Coby White

Bulls Notes: Markkanen, Theis, White, Satoranský

Lauri Markkanen has played a diminished role since the Bulls overhauled their roster at the trade deadline, but he was on the court for the closing minutes of Saturday’s win over the Cavaliers, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Markkanen poured in 16 points, ending a five-game stretch of single-digit scoring, as Chicago picked up an important victory in the race for a play-in game.

Markkanen’s status is being closely watched ahead of his impeding restricted free agency this summer. He has played 21 minutes or fewer six times since the trade deadline and was limited to 11 total shots over three games last week.

“It’s a new role. I think a lot of guys have sacrificed. I’m not going to do anything that jeopardizes the team. I’m going to play my role as well as I can,” Markkanen said. “… I try to stay as positive as I can. But then it’s not really affecting me off the court. At the end of the day when I go home to my family, it’s all good. I wasn’t losing my sleep over it. It was frustrating to lose (my starting job), not being out there and closing out games. But I always say, control what you can control. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Newly-acquired center Daniel Theis will also be a free agent this summer, and coach Billy Donovan hopes the Bulls can find a way to keep him, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Donovan added that executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley share his opinion on Theis. “With free agency coming up and guys having the opportunity to make their own decisions, I understand that,” Donovan said. “But he’s someone we really like a lot and feel like could be somebody that could be really good for us going forward.’’
  • Coby WhiteTomáš SatoranskýThaddeus Young, Al-Farouq Aminu and Markkanen are the five players most likely to be traded as Chicago continues to remake its roster, contends Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Aminu will make $10MM next season, Mayberry adds, and his contract could be useful for salary matching.
  • Zach LaVine‘s absence due to health and safety protocols will give other players a chance to redefine their roles, Johnson writes in a separate story.

Central Notes: Nance, Bey, Vucevic, Bulls

Cavaliers big man Larry Nance Jr. hasn’t suited up for the team since March 27, but he’s starting to feel better after having dealt with an undetermined illness that caused rapid weight loss and left him bedridden, sources tell Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

None of the tests that Nance was administered in an attempt to identify his illness have come back positive, including COVID-19 tests, writes Fedor. A source tells Cleveland.com that the 28-year-old lost nearly 20 pounds and had a hard time keeping food down while he battled the illness.

Although Nance is improving, he’ll miss Thursday’s game and may not play on Saturday or Sunday either, according to Fedor, who says the training staff wants him to regain some of his lost weight and build his stamina back up before he returns to game action.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Following Saddiq Bey‘s 25-point showing on Tuesday in Denver, Pistons head coach Dwane Casey reiterated a point that he and GM Troy Weaver have made before, referring to the rookie as a long-term keeper.He’s an NBA starter for us and part of our building blocks,” Casey said of the young forward (Twitter link via Rod Beard of The Detroit News). Detroit gave up Luke Kennard and several second-round picks to land Bey in the 2020 draft.
  • In his early days with the Bulls, Nikola Vucevic is looking like the sidekick that Zach LaVine and the club have long needed, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic.
  • While he’s not particularly high on the team’s playoff chances this season, Michael Pina of SI.com makes the case for why the Bulls‘ future looks bright. Meanwhile, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago fields a number of questions on the Bulls’ future in his latest mailbag, suggesting that Coby White still looks like part of the long-term core, even if the club is likely to pursue a point guard in the offseason.

Central Notes: Hayes, Theis, Okoro, White

Rookie Pistons point guard Killian Hayes discussed his first game for Detroit in almost three months with reporters, as captured by The Detroit News (video link). “It’s a whole different team from when I left,” Hayes said. Detroit has subtracted Blake Griffin and added Hamidou Diallo and Cory Joseph since the rookie last played.

The No. 7 pick in the 2020 draft, Hayes has missed 41 games thus far this season with a right hip subluxation. In his first game back on the court since January 4 (and eighth overall) against the Knicks yesterday, Hayes went scoreless on 0-of-3 shooting, but pulled down five rebounds and dished out three assists.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic assesses how new Bulls big man Daniel Theis can make an impact in Chicago. Theis is already impressing his teammates. “He’s a difference-maker,” All-Star shooting guard Zach LaVine raved. Mayberry contends that adding the 6’8″ Theis, the starting center for the Celtics across the past year-and-a-half, was a coup at the deadline. “Whenever I step on the court I just want to give everything I’ve got,” the 29-year-old said. “I just want to help the team, whenever I’m out there, get better and win games.” 
  • Although the Cavaliers fell 115-104 to the Heat yesterday, rookie shooting guard Isaac Okoro scored 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field and won the respect of star Heat wing Jimmy Butler, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “His potential is out of this world,” Butler said of 2020’s fifth overall pick drafted out of Auburn. Okoro has had an erratic 2020/21 season (averaging a relatively modest 8.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG and 1.7 APG), but he has started in all his 44 games with Cleveland thus far.
  • Second-year Bulls reserve point guard Coby White has entered the NBA’s coronavirus health and safety protocols, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago tweets.

Bulls Notes: Young, White, Temple, Ball

Thaddeus Young would be a valuable veteran addition for any contender, but teammate Zach LaVine hopes the Bulls decide to keep him, writes Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. Young’s name has been in the rumor mill for several weeks as Chicago remains on the edge of playoff contention at 19-24. LaVine would prefer to see Young help his current team in the postseason.

“We all understand his value and how good he is and what a championship or high-rising playoff team could get out of him,” LaVine said. “… Obviously, I want him here. I think he helps me and helps the team tremendously. But obviously if something were to happen you just want the best situation for a guy like that.”

Young has been a locker room leader and a productive bench presence in his 14th NBA season, averaging 12.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and a career-high 4.4 assists per game. He has avoided any public speculation about what might happen before Thursday’s deadline.

“As long as I’m here, I’m here to do a job and that’s my focus, is to do the job that I’m here to do, which is help these young guys and continue to play as hard as I can each and every night and help try to continue to win,” Young said. “Haven’t really worried too much about the trade situation or haven’t discussed it, not talked about it. Nor do I really even care to talk about it. If it happens, it happens, I understand it’s a part of the business, and I understand how the business works.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Coby White doesn’t appear to have benefited from his recent move to a reserve role, notes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. The second-year guard posted negative plus-minus ratings in his last three games, but he could move back into the starting lineup if the Bulls opt to trade Tomas Satoransky.
  • Garrett Temple was active tonight after sitting out the past six games with a sprained left ankle, Cowley adds in the same story. “I think he’s progressed pretty well,’’ coach Billy Donovan said. “You know, with the limited practice that we had he got a workout in, some (Tuesday). And then he was able to do quite a bit more (Wednesday). So he feels actually pretty good.”
  • The Pelicans‘ asking price for Lonzo Ball may be too high for the Bulls, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago states in a mailbag column. Although Chicago has been rumored as a possible destination for Ball, New Orleans is asking for a first-round pick in return, which Johnson doesn’t believe Chicago’s new front office is willing to part with.

Central Rumors: Turner, Pistons, Plumlee, Diallo, Bulls

The Knicks, Lakers, Clippers, Hornets, and Pelicans are among the teams to explore whether the Pacers are willing to trade big man Myles Turner, league sources tell J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star.

The Pacers were willing to discuss Turner in trade talks during the 2020 offseason and have lost 17 of their last 26 games after an 8-4 start this season, so it’s no surprise that teams are inquiring on the NBA’s leading shot-blocker.

However, Michael says that if Indiana does look to make a move at the trade deadline, it’s unlikely to involve Turner, who has developed into a crucial part of the team’s success. The Pacers have been better both offensively and defensively when he’s on the court.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Within his look at some hypothetical trades for the Pistons, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic reports that the team is seriously discussing trades involving Delon Wright, Wayne Ellington, and Mason Plumlee, adding that there have been some “whispers” about the Nets potentially being interested in Plumlee.
  • Hamidou Diallo‘s Pistons debut will be delayed a little longer due to his groin strain, head coach Dwane Casey said on Monday (Twitter link via Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press). Diallo missed his last several games with Oklahoma City as a result of the injury, which he suffered on February 24.
  • The Bulls‘ new-look rotation got off to a good start on Sunday, as the team comfortably defeated Toronto with Tomas Satoransky and Thaddeus Young replacing Coby White and Wendell Carter in the starting lineup. Head coach Billy Donovan cautioned after the game that the new starting five isn’t “set in stone” (Twitter link via Eric Woodyard of ESPN). However, the affected players sounded fully on board with the changes, with Carter stating that he would’ve benched himself too, as K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes.
  • Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic explores what the lineup changes might say about the Bulls‘ approach to the trade deadline, suggesting that the team seems unlikely to be a seller.

Central Notes: Bulls Starters, Healthy Cavs, Diallo, Weaver

Bulls head coach Billy Donovan is rumored to be making significant changes to the club’s starting lineup, a source informs Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Veteran Tomáš Satoranský could replace second-year point guard Coby White, and veteran forward Thaddeus Young could be moved in to start ahead of third-year center Wendell Carter Jr. as soon as tonight, in time for the team’s game against the Raptors.

