Bulls Rumors

Bulls Notes: Bzdelik, Adams, Draft, Dunn

Former Rockets assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik could be a candidate to join Jim Boylen’s staff in Chicago, tweets K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. The Rockets decided not to pursue a new contract with Bzdelik, who is considered the architect of the defense in Houston. He briefly retired from the game last fall before rejoining the Rockets in November.

The Bulls interviewed Bzdelik for an assistant’s job in 2002 and were interested in hiring him before he joined the Nuggets. He also interviewed with executive vice president John Paxson for Chicago’s head coaching position in 2008. Bzdelik hasn’t decided if he wants to keep coaching next season, but Johnson notes that the Bulls still have an opening to fill.

There’s more today from Chicago:

  • Mark Adams, an assistant at Texas Tech and a long-time friend of Boylen’s, had discussions about coming to the Bulls but decided to remain in Lubbock, tweets Jeff Goodman of Stadium.
  • The Bulls are looking at Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver, Duke’s Cam Reddish and North Carolina’s Coby White as possibilities in next month’s draft, Johnson writes in a full story. Paxson said after the lottery that he is open to all possibilities with the No. 7 pick, including a trade. If the Bulls keep their selection, they could choose a defensive upgrade in Culver, a shooting specialist in Reddish or address a position of need by taking White. “I’m a point guard,” White said when asked where he projects himself in the NBA. “Put the ball in my hands.”
  • The Bulls may opt to give Kris Dunn another chance rather than chase a crop of free agent point guards that isn’t outstanding, speculates Sam Smith of NBA.com. Dunn only established himself as a scorer occasionally under coach Fred Hoiberg and he never gained the trust of Boylen once he took over the team, Smith adds. However, with D’Angelo Russell and Terry Rozier both being restricted free agents — and Ricky Rubio and Darren Collison as realistic alternatives — Chicago may decide to spend its free agent money elsewhere.

Morant Would Be Happy To Play For Grizzlies

Point guard Ja Morant wouldn’t mind if he’s drafted by a small-market team like the Grizzlies, he told David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal and other media members on Friday.

The Grizzlies are reportedly zeroing in on the Murray State floor leader with the No. 2 selection in the draft. A pair of big-market teams, the Knicks and Lakers, are next in line in the draft, but Morant says it’s all the same to him.

“If a team drafts me, big market or small market, it doesn’t matter,” Morant said at the draft combine. “I’m going to be happy where I’m at.”

Morant could join the Grizzlies’ lottery selection from last season, big man Jaren Jackson Jr., as the key figures in the club’s rebuild. Morant met with the Pelicans, who hold the No. 1 selection and will almost assuredly select Duke’s Zion Williamson, as well as Memphis and New York at the combine. He did not participate in any 5-on-5 games in Chicago.

He admits he’s not familiar with the city of Memphis.

“I just know Memphis Grizzlies basketball and that’s it,” Morant said. “If you ask me about Chicago, I know Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan. It’s just that I’ve never been to places like that and I’m a big basketball guy, so I would probably know basketball.”

Morant took a diplomatic approach to the questions thrown at him. He clearly doesn’t want to say anything that might haunt him in the future. He zoomed up the prospects list in his sophomore season, averaging 24.5 PPG, 10.0 APG and 5.7 RPG while leading the Racers to the NCAA Tournament.

“I really would be happy with any team that drafts me,” Morant said. “That means they see something in me. It’s just an honor to be able to play this game at the highest level and just to be in the position that I’m in.”

Draft Notes: Reddish, Clarke, Paschall

Cam Reddish met with the Lakers during the draft combine, Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times reports (Twitter link). Los Angeles owns the No. 4 overall pick and the organization apparently sent all stakeholders to the meeting. When asked who was there, Reddish replied, “Everybody, you name it.”

Reddish also sat down with the Bulls this week, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweets.  He has a meeting set up with the Cavaliers on Friday, as we passed along earlier today.

There are more draft notes to pass along:

  • Brandon Clarke (Gonzaga) met with the Timberwolves today and the forward feels like they had a “really, really good talk,” as Dane Moore of Zone Coverage tweets. “Obviously, I think I would love playing with KAT,” Clarke said. The 22-year-old will work out for Minnesota in June.
  • Clarke’s first workout will be with the Hornets and Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports (Twitter link) that the team “clearly” has interest in him. Clarke, who met with Charlotte during the combine, will also meet with the Suns, per Gina Mizell of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe tweets that Clarke will work out for the Celtics. The forward also has a workout set up with the Heat, per Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (Twitter link).
  • Villanova’s Eric Paschall is performing some personal PR, checking through his social media to make sure he hasn’t tweeted out anything a team might deem as a red flag. “I thought I was in the clear… In today’s age, social media is everything,” Paschall said, as Mike Vorkunov of the Athletic passes along (Twitter link). Paschall has met with the Suns, Wizards, Spurs, Warriors, Nuggets and Lakers. He’ll add the Pacers to that list on Friday.

