Andre Drummond

Bulls Notes: Drummond, White, Caruso, Williams

Bulls center Andre Drummond is averaging a career-low 12.8 minutes per game, but he’s making the most of his limited playing time. As K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes, when he racked up 15 points and 11 rebounds on Thursday vs. Charlotte, Drummond became the first player since Daryl Dawkins in 1979 to reach those statistical benchmarks while playing no more than 15 minutes.

“Am I OK with it? I’m never OK with it,” Drummond said of his modest role. “At the end of the day, I’m a basketball player and I want to play.

“But the circumstances that I’m in, I have to work my way back to where I want to get to. There are certain routes I have to take to get there. Me being a good teammate and showing guys that I’m here to do whatever it takes to help this team win is what’s going to help me get there. That’s what I’m going to do.”

Drummond, who last summer signed a two-year, $6.6MM contract that includes a second-year player option, is a candidate to be moved before next Thursday’s trade deadline. After reporting last month that it might be a quiet deadline for the Bulls, Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times reiterated that point earlier this week, but said the team may still make a roster tweak or two, such as a deal involving Drummond.

Here’s more on the Bulls:

  • As of Friday, the Bulls were taking more calls than they were making, according to Cowley, who hears from one league executive that the team’s asking price remains “very high.” That applies not only to Chicago’s stars, but also to role players like Alex Caruso and Coby White.
  • League sources say the Bulls have turned down some overtures for White, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic writes within a breakdown of the team’s top trade assets. Mayberry acknowledges that uncertainty about Lonzo Ball‘s status going forward may be an important factor in Chicago’s reluctance to move White — it’s still unclear whether the team considers the fourth-year guard a keeper beyond this season, when he’ll reach free agency.
  • Caruso (left midfoot soreness) and Patrick Williams (right ankle sprain) left Thursday’s game early after suffering injuries, as Ryan Taylor of NBC Sports Chicago writes. However, it doesn’t sound like either ailment is serious — both players are listed as questionable to play vs. Portland on Saturday night.

Sixers Notes: Trade Deadline, Fultz, Niang, Milton

The Sixers are hoping to land a reliable backup center before next week’s trade deadline, sources tell Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice. Montrezl Harrell and Paul Reed have been filling that role, but Harrell hasn’t been strong defensively and the coaching staff doesn’t fully trust Reed, according to Neubeck.

Neubeck states that the front office is willing to add another big man even if it can’t get rid of Harrell or Reed in the same deal. He mentions former Sixer Andre Drummond, whom the Bulls are reportedly open to trading, as an example of the type of traditional center the team wants to acquire.

Several teams have contacted the Timberwolves about Naz Reid, but Neubeck doesn’t expect him to be an option for Philadelphia. He also says the decision could wait for the buyout market, although it could be tough to find a long-term solution who’s content to be a backup for Embiid.

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Furkan Korkmaz, Danuel House and Jaden Springer are the best candidates to be moved in the type of deals the Sixers are considering, Neubeck adds. He hears from sources that Matisse Thybulle would likely be included in a “higher-end” trade, with the Kings among several teams that have shown interest in the fourth-year guard. Shake Milton, who’s headed for free agency after the season, could be useful as a trade sweetener, according to Neubeck.
  • Magic guard Markelle Fultz had 12 points and 10 assists Monday night while playing his first game in Philadelphia since being traded to Orlando in 2019, notes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers had hoped Fultz would be part of their foundation after drafting him first overall in 2017, but a combination of injuries and shooting difficulties led to him playing just 33 combined games in his two seasons with the team. “I’ve always been a big fan,” Embiid said of his former teammate. “When we traded him, I was disappointed because I felt like we were giving up on him too early.”
  • Georges Niang and Milton believe too much was made about an on-court argument they had during Saturday’s nationally televised game, per Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Niang was upset about not getting a pass from Milton on a two-on-one break, but they both joked about the incident afterward. “I just told both of them to let it go, that we had a [expletive] game to win,” Embiid said. “I think it’s also good for the team, not a bad thing. Guys get into each other, that makes us better. … After the game, we’re all laughing.”

