Antonio Blakeney

Bulls Notes: Blakeney, Tanking, Dunn, Valentine

Injuries to starting Bulls guards Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine give their backups a chance to improve their prospects of making the roster next season, Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago writes. Shaquille Harrison, Ryan Arcidiacono, Wayne Selden and Antonio Blakeney will get increased playing time.

Arcidiacono started the season slowly but is shooting 52% from the field and 44% from beyond the arc since the All-Star break, Strotman notes. The club can make him a restricted free agent by extending a $1.82MM qualifying offer.

Harrison, whose $1.59MM salary for next season is not guaranteed, is averaging 10.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 3.0 SPG while starting the last three games.

Blakeney’s $1.59MM contract is guaranteed for next season but that doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed to be on the team next season, according to Strotman. He’s shooting just 42% from the field and averaging just 0.6 APG.

The Bulls can make Selden a restricted free agent by extending him a $1.93MM qualifying offer.

We have more on the Bulls:

  • The team appears to be in full tank mode entering the final eight games this season but coach Jim Boylen denies it, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. “We’re trying to build a competitive spirit, a team that’s going to honor that Bulls across their chest and play for the city,” Boylen said. “We don’t feel shutting people down is a way to build that.”
  • Dunn is unlikely to play on Tuesday due to a back injury. He tried to tough it out against Utah on Saturday and earned kudos from his coach, as K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune notes.  “I want to give Kris credit for playing,” Boylen said. “He had more kinesio tape on him than a mummy. He tried to play and give us what he could. I love the fact that he tried it.”
  • Not only do the Bulls want rookies Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison to play on their summer league team, they’ll also ask Denzel Valentine if he’s interested in participating, Johnson reports in another article. Valentine has not played this season following surgery to reconstruct his left ankle. The Bulls have discussed playing in both the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas and the Utah Jazz Summer League in Salt Lake City, Johnson adds.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/9/19

Here are Saturday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Bulls assigned shooting guard Antonio Blakeney to their Windy City affiliate, according to a tweet from the team. Blakeney has appeared in 41 games in his second NBA season and is averaging 7.6 points per night while shooting 45.7 from 3-point range.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/5/19

Here are Tuesday’s assignments and recalls from the G League:

  • The Nets assigned oft-injured guards Allen Crabbe and Caris LeVert to their affiliate in Long Island for practice, the team announced (Twitter link). Brooklyn recalled both men after practice, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post (Twitter link). LeVert has not played since Nov. 12 when he suffered a right foot dislocation and Crabbe has been sidelined with a sore knee since Dec. 12. Crabbe will be available Wednesday against the Nuggets while Brooklyn is hopeful LeVert can return shortly thereafter.
  • The Wizards assigned John Jenkins to their G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, the team announced (Twitter link). Jenkins has yet to play in a game with Washington and has appeared in just one game with the Go-Go.
  • The Bulls assigned Antonio Blakeney to their G League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls, the team announced (Twitter link). Blakeney has appeared in 40 games with Chicago this season, averaging 7.8 PPG and 1.6 RPG.
  • The Lakers assigned rookie Isaac Bonga to their G League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers, the team announced (Twitter link). The 19-year-old has averaged 12.3 PPG, 6.1 RPG and 2.6 APG with South Bay.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/10/18

Here are Monday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • In what might be the most significant G League assignment of the season, the Warriors sent All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins to their affiliate in Santa Cruz, the team announced. Cousins is rehabbing from a torn Achilles and is hopeful to return within three-to-four weeks. We relayed Cousins’ assignment and his comments after Monday’s practice.
  • The Rockets recalled Isaiah Hartenstein from their G League affiliate in Rio Grande, per Mark Berman of FOX 26. Hartenstein (Twitter link). The 20-year-old center has appeared in 21 games this season, averaging 2.1 PPG and 1.6 RPG.
  •  The Celtics recalled Robert Williams from their G League affiliate Maine Red Claws, the team announced (Twitter link). Williams has appeared in nine games with Boston on the season and was drafted by the team 27th overall in June.
  • The Bulls assigned Antonio Blakeney to their G League affiliate Windy City Bulls, the team announced (Twitter link). Blakeney has appeared in 24 games with Chicago this season but only played four of their past seven.

Bulls Notes: Hoiberg, Boylen, LaVine, R. Brown

Within an article on Fred Hoiberg‘s dismissal, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic passes along several interesting tidbits, reporting that multiple league sources said Hoiberg had lost the team, with Bulls players no longer believing in his system.

