- K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago doesn’t believe that the new front office executive eventually hired by the Bulls will be given a mandate to retain Jim Boylen as his head coach. President/COO Michael Reinsdorf and VP of basketball operations John Paxson have been highly supportive of Boylen, but if Chicago’s top front office candidate makes it clear he wants to hire a new coach, that shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, Johnson writes.
The Bulls didn’t have the year they’d envisioned heading into the 2019/20 campaign. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic and league stoppage, Chicago was on its way to a third straight lottery appearance, and Zach LaVine is not happy with how the on-court situation was unfolding.
“To be blunt, I’m upset,” LaVine said (via Sam Smith of NBA.com). “We had high expectations coming into the season and it didn’t go our way anyway we could have thought of. We played through some adversity, but we didn’t go out there and do what we were supposed to do as a team.
“… I’ve been in the NBA six years now and it just gets frustrating. I want to be in the playoffs. We really [believed]. I haven’t played in a playoff game and it wears on you. That’s what you work so hard for and continue to play for.”
Here’s more from Chicago:
- In the same piece, LaVine added that he has high hopes for rookie Coby White. The Bulls selected the point guard with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
- Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports examines how the Bulls’ 2019 offseason signings panned out and what roles they may have with the club going forward. Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky were the highest-priced acquisitions.
- ESPN has moved up its Michael Jordan documentary release date. “The Last Dance,” which is a 10-part series that takes an in-depth look at the Bulls’ dynasty, will debut on April 19.
12:07pm: The Boardroom has provided a full list of the 16 participants in the tournament, along with the first-round matchups (Twitter link). Devin Booker (Suns), Trae Young (Hawks), and Zach LaVine (Bulls) are among the other stars set to take part in the event.
11:19am: With no NBA games expected to happen on the court anytime soon, the league is setting up a virtual tournament in an attempt to sate fans’ appetite for basketball, reports Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
According to Haynes, the league intends to launch an NBA 2K tournament that will feature NBA players competing against one another. The goal is to begin the 10-day event this Friday, though the league is still working out and finalizing the details, sources tell Haynes. The tournament would be broadcast on ESPN.
Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel had previously tweeted that Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside and Heat swingman Derrick Jones were among the players set to play in an NBA 2K20 Players Tournament in April. That info appears to be based on an announcement from the NBPA, which was quickly deleted. Jeff Garcia of Spurs Zone (via Twitter) shares the full list of participants the NBPA identified in that premature release.
According to Winderman, the tournament is expected to have a $100K prize for charity.
Lauri Markkanen’s fit in the Bulls’ offense is the biggest question facing the franchise, Mark Schanowski of NBC Sports Chicago writes. The organization must figure out if he can become a consistent 20-point, 10-rebound player. There will probably be little roster turnover but the organization is likely to allow point guard Kris Dunn to walk. The Bulls would have to give Dunn a $7.1MM qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent but they are already deep at point guard.
Fourth-year Bulls point guard/wing Kris Dunn will be a restricted free agent this summer, and after a competent defensive showing during his 2019/20 tenure with the club, he may be an appealing, affordable bench addition for a number of teams on the market, according to Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. Though Chicago tried to move Dunn as recently as August 2019, Schaefer suggests that he may be worth keeping around.
Schaefer considers Dunn potentially netting an annual price tag in the range of $8-11MM this summer. The former No. 5 pick’s all-defense, almost-no-offense game may make him a better fit for a contender (the Clippers are reported to have interest in adding him) than for a rebuilding team like the Bulls.
The Clippers have a realistic opportunity to bring back their 11-man rotation next season, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Many of the decisions will come down to whether the organization wants to make a financial commitment to its current players or explore other options.
L.A. has Bird rights on Montrezl Harrell and can offer him a longer and more valuable contract than anyone else. The Clippers have Non-Bird rights on Marcus Morris, who was acquired from the Knicks last month, and can offer a new deal starting at $18MM per season. JaMychal Green has a $5MM player option, and the team might decide to use part of its mid-level exception to re-sign Reggie Jackson.
Buha adds that the loss of revenue from the shortened season could work in the Clippers’ favor by depressing a free agent market that’s already limited by the small number of teams with cap space. Harrell and Morris may not get the offers they would have under normal circumstances, while Green could decide to stick with his guaranteed money.