Stein’s Latest: Drummond, Agbaji, Magic, Ross, Wizards

Bulls center Andre Drummond is a good candidate to be on the move prior to the February 9 trade deadline, according to Marc Stein, who notes in his latest Substack story that the veteran big man hasn’t been a regular part of Chicago’s rotation as of late.

Drummond wasn’t playing big minutes early in the season either, but has seen his playing time decline further since then, having received a handful of DNP-CDs in January. He has played more than nine minutes in only two games since the calendar flipped to 2023. For the season, the 29-year-old averaging 6.1 PPG and 6.6 RPG in 13.0 minutes per game in 36 appearances — all of those numbers are career lows.

Drummond isn’t on a minimum-salary contract, but his modest $3.2MM cap hit makes him an attainable trade chip for just about any NBA team. He does have a $3.36MM player option for 2023/24, so a club acquiring him would have to be comfortable with the possibility that he’ll exercise that option.

Here’s more for Stein:

  • After having previously reported that the Jazz are willing to listen to inquires about anyone on their roster except for Lauri Markkanen and Walker Kessler, Stein adds a third name to that list, citing a source who says rookie wing Ochai Agbaji also appears to be off-limits.
  • The Magic are “welcoming” inquiries on Terrence Ross, Gary Harris, Mohamed Bamba, and R.J. Hampton, league sources tell Stein. Rival teams are keeping an eye on Ross as a possible buyout candidate if he’s not moved by February 9, Stein adds. Orlando hasn’t made a habit in recent years of buying out veterans in contract years, but it’s possible that Ross – who suggested last spring that he’d welcome a trade – could push for a change of scenery.
  • Having previously reported that the Suns turned down a trade involving Jae Crowder and Rui Hachimura, Stein corrects the record, writing that the obstacle in those discussions was actually the Wizards’ desire to flip Crowder to the Bucks — the three teams discussed a deal, but couldn’t work out an agreement that appealed to Washington more than the Lakers’ offer.

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Harrell, Drummond, Rivers

Friday marked Joel Embiid‘s second straight missed game due to left foot soreness, but head coach Doc Rivers said the team is confident it won’t be a long-term injury, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps (Twitter link). Rivers added that Embiid is “doing better,” but he isn’t sure how long the Sixers‘ star center will be sidelined.

Embiid landed on Jaxson Hayes‘ foot during the fourth quarter of Monday’s game vs. New Orleans. The 28-year-old is having another incredible season, averaging 33.5 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 4.6 APG, 1.2 SPG and 1.7 BPG on .532/.341/.853 shooting through 28 games (35.5 MPG).

Even after dropping Friday’s game, Philadelphia has a winning record (6-4) so far without Embiid this season, which is impressive considering how important he is to the team.

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • Backup big man Montrezl Harrell had a tumultuous offseason after being arrested on a felony marijuana trafficking charge, which was later reduced to a misdemeanor possession charge. He wound up signing a two-year, veteran’s minimum deal with the Sixers, and had a slow start to the 2022/23 season, splitting minutes with Paul Reed at backup center. However, he’s had a bigger role with Embiid sidelined, and it’s an opportunity he doesn’t take for granted, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I had a lot of stuff transpire … especially in the beginning of the season,” Harrell said Wednesday night. “So just to be able to be out here and play this game and still be able to call it my job is a blessing.” Harrell is averaging 18.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.0 SPG and 2.0 BPG in 25.4 MPG over the past two contests.
  • Former Sixers center Andre Drummond said he was “definitely blindsided” by last season’s trade to the Nets, writes Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer (subscription required). Drummond, Seth Curry and Ben Simmons were shipped to Brooklyn for James Harden. Drummond wound up signing a two-year deal with the Bulls in the offseason, but he still has found memories of his time with the Sixers, per Mizell. “They welcomed me. They made me feel very comfortable when I got here,” Drummond said Friday night. “We just had a lot of fun as a team. We really cared about each other. We had one common goal, which was to win as many games as possible and to be great. … “[It’s] sad that we had to break things up in February. Definitely miss playing here. … The city of Philadelphia, man, the fan base was one of a kind. I loved it here.”
  • In his latest mailbag for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pompey writes that Rivers’ job should be safe until at least the offseason due to injuries to Embiid, Harden and Tyrese Maxey. The Sixers have gone 23-12 after a 0-3 start, and the starting lineup has only played six of 38 games together thus far. However, Pompey believes Rivers might get fired if the Sixers have another disappointing playoff exit. Pompey also thinks Philadelphia will keep its 15th roster spot open until at least the February 9 trade deadline, if not longer.

