Cristiano Felicio

Nikola Mirotic, 15 Others Become Trade-Eligible

Today is January 15, which means that trade restrictions have lifted for most of the rest of the NBA’s 2017 offseason signees. While the majority of those ’17 free agents became trade-eligible on December 15, there was a small subset of free agent signees whose trade ineligibility lasted for another month.

The 16 players whose trade restrictions lift today meet a specific set of criteria: Not only did they re-sign with their previous teams this offseason, but they received raises of at least 20%, their salaries are worth more than the minimum, and their teams were over the cap, using Bird or Early Bird rights to sign them.

The most notable name in this group is Bulls power forward Nikola Mirotic. He’s not the best player on the list — Blake Griffin and Kyle Lowry would be among those vying for that honor. But Mirotic is the most likely player to be dealt out of the 16 guys becoming trade-eligible today. He has been linked to a handful of teams already, including the Jazz, Pistons, and Trail Blazers.

Here are the 16 players becoming trade-eligible today:

With three and a half weeks left until this season’s February 8 trade deadline, nearly all of the NBA’s players are now eligible to be dealt. The only players still ineligible to be moved are those who signed free agent contracts later than October 15, plus certain players who signed contract extensions in the offseason.

Hawks guard Isaiah Taylor (January 17), Nuggets forward Richard Jefferson (January 19), and Pelicans guard Jameer Nelson (January 22) are now the only remaining players who will become trade-eligible between today and February 8. For the full list of players who won’t become trade-eligible before this year’s deadline, click here.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/5/2018

Here are Friday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

7:08pm:

12:52pm:

  • Bulls power forward Cristiano Felicio signed a four-year, $32MM deal in July, but he has been seeing more action in the G League than the NBA as of late. The club announced today (via Twitter) that Felicio has been assigned to the Windy City Bulls for the fifth time in the last month. The 25-year-old figures to suit up for Chicago’s affiliate in tonight’s game against Fort Wayne before being recalled to the NBA.
  • The Magic have re-assigned Khem Birch and Wesley Iwundu to the G League, the team announced today (Twitter link). The duo will get a chance to play for the Lakeland Magic tonight as they host Santa Cruz.
  • Justin Jackson and Georgios Papagiannis have been sent to the Reno Bighorns by the Kings, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. Sacramento’s affiliate hosts Northern Arizona tonight.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/29/17

Here are the G-League moves from around the NBA today:

  • The Spurs have recalled Derrick White from the Austin Spurs, according to the team’s website. White has played in seven games with the G League club and he’s averaging 11.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 22.3 minutes per game.
  • The Bulls have recalled big man Cristiano Felicio from the team’s G League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter). Felicio, 25, has played well on both of his G League assignments, including a 22-point, 14-rebound, six-block performance in Windy City’s recent win over the Canton Charge. Felicio has appeared in 23 games for the Bulls.
  • The Thunder recalled guard Terrance Ferguson from the organization’s G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, the team announced in a press release. OKC’s first-round pick from this year’s NBA Draft has appeared in 21 games this season and averaged 1.3 PPG in 6.7 minutes per game.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/17/17

Here are Sunday’s G League assignments and recalls from across the NBA:

Bulls Sign Felicio To Four-Year Deal

2:47 PM: The signing is official, according to a team press release.

June 30: The Bulls have come to terms with restricted free agent Cristiano Felicio, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets. The soon-to-be 25-year-old big man averaged 4.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game for the Bulls last season.

Per Charania, the deal will be worth $32MM over four years. That should give Chicago more than enough time to gauge what sort of player they have in Felicio.

At this point Felicio is regarded as a potentially valuable reserve, although there doesn’t appear to be any rush to throw him into significantly more minutes any time soon. His ability to serve as a big, defensive presence, however, was enough to convince Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg to let him close some games during the 2016/17 season.

Now that the Bulls have moved on from veterans Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo, the rebuild is officially underway. With that in mind, the Brazilian center will likely get more than enough opportunities to show just what he’s capable of.

Mirotic, Felicio Get QOs; Rondo Likely To Be Cut

The Bulls have tendered qualifying offers to pending free agents Nikola Mirotic and Cristiano Felicio, making them restricted, per RealGM’s transactions log. Mirotic and Felicio are two of Chicago’s four potential RFAs. As previously reported, Joffrey Lauvergne is also receiving a qualifying offer, but Michael Carter-Williams isn’t.