Eastern Draft Notes: Cavs, Wizards, Bulls

The Cavaliers will cast a “wide net” when searching for the right prospect to select with the No. 5 overall pick, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes. Kevin Porter Jr. (USC) and Bol Bol (Oregon) are two of the players the team will consider in that spot.

Porter, who was suspended during the 2018/19 season for a “personal conduct issue” at USC, met with the Cavs on Wednesday. The team plans to bring him in for a pre-draft workout in the coming weeks.

Bol underwent measurements at the combine in Chicago but is not expected to workout or conduct interviews. The 7’2″ center suffered a foot injury back in December and was unable to play the remainder of the campaign for the Ducks.

Here’s more from on the draft from teams in the Eastern Conference:

  • Cam Reddish will meet with the Cavaliers on Friday, Fedor adds in the same piece. Reddish is a candidate to be a top-five pick.
  • The Wizards hold the No. 9 overall pick and they have interviewed several top prospects, according to Candace Buckner of the Washington Post (Twitter link). Reddish, Coby White (North Carolina), Brandon Clarke (Gonzaga), Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech), and Jordan Poole (Michigan) were interviewed by Washington. Other players who the team sat down with included Eric Paschall (Villanova), KZ Okpala (Stanford), and Ty Jerome (Virginia).
  • Prior to the combine, the Bulls worked out six prospects, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic relays (Twitter link). Alpha Diallo (Providence), Fletcher Magee (Wofford), Isaiah Roby (Nebraska), Justin Turner (Bowling Green), Quinndary Weatherspoon (Mississippi State), Zach Norvell (Gonzaga/Simeon) all participated in drills with the team.

Five Key Offseason Questions: Chicago Bulls

The Bulls entered the 2018/19 season hoping to take the sort of steps forward that fellow rebuilding teams like the Kings and Hawks did. Instead, the team got off to a slow start, fired head coach Fred Hoiberg, and installed Jim Boylen in his place en route to a 22-60 finish.

Having doubled down on Boylen with a multiyear contract extension, the Bulls will enter the 2019/20 campaign counting on another year of prospect development – and Boylen’s bond with his players – to begin translating to on-court success.

Here are five key questions facing the franchise this summer:

1. How will the Bulls address their point guard position?

Kris Dunn was one of the key components of the trade that sent Jimmy Butler from Chicago to Minnesota in 2017, but unlike the two other players the Bulls acquired in that swap – Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen – Dunn hasn’t established himself as a crucial piece of the team’s future.

After a pair of up-and-down seasons in Chicago, Dunn will at the very least find himself facing competition for his starting point guard job this fall, if he’s not usurped outright by a newcomer. It’ll be a big offseason for the former No. 5 overall pick, who will be extension-eligible for the first time.

With about $20MM in projected cap room at their disposal, the Bulls have the flexibility to pursue a veteran on the free agent market to address the point guard spot. They won’t be in play for Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, or D’Angelo Russell, and investing big money in a second-tier restricted free agent like Terry Rozier may be ill-advised, but there are a number of options available.

All the way back in January, one report identified Ricky Rubio and Darren Collison as two free-agents-to-be who will be of interest to the Bulls. Collison’s teammate Cory Joseph could be another option, as could Chicago native Patrick Beverley.

Two of the more intriguing players to watch on this front are Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo — Rose, is of course a former Bulls MVP, while Rondo was well-liked by the team’s young players during his lone year in Chicago. A reunion with either player might not be out of the question.

Of course, the Bulls hold the No. 7 overall pick in the draft and could use it to draft a point guard. However, Ja Morant appears likely to come off the board at No. 2, and Darius Garland may not be available for Chicago either. After those two prospects, there are probably no true point guards worth considering that high in the draft.

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Terry Rozier, Patrick Beverley On Bulls’ Radar

The Bulls figure to be in the market for a point guard this summer, and Terry Rozier and Patrick Beverley are two veteran free-agents-to-be who are on their radar, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic.

Mayberry cites Rozier’s “fearless play and hard-nosed defensive effort” as traits that intrigue the Bulls, writing that there are people within the organization who believe that the Celtics point guard “could be exactly who the team needs.”

