Chicago Bulls Rumors

And-Ones: Rivers, Howard, Green

January 29 at 10:15pm CST By Eddie Scarito

JaMychal Green is going to rejoin the Austin Spurs, San Antonio’s D-League affiliate, Gino Pilato of D-League Digest tweets. Green recently completed a single 10-day contract with the Spurs, with whom he averaged 2.0 points and 1.5 rebounds in five appearances. The 24-year-old has reportedly garnered interest as a possible 10-day signee from the Grizzlies, Knicks, Bulls, Bucks and Blazers.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Austin Rivers is beginning to hit his stride with the Clippers, Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com writes. “He’s just getting comfortable and trying to figure out his spots,” Los Angeles president of basketball operations and coach Doc Rivers said. “We’re trying to get him to [be more aggressive]. He’s a guard, so he’s trying to facilitate, and we need his aggression. It was funny — C.P. [Chris Paul] grabbed him and said, ‘You can get to the basket, we need you to attack.’ He listened to him, which was good.”
  • The Clippers have missed the bench production of Darren Collison, who signed with the Kings as a free agent this past offseason, and are hoping that Rivers can fill that void, Markazi adds. “He doesn’t do the pick-up [like Collison], but where he’s better is once the ball crosses half court,” the elder Rivers said. “He’s 6’5″, so he gives us length and speed and that’s been good for us.”
  • Rockets big man Dwight Howard has been advised to obtain a second medical opinion regarding his injured right knee, and he could miss an extended period of playing time, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports.
  • Free agent guard Gal Mekel is thinking about returning overseas to play, David Pick of Eurobasket.com reports (Twitter link). Mekel had reportedly passed on numerous overseas offers after being released by the Pelicans, and he was hoping to land a spot with another NBA team.

Central Notes: Pistons, Thibodeau, Martin, Cavs

January 29 at 3:14pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Pistons have talked about trading for a point guard, but coach/executive Stan Van Gundy remains firm about the sort of future assets he doesn’t want to give up in any deal, as MLive’s David Mayo notes. Detroit hasn’t won since Brandon Jennings tore his Achilles tendon last week.

“It has to be on our terms,” Van Gundy said of any potential trade. “We’ve already decided what we would and wouldn’t give up, and right now, people obviously want more than we’re willing to give up.”

Van Gundy also backed off an earlier assertion that the team would make a move by today and said he won’t rush to make any decision. Here’s the latest from around the Central Division, as Detroit slips back down the standings:

  • Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau‘s coaching style is once more drawing criticism amid renewed rumors of tension between him and the front office, but Thibodeau tells USA Today’s Sam Amick that he has no intention of slackening his demands on players. Derrick Rose tells Amick that he has no issues with the coach, as Amick writes in a separate piece, echoing his report from earlier that opposing teams are keeping an eye on how the situation plays out in Chicago with the hope that Thibodeau will become available.
  • It’s been “a little different” playing for friend and former teammate Jason Kidd on the Bucks, as Kenyon Martin admits. Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the details, with the Bucks having signed Martin today for the rest of the season. “The respect is there,” Martin said. “He respects me and I respect him to the utmost. Him having me here is an honor.”
  • Joe Harris is headed back on D-League assignment just one day after the Cavs recalled him, the team announced. It’s the fourth time in nine days Cleveland has sent the rookie, whose deal is guaranteed through next season, to the Canton Charge.

Latest On Bulls, Tom Thibodeau

January 29 at 2:18pm CST By Chuck Myron

2:18pm: Forman once more denied any issues with the coach, as he told reporters, including Johnson (All Twitter links). “While as an organization we try to avoid responding to rumors, there is absolutely no basis to this recent speculation,” Forman said. “We are very proud of what the team and our players have accomplished to this point in the season, and we will not allow anything to detract us from our ultimate goal. The focus of the entire organization from top to bottom is on winning basketball games.”

2:04pm: The tension between the front office and Thibodeau appears to be higher than ever, tweets Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com.

9:18am: The relationship between Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls front office is “beyond repair,” several league sources believe, and many people around the NBA wouldn’t be surprised to see the sides mutually part ways this summer, reports K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. Still, the Bulls don’t have any plans to make a coaching change this season, Johnson cautions.

Thibodeau is under contract through 2016/17, though a source told Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops recently that the Bulls wouldn’t mind simply eating the rest of his roughly $11MM in salary if they were to let him go. Executive VP of basketball operations John Paxson feels “lukewarm at best” toward the coach, Sheridan hears, but more recently Paxson publicly backed Thibodeau with a strident response to criticism of the coach. GM Gar Forman dismissed the idea that Thibodeau’s job is in jeopardy, as Forman told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times last week.

Rumors of tension between Thibodeau and Bulls management date back more than a year, and the Knicks, among other teams in the past 12 months, eyed the former Coach of the Year in case he shook free from Chicago. Still, at the beginning of this season there was more talk around the Bulls that the team would end up giving Thibodeau a raise than that the sides would part ways, as USA Today’s Sam Amick reported then.

Thibodeau’s hard-charging style is a challenge for his players, and while many of them have publicly backed their boss, some have felt as though he goes too far, according to Sheridan. The Bulls are in a disappointing fourth place in the Eastern Conference, but they’re only a game and a half behind the second-place Raptors and are coming off a signature overtime win against the Warriors.

Five Teams Eye JaMychal Green

January 27 at 3:11pm CST By Chuck Myron

3:11pm: Knicks president Phil Jackson inquired about Green today, tweets Marc Berman of the New York Post. Green has offers from two other teams, Berman adds.

3:06pm: The Grizzlies, Knicks, Bulls, Bucks and Blazers are expected to register interest in power forward JaMychal Green, whose 10-day contract expires tonight, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Green is parting ways with the Spurs after the sides failed to come to terms on a new deal, according to Shams Charania of RealGM (on Twitter).

Chicago, New York and Memphis had interest when Green signed his 10-day deal with San Antonio earlier this month. The 24-year-old spent the preseason with the Spurs and was with San Antonio’s D-League affiliate in between stints with the big club. Green, who went undrafted out of Alabama in 2012, saw just 6.2 minutes per game in four appearances on his 10-day deal.

Memphis has a full 15-man roster, as our roster counts show, though Tyrus Thomas is on the fifth day of a 10-day contract. The Knicks have a pair of 10-day contracts coming off the books later this week. Bucks coach Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin, whose 10-day pact with Milwaukee expires after Wednesday, raised doubts today about a report that Martin and the team had agreed to a deal for the rest of the season, so if they split, that would leave a roster vacancy. The Bulls already have an open roster spot.

The Blazers have 15 players on deals that are guaranteed for the rest of the season, but GM Neil Olshey said on SiriusXM NBA Radio today that the team is actively seeking a way to upgrade the roster, as The Oregonian’s Jason Quick notes. However, Olshey downplayed the need for a big man, like Green, and suggested the team is looking for help on the wing instead.

Central Notes: Mozgov, Pistons, Bulls

January 25 at 11:02pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Cavaliers are suddenly the hottest team in the Central Division, and with their sixth straight win Sunday, over the Thunder, they own the NBA’s longest winning streak aside from the Hawks and their 16 wins in a row. Here’s the latest from Cleveland and the rest of the Central:

  • The record will show that the Cavs gave up two first-round picks in their deal to acquire Timofey Mozgov, but in the original structure of the trade, Cleveland never would have held one of those first-rounders, as Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group details. The Mozgov swap was supposed to have been part of the team’s three-way deal with the Knicks and Thunder involving Dion Waiters, Haynes reports. A scheduling conflict on Denver’s end broke what would have been one four-team transaction into separate trades, and the Thunder’s protected 2015 first-rounder that was destined for Denver wound up with the Cavs for the two-day period in between swaps, according to Haynes.
  • Stan Van Gundy acknowledged that the Pistons are looking for a third point guard to go with D.J. Augustin and Spencer Dinwiddie in the wake of the season-ending Achilles injury to Brandon Jennings, TSN’s Josh Lewenberg tweets. Detroit is looking either to swing a trade or sign a D-Leaguer, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The D-League option would jibe with the team’s reported interest in Lorenzo Brown.
  • Van Gundy’s brother, ESPN commentator Jeff Van Gundy, accused Bulls management on Friday of trying to undermine coach Tom Thibodeau, and Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson shot back Sunday, as K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes. “Tom Thibodeau isn’t being undermined at all,” Paxson said. “What’s being undermined is the entire Bulls organization by [Jeff] Van Gundy, who has an agenda against our organization for whatever reason and has for years. I guess he thinks he’s trying to protect his friend, but he’s doing just the opposite. It’s pretty pathetic when you think about it, and truth be told he owes Jerry Reinsdorf an apology for his disparaging remarks.”

Eastern Notes: Heat, Kidd, Fisher, Harris

January 24 at 1:14pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Heat team president Pat Riley denies a report from last week indicating that the team proposed a deal that would send Chris Andersen, Norris Cole and Josh McRoberts to the Nets for Brook Lopez, notes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Riley insists the Heat haven’t made any offers to any team, and that while the Heat have had conversations with other clubs, they aren’t active on the market, as Jackson transcribes in a second piece. The executive doesn’t feel the team needs an upgrade to make the playoffs and indicated that he would only commit to salary beyond next season for a star, Jackson adds.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Bucks coach Jason Kidd doesn’t believe that Kobe Bryant‘s latest injury will be a career-ending one, Charles F. Gardner of The Journal Sentinel writes. Kidd also spoke about how his own career ended, which he says was on his own terms, Gardner notes. “I would say, yes, in a way I did get to go out on my terms, but I had no gas left in the tank,” Kidd said. “It was an easy call. I got to make the call, but the car had no gas. A lot of times for athletes, we want to be able to go out on our own and not with an injury. You want to play and you want to leave feeling you’ve given everything to the game.
  • Knicks rookie coach Derek Fisher didn’t anticipate how difficult it would be to get his players emotionally ready to compete, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. “Probably what jumps out the most is you still have to work pretty hard to motivate and inspire guys at this level,’’ Fisher said. “Something a guy who came into the league in 1996, that wasn’t required. If you weren’t self-driven and self motivated, you couldn’t get on the floor. As a player for 18 years, my brain worked that way. It’s one area that continues to evolve — find ways to help my guys be more inspired and more motivated.’’
  • With the highly touted NBA draft class of 2014 not quite living up to the hype thus far, David Thorpe of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) looks at a number of rookies who have stood out. These players include Nikola Mirotic (Bulls), Jerami Grant (Sixers), and Elfrid Payton (Magic).
  • The Cavs assigned Joe Harris to the Canton Charge, their D-League affiliate, the team announced.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Raptors, Bulls, Jazz, Pistons Eye D.J. Kennedy

January 23 at 2:10pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Raptors, Bulls, Jazz and Pistons have reached out to one-time Cavs swingman D.J. Kennedy, reports Shams Charania of RealGM. The 25-year-old is under contract with Germany’s Riesen Ludwigsburg for the rest of the season, according to Charania, so it appears that he’s off-limits until the summer.

Kennedy has played well across eight games in Germany, averaging 21.1 points and 6.5 rebounds in 35.3 minutes per contest. He put up similar numbers earlier this season with Russia’s Krasny Oktyabr, and he split last season in France and Israel, with less impressive production, after the Mavs had him in training camp. The former St. John’s mainstay was in camp with the Grizzlies the previous fall, not long after his two-game stint with the Cavs in the 2011/12 season.

It’s not uncommon for reports of interest to emerge about prospects playing in Europe months before they’re eligible to be signed, though it’s not necessarily a signal that teams are planning lucrative offers. It’d be surprising if Kennedy ends up with more than the minimum salary from an NBA team for next season, though there’s plenty of time for him to continue to boost his stock.

Central Notes: Butler, Bucks, Irving

January 23 at 1:09pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Pistons are just a game out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and if they continue their surge, four Central Division teams will be in line to make the postseason. The Central was supposed to boast the class of the East in the Bulls and the Cavs, but as they languish in the middle of the playoff pack, here’s the latest from around the division:

  • The Bulls will match any offer sheet that Jimmy Butler would sign this summer, as executive VP of basketball operations John Paxson said in appearance Thursday on ESPN Chicago radio’s Waddle and Silvy program, notes Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com (Twitter link). That’s no surprise, since the Bulls reportedly plan to make Butler a maximum-salary offer of their own that they hope will forestall the restricted free agent from negotiating with any other team. Paxson also confirmed that the Bulls are interested in Ray Allen and have been in contact with his agent, Jim Tanner, notes Bear Heiser of Fox Sports West (on Twitter).
  • Commissioner Adam Silver made it clear to Seattle mayor Ed Murray that the NBA envisions the Bucks staying put, dispelling Murray’s notion that the Bucks were a candidate to move if the team failed to make progress on a new arena in Milwaukee, as Murray tells Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times. The Bucks have until fall 2017 to have an arena in place, and if they don’t, the NBA has the option to take control of the team from its new owners. Seattle investor Chris Hansen is facing a November 2017 deadline to secure an NBA team for the city, lest a promise of civic funding expire.
  • Kyrie Irving finished fourth in fan voting for the two Eastern Conference starting backcourt spots in the All-Star Game, so he missed out on his best chance to trigger the Derrick Rose rule and up the salaries on the five-year extension that kicks in for him next season. That rule allows players who sign rookie scale extensions to make a starting salary worth approximately 30%, instead of just 25%, of the salary cap. Irving agreed to take only 27.5% if he were to qualify, which can now happen only in the unlikely event he wins MVP this season.

Central Notes: Bulls, Pistons, Cavs

January 22 at 7:18pm CST By Chris Crouse

The Bulls are dealing with an identity crisis, writes Michael Lee of The Washington Post. Lee cites the arrival of Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic as well as Jimmy Butler‘s transition from role player to All-Star caliber performer as reason the team has become less blue-collar and slightly more finesse in its on court approach. This is different from the style of play that fans are used to seeing from a team coached by Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls’ recent poor play has led some to wonder if the coach should be fired. Talk of replacing Thibodeau seems drastic as Chicago remains in good position to make the postseason with a record of 27-16; however, the Bulls sit eight games behind Atlanta for the No. 1 seed that many expected the team to earn this season.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Getting Joakim Noah and Mike Dunleavy back from injury will be key for the Bulls to resume contender status in the Eastern Conference, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago. Chicago has gone just 2-6 in its last eight games. “Here’s the thing,” Thibodeau said after Wednesday’s practice. “We’ve had our starters for 15 games. That’s not a lot of games. It’s missing a lot of games. So when the starters have been intact, [the record] has been very good. Our issue has been when they’ve been out, can we hold the fort?” Chicago is 12-3 in games that Noah, Dunleavy, Pau Gasol, Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler all start.
  • A mutual trust between Stan Van Gundy and Pistons owner Tom Gores has been key to the team’s turnaround, writes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. The Pistons are 17-26 on the season and 12-3 since they released Josh Smith. Earlier in the month, I asked if the Pistons could make the playoffs and over half of Hoops Rumors readers believed the team will make the postseason.
  • The Cavs are starting to figure out how to play as a team and win games, as Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today points out in a short video. Cleveland has won four straight games, which includes wins over playoff-caliber teams like the Clippers and Bulls. The team currently resides in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 23-20.

Wizards Most Aggressive Suitor For Ray Allen

January 22 at 2:17pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Wizards are making numerous calls on Ray Allen and they’ve been pushing the hardest to sign the 39-year-old free agent, reports Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter links). Allen is still unsure of what he’ll do this season, in spite of his hints earlier this week that he intends to return to the NBA, and while he’s working out at his home in Miami, he’s also enjoying time with his family, Kennedy cautions (on Twitter).

Washington has planned to keep up its pursuit until the Jim Tanner client gives the team a definite no, as J. Michael of CSNWashington.com wrote earlier this month. Michael described the team’s contact with Allen as “routine” and said that it was nonetheless a long shot that the sharpshooter would end up with the Wizards. Washington only has the prorated minimum salary to offer, and Allen has signaled a strong desire for more than that, but the Wizards do have an open roster spot.

LeBron James reportedly paid a recent visit to try to recruit Allen to the Cavs, who’ve seemingly been the front-runners to land him. Others from the Cavs organization have kept in contact with the league’s all-time leader in three-pointers made, too, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com wrote.

The Warriors appear to have ceased consideration of Allen, as Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group indicated overnight, but several other teams have been connected to Allen over the past several months. The Warriors were among the most recent teams to have been linked to him, a group that includes the Clippers and Grizzlies, and the Bulls and Spurs have reportedly been eyeing him, too.