Antonio Blakeney

Antonio Blakeney Expected To Play In China

Former Bulls guard Antonio Blakeney is expected to continue his career overseas, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando, who hears from a source that Blakeney has agreed to terms with the Jiangsu Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association.

Blakeney, who will turn 23 next month, has spent the last two years with Chicago, playing on a two-way contract in 2017/18 and a standard contract in 2018/19. In 76 total games (15.0 MPG) for the club, he averaged 7.5 PPG and 1.8 RPG with a shooting line of .406/.357/.696.

Although Blakeney’s contract for the 2019/20 season was guaranteed, the Bulls opted to move on from him. He was released earlier this month, opening up a spot on the 15-man regular season roster that’s expected to be filled by Shaquille Harrison. Blakeney gave up $100K of his salary in a buyout agreement with the team.

As our roundup of this year’s notable international signings shows, many players who spent last season in the NBA are taking their talents to China for the 2019/20 campaign. However, Blakeney will be the first player on that list to join Jiangsu.

Bulls Release Guard Antonio Blakeney

SEPTEMBER 9, 4:50pm: The Bulls have officially released Blakeney, according to a team press release. He gave up $100K in the buyout agreement, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

SEPTEMBER 7, 11:32am: The Bulls are set to release guard Antonio Blakeney, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to Charania (via Twitter), the two sides reached an agreement on a buyout.

After Chicago re-signed Shaquille Harrison earlier this offseason, there was an expectation that Blakeney would be released, notes K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Unlike Blakeney, Harrison doesn’t yet have a fully guaranteed contract, but it sounds like he’s being penciled in as the team’s 15th man.

Blakeney, 22, has suited up for the Bulls the past two seasons. In a career high 57 games last season, the New York native averaged 7.3 PPG while shooting nearly 40% from beyond the arc.

By cutting the LSU product, the Bulls have brought the total of fully guaranteed contracts on the roster to 14, with Harrison and his partial guarantee also in the mix.

Bulls Notes: Satoransky, Porter, Blakeney, Harrison

The Bulls believe they pulled off a steal by landing Tomas Satoransky in a sign-and-trade with the Wizards, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago gave up a pair of second-round picks for the fourth-year combo guard after reaching a three-year, $30MM agreement with him in free agency. Satoransky was a restricted free agent, but his price tag was too high for Washington to match in the face of salary cap concerns.

Satoranksy averaged 8.9 points and 5.0 assists in 80 games last season and took over as the Wizards’ starting point guard after an injury sidelined John Wall midway through the season. But Bulls coach Jim Boylen said the intangibles that Santoransky brings are just as important.

“In my conversation with (vice president of basketball operations John Paxson) and (general manager Gar Forman), it was about what kind of character we can bring in that can still play, that can help us win because what we’ve needed is durability and availability. We haven’t had that,” Boylen said. “In looking out over the free agents and the guys we felt we could get, just looking at where Washington was and what they were trying to do, having some (cap) issues, he was the guy we targeted for all those characteristics I believe in.’’

There’s more from Chicago:

  • The Bulls had a strong advocate for Satoransky in former teammate Otto Porter Jr., Crowley adds. Porter, who was acquired from Washington in a February trade, was also deemed expandable because the Wizards were looking to trim salary. “Otto loved him, and ‘Sato’ loved Otto,’’ Boylen said. “Otto is a big part of this team. His trade is not talked about enough. We were 7-5 in February because, first of all, we got rid of (Jabari Parker), and we added a guy who brings synergy and chemistry. Otto has that synergy and chemistry with ‘Sato.’’’
  • The impending release of Antonio Blakeney is good news for Shaquille Harrison, who is now ticketed for the 15th roster spot, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Harrison is entering his second season with the Bulls after putting together a 6.5/3.0/1.9 line in 73 games last year. He is scheduled to make $1,620,564 this season, but carries just a $175K guarantee until January 10, when all NBA contracts become fully guaranteed.
  • Once Blakeney hits waivers, he’ll be eligible to be claimed by any team except for the Warriors and Heat, who are both have hard cap restrictions, according to Marks (Twitter link). If he is claimed, Blakeney’s contract will carry a $1.6MM cap hit.

Central Notes: Rose, Hutchison, Bledsoe, Love

Derrick Rose signed with the Pistons this summer in pursuit a championship, he said in a Sirius XM NBA Radio interview (Twitter link). Rose, who inked a two-year, $15MM contract, feels the Pistons can contend in the Eastern Conference behind the big man duo of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. “While I’m in the game, I want to win a championship,” he said. “That’s what I really want to do. I’ve got all the accolades I wanted.  Now it’s time for me to get the one I really, really want. I’ve won at every level except for this level.”

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Bulls swingman Chandler Hutchison suffered a left hamstring strain while working out this week, according to a post on the team’s website. While the injury doesn’t appear serious, it’s a reminder of the team’s lack of depth along the wings, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Hutchison is slated as a backup to Otto Porter at small forward while Antonio Blakeney and Denzel Valentine, who was injured all of last season, are the top options behind shooting guard Zach LaVine.
  • Trade restrictions on Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe lifted this week, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. Bledsoe couldn’t be dealt for six months after he signed a four-year, $70M extension on March 4. However, there are no indications Milwaukee, one of the favorites to win the championship, is looking to move Bledsoe.
  • Kevin Love is organizing a minicamp for his Cavaliers teammates in New York next week, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reports. Cedi Osman and Matthew Dellavedova won’t be able to make it, since they are participating in the FIBA World Cup. Most of the other team members are expected to show up, including first-round picks Darius Garland, Kevin Porter Jr. and Dylan Windler.

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.”