to give chase. LeBron James apparently prompted the Cavaliers to pursue the client of outgoing Wasserman agent Arn Tellem, while the Wizards and Clippers also reportedly had interest.

Chicago has Early Bird rights on Dunleavy, and it would seem they’re putting them to use here. The Cavs were likely limited to no more than the taxpayer’s mid-level of $3.376MM, and while the Wizards could have spent their $5.464MM non-taxpayer’s mid-level, the Bulls appear to have come up with a comparable figure. That’s even though Chicago is poised to pay the tax, too.

Western Notes: Davis, Prince, Matthews

The Lakers have contacted free agent Ed Davis, and would like for him to return to Los Angeles next season, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News writes. There will be some competition for Davis’ services, as four undisclosed teams have also expressed interest in the big man, Medina notes. Davis is seeking a two or three-year deal worth $7MM-$8MM, or a one-year arrangement worth $9MM-$10MM, the Daily News scribe adds. In 79 games for the Lakers last season, Davis notched averages of 8.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 23.3 minutes per contest.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Clippers are not optimistic about the idea of Paul Pierce taking less money to come their way, Sam Amick of USA Today Sports tweets.
  • The Lakers have expressed interest in restricted free agents Jimmy Butler of the Bulls, and Iman Shumpert of the Cavaliers, Medina relays (Twitter link).
  • The Spurs were among the teams to contact unrestricted free agent Tayshaun Prince, Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com tweets.
  • The Mavericks and Wesley Matthews are still engaged in contract talks, but remain approximately $3MM apart in annual value for the agreement, Amick tweets. Matthews is seeking an annual salary of $15MM per year, while Dallas is offering $12MM, Amick notes.
  • The Jazz contacted free agent Joe Ingles to express their interest in re-signing the forward, Jody Genessy of The Deseret News tweets. Utah tendered Ingles a qualifying offer worth $1.045MM on Monday, making him a restricted free agent. The 27-year-old appeared in 79 games for the Jazz in 2014/15, including 32 starts, and averaged 5.0 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in 21.2 minutes per contest.
  • The Mavs have reached out to point guard Nick Calathes, who is a restricted free agent, Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com tweets.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Cavs, Wizards Pursue Mike Dunleavy

11:39pm: The Cavs are indeed in pursuit, as well as the Wizards, but the Bulls are still the favorites, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (on Twitter).

9:26am: LeBron James would like the Cavs to sign Mike Dunleavy, but the small forward is highly likely to re-sign with the Bulls, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter links). James, though he’s opting out of his deal, has been very much engaged with Cavs management about the roster and is expected to re-sign. Dunleavy is also reportedly drawing interest from the Clippers.

Chicago apparently wants Dunleavy back, though there’s a limit to how much the Bulls would pay the client of outgoing Wasserman agent Arn Tellem. The Bulls are also highly likely to retain Jimmy Butler, whom they’ve made a maximum qualifying offer. Should Butler end up signing for the max, it’s likely the Bulls will have already exceeded the projected $81.6MM tax line even without a contract for Dunleavy.

The Cavs will probably end up paying an even heavier tax burden, and they’ll almost certainly be limited to offering Dunleavy the $3.376MM taxpayer’s mid-level exception. The Bulls have Early Bird rights to Dunleavy, so they’ll likely be able to pay him as much as about $6MM next season if they want to.

Hornets, Warriors Interested In Marco Belinelli

10:59pm: Charlotte’s first call of free agency will be to Belinelli, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (on Twitter).

3:47pm: The Hornets are expected to aggressively pursue soon-to-be free agent Marco Belinelli, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, and a source tells Yahoo! colleague Marc J. Spears that the Warriors are interested in signing him, too (Twitter links). The Excel Sports Management client has said that money will likely play a key role in his decision this summer, and that may well make it tough for Golden State, which will almost certainly be limited to the $3.376MM taxpayer’s mid-level exception for outside free agents. Charlotte is poised to have the $5.434MM non-taxpayer’s mid-level, Wojnarowski notes.

The Bulls are another possible suitor for Belinelli should they miss on re-signing Mike Dunleavy, as K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune wrote Monday. Still, they’re likely without means beyond the taxpayer’s mid-level, either. The Spurs can pay up to about $6MM next season to bring him back if they retain his Early Bird rights, though it seems a strong possibility they will renounce those rights to clear cap room for LaMarcus Aldridge or another star free agent.

Charlotte has a need for shooting, and the 29-year-old Belinelli, a career 39.2% three-point shooter, has proven he can fill it. Golden State already has nearly $82.6MM on the books for next season, about $1MM more than the projected tax line, and that’s without a new deal for Draymond Green. Even if the Warriors succeed in finding a taker for David Lee, they’ll have trouble avoiding tax penalties.