Central Notes: Antetokounmpo, Holiday, LaVine, Drummond, Mitchell

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday are both available to play for the Bucks tonight against Washington, Eric Nehm of The Athletic tweets. Antetokounmpo sat out Sunday’s loss to Washington due to left knee soreness. Holiday has not played since Christmas Day due to a non-COVID illness.

The Bucks have listed Khris Middleton (right knee soreness) and George Hill (non-COVID illness) as out.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Zach LaVine, in the first season of a five-year max contract, admits he needs to do a better job giving consistent effort on the defensive end, he told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “That might just be finishing plays as well as the possession goes on,’’ the Bulls’ wing said. “Getting a rebound, one more contest, one more rotation, one more effort … and you know, you can take that on the chin and say, ‘Yeah, there’s been possessions where if I have to make that last rotation, I have to give a better effort toward that.’ That’s something I do have to be better at.’’
  • Bulls center Andre Drummond thought he’d spend his entire career with the team that drafted him, the Pistons, he told Mike Curtis of the Detroit News (subscription required). “For me, (Detroit) was always a place that I thought I was going to be for my entire career. But, it didn’t go that way,” he said. “They had other plans; I think they wanted to restart their team again and it’s never any hard feelings. I know the way of the business. It’s always love. I love (Pistons owner) Tom Gores. I love his family. I love the city of Detroit and I love the staff there.” Drummond played seven-and-a-half seasons with Detroit before he was traded to Cleveland.
  • Donovan Mitchell‘s 71-point eruption on Monday has washed away his disappointing postseason performances with Utah last season, Michael Pina of The Ringer writes. The 25-year-old Mitchell has been as efficient offensively as he’s ever been during his career. If he can sustain that, the Cavaliers got a special talent that rarely gets traded, particularly before the player reaches age 30.

Bulls Notes: LaVine, Caruso, Drummond, Dosunmu

Bulls guard Zach LaVine may test his surgically repaired left knee Sunday by playing in consecutive games, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. LaVine has sat out four games this season, with three of them coming on the first night of back-to-backs. He only logged 26 minutes in Saturday’s rout of the Mavericks, so there’s a chance he’ll be ready for today’s game at Atlanta.

“A lot of this will depend on how he feels coming out of this game, the flight, Sunday morning,” coach Billy Donovan said after Saturday’s win. “… Certainly it’s on the table for him to play. I think as I mentioned, he wants to play. That’s always his mentality. We’ll get feedback from him, the medical guys, and then go from there.’’

Cowley notes that the team has another back-to-back coming up next week as part of a stretch with four games in six days, so more last-minute decisions on LaVine will lie ahead. LaVine has been on a hot streak lately, averaging close to 30 PPG over his last three games, and may want to keep playing to avoid disrupting his rhythm.

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Alex Caruso didn’t return Saturday after suffering a lower back bruise in the first quarter, Cowley adds. Caruso recently moved into the starting lineup, but the coaching staff is still trying to limit his playing time to reduce the chance of injury because of his aggressive style. “We’re trying to get him off [the floor] a little bit earlier and be conscientious of his minutes and what it looks like at the end of the game,’’ Donovan said. “But I think he’s done a nice job with that [starting] group.’’
  • Andre Drummond has the league’s best rebounding rate per 36 minutes, but his playing time has declined as Donovan tinkers with his rotation, Cowley notes in a separate story. Drummond, who signed with Chicago in free agency over the summer and is with his sixth team in the past three years, is being patient with the situation. “My job is to do whatever it takes to help this team win, whether it’s playing 15 or playing 30 minutes,” he said. “I said this before, earlier in the year — anyone who knows basketball and has seen me play knows what I’m capable of doing in 30-plus minutes. But that’s not what this team is asking of me. It’s to come off the bench, be a spark any way I can and try and help them win games. That’s what I have to accept.’’
  • Ayo Dosunmu talked to NBC Sports Chicago about how he’s adjusting after being moved back to the second unit (video link).

