Chicago Bulls

Celtics Notes: Turner, Stevens, Ainge, Draft Picks

Evan Turner may have to be patient if he wants to re-sign with the Celtics in free agency, but he told Chris Forsberg of ESPN that coach Brad Stevens would like to keep him in Boston. “Coach definitely said [he wants me back],” said Turner. “He said he’ll be pushing for me and everything like that. And that’s pretty much it. But there’s a lot of stuff that’s going on right now. I understand it. And I understand what’s going to occur, with the draft picks and the young guys trying to develop and trying to get a superstar, stuff like that. I definitely comprehend it.” The Celtics may like Turner, and the swingman would like to get a deal done quickly, but the team figures to have other priorities this summer as it tries to improve a roster that went 48-34 and was bounced by the Hawks in the first round of the playoffs. Turner played a big part in Boston’s success, averaging 10.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 81 games. He said “money’s cool” in free agency, but he feels it’s more important to find playing time with a winning organization.

There’s more news out of Boston:

  • The six-game loss to Atlanta showed that the Celtics need to raise their talent level, writes Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. Bontemps says president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has to shake up a roster of “ill-fitting pieces” around All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas. The Celtics own the Nets’ first-round pick, which is almost certain to fall in the top five, and they may have more than $50MM to spend once free agency starts July 1st. Bontemps expects the Celtics to chase every elite free agent on the market, adding that they have enough young talent and future picks to become trading partners if the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler or the Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins becomes available.
  • The Celtics will need some luck to have the offseason they are hoping for, contends Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Boston has eight picks in this year’s draft, but the position of Brooklyn’s choice will help shape the future of the franchise. The Celtics have a 15.6% chance of landing the top overall selection and a 46.9% shot at staying in the top three. Boston will target Kevin Durant in free agency, and Bontemps believes Ainge is eager to make a deal with his parcel of draft picks, citing his offer to Charlotte last year in hopes of drafting Justise Winslow. Boston reportedly made a similar offer to the Heat. The writer mentions Sixers rookie Jahlil Okafor as another trade possibility.

Pau Gasol Finds Spurs Intriguing For Free Agency

Pau Gasol once more finds the idea of joining the Spurs intriguing, as he said to the Marca newspaper in his native Spain (translation via HoopsHype). Marc Gasol, who’s under contract with the Grizzlies for at least another three years, this week curiously advised his brother to sign with San Antonio. The Spurs were among the teams Pau Gasol reportedly considered when he was a free agent two years ago. The new Creative Artists Agency client has a player option with the Bulls for next season, but it’s worth less than $7.77MM and he’s long said he’ll likely turn it down, and chances of a new deal in Chicago appear to be waning.

Pau's Brother: Go To San Antonio

  • Gasol has some free agent advice for his brother, tweets Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. Pau Gasol has expressed plans to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Bulls, and Marc Gasol says he should sign with San Antonio.

2015/16 D-League Usage Report: Bulls

The NBA’s relationship with the D-League continues to grow, and this season a total of 19 NBA teams have one-to-one affiliations with D-League clubs. Those NBA organizations without their own affiliates were required to assign players to D-League clubs associated with other NBA franchises. D-League teams could volunteer to take on the assigned players, and if no volunteers emerged, the players were assigned at random.

This significant change from the 2014/15 season came about after the Pacers purchased the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and turned them into their one-to-one partner for the 2015/16 campaign. Other NBA teams have interest in following suit in the years ahead, and the NBA’s ultimate goal for the D-League is for all 30 NBA franchises to have their own D-League squads. You can view the complete list of D-League affiliates here.

We at Hoops Rumors will be recapping the D-League-related activity for the 2015/16 campaign for each team and we’ll continue with the Chicago Bulls, one of the 11 NBA franchises without their own D-League affiliate:

The Bulls made four assignments for the 2015/16 campaign, sending three players to the D-League for a total of 32 days. Listed below are all the assignments and recalls made by Chicago for the 2015/16 campaign:

Here is how the Bulls players performed while on assignment to the D-League this season:

  • Cameron Bairstow: In five D-League appearances, the forward averaged 14.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 26.5 minutes per outing. Bairstow’s shooting line was .475/.000/.824.
  • Cristiano Felicio: In four D-League appearances this season, the big man averaged 14.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 23.7 minutes per contest. His slash line was .641/.400/.750.
  • Mike Dunleavy: The swingman was assigned to the D-League for practice/rehab purposes and didn’t appear in any games while with Santa Cruz.

