Derrick Jones

Contract Details: Drummond, Jones, LaVine, Cancar, Martin, Nurkic

The two-year contracts that Andre Drummond and Derrick Jones signed with the Bulls have virtually identical terms. Both players will earn guaranteed $3.2MM salaries in 2022/23, with $3.36MM player options for the ’23/24 season, Hoops Rumors has learned. The only real difference between the two deals is how the Bulls completed them — Drummond received a portion of the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, while Jones was re-signed using his Non-Bird rights.

Here are more details on recently signed contracts from around the NBA:

  • Zach LaVine‘s five-year, maximum-salary contract with the Bulls includes a 15% trade kicker, Hoops Rumors has learned. For 2022/23, at least, that kicker will be inconsequential since LaVine is already earning the max, but it could be a factor later in his deal if the annual salary cap increases outpace his annual 8% raises.
  • Vlatko Cancar‘s three-year contract with the Nuggets features matching $2,234,359 cap hits in each of the first two seasons, plus a $2,346,606 team option for 2024/25. The first two years are guaranteed.
  • Heat forward Caleb Martin received a starting salary of $6,479,000, which is the full portion of the taxpayer mid-level exception. Miami remains below the tax apron, so the team can use the rest of the non-taxpayer MLE (approximately $4MM more) if it so chooses. Martin also got a third-year player option and a 15% trade kicker on his new three-year deal.
  • Jusuf Nurkic‘s four-year, $70MM contract with the Trail Blazers is fully guaranteed and is structured with standard 8% annual raises. It starts at $15,625,000 in 2022/23 and increases to $19,375,000 by year four in ’25/26.

Bulls Notes: Terry, LaVine, Jones, Eastern Conference

It didn’t take long for first-round pick Dalen Terry to earn the respect of his new Bulls teammates, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. In his first practice with Chicago’s Summer League squad, Terry showed why he had a reputation as a maximum-effort player at Arizona.

Second-year forward Patrick Williams singled out Terry as the strongest competitor at today’s practice. That recognition was installed by coach John Bryant, who is trying to make the Summer League experience as competitive as possible.

“It means everything,” Terry said. “I appreciate Pat for doing that. It gave me a little bit more confidence. He was a rookie last year and he’s been through what I’ve been through, obviously. For him to do that, it’s definitely a nod and respect to him. I appreciate him for saying that.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Zach LaVine‘s new max contract was necessary for the Bulls to maintain roster stability, Mayberry contends in a separate story. While the investment could top $215MM, LaVine is a two-time All-Star who’s still in his prime at age 27 and he gives the team a foundation to build around.
  • Derrick Jones Jr. wasn’t in the Bulls’ long-range plans when they acquired him from Portland last summer, but he played well enough to earn a new contract, Mayberry adds. Jones was taken as a throw-in to get a first-round pick in a three-team deal that also involved Cleveland. Injuries and COVID-19 created a chance for him to play and he proved useful as a small-ball center. The Bulls pursued Danilo Gallinari before re-signing Jones, Mayberry notes, but Gallinari decided to join the Celtics.
  • The Bulls are putting together a successful offseason, but so are several other teams in the Eastern Conference playoff race, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Cowley rates the offseason progress of the top nine teams in the East, giving an A to the Celtics and A-minuses to the Bucks and Hawks. Chicago gets a C, as Cowley is skeptical about the philosophy of keeping the current roster together after a quick playoff exit.

Bulls Re-Sign Derrick Jones To Two-Year Deal

JULY 6: Jones is officially back under contract with the Bulls, according to a Twitter announcement from the team.

JULY 1: The Bulls and Derrick Jones have agreed to a new two-year contract that will keep the free agent forward in Chicago, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to Charania, Jones’ two-year deal will be worth $6.6MM, with a second-year player option.

Chicago held Jones’ Early Bird rights, but a deal completed using the Early Bird exception can’t include a second-year option, so the team is likely renouncing its Early Bird rights and making Jones a Non-Bird free agent. The Bulls would then be able to complete the signing without dipping into their mid-level exception.

Jones, 25, appeared in 51 games for Chicago in 2021/22 after being acquired from Portland in an offseason trade. He averaged 5.6 PPG and 3.3 RPG on .538/.328/.800 shooting in 17.6 minutes per contest.

While Jones hasn’t made a major impact on the offensive end since entering the NBA in 2016, his athleticism and his ability to guard multiple positions on defense have continued to earn him regular minutes.