Scotto’s Latest: Bulls, Mavs, Suns, Muscala, Wright

A number of NBA executives who have spoken to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype are “closely monitoring” the Bulls, Scotto told co-host Yossi Gozlan in the latest episode of the HoopsHype podcast. With Chicago off to an underwhelming 9-14 start and with no indication of when Lonzo Ball might be back on the court, teams are curious to see whether the club might become a seller.

There’s “a lot” of league-wide interest in DeMar DeRozan, according to Scotto, who says Nikola Vucevic is another name that figures to pop up in trade rumors over the next couple months. Scotto adds that some teams would have interest in Zach LaVine too, but the Bulls seem unlikely to move him midway through the first season of a five-year, maximum-salary contract.

Having signed with the Bulls over the summer, Goran Dragic and Andre Drummond will become trade-eligible on December 15, and Scotto suggests they could be worth keeping an eye on if Chicago does decide to sell, since both players are low-cost veterans who could slide into rotation roles on playoff teams.

Here are a few more highlights from the podcast:

  • With JaVale McGee out of the rotation, it’s possible the Mavericks could peruse the trade market in search of another center. According to Scotto, if Dallas does look into that possibility, any trade target would have to be an upgrade defensively and a contrast to Christian Wood.
  • Scotto has heard from some executives that the Suns ideally don’t want to add any extra salary to their books in a Jae Crowder trade. Crowder is on an expiring $10.2MM deal.
  • Thunder big man Mike Muscala drew interest from about 10 teams as a free agent this past offseason, so if Oklahoma City is willing to make him available, he’d likely be a popular low-cost target, says Scotto. Due to the terms of his contract, Muscala has the ability to veto any trade that involves him.
  • The Wizards hope to get Delon Wright within the next two weeks, per Scotto. A weekend report suggested the veteran guard could even be back in action this week.

Bulls Notes: DeRozan, Vucevic, Williams, Drummond

It has been hard to know what to expect from the Bulls on a night-to-night basis so far this season.

After capping a four-game losing streak with a home loss to Orlando last Friday, the team had its two best wins of the season on Monday in Boston and Wednesday in Milwaukee. The win over the Bucks was Chicago’s best defensive outing of the year, as Darnell Mayberry wrote for The Athletic.

However, the Bulls followed up those two statement games with a letdown performance on Friday, falling in overtime to Oklahoma City.

According to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times, head coach Billy Donovan had braced for some up and downs in the early part of this season as the club tried to move away from leaning so heavily on DeMar DeRozan‘s isolation-heavy offense and late-game heroics.

“DeMar took us as far as he can take us (last season), and we really have to look at, OK, how can we make another step or jump?” Donovan said. “If we get back to that, where it’s all (isolations) all the time, it just gets too easy to defend. This is going to take some time offensively for us to play the way we need to play, which is a little bit different.”

Here’s more on the Bulls:

  • The 2021 deadline trade that sent Nikola Vucevic to Chicago has netted the Magic a pair of potential building blocks (Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter Jr.), with another lightly protected first-round pick still to come. Still, Vucevic isn’t worried about the critics who wish the Bulls hadn’t made the deal. “I know some people want to bring back the trade, the picks that were given, but it happened,” Vucevic told Cowley of The Sun-Times. “If it didn’t, it’s not for sure the Bulls would have picked Wagner or hit on the pick. Who knows what would have happened?” As Cowley observes, without the Vucevic trade, it’s also not clear whether free agents DeRozan and Lonzo Ball would’ve chosen Chicago later in 2021.
  • It has taken some time for former No. 4 overall pick Patrick Williams to get comfortable at the NBA level, but the third-year forward finally seems to be finding a rhythm, according to Cowley, who writes for The Sun-Times that Williams hasn’t looked as passive recently as he did during the first few weeks of the season.
  • Although two-time All-Star Andre Drummond is averaging a career-low 15.4 minutes per game this season, he has no intention of pushing for more playing time as long as the Bulls believe his limited role gives them the best chance to win games. “I’m at a point now where I’m just focusing on winning,” Drummond said this week, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “I told Billy and the guys when I came here from the beginning: ‘Whatever you guys need me to do to help win, that’s what I’m willing to do.’ If that’s to play eight minutes, 12 minutes, 30 minutes, I’m able to do that. I’m cool with the role that I have. I just have to maintain it.”