Slow starts have impeded the Bulls lately, losers of four of their last five contests. Mayberry notes that Chicago’s traditional starters have been struggling. The team’s starting five of White, Carter, All-Star Zach LaVine, Patrick Williams, and Lauri Markkanen is averaging a lackluster minus-17.6 net rating. K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago details what the changes – should they transpire – mean for the Bulls.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The 14-23 Cavaliers have not had been able to field a fully healthy roster for most of the season, but with Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. back in the lineup, the team has some rotation decisions to make, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes. “I don’t know the last time we had a full, available roster,” Cleveland head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “Been frustrating for us as coaches because it’s been different positions as we’ve moved through it.” Before they returned Friday, Love had been unavailable for 33 games, while Nance had missed the preceding 12.
  • Athletic Pistons swingman Hamidou Diallo, arriving fresh from the Thunder after a deal yesterday, will serve as an exciting addition to Detroit, thanks in large part to his exceptional defensive upside, writes Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Pistons general manager Troy Weaver may not be done reshaping Detroit’s roster, according to Rod Beard of the Detroit News. After adding Diallo this weekend and waiving Blake Griffin earlier this month, it’s become clear that Weaver is prioritizing a younger, more athletic future.

Bulls Notes: Donovan, White, Markkanen, Porter Jr., Holmes

Bulls head coach Billy Donovan made a purposeful adjustment to start the second half of the team’s game on Wednesday, benching starters Coby White, Patrick Williams and Wendell Carter Jr., K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes.

Donovan opted to play Tomas Satoransky, Denzel Valentine and Thaddeus Young instead, choosing to reward the players that closed the second quarter on a high note defensively, according to Johnson. He eventually turned back to his starters, who fought back and closed out a 105-102 win over Detroit.

“I’m sure those guys are probably really disappointed they didn’t get a chance to start the third quarter,” Donovan said. “They see the way those other guys came out and the fact we kind of got back in the game, and now there’s a little more responsibility on them to do the things that they know they have control over. I give them credit for keeping their head in the game.”

There’s more out of Chicago today:

  • Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic explores whether the Bulls should still believe in White as a starting point guard. White, the team’s No. 7 pick in 2019, has averaged 15.4 points, 5.4 assists and 33.5 minutes per game this season, shooting 40% from the floor and 35% from three-point range.
  • Lauri Markkanen and Otto Porter Jr. have yet to start any on-court activities, Donovan said, according to Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link). Porter (back) has been doing some strength and conditioning work, though no timetable has been issued for his return. Markkanen is still dealing with discomfort in his shoulder, with the Bulls issuing a two-to-four week timetable just over a week ago.
  • The Bulls expressed interest in big man Richaun Holmes during the free agency period of 2019, he mentioned on the HoopsHype podcast with Michael Scotto. “I had interest from a few different teams,” Holmes said. “I know the Bulls were there. That’s one team I remember off the top of my head. We were talking to a few different teams.” Holmes wound up signing a two-year deal, $10MM deal with the Kings that year. He’s set to enter unrestricted free agency again at season’s end.

Central Notes: Satoransky, P. Williams, Portis, Love

Billy Donovan isn’t ready to change his starting point guard, but the Bulls coach expects more playing time for Tomas Satoransky now that he has returned from his second COVID-19 experience, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Satoransky was sidelined earlier in the season due to contact tracing, then tested positive for the virus later. Saturday marked his fifth game back, and his playing time has been gradually increasing.

“I think he’s getting his legs back under him, he’s trying to find himself, but each game I think he’s out there playing I think he’ll be more and more comfortable,’’ Donovan said.

There might be temptation to move Satoransky into the starting lineup in place of Coby White, who’s shooting 40% from the field and struggling as a lead guard, but Donovan remains committed to developing White as the long-term answer at point guard.

“Is it a situation where maybe you bring Sato in a little bit earlier? You stagger those guys? But I’m not at a point where I just say, ‘Hey, listen we’re done with him.’ I wouldn’t do that. I think he’s too important to our team,” Donovan said. “He does compete, I trust him in that area. I just think he’s a guy that’s 20 years old, and there’s going to be some of these moments where he’s going to be up and down.’’