Mirotic, 26, had a solid rookie season for the Bulls in 2014/15, though his numbers haven’t improved much since then. In 2016/17, he averaged 10.6 PPG and 5.5 RPG, shooting 41.3% from the floor and 34.2% from three-point range. His qualifying offer is worth $7,228,063.

Felicio, who will turn 25 next Friday, has a more modest QO of $1,671,382. The big man averaged 4.8 PPG and 4.7 RPG in 15.8 minutes per contest (66 games) last season.

Tendering qualifying offers to both players – and to Lauvergne – gives the Bulls the right to match any offer sheet those RFAs may sign. Those players could also accept the qualifying offer from Chicago, which would put them in line for a one-year deal worth the amount of their QO. The Bulls will have until July 13 to withdraw those QOs, assuming their RFAs remain unsigned.

Meanwhile, K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune has the latest update on Rajon Rondo, whose 2017/18 salary will become fully guaranteed for an extra $10MM+ if he remains under contract beyond Friday. According to Johnson, Rondo’s contract structure has prompted the Bulls to include him in some recent trade proposals. However, those scenarios don’t appear to have gained much traction.

Unless the Bulls can find a taker for Rondo today, the veteran point guard is expected to be waived, per Johnson.

Central Notes: Bulls, Middleton, Beasley

Although some Bulls fans may have clamored for a youth movement in Chicago, the team saw first-hand that their young core may not be ready for primetime just yet, Nick Friedell of ESPN writes. Briefly in Monday’s loss to the Pistons, the Bulls trotted out a lineup of Denzel Valentine, Jerian Grant, Paul Zipser, Bobby Portis and Cristiano Felicio but the offense quickly stalle, resulting in the prompt reinstatement of star forward Jimmy Butler.

Friedell explains that the vaunted trio of Portis, Valentine and recently acquired Cameron Payne may not be reliable enough offensively, citing their struggles against Detroit as an example of what life would be like for Bulls fans without Butler or Dwyane Wade there to steer the ship. Should Wade leave via free agency this summer and Butler get traded, there could be more nights just like Monday in the future.

Payne, brought over from the Thunder in the Taj Gibson trade, hasn’t been particularly effective in a Bulls uniform, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes in his own piece, highlighting the supposed “pure” point guard’s abundance of field goal attempts. Head coach Fred Hoiberg echoed the sentiment. “He took a couple shots that he maybe could’ve got one more bounce to the rim or kicked out for a shot,” Hoiberg said. “This is really the first meaningful big minutes that he’s getting in this league. And it’s all valuable experience for him. And he’s not afraid of the moment. He’s going to give you everything he has.

There’s more out of the Central Division tonight:

  • After battling back from a ruptured hamstring that required surgery, Khris Middleton has wasted no time getting into a rhythm beyond the arc for the Bucks, Alex Boeder of Bucks.com writes. All of Middleton’s shooting numbers since he returned nine games ago are outpacing his career averages.
  • The Pacers have put an emphasis on putting smaller lineups on the floor of late with mixed results, Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star writes. Since the implementation of the changes the team has shot better from the field but struggled on defense.
  • Injured Bucks forward Michael Beasley will be out at least two more weeks, Charles Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. Beasley, sidelined with a hyperextended knee, will be re-evaluated at that time.
  • The Cavaliers are in danger, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, more so now that Andrew Bogut has broken his leg and will miss the remainder of the 2016/17 season. Injuries, coupled with upcoming road games, general fatigue and lingering defensive woes could spell trouble for the squad, he writes.

Central Notes: George, Jackson, Ferrell

The Pacers have lost five straight games and Paul George believes it could be a result of the way the roster in constructed, Nate Taylor of USA Today passes along. “Maybe it’s changing schemes up in how we guard these spread teams,” George said. “This is a new league, a new NBA. I think we might have to go a different route and work on that as oppose to trying to make changes during games where we’re kind of not really sure how to guard something.”

George added that the team may need to make some changes going forward. “I think we just build for where the league is headed and just work on that because it’s not going to get easier,” he said “We’re going to keep facing teams that give us this challenge of spreading around the perimeter. That’s really where we’re losing.”

