Bulls Rumors

Central Notes: Pistons, Ham, Bucks, Cavaliers

Reports that the Bulls, Trail Blazers and Grizzlies are all interested in moving up in the draft could create some trade options for the Pistons with the No. 5 pick, writes James L. Edwards of The Athletic. He explores potential deals with all three teams that would still leave Detroit with a first-round selection.

Edwards’ proposed trade with Chicago is a swap for No. 11 in this year’s draft, plus a top-four protected pick in 2027. That would allow the Pistons to pick up some future draft capital and still wind up with a prospect such as Colorado’s Cody Williams, G League wing Ron Holland or French forward Tidjane Salaun.

Edwards suggests helping Portland clear cap space by taking Jerami Grant, the No. 14 pick and possibly Matisse Thybulle in exchange for No. 5. That could speed up the Blazers’ rebuilding process by giving them two selections in this year’s top seven while saving them about $40MM next season.

With Memphis, Edwards proposes parting with the fifth pick in exchange for the ninth choice in this year’s draft and a top-four protected pick in 2025. That gives Detroit an extra selection in what’s projected to be a stronger draft next near, while Memphis has a better shot to land a center such as UConn’s Donovan Clingan.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Darvin Ham, who was fired by the Lakers last month after their first-round playoff loss, will rejoin the Bucks as the top assistant to Doc Rivers, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Before being hired by L.A., Ham spent four years in Milwaukee, where he built a reputation as one of the league’s top assistant coaches.
  • Eric Nehm of The Athletic kicks off a series of Bucks draft previews by looking at guards who could still be on the board at No. 23 and 33. Nehm profiles Pitt’s Carlton Carrington, Marquette’s Tyler Kolek, A.J. Johnson, who played in Australia this season, UC Santa Barbara’s Ajay Mitchell, Creighton’s Trey Alexander, Houston’s Jamal Shead, UConn’s Cam Spencer and Colorado’s KJ Simpson.
  • Speaking on the Wine and Gold podcast, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com said he doesn’t expect Dan Hurley‘s decision on the Lakers‘ coaching job to impact the Cavaliers‘ search. Fedor considers James Borrego to be the current front-runner in Cleveland, and he speculates L.A. will turn to J.J. Redick if Hurley declines the team’s offer.

Hall of Famer Chet Walker Passes Away

Hall of Famer Chet Walker has died at age 84, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. His death was announced by the National Basketball Players Association.

Walker was a seven-time All-Star who played 13 NBA seasons from 1962-75.

After starring at Bradley University, he was selected by the Syracuse Nationals with the 14th pick in the 1962 draft and remained with the team when it moved to Philadelphia a year later and became the Sixers. He was the starting small forward on the 1966/67 team that won the championship and set a league record at the time with 68 regular season victories.

Walker was traded to the Bulls in 1969, and he finished his career with six seasons in Chicago. Earlier this year, he was among the first 13 members inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor.

Walker appeared in 1,032 games and compiled career averages of 18.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per contest. He was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.

Our condolences go out to Chet’s family and friends.

2024 NBA Draft Picks By Team

The Spurs and Trail Blazers were among the winners on last month’s draft lottery day, with the results on May 12 ensuring that both teams would have a pair of lottery picks in 2024. San Antonio received Toronto’s top-six protected first-rounder when it dropped to No. 8, while Portland was assured of receiving Golden State’s top-four protected first-rounder when it remained at No. 14. Both clubs’ own picks are in the top seven.

Besides being the only NBA teams to control two lottery picks this year, San Antonio and Portland have something else in common — they’re the only two clubs that own more than three total 2024 draft picks. In addition to No. 4 and No. 8, the Spurs have Nos. 35 and 48, while Portland has a pair of early second-rounders (Nos. 34 and 40) to go with its No. 7 and No. 14 picks.

