8:11am: Free agent guard Shaquille Harrison will re-sign with the team that waived him earlier this month, having agreed to a one-year deal with the Bulls, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).
Harrison, 25, appeared in 73 games for Chicago last season, averaging 6.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 1.9 APG with strong defense in 19.6 minutes per contest. Despite having a regular rotation role, he became a cap casualty when the club needed to clear enough space to finalize its deals with Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky.
The Bulls drafted Coby White, acquired Satoransky via sign-and-trade, and re-signed Ryan Arcidiacono this offseason, so Harrison will join a crowded backcourt that also features Kris Dunn and Antonio Blakeney. K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune tweets that the club has discussed waiving Blakeney and is open to trading Dunn, so it’s possible there will be a 15-man roster spot available for Harrison, but for now it looks like an uphill battle.
One factor working in Harrison’s favor is the Bulls’ head coach. According to Johnson (via Twitter), the former Tulsa standout is a Jim Boylen favorite.
Financial terms of Harrison’s new contract aren’t yet known. Although a minimum-salary deal seems likely, Chicago does have some of its room exception available.
JULY 17: The deal is official, Charania tweets. It is fully guaranteed for both seasons with a total value of $4.5MM.
Chicago will get a chance to further develop the 23-year-old big man. Kornet saw action in 46 games for the Knicks last season, starting 18. He also spent time on their G League squad, averaging 18.8 PPG, 8.8 RPG, and 3.6 APG with a blistering .514/.485/.730 shooting line in 11 games for the Westchester Knicks.
The Bulls have had an eventful offseason, adding Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky over the past 48 hours. It’s unclear how much opportunity Kornet will see in Chicago, as the team has a full roster of bigs, led by Wendell Carter Jr.. and Lauri Markkanen
Thaddeus Young gives the Bulls a much-needed glue guy, Sam Smith of the team’s website writes. Not only does Young fill the stat sheet but he also provides other valuable assets, such as contesting shots, staying in front of his man and forcing opponents to pass late in the shot clock, Smith adds. Young signed a three-year contract with Chicago that could be worth up to $43.6MM. Young will embrace a leadership role, as Sean Highkin of NBC Sports Chicago relays. “I know the task is very, very hard,” the former Pacers big man said. “I carry that weight each and every day. I know I can help these young guys get better, I know I can push them over the hump.”
“We are excited to welcome James back to the 76ers,” GM Elton Brand said in a statement. “James had opportunities elsewhere, but he is determined to win here in Philadelphia. That’s the type of competitor he is, and it shows how much he cares about our fans and team. His heart, hustle and playmaking were integral to our success last season and we’re thrilled to have him back.”
JULY 2: Free agent swingman James Ennis has agreed to return to the Sixers on a two-year, $4.1MM deal, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The deal features a second-year player option, according to Charania, who adds that Ennis turned down bigger offers to stay in Philadelphia.
Ennis, who celebrated his 29th birthday on Monday, joined the 76ers in a midseason trade after beginning the 2018/19 season in Houston. In a total of 58 games for the two clubs, he averaged 6.7 PPG and 3.1 RPG on .469/.353/.716 shooting, serving as a three-and-D option.
Reports indicated that the Knicks, Lakers, and Clippers were among the teams that had interest in Ennis this week. A source told Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw that the Bulls, Spurs, and Mavericks also had interest.
However, Ennis, who told Hoops Rumors last month that he’d “love to come back” to the Sixers, will do just that — Charania suggests that the opportunity to play for a championship contender appealed to the veteran free agent.
It’s not clear whether Ennis’ deal will be a minimum-salary pact or if the Sixers will use their last bit of remaining cap room to complete the deal. A two-year deal at the minimum would be worth $4,012,890, so that seems like a strong possibility.
While Philadelphia lost Jimmy Butler and J.J. Redick in free agency, the team has done a good job filling out its roster with both impact players and role players. Tobias Harris, Mike Scott, and Ennis will be back, and will be joined by new additions like Al Horford, Josh Richardson, and Kyle O’Quinn.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Rockets always loom as a threat when stars become available on the market and the Russell Westbrook sweepstakes are no different.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (video link) hears that Houston is attempting to slip into negotiations with Oklahoma City, focusing on the possibility of a three-team trade. It’s unclear which players the Rockets would offer up in such a scenario, though I’d speculate sending Chris Paul elsewhere is the angle. Houston could swap Paul and Westbrook easily, as they both make $38.5M, though the rebuilding Thunder don’t appear to be a fit for Paul. Finding that third team would likely be necessary if in that type of deal.
The Heat appear to be the frontrunner to land Westbrook and the eight-time All-Star has reportedly placed Miami atop the shortlist he gave team’s front office, as Windhorst notes. Still, the two sides have barriers to overcome if they are going to come to an agreement on a trade. Miami is hard-capped, meaning the franchise cannot take back any additional salary in any trade. The team also lacks the ability to trade away a first-rounder until the 2025 season, having already dealt away its two future picks (OKC owns Miami’s unprotected 2021 and lottery unprotected 2023 selections).
Here’s more surrounding Westbrook and the Thunder:
- Will the Bulls get involved in the Westbrook sweepstakes? It doesn’t sound like it. “When you look at the financial aspect of a player that’s 30 going out four years and the amount of money that’s going to be made, those things can tie your hands up and put your organization in a tough position,” VP John Paxson said without mentioning Westbrook directly (via Mark Strotman of NBC Chicago). “You want the superstars. You want to do what the Clippers are doing and the Lakers are doing, but we’re realistic right now. We’re not in that position. We hope that in a couple years with the development of these young guys, players around the league view us as a destination point where they can win at the highest level.”
- The 22% stake in the Thunder organization owned by the late Audrey McClendon is up for sale, Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg reports. The franchise is worth approximately $1.5 billion, according to the latest Forbes report. Oklahoma City has sold out 355 games in a row, which is the third-longest active streak in the league.
- Dan Devine of The Ringer breaks down the possible destinations from Westbrook but struggles to find a new home for the point guard. Still, the scribe contends that there will be a team willing to trade for him before training camp starts.
JULY 11: The Bulls have officially re-signed Arcidiacono, per NBA.com’s transactions log.
Chicago will likely wait to make the deal official until after using their cap room. The team has commitments to Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky (via sign-and-trade) that it will need to complete using cap space.
Satoransky and Arcidiacono will join Coby White and Kris Dunn in what is becoming a crowded point guard picture in Chicago. There have been rumors that the Bulls are exploring the trade market for a deal involving Dunn.
Arcidiacono played in 81 games during his sophomore NBA season averaging 6.7 PPG, 3.3 APG, and 2.7 RPG in 24.2 minutes per contest.. The Langhorne, Pennsylvania native signed on with the Bulls during the summer of 2017 after going undrafted out of Villanova.
Bulls head coach Jim Boylen is excited about the new players his team brought in this offseason, and he hopes that the additions of veterans Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky alongside rookies Coby White and Daniel Gafford will allow him to deploy a deeper roster during the 2019/20 season, writes Sean Highkin of NBC Sports Chicago.