Kings Get Lift As Drawings Break Ties For Draft

The Kings were the most significant winners and the Bulls the biggest losers as the NBA resolved ties for the draft order in a drawing today shown on NBA TV and Sacramento won a three-way drawing that gives the team the eighth spot in the lottery order, meaning three teams from the bottom four in the lottery would have to beat long odds and move into the top three for the Kings to fall out of the top 10. The Bulls would get Sacramento’s pick if that happened, but it’s tough to envision that coming to pass, since none of those teams has more than a 3% chance to move up. The Kings could have fallen to 10th in the drawing, meaning only one of the bottom four teams would have had to move up for the Bulls to get the pick. The pick will be top-10 protected again next year, but if the Bulls don’t get it then, they’ll instead receive Sacramento’s 2017 second-rounder.

The NBA has a complex set of tiebreakers for playoff position, but when two teams tie in the draft order or for lottery position, the league leaves it to random drawings. The order is now set for picks 15 through 60. The lottery, set for May 17th, will determine the top 14 picks, as always.

The NBA essentially splits the lottery odds among teams that tie for those positions, though in many cases an even split is impossible. In those cases, a slight edge will go to the team that wins the drawing. The drawing results are reversed for the second-round order, so the teams that end up with better position in the first round have less favorable second-round position.

There were four ties this year. Two were simple and involved only a pair of teams each. The Celtics, who inherited the Mavericks’ pick via the Rajon Rondo trade, won a tiebreaker with the Grizzlies for No. 16, while the Pistons won a tiebreaker with the Nuggets, who previously traded for the Trail Blazers’ pick, for No. 18.

Sacramento won a three-team draw with the Nuggets and Bucks to get the eighth position in the lottery, and Denver then won a draw against Milwaukee for the ninth lottery slot. Most complex of all was a four-team tie involving the Hawks, Hornets, Celtics and the Sixers, who acquired the Heat’s pick through an earlier trade. Atlanta won a draw involving all four teams for the 21st pick, and the Hornets then beat the Celtics and Sixers for No. 22. Boston won out over Philadelphia for No. 23, sending the Sixers to No. 24.

Here’s a look at the first-round draft order as it will stand going into the lottery:

Lottery order and odds of landing top pick

1. Sixers — (could send pick to Kings; see note 1 here) — 25%
2. Lakers — (could send pick to Sixers; see note 2 here) — 19.9%
3. Celtics (via Nets) — 15.6%
4. Suns — 11.9%
5. Timberwolves — 8.8%
6. Pelicans — 6.3%
7. Knicks (will send pick to either Nuggets or Raptors; see note 5 here) — 4.3%
8. Kings (could send pick to Sixers or Bulls; see note 7 here) — 1.9%
9. Nuggets (could send pick to Raptors; see note 6 here) — 1.9%
10. Bucks — 1.8%
11. Magic — 0.8%
12. Jazz — 0.7%
13. Wizards (likely to send pick to Suns; see note 8 here) — 0.6%
14. Bulls — 0.5%

Remainder of first round

15. Nuggets (via Rockets)
16. Celtics (via Mavericks)
17. Grizzlies
18. Pistons
19. Nuggets (via Trail Blazers)
20. Pacers
21. Hawks
22. Hornets
23. Celtics
24. Sixers (via Heat)
25. Clippers
26. Sixers (via Thunder)
27. Raptors
28. Suns (via Cavaliers)
29. Spurs
30. Warriors

Second round

31. Celtics (via Sixers)
32. Lakers
33. Clippers (via Nets)
34. Suns
35. Celtics (via Timberwolves)
36. Bucks (via Pelicans)
37. Rockets (via Knicks)
*38. Bucks
*39. Pelicans (via Nuggets)
*40. Pelicans (via Kings)
41. Magic
42. Jazz
43. Rockets
44. Hawks (via Wizards)
45. Celtics (via Grizzlies)
46. Mavericks
47. Magic (via Bulls)
48. Bulls (via Trail Blazers)
49. Pistons
50. Pacers
51. Celtics (via Heat)
52. Jazz (via Celtics)
53. Nuggets (via Hornets)
54. Hawks
55. Nets (via Clippers)
56. Nuggets (via Thunder)
57. Grizzlies (via Raptors)
58. Celtics (via Cavaliers)
59. Kings (via Spurs)
60. Jazz (via Warriors)

* The order of picks 38 through 40 depends on the lottery. The Bucks’ second-round pick and the second-rounders originally belonging to the Nuggets and Kings will go in the reverse order of the picks originally belonging to each team in the first round.