Many of this year’s draft picks have changed hands at some point, with only 24 of 58 total selections held by their original owner, but they’re still a little more evenly distributed than usual. A year ago, 11 teams controlled three or more picks at this time, whereas this year only seven clubs hold more than two picks apiece.

In addition to those seven teams with three or more picks, 13 more clubs own a pair of draft selections, while another nine control one apiece. That leaves just a single NBA team without a draft pick this year: the Nets. Brooklyn traded both of its 2024 picks back in 2021, sending out its first-rounder in a package for James Harden and including its second-rounder later that year in a Sekou Doumbouya salary dump. The Nets could still trade into this draft, but for now they’re the only team on track to sit it out.

To present a clearer picture of which teams are most – and least – stocked with picks for the 2024 NBA draft, we’ve rounded up all 58 selections by team in the space below. Let’s dive in…

Teams with more than two picks:

  • San Antonio Spurs (4): 4, 8, 35, 48
  • Portland Trail Blazers (4): 7, 14, 34, 40
  • Washington Wizards (3): 2, 26, 51
  • Memphis Grizzlies (3): 9, 39, 57
  • Utah Jazz (3): 10, 29, 32
  • New York Knicks (3): 24, 25, 38
  • Indiana Pacers (3): 36, 49, 50

Teams with two picks:

  • Houston Rockets: 3, 44
  • Detroit Pistons: 5, 53
  • Charlotte Hornets: 6, 42
  • Sacramento Kings: 13, 45
  • Miami Heat: 15, 43
  • Philadelphia 76ers: 16, 41
  • Los Angeles Lakers: 17, 55
  • Orlando Magic: 18, 47
  • Toronto Raptors: 19, 31
  • Milwaukee Bucks: 23, 33
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: 27, 37
  • Denver Nuggets: 28, 56
  • Boston Celtics: 30, 54

Teams with one pick:

  • Atlanta Hawks: 1
  • Chicago Bulls: 11
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: 12
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: 20
  • New Orleans Pelicans: 21
  • Phoenix Suns: 22
  • Los Angeles Clippers: 46
  • Golden State Warriors: 52
  • Dallas Mavericks: 58

Teams with no picks:

  • Brooklyn Nets

And-Ones: Poland, Sochan, M. James, J. Porter, More

The Polish national team has formally announced a 17-man preliminary roster for next month’s Olympic qualifying tournament in Valencia, Spain (hat tip to Eurohoops). Poland will be grouped with Finland and the Bahamas in that tournament and will vie with Angola, Lebanon, and Spain for the right to compete in the 12-team men’s basketball tournament at the Olympics in Paris.

Poland’s roster doesn’t feature much NBA talent, but there is one player currently active in the league: Spurs forward Jeremy Sochan was named to the 17-man squad, which will be trimmed to 12 players for the qualifying tournament Sochan previously won a gold medal with Poland at an under-16 championship in 2019 and also represented the country at the EuroBasket 2022 qualifiers.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • On the heels of being named this season’s EuroLeague MVP, former NBA guard Mike James appears to be on the verge of signing a contract extension with AS Monaco. As Johnny Askounis relays for Eurohoops, a report from Gabriel Pantel-Jouve of BeBasket indicates that James and Monaco are set to complete a three-year deal that will increase the guard’s annual salary to three million Euros per season.
  • A total of four men have now been charged by federal prosecutors in the sports betting scandal related to Jontay Porter‘s lifetime ban from the NBA, reports Jennifer Peltz of The Associated Press. The defendants are being accused of profiting from prop bets based on the knowledge that Porter would exit a pair of games early. The complaint also alleges that Porter – who isn’t identified by name but fits the description of the player described – was supposed to receive a portion of the winnings.
  • In an Insider-only story for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks of ESPN identifies five teams who may not receive as much attention this summer as high-profile franchise like the Lakers and Sixers, but who could have eventful and important offseason ahead of them. Marks’ picks? The Bulls, Trail Blazers, Jazz, Pelicans, and Spurs.
  • With the Lakers reportedly in pursuit of UConn head coach Dan Hurley, Alex Andrejev of The Athletic considers the history of accomplished college coaches making the leap to the NBA and evaluates how several of the most notable names – including Billy Donovan, Larry Brown, and Rick Pitino – fared at the professional level.