Those players were also “increasingly emboldened” to challenge the head coach’s authority, according to Mayberry, who cites specific instances where Jabari Parker and Antonio Blakeney undermined Hoiberg and weren’t reprimanded. Zach LaVine was also essentially given “carte blanche” by Hoiberg to get away with whatever he wanted, writes Mayberry.

One source told Mayberry that Jim Boylen had essentially been the Bulls’ de facto coach in the early part of this season, though a team source disputed that idea, explaining that Hoiberg “coached his desired portions and delegated other aspects to Boylen.” Still, that team source acknowledged that Boylen was “always the bad cop,” with Mayberry suggesting that the players respected and responded more to Boylen’s personality.

Here’s more out of Chicago:

  • While Boylen initially said that he expected the rest of the Bulls’ assistants to remain on the staff, the team announced in a press release on Tuesday that assistant coach Randy Brown had resigned. According to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter links), Boylen confirmed that Brown stepped down after being asked to take on a different role — Brown would have moved behind the bench and would have had fewer in-game duties, though his out-of-game responsibilities would have increased.
  • Boylen spoke this week about his goal to “build [the Bulls’] culture in a positive way” and explained why he believes he’s the right man for the club’s head coaching job, as Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago details. Meanwhile, Mark Schanowski of NBC Sports Chicago explored how the Bulls’ offense and rotations figured to change under Boylen.
  • In a pair of pieces for ESPN.com, Malika Andrews weighed in on why Hoiberg failed to have success in Chicago, and relayed some comments from Bulls players on the club’s coaching change. According to Andrews, Zach LaVine said on Tuesday that he sent a text message to Hoiberg thanking him for the hard work he put in with the Bulls. “At the end of the day, Fred is a great dude and you respect that,” LaVine said. “You know he did a good job here. He was under some circumstances that he can’t control.”

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.”

Bulls Sign Antonio Blakeney To NBA Contract

JULY 19: The Bulls have officially signed Blakeney, the team announced today in a press release.

JULY 18: Bulls two-way player Antonio Blakeney will be promoted to Chicago’s 15-man NBA roster, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune, who reports that the team intends to sign Blakeney to a minimum-salary contract.

Blakeney, who spent the entire 2017/18 season on a two-way deal with the Bulls, appeared in just 19 games for the club, spending most of his time with the Windy City Bulls in the G League.

The former LSU standout was one of the G League’s best players in 2017/18, posting an impressive 32.0 PPG to go along with 6.7 RPG, 3.9 APG, and 1.2 SPG in 32 games. Blakeney’s performance earned him NBAGL Rookie of the Year honors for the 2017/18 season.

As Johnson details, Blakeney projects to be Chicago’s third point guard behind Kris Dunn and Cameron Payne. If Dunn and Payne stay healthy, Blakeney may continue to spend time with the Windy City Bulls, since his NBA role could be limited.

Blakeney will get a guaranteed two-year, minimum-salary deal, per Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). It’ll be worth about $2.94MM in total.

Bulls Notes: Kilpatrick, Valentine, Dunn, Blakeney

Sean Kilpatrick has shown the Bulls he can score in bunches and he hopes that will be enough to secure a roster spot next season, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Kilpatrick is averaging 13 points per night in five games since signing with Chicago last week, including a 19-point fourth quarter in Tuesday’s win over the Hornets. His deal pays $6.2MM over three years, but nothing is guaranteed beyond this season.

“He fits well with what we try to do as far as creating long closeouts and getting into the paint,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He’s not afraid of any moment. He’s hitting big shots. He competes at the other end as well. He’s getting to the rim. He’s getting to the free-throw line. We’re spacing the floor and he’s driving and attacking.”

There’s more news from Chicago:

  • Second-year guard Denzel Valentine underwent successful arthroscopic knee surgery Wednesday and expects to recover quickly, tweets Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago. Valentine, who averaged 10.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 77 games, is focused on regaining the starting spot he lost when Zach LaVine was activated, telling reporters that he has earned a bigger role and should “definitely” be a starter heading into next season. ‘‘I think I can be a consistent player at this level,” he said, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “Be somebody they can rely on, somebody who defends, makes shots, makes plays for others, plays the game the right way and is a competitor. So I definitely think I’m a starter in this league.’’
  • Kris Dunn is also focused on next year after a toe injury ended his season in mid-March, relays Sam Smith of NBA.com. Dunn played 52 games in his first season with the Bulls, averaging 13.4 points and 6.0 assists, and believes he can become one of the league’s best at his position. “I’m trying to be an elite point guard,” he said. “I have the intangibles for it. I’ve got the work ethic. It’s all about putting it together and doing it the right way. I want to be an elite point guard, but a guard who wins games. That’s the big thing for me, try to make everyone better.”
  • Bulls’ two-way player Antonio Blakeney has been named Rookie of the Year in the G League, tweets Adam Johnson of Two Ways and 10 Days. The former LSU guard averaged 32.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in 32 games with Windy City. He has appeared in 19 games with Chicago, averaging 7.9 points per night.