Forman Won't Rule Out Jimmy Butler Trade

Bulls GM Gar Forman wouldn’t rule out the idea of trading Jimmy Butler when asked Wednesday night, notes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Both Forman and Executive VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson made it clear no one on the roster is truly off-limits for a trade, Johnson writes, and changes are coming to coach Fred Hoiberg‘s coaching staff, sources tell Johnson. Still, Hoiberg will be sticking around, Paxson confirmed, according to Johnson, and owner Jerry Reinsdorf issued a statement backing Forman and Paxson. Paxson confirmed the Bulls would like to re-sign Joakim Noah, Johnson also notes.

  • The Celtics refused to give up Jae Crowder in trade talks with the Bulls before the deadline, scuttling any realistic possibility of a trade, league sources tell Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago. Jimmy Butler‘s name reportedly was the center of those discussions, though Goodwill hears they spoke with teams about Derrick Rose and confirms earlier reports that they had Pau Gasol trade talks, too.
  • The Bulls were on board with a trade that would have involved Pau Gasol, Tony Snell and Kirk Hinrich going out and Kosta Koufos and Ben McLemore coming in from the Kings, but Sacramento withdrew from those talks when the Sixers, who were to be included as a third team, insisted the Kings relinquish a second-round pick, Goodwill hears. Sacramento was also reluctant to give into the Bulls’ desire to reduce the top-10 protection on the 2016 first-rounder the Kings owe them, according to Goodwill.

Rose Says Orbital Fracture Set Back His Season

  • Bulls point guard Derrick Rose admits that the orbital fracture he suffered during the preseason affected his entire 2015/16 campaign, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. “It set me back,” Rose said. “But everything happens for a reason. … I can’t look back on it and say, ‘All right, it stopped me from doing this and doing that.’ It made my bank shot better. That’s one of the positives I got out of it. And it gave me time to really look at the game.” Rose doesn’t place all the blame for his troubles on the eye injury, noting he usually is a slow starter, Johnson notes. “It would’ve been a process anyway,” Rose said. “Usually after I come back from working out during the summer, it takes me a couple games anyway because I don’t play pickup. Working out all the time is good, but you need bodies out there to get used to [opponents] being around.

Jimmy Butler Thinks Bulls Have Enough Talent

  • The Bulls head into the offseason with uncertainty, but they have enough talent to win as constituted, Jimmy Butler said when asked Monday, suggesting that the team instead must work harder and avoid selfishness, as the Chicago Tribune relays via video. That conflicts with the front office’s view, which is that they held the core of the team together one year too long, as the Tribune’s K.C. Johnson relayed earlier.

Hoiberg Takes Blame, Still Has Support Of Bulls Brass

  • Coach Fred Hoiberg accepts blame for the struggles of the Bulls, pointing to the team’s underwhelming offense and lack of killer instinct, as K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune relays (Twitter link). His willingness to acknowledge and work to remedy those problems endears him to management, Johnson observes.

Bulls Notes: Felicio, Gasol, Forman, Hoiberg

The recent performance of Cristiano Felicio offers more proof that the Bulls should have traded Pau Gasol before February’s deadline, writes Nick Friedell of The Brazilian rookie center had 16 points and five rebounds in 23 minutes in Saturday’s win over Cleveland, and coach Fred Hoiberg chose to use Felicio over Gasol late in the game. Friedell gives executives Gar Forman and John Paxson credit for finding Felicio, but contends it was foolish to keep Gasol as part of the future when he will turn 36 this summer and can become a free agent. Gasol has already expressed an intention to opt out, which means the Bulls may get nothing in return when they could have picked up assets and created playing time for Felicio and rookie Bobby Portis.

There’s more news out of Chicago:

  • Forman worked hard to land Felicio, according to Sam Smith of The Bulls GM had been watching him for several years as he moved to the United States and made a failed attempt to become eligible to play at Oregon. After Felicio returned to Brazil, Forman traveled there to scout him in several tournaments and signed him to the Bulls’ summer league team.
  • There’s plenty of blame to go around for a failed season, contends K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Chicago is almost certain to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2007/08, and Johnson says the responsibility goes from the front office to the coaching staff to a mismatched roster. Forman has carried the most influence behind the scenes, according to Johnson, as he was the leading proponent of hiring Hoiberg and of passing on a chance to deal Gasol to the Kings. Johnson notes that the front office is now less enamored with Gasol, as re-signing center Joakim Noah has become a higher offseason priority. Forman also angered the locker room by trading popular veteran point guard Kirk Hinrich to Atlanta to cut the Bulls’ luxury tax payment by more than $2.5MM.
  • Despite complaints about Hoiberg, the coaching staff is expected to remain mostly intact for next season, Johnson writes in the same story. Management believes the problem this year was that the core of the team was kept together too long. One possible change is assistant Randy Brown could return to a front-office position. Brown is liked by players, Johnson relays, and some view him as Forman’s direct link to the coaching staff.

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