The Bulls now project to be about $3.5MM below the luxury tax line with 14 players under contract, tweets Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype.

Central Notes: Jones Jr., Allen, Jackson, LaVine, Bagley

The Bulls were furious at the Bucks’ Grayson Allen after his hard foul against Alex Caruso in January resulted in Caruso fracturing his right wrist. Derrick Jones Jr. appeared to exact some revenge on Friday, though Jones claims his flagrant foul against Allen wasn’t intentional, ESPN’s Jamal Collier writes.

“I’m not a dirty player. Honestly, I talked to every ref that was there (Friday),” the Bulls forward said. “I didn’t think that was a flagrant. They said I hit him in his head. I didn’t even feel it. I just felt him bump my hip and fall. That’s all I felt.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Pistons reserve guard Frank Jackson missed Friday’s game with a bilateral lumbar spine spasm, according to Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter links). Jackson underwent an MRI, Sankofa adds (Twitter link). The Pistons hold a $3.15MM option on Jackson’s contract for next season. He has only appeared in one game since Feb. 11.
  • It would be surprising if Zach LaVine bolted the Bulls during free agency this offseason, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago opines. LaVine loves living in Chicago and playing for Billy Donovan. He has also repeatedly praised the front office for upgrading the roster, while the ownership group is committed to paying him.
  • Pistons big man Marvin Bagley III had a strong outing after missing three games due to a sprained ankle, Keith Langlois of notes. Bagley, who will enter free agency this summer, had 18 points and eight rebounds off the bench and is thrilled he got traded to Detroit. “When I first got here, the energy was good,” he said. “You can feel it. You can feel how everybody’s connecting. On the road, team dinners, coming together. It’s a great feeling. I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Central Notes: Jones Jr., Duarte, Cavaliers, Smith

Bulls wing Derrick Jones Jr. is determined to play through the pain of a fractured right index finger, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago writes. The Bulls are already playing without Zach LaVine, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, Patrick Williams and Javonte Green due to injuries.

When Jones initially broke his finger in January, he was given a six-to-eight week recovery timeline. However, the Bulls later issued an update saying the forward would be able to return sooner if he was able to play with a splint. That was less than three weeks ago.

Jones returned on Saturday against the Thunder, playing 23 minutes off the bench. In addition to a finger injury, he was also dealing with a knee injury he suffered a couple weeks before breaking his finger, so this was his first action in a month.

“Personally, I love to compete, and me being out since January 12 has been eating me alive on the inside,” Jones said. “I was just waiting for this pain to die down a little bit so I could hop back out there. Soon as it went away a little bit, I was right back out there tonight.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Pacers rookie Chris Duarte will miss the team’s next two games after jamming his toe, Scott Agness of FieldHouse Files tweets. Duarte exited early in Sunday’s game against Minnesota due to the injury. It could impact his availability for the Rising Stars Game, which takes place on Friday, Agness notes.
  • The Cavaliers‘ loss to the Sixers on Saturday was a valuable experience for the team, Chris Fedor of writes. Cleveland lost the road game 93-103, allowing Joel Embiid to finish with a 40-point triple-double. “The intensity of which you’re going to have to play at in order to compete with teams like this down the stretch,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said after being asked what could be taken from the loss, according to Fedor. “It was a clear message from the beginning of the game the intensity that they were coming with, the physicality that they played with. These are the tests that we talk about, and these are the lessons that we have to learn.”
  • Despite joining the Pacers on the day of a game, Jalen Smith showed promise in his debut on Sunday, James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star writes. Smith finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds off the bench, logging 23 minutes. Indiana acquired him and a 2022 second-round pick from Phoenix in exchange for Torrey Craig last week.

Derrick Jones Jr. Breaks Finger, Likely Out 6-8 Weeks

JANUARY 26: Jones will be evaluated “in about a week” to determine whether he can play while wearing the splint on his right index finger, according to coach Billy Donovan, as Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago relays (via Twitter). The Bulls said in their press release that Jones could return to action sooner than six-to-eight weeks if he’s able to play with the splint, Schaefer notes.

JANUARY 25: During a workout at the Bulls practice facility while rehabbing from a bone bruise in his right knee, Chicago reserve forward Derrick Jones Jr. broke his right index finger, the team has announced.

Chicago adds that Jones will be unavailable for approximately the next six-to-eight weeks. The fractured digit is currently in a splint. Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago notes that Jones has injured his non-shooting hand.