Draft Rumors: Buzelis, Clingan, Dillingham, Topic, More

Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo of ESPN recently updated their top-100 list, with several new tidbits of information on prospects ranked in the top 25 (subscription required).

Sources tell Givony that G League Ignite forward Matas Buzelis “will work out for almost every team in the top five.” As Givony writes, teams are intrigued by Buzelis’ size, skills, versatility and long-term upside.

They don’t control a top-five pick, but sources tell Givony that Chicago — Buzelis’ hometown team — watched the 19-year-old in a private workout in Los Angeles “early in the pre-draft process.” The Bulls have explored the viability of moving up from No. 11 overall if the price is right, according to Givony, who adds that head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas is very familiar with Buzelis and his game (they’re also both Lithuanian).

Here are some more rumors and updates from Givony and Woo:

  • ESPN previously reported that rival teams think the Bulls, Grizzlies and Trail Blazers could be interested in moving up to select UConn center Donovan Clingan, whom Givony describes as a “top-three prospect who might experience a minor drop on draft night because teams that are in the Nos. 3-6 range already have starting centers in place.” The Thunder and Jazz are also viewed as teams who could consider trading up for the 20-year-old. Clingan is still in the Hawks‘ conversation at No. 1, while Atlanta has also explored the possibility of trading down, Givony reports. The Blazers, who recently hosted Clingan for a private workout, are viewed as the big man’s floor at No. 7 overall.
  • Kentucky guard Rob Dillingham, the No. 7 prospect on ESPN’s board, is targeting a mid-June return following an ankle injury, sources tell Givony. That means the 19-year-old will likely only have time “for a handful of workouts” before the first round begins on June 26. Dillingham is on the radar of teams drafting in the top 10 who need a point guard, according to Givony, who suggests trades might need to transpire for him to go early.
  • Nikola Topic, long considered a probable lottery pick, was recently diagnosed with a partially torn ACL in his left knee, as ESPN reported on Wednesday. However, he has only dropped one spot — No. 9 to No. 10 — on ESPN’s latest update, with Givony pointing to Topic’s age (he turns 19 in August) and upside (he was once in consideration for No. 1) as reasons why the Serbian guard is unlikely to have a drastic fall. The Spurs (No. 8), Jazz (No. 10), Thunder (No. 12) and Trail Blazers (No. 14) are viewed as potential landing spots for Topic, depending on how his medicals are evaluated.
  • According to Woo and Givony, Tenneesee wing Dalton Knecht, who comes in at No. 8, has drawn “strong interest” from every team selecting in the 6-10 range (Hornets, Trail Blazers, Spurs, Grizzlies, Jazz). French forward Tidjane Salaun, the No. 9 prospect on ESPN’s board, is expected to draw suitors in the 4-14 range.
  • G League Ignite wing Ron Holland, who ranks No. 11, has either worked out for or will work out for the Heat (No. 15) and Lakers (No. 17), per ESPN. Providence guard Devin Carter recently worked out for the Lakers as well, and his range is expected to be anywhere from No. 8 to No. 15. According to Woo, “playoff-caliber teams” will likely have interest in Carter, 22, if they decide to trade up.
  • Back-to-back college Player of the Year Zach Edey, who ranks No. 16, has an upcoming workout with the Lakers, but it’s possible he could land quite a bit higher than No. 17. According to Givony, the Grizzlies, Jazz, Bulls, Thunder, Trail Blazers and Heat are viewed as viable landing spots for the Canadian big man, who recently worked out for his hometown Raptors as well. Toronto (picking at No. 19) is viewed as Edey’s floor.
  • The Grizzlies and Kings are among the lottery teams with interest in Colorado’s Tristan Da Silva, per Woo. An older prospect, the German combo forward is viewed as a player who can contribute right away but has a lower ceiling than younger players in the class, Woo adds.
  • Givony and Woo have more information on the possible ranges of several other potential first-round picks. The whole article is worth checking out for those who subscribe to ESPN+.