Central Notes: Jackson, Booker, Griffin, Blakeney

The return of Reggie Jackson has Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy feeling optimistic about the team’s future, as Ansar Khan of MLive.com details. Detroit is 3-1 since Jackson returned from a severe ankle sprain that cost him nearly three months of action. The addition of a starting point guard to go along with the big man duo of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond makes the Pistons a dangerous team going forward, in Van Gundy’s mind.

“He was healthy his first full year here and we won 44 games and we didn’t have nearly the talent around him then that we do now,” Van Gundy told Khan and other media members. “And then last year he had to come back in the middle of the season [due to tendinitis in his knee] and then this year he started off and we were 19-14. We know, it’s been demonstrated. If we can keep him healthy, we got a chance to be really good.”

In other news from around the Central Division:

  • The Pacers will have to address the power forward spot even if Thaddeus Young opts in this summer, Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports opines in a mailbag column. Trevor Booker, whom the team recently signed as a free agent, could be an option, Agness adds. Booker is averaging 5.2 PPG and 5.0 RPG in 17.4 MPG over 10 games since joining Indiana.
  • Griffin sees similarities between joining the Pistons and getting drafted by the Clippers, as he explained to Rod Beard of the Detroit News. “For me, it was a cool challenge,” Griffin said of his Clippers experience. “I want to go there and be a part of something. Luckily, I was able to do that. I look at [Detroit] the same way. This is a franchise that has a history of winning a championship and they have an identity as a franchise. This is a place where I want to help get this franchise back to where it was and where it deserves to be.”
  • Two-way player Antonio Blakeney believes he established himself as an NBA player before the Bulls guard fractured his wrist, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. He averaged 7.9 PPG in 16.5 MPG in 19 appearances with Chicago. “I definitely think I showed a little bit of what I can do,” Blakeney said. “I have a lot more to show. I didn’t get to play many games this year.”

Central Notes: Collison, Big Three, Horst, Blakeney

In a young man’s league, Pacers point guard Darren Collison, 30, is the definition of a veteran, but doesn’t want his ability to reflect it. In his ninth NBA season, Collison wanted to make some adjustments and improvements, which led him to a phone conversation with one of the all-time greats.

Mark Monteith of NBA.com writes that Collision set up a call with future Hall-of-Famer Steve Nash. Collison wanted to pick Nash’s brain on how to adapt to playing against younger guards, implementing new moves, and improving his diet. Collison said he has long admired Nash and wanted to learn as much as he can.

“He was one of my favorite players to watch, because he’s not athletic, he’s not big, he’s not strong,” Collison said. “But when you guard him, it’s the hardest thing to do because he just knows how to keep the defense honest in the pick-and-roll. He doesn’t go fast, he doesn’t go slow. He makes every read precisely. I’ve watched a lot of film on him, so I figured why not just call him and pick his brain?”

Collison is averaging his usually solid numbers this season with 12.7 PPG and 5.3 APG in 59 games. If he ever needs it, he now has one of the greatest point guards in league history just a phone call away.

Check out more Central Division notes below:

  • With Reggie Jackson back on the court, the Pistons finally have their three best players healthy simultaneously. Midseason acquisition Blake Griffin, prolific rebounder Andre Drummond, and Jackson are a strong trio that can do a lot of damage if healthy, NBA.com’s Keith Langlois writes. “If we can get Reggie healthy and keep him healthy,” head coach Stan Van Gundy said, “with those three guys, that’s going to be a formidable group to play against for anybody.”
  • After recent reports suggested that the Bucks nearly traded Jabari Parker at the deadline and have a list of potential replacements for interim head coach Joe Prunty, general manager Jon Horst rejected those stories during a radio appearance in Milwaukee. Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel relays Horst’s comments, in which the Bucks GM denied the reports and indicated they came from erroneous sources.
  • As we relayed earlier today, Bulls two-way guard Antonio Blakeney suffered a fractured left wrist and he will miss the rest of the season.