There’s more Clippers news to pass along:
- There may be something to the rumors that Doc Rivers would like to add Bulls guard Kris Dunn as a defensive specialist next season, Buha states in the same piece. Dunn will be a restricted free agent if Chicago makes a $4.6MM qualifying offer, and he could be a nice backcourt partner for Lou Williams coming off the bench. The downsides are Dunn’s poor 3-point shooting — 25.9% this year — and his season-ending knee injury.
- Speculation regarding Tyronn Lue as the next head coach of the Nets has died down while the league has been on hiatus, but Buha understands why Brooklyn would be interested. During his time in Cleveland, Lue proved he could win a title and he developed a strong relationship with Kyrie Irving. Buha identifies two other members of Rivers’ staff, Rex Kalamian and Sam Cassell, who might get head coaching offers soon.
- The Clippers may benefit as much as anyone from having several weeks off, Buha suggests in a separate column. They are among the league’s oldest teams and injuries have been a concern, particularly for Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Patrick Beverley. New additions Morris and Jackson will also get more time to learn Rivers’ system.
Thanks in part to the Pacers collecting a $10MM insurance policy on Victor Oladipo, who missed all but 13 games of the postponed NBA season, Indiana’s payroll is scheduled to come in at $104.6MM, the league’s lowest mark. If COVID-19 affects league revenue significantly, the Pacers will be in one of the most comfortable financial situations in the NBA, as J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star reports.
Michael notes that a significant drop in league revenue, such as a 5% drop from the projected $115MM cap ($109.25MM) or a 10% decline ($103.5MM), could impede several teams, but the Pacers are stacked with several players on movable contracts.
There’s more out of the Central Division:
- Bulls rookie point guard Coby White‘s late-season scoring streak (he averaged 23.7 PPG while connecting on 39.8%t of his 8.5 three-point looks) was one of the few positives in a generally dismal 22-43 season for Chicago. Morten Jensen of Forbes wonders what White’s performance means for his club going forward.
- Despite the COVID-19 pandemic putting the NBA on pause this month, Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff and his assistants have been maintaining their (remote) connection to the young Cleveland squad, according to Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor.
- Pistons rookie point guard Jordan Bone logged time with Detroit’s Grand Rapids G League club and the NBA squad this season, and remains an intriguing player for the team’s future, according to Pistons.com writer Keith Langlois.
If the NBA season is completed late in the summer, it could have long-term implications on the league schedule, Mike Singer of the Denver Post opines. If the playoffs are conducted in July and August, there is no chance that NBA training camps would open in late September, Singer notes. Hawks CEO Steve Koonin’s suggestion prior to the suspension of play that the league calendar should shift to a December-August format could become a reality, at least for one season.
We have more coronavirus-related news:
- The ease in which NBA teams had access to tests compared to the general public was a bad look for the league, Dan Wolken of USA Today writes. Franchises should use their vast resources and influence to get others tested, rather than asymptomatic NBA players, Wolken argues.
- Jazz owner Gail Miller and her family will “more than match” the $200K donation that Gobert has pledged to Vivint Arena and Jazz part-time employees, per Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune. Gobert and numerous other NBA players have made similar donations to arena workers.
- Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky is pessimistic about the resumption of the NBA season and wants to return to Europe, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago relays. In a recent interview with NOVA Sports, he said, “It is not pleasant to stay here and watch the team owners try to finish the league in order not to lose so much money. It is not very pleasant, perhaps because we would like to travel to the Czech Republic with my wife and daughter. We perceive the situation logically as Europeans. We perceive that all the right measures are already in place in the Czech Republic, and we think that in the USA, it will only get worse and worse.
- Bulls GM Gar Forman has essentially been reduced to a lead scout, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The franchise is expected to overhaul its front office once the league shutdown is lifted. Forman will lose his GM title and will have no decision-making authority once the restructuring is completed, Cowley adds.
- It’s doubtful the Bulls would make a serious run at Thunder GM Sam Presti during their planned front office restructuring, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Not only is it unknown whether Presti would be interested in a high-level front office role with the club but it would probably take $8-10MM annually to land his services, Johnson continues, and the Bulls historically haven’t forked up that kind of money. Presti would also likely want to bring in some of his own people, which would add to the tab, Johnson adds.