Bulls Notes: Parker, Ulis, Blakeney, Paxson

Bringing in Jabari Parker is a risk the Bulls may wind up regretting, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Even though just the first season of his two-year, $40MM contract is guaranteed, Chicago now has 10 players age 24 or younger who may be tempted to put personal concerns ahead of the team agenda.

Bobby Portis and Cameron Payne will both be in their fourth seasons, Mayberry notes, and will be looking at a final chance to put up big numbers before restricted free agency. Zach LaVine will try to prove he’s worth his new four-year, $78MM deal and Denzel Valentine has been open about his desire to be a starter. That presents a lot of challenges for coach Fred Hoiberg to balance heading into the new season.

Mayberry also warns that the addition of Parker could also be detrimental to the development of Lauri Markkanen, which he states should be the Bulls’ top objective.

There’s more today out of Chicago:

  • Parker put on a show Saturday at a pickup game organized by the Chicago Basketball Club, relays Michael Walton of NBC Sports Chicago. Parker was impressive with his shooting, passing and ballhandling and offered hope that he has fully recovered from his latest ACL surgery. Also participating in the game was former Suns point guard Tyler Ulis, a Chicago native whom Walton suggests the Bulls may be interested in.
  • To clear cap room for Parker, the Bulls waived Sean Kilpatrick and rescinded their qualifying offer for David Nwaba, leading Ben Bokun of NBC Sports Chicago to question the reasoning of cutting ties with those players and signing summer league standout Antonio Blakeney to a two-year deal. A two-way player for the Bulls last season, Blakeney appeared in 19 NBA games and averaged 7.9 points. Chicago’s front office also got a close look at him in the G League, where he was named Rookie of the Year and made the all-star team.
  • VP of basketball operations John Paxson is happy with how quickly the organization has been able to assemble a group of young talent, although he recognizes that doesn’t automatically make the Bulls a contender, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. This year, a lot of our success will be determined by how big of a jump Zach, Kris [Dunn] and Lauri make,” Paxson said. “We knew that going into this offseason. Now you add Jabari, Wendell [Carter], and Chandler [Hutchison] and you feel like you’re making some progress.”
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6 thoughts on “Bulls Notes: Parker, Ulis, Blakeney, Paxson

  1. x%sure

    The development of Markannon is the Bulls top priority? And this is threatened by accumulating talent around him? Somebody is a special snowflake!

    And if coach can’t handle ambitious players, get a new one.

    • justinept

      The next coach would have the same problem…

      Jabari isn’t an issue, though. If he proves to be putting his personal stats over the team’s best interest, and it hurts the development of Markhannen, then Hoiberg can bench him without any long term repercussions.

      The big issue is LaVine. He’s the highest paid player on the Bulls and got more in FA than a lot of people believe he’s worth. Typically, a player in that situation would be given the chance to prove his worth. But like the writer states (and you question for some reason), this year is all about the development of Markhannen – and him taking the next step from being a really good rookie to being an All Star caliber player.

      The offense needs to run through him. But there’s nothing the coach can do if LaVine doesn’t want to buy into that. If you think you can just bench your highest paid player because he’s going into business for himself, then you don’t pay attention to pro sports. Coaches never win power struggles against players on long term deals.

      • bravesfan88
        bravesfan88

        Markkanen doesn’t have to have the offense run through him, to take his game to the next level. Nor does this team need to run their offense through Lauri to necessarily be successful.

        At times, depending on match-ups, and pace of the game, Lauri should be primarily involved in the offense, but it isn’t a necessity. LaurI should be used as one of their main primary weapons, but collectively they need to accentuate the talents of ALL their core players..

        However, Markkanen better not be solely setting screens and popping out for threes either…quite obviously..

        LaVine doesn’t need to play hero ball, and Dunn needs to be forced to be more aggressive and improve his decision making…

        The Bulls need to be more versatile in their plays, pass more, and players need to be less stagnant, slashing more and forcing more defensive mistakes..

        In my opinion, this ALL falls on the lap of their coach, Hoiberg. It’s up to him, to put these players in the best positions to succeed. If he continues to show he’s incapable of doing so, even with a higher level of talent at his disposal, then he needs to go back to college…Plain and Simple..

    • bravesfan88
      bravesfan88

      Correct, regardless even if these guys have their own personal agendas, the better each individual plays, and the harder each works to improve their individual games, the more talent the coach has to work with..

      It’s just going to be on Hoiberg to schematically put theses guys in the best position and roles to succeed.

      It’s on Hoiberg to get these young guys to gel together, play together cohesively as a unit, and to get them all to “buy in.”

      If Hoiberg is incapable of prioritizing their younger core players’ development, while preaching teamwork and an unselfish style of winning basketball, then he isn’t the coach they want in Chicago leading this young team anyways…

      With that being said, if Hoiberg isn’t up to the task, which I’m not very confident he is, then I personally would trust Doug Collins to find the right coach moving forward.

      This SHOULD BE Hoiberg’s final chance in Chicago, and if he cannot improve on last year’s miserable season, then he needs to go..Especially, considering this roster is significantly more talented than last year’s..

  2. I agree with what you guys saying, but the only 2 players that I can see becoming all-stars in this team are Lauri & WCJ, so they should be more emphasized than the others, but otherwise agree must be Hoiberg’s last chance

    • oriolesravenstimberwolves04

      I disagree. Both Lavine and Parker have all star potential when healthy

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