Billy Donovan's Son To Be Next Head Coach At Windy City

  • Billy Donovan III, the son of the Bulls‘ head coach, will be the next coach of the team’s G League affiliate, according to Ryan Taylor of NBC Sports Chicago. He’ll replace former Windy City Bulls head coach Henry Domercant, who could wind up on Chicago’s coaching staff, Taylor adds.

Central Notes: Eversley, Bulls, Pacers, Pistons

Bulls general manager Marc Eversley, who reportedly received consideration from Detroit and Charlotte when those teams sought new heads of basketball operations earlier this year, recently signed a new three-year contract with Chicago that will begin in July, a source with knowledge of the situation tells Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic.

Eversley, who was hired by the Bulls in 2020, has served since then as the front office’s No. 2 executive under head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas.

The Athletic’s report on Eversley’s contract situation comes within a larger look at some key questions facing the Bulls this offseason, as Mayberry considers what the future holds for DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball, among others. Mayberry speculates that if the Bulls want to do a short-term deal for DeRozan, they may have to offer upwards of $40MM annually; he also suggests that team officials seem less optimistic than Ball about his ability to be ready to go on opening night in 2024/25.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • This year’s Pacers have been likened by some to the 2021 Hawks, who unexpectedly made the Eastern Conference finals but haven’t won a playoff series since then, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. However, Tyrese Haliburton believes the 2010-14 Pacers (who won five total playoff series and made the Eastern Conference finals twice) are a better reference point for Indiana’s current team, adding that he and his teammates will be fueled by the skepticism about their staying power. “We’re a group of guys that are really motivated by negativity, motivated by being doubted,” Haliburton said. “That’s how a lot of us guys are motivated. I’m really excited to go into this next year with, ‘The Pacers made the Eastern Conference finals. Can they do it again? They probably can’t. They’re this, they’re that.’ That’s exciting for our group.”
  • Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (subscription required) poses five crucial questions for new Pistons president Trajan Langdon to consider, including whether the Cade Cunningham/Jaden Ivey backcourt duo can work long-term, whether Jalen Duren is a franchise center, and whether this offseason is the right time to take a big swing.
  • James L. Edwards III of The Athletic takes a look at Langdon’s draft history as the Pelicans’ general manager to get a sense of what sort of player the Pistons might target at No. 5. In Edwards’ view, a “long, rangy” wing could be Detroit’s preference, with Matas Buzelis among the prospects who could be a fit in at No. 5.

Northwest Notes: Williams, Blazers, Wolves, Hayward

As Bulls forward Patrick Williams heads into restricted free agency, look for the Thunder to make a run at him, The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry reports. A league source tells Mayberry that Oklahoma City has “great interest” in the 22-year-old.