However, Rozier will be a restricted free agent this offseason and won’t come cheap. As Mayberry points out, he’s also the same age as Kris Dunn, so if the Bulls don’t believe there’s more room for Dunn to improve, it’s worth questioning whether the same is true of Rozier.

[RELATED: Knicks have interest in Terry Rozier]

As for Beverley, he’s another tough defender who would be a solid fit under head coach Jim Boylen, and he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer. It doesn’t hurt matters that he’s a Chicago native, per Mayberry, though he notes that it’s unclear whether the Bulls’ front office prefers Rozier or Beverley.

There will be a number of other point guard options available this offseason for the Bulls, who have previously been linked to veterans like Ricky Rubio and Darren Collison. While it remains to be seen which direction Chicago will go, it seems safe to assume that the team will be prioritizing the position as it debates how to use its cap room, which could amount to about $20MM.

Mark Adams A Top Assistant Candidate

  • In addition to adding Chris Fleming to his staff, Bulls’ head coach Jim Boylen is trying to add one more assistant, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. The top candidate appears to be Texas Tech assistant coach Mark Adams.

Lottery Promise For Darius Garland?

7:53pm: Per John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, the Suns, while interested, have not made a promise to Garland.

6:15pm: Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland, a projected top-five pick in this year’s draft, will skip this week’s NBA Draft Combine, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, who adds that Garland’s departure from Chicago may be tied to a promise from a team picking in the lottery.

The three likeliest teams to have given that promise appear to be the Lakers, Suns, or Bulls, who pick fourth, sixth, and seventh, respectively. The Cavs, who pick fifth, selected Collin Sexton in last year’s lottery, and are therefore unlikely to add another point guard to their roster with their top selection.

Phoenix and Chicago, meanwhile, are both widely known to be looking for a franchise point guard to complement their young, promising rosters, while the Lakers have the first opportunity to select a player after the presumptive top-three players (Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, and R.J. Barrett) are selected by the Pelicans, Grizzlies, and Knicks, respectively.

Despite appearing in only five games for Vanderbilt this season due to a season-ending knee injury, Garland has continued to move up draft boards after averaging 16.2 PPG on an impressive .537/.478/.750 shooting in those five games. He is widely considered the No. 2 point guard prospect behind Morant.

2019 NBA Draft Picks By Team

While the Sixers and Celtics suffered disappointing losses in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and face uncertain futures, both teams can at least fall back on the fact that they’re still loaded with draft assets. Philadelphia and Boston are two of only three NBA teams – the Hawks are the other – that possess at least four picks in the 2019 NBA draft.

As our full 2019 draft order shows, there are five other teams that more than two selections in this year’s draft. On the other end of the spectrum, nine teams own just one pick in 2018, while two teams – the Nuggets and Rockets – don’t have any selections.

To present a clearer picture of which teams are most – and least – stocked with picks for the 2019 NBA draft, we’ve rounded up all 60 picks by team in the space below. Let’s dive in…

Teams with more than two picks:

  • Atlanta Hawks (5): 8, 10, 35, 41, 44
  • Philadelphia 76ers (5): 24, 33, 34, 42, 54
  • Boston Celtics (4): 14, 20, 22, 51
  • New Orleans Pelicans (3): 1, 39, 57
  • Charlotte Hornets (3): 12, 36, 52
  • Brooklyn Nets (3): 17, 27, 31
  • San Antonio Spurs (3): 19, 29, 49
  • Sacramento Kings (3): 40, 47, 60

Teams with two picks:

  • New York Knicks: 3, 55
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: 5, 26
  • Phoenix Suns: 6, 32
  • Chicago Bulls: 7, 38
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: 11, 43
  • Detroit Pistons: 15, 45
  • Orlando Magic: 16, 46
  • Indiana Pacers: 18, 50
  • Utah Jazz: 23, 53
  • Golden State Warriors: 28, 58
  • Los Angeles Clippers: 48, 56

Teams with one pick:

  • Memphis Grizzlies: 2
  • Los Angeles Lakers: 4
  • Washington Wizards: 9
  • Miami Heat: 13
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: 21
  • Portland Trail Blazers: 25
  • Milwaukee Bucks: 30
  • Dallas Mavericks: 37
  • Toronto Raptors: 59

Teams with no picks:

  • Denver Nuggets
  • Houston Rockets

Bulls Seem Open To Trading No. 7 Pick

  • Bulls executive John Paxson sounds open to the possibility of trading the No. 7 pick, writes Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. “There’s other things you can do with picks to get better,” Paxson said. “You can trade them, you can do a lot of different things. So again, now that we know where we’re at, thankful to know and we’ll get to work trying to find a way to make best use of it.”