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • Coach/executive Stan Van Gundy remains confident in Reggie Jackson, Aaron McMann of MLive writes. “It’s an adjustment period for all of us, and I don’t have any doubts he’ll come back to playing the way he was before,” Van Gundy said. The Pistons reportedly have “quietly explored” the trade market for the point guard.
  • The Pistons attempted to sign Yogi Ferrell before the season when the point guard was an undrafted free agent, McMann relays in a separate piece“He’s a guy on draft night that didn’t get drafted, and we tried to get in the race for some money to have him guaranteed,” Van Gundy said. “But Brooklyn had gobbled him up. He ended up getting cut there and has really latched on and played very, very well for Dallas.”
  • Jabari Parker underwent successful surgery on his left knee and the Bucks are expected to be without the former No. 2 overall pick for 12 months, Chris Mannix of The Vertical tweets.
  • Cristiano Felicio‘s development is a major plus for the Bulls’ front office, Mark Schanowski of Comcast Sportsnet writes. Felicio will be a restricted free agent in the offseason and Schanowski believes the team will have tough competition for his services.

Central Notes: Bulls, Jackson, Bucks

The Bulls are in a tough spot trying to make trades before the deadline while remaining in a position to be competitive, writes K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune in a weekly mailbag post. Johnson confirms previous reports that Nikola Mirotic and Rajon Rondo have been made available but suggests that Taj Gibson‘s status would be a better judge of the front office’s mindset heading forward.

Gibson, a 31-year-old eight-year veteran, has averaged 11.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game for the Bulls, emerging as a stable source of leadership in the starting lineup. Shopping him, Johnson suggests, would be considered aggressive. The scribe also speculates that the forward could be offered in exchange for a first-round pick, but Johnson doesn’t see that happening.

Also of note out of the Tribune’s Bulls mailbag is the implication that 24-year-old Cristiano Felicio may be better suited as a reserve player than as a starter for the foreseeable future. Johnson applauds the big man’s athleticism and notes his room for offensive improvement but goes on to suggest that current starting center Robin Lopez‘s contract, which stretches through 2018-19, renders the idea a non-issue.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Asked if he was bothered by the fact that the Bulls‘ front office hasn’t explicitly stated that their small forward is off the market, Jimmy Butler claimed to be unphased. “Nope, I don’t care,” he told the media on Monday.
  • In response to Stan Van Gundy saying that “everybody is available,” Aaron McMann of MLive ranked Pistons players based on how likely they are to be traded before the February 23 deadline. Heading the list is Aron Baynes, while Reggie Bullock and Reggie Jackson round out the top three. Jackson, it’s worth mentioning, would presumably bring in the biggest haul, despite the fact that his numbers have declined from last year.
  • It became clear that the Bucks are willing to shake up their roster when they moved Miles Plumlee for Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes. Now Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times believes that another trade – one for backcourt support – could be in order as the team struggles in the new year. Before Saturday’s victory over the Suns, the Bucks had lost 10 of their previous 11.
  • He may not be called upon specifically, but Lavoy Allen is a smart basketball player capable of filling a role, writes Mark Montieth of Pacers.com. The 28-year-old vet, whose recorded 12 DNP-CDs already this season, broke out over the weekend with an 18-point, 11-rebound performance. “He’s been doing what we know he’s capable of doing,” Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said. “Solid defender, he rebounds the ball, plays the pick and roll. […] He just plays in the flow of the game. We didn’t run plays for him, he was just making reads.”

Bulls Notes: Felicio, Lopez, Hoiberg, Valentine

Cristiano Felicio has taken over as Chicago’s center at the end of games, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Felicio played the entire fourth quarter in Saturday’s win over New Orleans and has established chemistry with the Bulls’ guards on pick-and-roll and lob plays. “The other thing he gives us is a big-time defensive presence,” said coach Fred Hoiberg. “We can get out and trap ball screens with him because of his ability to move. There are not a lot of big bodies that move as well as he does.” The Brazilian big man is putting up slightly better numbers during his second season in the NBA, averaging 4.4 points and 5.0 rebounds through 33 games.

There’s more news out of Chicago:

  • Starting center Robin Lopez has accepted the change without complaining, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “I’m just trying to play my part a little bit,” Lopez said. “I think that’s kind of the good thing about our team. When we’re playing really well, we’ve got a lot of different options.’’ Lopez, who was acquired from the Knicks in an offseason deal, is under contract through 2018/19.
  • The Bulls have been disappointingly average through the first half of the season, Johnson writes in a separate piece. Young players like Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic haven’t become the building blocks that management expected, and the team’s last two first-rounders, Bobby Portis and Denzel Valentine, aren’t part of the rotation. Johnson expects Hoiberg to be brought back next season, but his future after that could be uncertain.
  • It’s too early for the Bulls to write off  Valentine as a failure, argues Cole Zwicker of Fan Sided. Injuries and illnesses have helped to derail his rookie season, but Zwicker contends that Valentine still has the skills to develop into a productive NBA player.
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