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Bulls drafted Patrick Williams for his defensive prowess, but injuries may force them to rely on him for more scoring, notes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Williams is one of seven rookies in a regular starting role, but he’s only ninth on the team at 29.7 touches per game. “They just say whatever I do, be confident in it 100%,” Williams said. “They have confidence in me in whatever I decide to do, whether it’s drive or shoot. Just whatever I do, be 100% confident and don’t be in the middle.”
  • Bobby Portis is excelling with the Bucks’ second unit, writes Spencer Davies of Basketball News. Portis, who signed as a free agent during the offseason, enjoys changing the atmosphere of a game. “I think the last three, four years of my career, I’ve kinda found the niche of coming in and bringing energy off the bench,” he said. “Just knowing if the game’s up and down or if our team needs energy, being that sparkplug that the team needs.”
  • Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, who has been limited to two games this season because of a calf injury, went through a pre-game workout Saturday for the first time in more than a month, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. No date has been set for him to return.

Bulls Notes: Carter, Young, White, Dotson

Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr. was disappointed but not surprised when he learned about the severity of his latest injury, writes Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports. Carter will be sidelined for at least four weeks after suffering a quad contusion in a collision with Denzel Valentine during practice. Doctors said Valentine struck him in a “perfect” spot to cause damage.

“I was on the ground, I thought I did something more than what was told to me,” Carter said. “After the initial pain that I had, I knew it was going to be longer. I knew it was just a contusion, but I knew it was a lot more severe than I was used to. It (the diagnosis) didn’t catch me by surprise at all.”

This marks the third straight season that Carter will be out of action for at least a month, Schaefer notes. He missed 35 games with a damaged thumb ligament as a rookie, then 22 games last year because of a sprained ankle. Carter said during training camp that staying healthy was one of his goals for the season.

“I hate the label of being injury prone or always injured and things like that,” he said. “But at the same time as I look inside the business, the people who are a part of this business, they understand that all these injuries weren’t because I wasn’t prepared or weren’t because I wasn’t doing the necessary things to make sure my body could withstand the 72-game season.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Thaddeus Young’s early-season performance should make him a popular name on the trade market, suggests K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Young was already considered a trade prospect because only $6MM of his $14.2MM contract for next season is guaranteed, and he has boosted his value by averaging 10.3 points and 4.8 rebounds though the first 13 games, with a near triple-double Monday night.
  • Although point guard Coby White has been inconsistent lately, the Bulls aren’t ready to make a change, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. That includes moving Tomas Satoransky into the starting lineup or trading for Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, Cowley adds. “You have to look at the give and take of doing something like that may be,” coach Billy Donovan replied when asked about the possibly of using White as a reserve. “Does it disrupt that group? Is it not good for Coby?’’
  • Rookie two-way guard Devon Dotson has been transferred to the Canton Charge and will join the team in the G League bubble, the Bulls tweeted. He has gotten into just one game this season.

Central Notes: LeVert, Allen, Pistons, White

Caris LeVert won’t be taking the court for the Pacers anytime soon, but the team’s newly-acquired guard was in attendance at Tuesday’s practice and spoke to reporters for the first time since being traded from Brooklyn to Indiana.

As Eric Woodyard of ESPN details, LeVert said on Tuesday that he’d been feeling “100% healthy” this season and was surprised when an MRI conducted as part of his physical revealed a small mass on his left kidney.

“In a way, this trade definitely showed and revealed what was going on in my body,” LeVert said. “So I’m definitely looking at it from that side and definitely humbled to know that this trade could’ve possibly saved me in the long run.”

According to LeVert, he and the Pacers are still waiting on some testing results and don’t know yet if the mass is cancerous. The 26-year-old added that while he wants to return to action as soon as possible, he understands it’s important to prioritize his health and to “make sure I live a long life,” so he isn’t yet thinking about when he might be able to play again.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • While Jarrett Allen admitted he was “disappointed” by not getting the chance to continue his career in Brooklyn, he’s excited to be part of the Cavaliers, as Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com relays. “It’s good that they want to invest in me, invest in my improvement and have me be a part of their organization,” Allen said. “I love what the front office is doing. I love how the coaches are teaching us. I can’t wait to play with them.”
  • The Pistons won’t have a G League affiliate of their own participating in the revamped 2020/21 season, but they’ll consider using the flexible assignment option to get some of their young players some regular playing time at a lower level, head coach Dwane Casey said on Tuesday, per Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. “Right now they’re playing (NBA) games when they should be learning the G League, making mistakes and learning from them in the G League instead of our games,” Casey said of the team’s inexperienced youngsters.
  • The jury’s still out on whether Coby White can be the Bulls‘ long-term answer at point guard, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times.