Williams, who has failed to live up to his draft billing as the No. 4 pick in 2020, would give the Thunder more size at power forward. Oklahoma City’s stash of draft picks could entice Chicago to negotiate a sign-and-trade with the Thunder. Williams was limited to 43 games this season due to a foot injury.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Trail Blazers hosted six draft prospects on Tuesday — Daniss Jenkins (St. John’s), Dillon Jones (Weber State), Spencer Jones (Stanford), Jared McCain (Duke), Noah Penda (JA Vichy-Clermont) and Armel Traore (Ada Blois), Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report tweets. Out of that group, McCain is the most highly regarded by draft pundits. The point guard is currently rated No. 15 overall on ESPN’s Best Available list. Portland controls the seventh and 14th overall picks, along with No. 34 and No. 40.
  • The Timberwolves were also busy evaluating draft prospects on Tuesday, according to the team’s PR department (Twitter link). Sy Chatman (Buffalo), Enrique Freeman (Akron), Pelle Larsson (Arizona), KJ Simpson (Colorado), Justin Webster (UNLV) and Moses Wood (Washington) visited Minnesota’s practice facility. Larsson (No. 44), a shooting guard, is the highest-ranked prospect among that group on ESPN’s list.
  • In his latest player report card, The Oklahoman’s Joe Mussatto evaluates the forgettable half-season that Gordon Hayward spent with the Thunder. Hayward is headed to unrestricted free agency and Mussatto opines that the forward might be looking at veteran’s minimum offers the remainder of his career.

Mavericks Notes: Jones, Kidd, Irving, Gafford

The decision to sign with the Mavericks last summer has given Derrick Jones Jr. a chance to play in the NBA Finals, but he could been there with either team, writes Brian Robb of MassLive. Jones confirmed to reporters on Sunday that he considered an offer from the Celtics before opting to go to Dallas.

Boston was looking for another wing to back up Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, but the Mavs gave Jones a chance to start and he has turned out to be a bargain on a one-year minimum deal. He will be back on the free agent market this summer and figures to earn a substantial raise after averaging a career-high 8.6 PPG in 76 games. He’ll more than make up for the money he lost when he decided to turn down a $3.3MM player option with the Bulls.

“I could have accepted my player option in Chicago and still be on the team that’s not in the playoffs right now,” Jones said. “I just decided to bet on myself. I took less money to come here, but the money wasn’t the problem. The money wasn’t the issue. I just wanted to have the opportunity to be on the floor and to showcase what I’m able to do, and it happened for me.”

There’s more from Dallas:

  • There was speculation that Jason Kidd might have been on the hot seat with an early playoff exit, but instead he’s in the NBA Finals and has a multiyear contract extension, notes Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. The Mavericks‘ head coach is grateful to general manager Nico Harrison and new team governor Patrick Dumont for having faith in what he’s trying to build. “And for Nico and Patrick to see that with the extension before we even got past the first round,” Kidd said. “Understanding that they believed in what I could do, and they saw the impact I had on the guys. … It’s definitely a vote of confidence. I actually believed I was doing the right thing. If you looked at our roster, it got better. We all got better.”
  • Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports examines the career paths of Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving and Celtics big man Kristaps Porzingis, noting there was a time where they were nearly traded for each other. It happened before the 2019 deadline, when Irving was near the end of his tenure in Boston and New York was starting to explore deals involving Porzingis. The Mavericks killed the potential trade by offering the Knicks two first-round picks in exchange for Porzingis. Fischer also notes that the Celtics weren’t on Irving’s original list when he asked to be traded out of Cleveland. The Spurs, Knicks, Timberwolves and Heat were his preferred destinations.
  • Daniel Gafford had exploratory talks about joining the Slovenian national team as a naturalized player, but that won’t happen this summer, sources tell Marc Stein (Substack link). Mavericks assistant Sean Sweeney will be part of Slovenia’s coaching staff for an Olympic qualifying tournament next month, and while Luka Doncic is expected to play, he won’t discuss his plans until the playoffs are done.
  • TNT analyst and former head coach Stan Van Gundy isn’t backing down from his claim that Irving and Doncic are “arguably the best offensive backcourt in the history of the NBA,” according to Howard Beck of The Ringer. Beck compares them to some historically great guard tandems to see how they stack up.

Asking Price For LaVine Has Dropped

  • The asking price for Bulls wing  Zach LaVine has dropped significantly, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes. LaVine is coming off another injury-marred season and there’s a sense from both sides that a change of scenery may be LaVine’s best option. Previously, the Bulls were seeking All-Star level talent, first-round picks or both for LaVine, but that’s no longer the case.