Bulls Notes: Vucevic, Roster, Drummond, White

Bulls center Nikola Vucevic was fined $15K by the NBA for making an “obscene gesture” during the first quarter of the team’s Wednesday loss to New Orleans, the league announced today (via Twitter). After being whistled for a traveling violation, Vucevic briefly flipped a middle finger in the direction of the stands (video link).

“I figured I would (get fined). It was just in the moment,” Vucevic said on Friday, per Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. “I got called for a travel. I heard somebody in the stands say something. It wasn’t really towards anybody. It was just frustration.

“Obviously not my proudest moment. I wish I hadn’t done it. But I knew as soon as I did it, there was a good chance somebody caught it. Obviously, I have to do better and make sure I don’t do that again. Just not a great moment. I apologize to the fans and everybody for it. I’ll learn from it.”

Here’s more on the Bulls:

  • Vucevic is in a contract year and knows he’s unlikely to receive an extension this season, telling K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago that “the front office kind of wants to see how everything goes this season before they make decisions.” The uncertainty might’ve stressed Vucevic out a few years ago, but now that his career earnings are in the nine figures, he’s not worrying about his next contract. “Obviously, when you have an extension, you have security. But one good thing about not having one is you still have options to do what you feel like is best for you and your family,” he said. “I’m not in a position where it’s like a pressing thing for me, where my whole life depends on it. I don’t have to worry about when I get my next contract, how big it’s going to be. I’ve set myself up for a nice life, post-career. That’s why I have more peace of mind now than maybe I had the first time when I was heading into (unrestricted free agency).”
  • According to Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com, some people around the NBA were surprised that the Bulls didn’t make any significant moves to try to upgrade their rotation in the offseason. Head coach Billy Donovan explained that injuries last season to Lonzo Ball and Patrick Williams, among others, meant the Bulls never got a good look at their full roster. “I really felt after sitting down and talking to the front office that the hard part was we never saw our team really whole together for a long period of time,” Donovan told Bulpett. “I think the feeling was, you know what, like, hopefully we can get healthy and we can see what this group looks like.”
  • Andre Drummond‘s injured shoulder responded well after he returned to action on Wednesday and he should be good moving forward, tweets Schaefer. As for Coby White, he’s still dealing with swelling and a limited range of motion in his injured quad. White has made progress, but isn’t practicing yet, according to Donovan.

Injury Updates: Giannis, Holiday, LeBron, CP3, Drummond

The Bucks will take an NBA-best 9-1 record into Oklahoma City on Wednesday night, but they’ll be missing the two stars who have been largely responsible for leading them to that hot start.

As Eric Nehm of The Athletic tweets, Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (right ankle sprain), who was originally listed as doubtful for Wednesday’s game, has been downgraded to out. Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (left knee soreness) has also been ruled out after initially being considered probable to play.

There’s no indication at this point that either injury is a serious one, but they’ll be worth monitoring in the coming days. The Bucks’ next game after tonight is on Friday in San Antonio.

Here are a few more injury-related updates from around the league:

  • Lakers star LeBron James, who had been listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game vs. the Clippers due to left foot soreness, will play, he told reporters today (Twitter link via Jovan Buha of The Athletic). James said that rest is the only thing that can help the injury, but he doesn’t plan to sit out for an extended period, and his status for back-to-back sets will be determined based on how he’s feeling.
  • The Suns are now listing Chris Paul as out for Wednesday’s game vs. Minnesota with right heel soreness, tweets Timberwolves broadcaster Alan Horton. After Paul left Monday’s contest due to the heel injury, head coach Monty Williams said on Tuesday that it’s “a lot better than what we thought,” so it doesn’t sound as if the veteran point guard will miss much time (Twitter link via Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic).
  • After missing six games with a sprained left shoulder, Bulls center Andre Drummond has been upgraded to probable for Wednesday’s contest vs. New Orleans and expects to play, per Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago.