The Cavaliers reportedly had interest in trading for Luol Deng this past summer but were rebuffed by the Bulls, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. As of now, Deveney adds, it doesn’t appear that anything on that front will change anytime soon, and unless Chicago can obtain a 2014 draft pick, there isn’t much sense in moving Deng. Here’s more out of the Central Division tonight, including much more from Deveney:
- That same piece explores the trade value of Carlos Boozer, who according to one general manager isn’t really being sought after by any team at this point. While the Bulls still have the former Duke product on their books until 2015, Deveney opines that the Knicks might become desperate enough to make a move for him to shore up their struggling front court.
- Deveney also writes that Joakim Noah still has high value around the league despite his battles with injury over the last few seasons. The Knicks would appear to be another logical landing spot for the 6’11 center, although the Pelicans, Thunder, and Mavericks are expected to be in pursuit should the Bulls place Noah on the trading block.
- Lastly, with reports that Nikola Mirotic – whose draft rights are still owned by the Bulls – has developed into a star in Spain, Deveney says that if Chicago were to package his rights in a deal including Deng, Noah, or Boozer, they would be looking to get a star player in return. According to one scout, Mirotic is currently the “best player who is not in the NBA right now.” If Mirotic weren’t included in a deal involving any of those three, the Bulls would supposedly settle for cap relief, draft picks, and/or young talent.
- Sam Smith of Bulls.com opened his mailbag and dissects trade suggestions sent in by his readers.
- Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thomsen thinks the Pacers currently have the requisite pieces in place to make a title run this season. However, considering Indiana’s vow to remain under the tax threshold, the team isn’t likely to maintain the same type of depth after this year, especially with Danny Granger‘s contract set to expire and Lance Stephenson due for a new contract.
While on “The Waddle and Silvy Show” on ESPN Chicago 1000, Bulls vice president John Paxson described Derrick Rose‘s pre-season performance as “fearless” and doesn’t think that any restrictions will be put on the former MVP: “Unless he would come up with something that would concern us, but we have no concerns right now. You look at his preseason, and I think [coach Thibodeau] has done a really nice job of kind of amping up his minutes. He’s played six games. In reality he is only averaging about 27 minutes a game in this preseason, and he has looked terrific. Right now there is no reason to think that there will be any restrictions, and we’re not anticipating that at all” (hat tip to ESPNChicago.com).
Here are some more rumblings to share out of Chicago tonight:
- Rose’s ability to create for his teammates will lead to plenty of offensive opportunities, especially for teammate Jimmy Butler, who is still looking to find his niche on that end of the floor (K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune).
- In another piece from Johnson, head coach Tom Thibodeau sang Luol Deng‘s praises amidst his noteworthy production so far in the pre-season: “He’s a complete player…He does whatever you ask. He’s very disciplined. He stays in great shape, prepares himself to guard multiple positions, moves without the ball…He does so many things that make your team better that never appear in a box score. He’s a hard guy to measure statistically, even though his statistics are very good. He’s invaluable to us.”
- Johnson also adds that Joakim Noah is still questionable for the team’s regular season opener next week, and that guard Kirk Hinrich has been medically cleared from the concussion he suffered last Friday.
As Mary Schmitt-Boyer of The Plain Dealer notes, Cavs coach Mike Brown has been very impressed with rookie first-round pick Sergey Karasev:
“There’s a certain level of confidence that he has about himself and in his game. It rubs off on me the right way as a coach and it makes me have confidence in him and putting him out there. I like Sergey’s demeanor…You like that quiet confidence, quiet toughness that he has. He just plays the game. He can pass. He can shoot. He can dribble. He thinks the game. If you take this away, he’ll go the opposite direction. If you take that away, he’ll go the other way with it. He’s a basketball player. We like that.”
We have a few more notable links to share out of the Central Division tonight, and you can find them below:
- Making cuts and determining the final roster won’t be an easy task for Cavaliers’ coach. After strong performances by many of the team’s camp invites, Brown tells Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio: “It’s gonna be a tough decision. Everybody’s showing their worth” (Twitter link).
- Though Carlos Boozer isn’t a stranger to neither being under-appreciated nor drawing the ire of Chicago fans when things haven’t gone well for the Bulls, he tells Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times that he’s comfortable regardless knowing that his teammates, coaches, and the team’s ownership are fully supportive of him.
- Following his ubiquitous performance last night against the Pistons that included 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting, four assists, and three steals in 25 minutes, Bulls rookie Tony Snell could potentially be primed as significant reserve contributor this year on what is already a deep bench, opines Sam Smith of Bulls.com. The Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson discusses the focus that Snell has been placing on defense (Subcribers only).
- In another piece, Johnson takes a look at some of Joakim Noah‘s offseason workouts in preparation for the upcoming season (Subscribers only).
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune discusses the health of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, Luol Deng's uncertain long-term future with the franchise, how Mike Dunleavy Jr. will look to mesh with the roster, and how Jimmy Butler will handle a move to starting shooting guard as five things to look at for the Bulls going into fall. Here's more out of the Eastern Conference tonight:
- Aggrey Sam of CSN Chicago (via Twitter) says that Chicago's official training camp roster is expected to be released tomorrow but doesn't expect Malcolm Thomas or Chris Wright to be on the list.
- Michael Lee of CSN Washington wonders if John Wall is ready to lead the Wizards to the playoffs, who will step up in the absence of Emeka Okafor, if Bradley Beal is primed for a breakout season, what to expect from Otto Porter, and the health of Nene as the team's top storylines heading into training camp.
- Hawks GM Danny Ferry wouldn't set a timeline for the return of Louis Williams (who is still recovering from reconstructive knee surgery), though he did say that the eighth-year guard has been playing one-on-one games and has had no restrictions in doing so. Ferry also appeared encouraged about what Dennis Schröder can contribute to the team now as a promising prospect and said that Lucas Nogueira and Mike Muscala still need to continue their development overseas (USA Today via the Associated Press).
- As Tom Layman of the Boston Herald points out, Celtics coach Brad Stevens will look toward Avery Bradley to be the team's floor general while they wait for the return of Rajon Rondo. In another piece, a handful of college coaches had positive comments for Stevens regarding how they believe he'll be able to transition to the NBA game (NBA.com via the Associated Press).
- With Steve Mills in place as the Knicks' newest GM, Yannis Koutroupis of Hoopsworld thinks that it will be important for Mills to start forming a strong relationship with Carmelo Anthony now, especially with the possibility that he could become a free agent this upcoming summer.
- Since arriving in New York City, Anthony has been able to build his brand and explore plenty of business opportunities, writes Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report. From the sound of it, Zwerling doesn't think that Anthony will be leaving New York anytime soon, even with an opt-out clause at the end of the season.
- Ian Begley of ESPN New York examines the orange and blue's current situation at small forward.
- With the rest of the NBA's power elite growing tired of the Heat's dominance, Sam Amick of USA Today delves into why the 2013/14 season could be Miami's toughest campaign for a title yet. Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times notes that the Bulls are especially eager to put a halt to the Heat's reign as the NBA's top dog.
Blazers GM Neil Olshey met Sunday in Las Vegas with members of LaMarcus Aldridge's camp who suggested several trade scenarios, a source tells Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. The source described the meeting as productive, with both sides focused on the best outcome for all involved. Still, Haynes hears the team is in no hurry to trade the All-Star power forward, particularly if there isn't a fair deal available. Olshey and company don't want a package of draft picks in return, according to Haynes.
The Bulls, Timberwolves, Clippers, Hawks and Pelicans have declined to include Joakim Noah, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, Al Horford and Anthony Davis, respectively, in any deal for Aldridge, Haynes hears. Aldridge has told Haynes and others that he has not requested a trade, and Haynes has confirmed that he hasn't done so. Still, Aldridge isn't opposed to a trade, just as he'd be OK with returning to Portland, as Haynes writes, echoing his report from last month.
A strong performance from Aldridge this season could help Olshey find the deal he wants next summer, when Aldridge will be down to one more year on his contract. The 28-year-old Arn Tellem client will make $14.628MM this season and $15.756MM in 2014/15.
The Bulls have made some noise in free agency so far, reaching an agreement with Mike Dunleavy and agreeing to re-sign Nazr Mohammed to a minimum-salary deal. The club also reportedly plans to release Richard Hamilton before his contract becomes guaranteed next week. Here are a few more updates out of Chicago as the Bulls continue to tweak their roster:
- Within a piece about the relationship between head coach Tom Thibodeau and star point guard Derrick Rose, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune passes along an intriguing tidbit on LaMarcus Aldridge. According to Johnson, the Bulls "continue to rebuff attempts" by Aldridge's reps to bring the All-Star big man to Chicago. The Bulls have been unwilling to discuss a hypothetical deal that would see them give up Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler for Aldridge, sources tell Johnson.
- As Hoops Rumors' agency database shows and as Johnson suggests, Aldridge and Rose are both represented by Wasserman Media Group.
- Johnson notes within the same article that GM Gar Forman's decision to part ways with lead assistant Ron Adams was related to Adams' "complaining about personnel matters."
- The Bulls have been in touch with Nate Robinson and have offered a minimum-salary deal, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld (via Twitter). However, Robinson is seeking a bigger multiyear contract after a successful season in Chicago.
Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times heard from Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau that Joakim Noah might require surgery on his right foot this summer but will opt for rehab as his first option. Cowley also mentions that Chicago will likely have to find a way to re-tool their bench with several one-year deals again, as Thibodeau said that the market will dictate whether or not they'll be able to carry over several of their key role players – namely Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli, and Nazr Mohammed - into next season. Here's more out of the Eastern Conference tonight:
A few Monday odds and ends from around the Association:
- North Carolina junior Reggie Bullock is "leaning strongly" toward going pro, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). Bullock, who is ranked 35th on Jonathan Givony's big board at DraftExpress.com, is expected to finalize his decision today, according to Wojnarowski.
- The Nuggets team that beat the Trail Blazers in Denver last night may serve as a blueprint for the Blazers' rebuilding process, writes Joe Freeman of the Oregonian.
- Bulls big man Joakim Noah will be represented by Bill Duffy and BDA Management going forward, the agency announced today on its website. As our agency database shows, Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo, and Goran Dragic are among BDA's other NBA clients.
- In other agency news, Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal reports that Jay-Z Roc Nation Sports won't work with any other agencies besides CAA. Roc Nation will hire established agents for multiple sports and will have its own employees, including Jay-Z, certified, Mullen adds (Twitter links).
- Dirk Nowitzki scored the 25,000th point of his NBA career last night, and intends to "be around" long enough to make a run at 30,000, according to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News.
- Although it seems as if Doug Collins will coach his last games for the Sixers this week, many of his players would like to see him back next season, as Lang Greene of HoopsWorld details.
There aren't very many games left in the regular season, and the playoff picture in both conferences could look drastically different by mid-April with plenty of teams close together in the standings as of today. While it's not usual for us to focus on injuries, we have a few significant notes worth mentioning tonight:
- Pistons rookie big man Andre Drummond could be close to returning after a 21-game absence, says David Mayo of MLive. Although the Pistons aren't in the playoff race in the Eastern Conference, a few more regular season games couldn't hurt the former UConn product's development if healthy.
- Clippers guard Chauncey Billups is still day-to-day with a groin strain but could return on Tuesday against the Mavericks, writes Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles.
- Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times tweets that Lakers forward Antawn Jamison has ligament damage in his right wrist. Although he'll try to play through it, Jamison probably faces surgery in the offseason.
- According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports (via Twitter), the Grizzlies have announced that center Marc Gasol will be out indefinitely after re-aggravating an abdominal tear last night against the Hornets. Though they are ahead of the sixth place Warriors by a comfortable margin in the standings, Memphis is separated from the third place Nuggets by one game and the fourth place Clippers by just half a game.
- Joakim Noah will sit both of the Bulls' games this weekend as he continues to deal with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, says Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago. The team is currently one game behind the fifth-place Hawks and a half game ahead of the Celtics.
- Greg Payne of ESPN Boston says that both Courtney Lee and Kevin Garnett are individually recovering from sprained left ankles. There doesn't appear to be a sense that those injuries are expected to keep either out for an extended period of time, but with just 14 games left and Boston currently on a three-game slide, missing two key rotation players can't necessarily help.
- Knicks center Tyson Chandler has already missed six straight games due to a neck strain, and is still considered day-to-day (Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York reports). New York still remains atop the Atlantic Division, and while they are only one game behind the Pacers for second place in the East, the fourth place Nets aren't too far behind in their rear view mirror (1.5 games).
Joel Brigham of HoopsWorld has a new column examining which teams have a chance to be title contenders five seasons from now, taking into account possible moves in free agency and the ages of the teams' core players.
- Brigham believes the Thunder still have the brightest future, given that Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka will all be under 30 in five seasons.
- LeBron James' free agency will play a major role in determining the next title contender, Brigham writes. The health and effectiveness of Dwyane Wade will determine whether James stays with the Heat, but the Cavaliers and Lakers are also possible destinations.
- On that note, Brigham writes that, although Kyrie Irving is blossoming into a superstar, the Cavs will not be a contender unless James signs in Cleveland.
- The Bulls will still be contenders if Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah stay healthy, Brigham writes. He also notes that Nikola Mirotic will have come over to the NBA by then.
- The trade for Thomas Robinson added another young piece to the James Harden/Jeremy Lin core the Rockets have built, Brigham writes. Additionally, the team is still well under the cap and can add another high-level player via free agency.
- Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge give the Blazers a solid core to build around, writes Brigham.
- Brigham writes that there will be uncertainty every year for the next five as to whether Chris Paul will still be with the Clippers.
- Even if Stephen Curry's ankles don't hold up, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes give the Warriors a good young core, Brigham says.
- Brigham writes that the Pacers have excellent cornerstone players in Roy Hibbert and Paul George.