Jones was two weeks into his recovery from the bone bruise, and had been projected to return in another two-to-four weeks prior to fracturing his finger. In 31 games this season, Jones is averaging fairly modest counting stats of 6.3 PPG and 3.4 RPG across 17.2 MPG for the Bulls. He is also connecting on a career-best 40.5% of his 1.2 three-point attempts per game. The numbers belie the true extent of his impact for Chicago.

His extreme athleticism and 7′ wingspan have made Jones a versatile defender off the bench for the Bulls. The springy 6’5″ forward, still just 24, has emerged as an intriguing small-ball center option for head coach Billy Donovan in certain Chicago lineups.

The injury woes continue for Chicago. Though All-Star shooting guard Zach LaVine and power forward Javonte Green recently returned to the team’s lineup in a 111-110 victory over the Thunder after their own injury absences, several Bulls players remain sidelined with long-term ailments. Guards Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso just underwent surgeries and will also be unavailable for at least the next six weeks of games. Starting power forward Patrick Williams has missed all but five games this season with a dislocated wrist, and will return at the earliest in April.

Jones and his expiring $9.7MM contract were viewed as favorable trade fodder for the Bulls. Were the Bulls to try to offload a young player on a rookie deal for a veteran upgrade as the NBA nears the February 10 trade deadline, Jones could be used to match salaries. With his fate for the next two months now more bleak, it will be interesting to see how this impacts the roster construction choices of Chicago president Arturas Karnisovas and GM Marc Eversley. Chicago has been hit particularly hard at the point guard and power forward spots.

At 29-17, the Bulls are currently the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Zooming out, the team has gone a mere 3-7 in its last 10 games as the injuries have begun to pile up and is just four games ahead of the 26-22 Hornets, the seventh seed in the East.

Derrick Jones Jr. Suffers Bone Bruise In Knee, Out 2-4 Weeks

6:13pm: The Bulls announced that Jones will miss two-to-four weeks with the bone bruise instead of the originally reported four-to-six, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link).

1:02pm: Bulls forward Derrick Jones Jr. will miss four-to-six weeks with a bone bruise in his right knee, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Jones suffered the injury on an awkward landing 36 seconds into Wednesday’s game against the Nets, writes Jamal Collier of ESPN. He had to be helped to the locker room, and the team announced that he wouldn’t return.

Jones has started Chicago’s last six games while Javonte Green has been sidelined with a groin strain. After coming to the Bulls in an offseason trade, Jones is averaging 6.3 points and 3.4 rebounds through 31 games.

Chicago is also missing guard Alex Caruso, another member of its rotation, who remains in the league’s health and safety protocols and isn’t expected back for Friday’s game.

“It’s going to be tough because you can’t replace those guys,” Zach LaVine said. “It’s always been a next-man-up mentality that we’ve had. It’s something we’re going to have to do because it’s not like anybody is going to feel sorry for us having some guys out. Everybody’s had guys out.”

Central Notes: Bickerstaff, White, Bulls, Sykes

The Cavaliers awarded coach J.B. Bickerstaff with a lucrative Christmas present, extending him through the 2026/27 season. Continuity on the coaching staff will allow the team’s young core to grow, Kelsey Russo of The Athletic opines. It also ensures that the positive culture Bickerstaff has built will become a fixture.

“It’s meaningful to know that you’re with an organization and with a group of people that believe in you and believe in what we’re building and what we’re working towards,” the Cavaliers’ head coach said. “When you have that support, it just gives you more confidence to go out and do the job that you see fit.”

We have more from thee Central Division:

  • Bulls guard Coby White admits he’s having a rough season, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago writes. White missed the first 13 games this season while rehabbing a shoulder injury and spent five games in COVID-19 protocols. Now, he’s adjusting to a new off-the-ball role. “It’s been difficult. I ain’t going to lie and say it’s been easy. It hasn’t been easy,” said White, who is in the third year of his rookie deal. Chicago has already exercised its option on his contract for next season.
  • The Bulls have been very aggressive on the trade and free agent markets since last season’s trade deadline. Look for them to make something happen before this year’s Feb. 10 trade deadline, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times opines. Derrick Jones, Troy Brown and White are potential trade candidates and there will be an increasing number of teams with dim playoff hopes willing to make a move.
  • The Pacers signed Keifer Sykes to a new contract on Monday. According to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto (Twitter link), it’s a two-year deal and the second year includes a team option.

Central Notes: White, DeRozan, Caruso, Carlisle, Pangos

While COVID-19 disrupts rosters across the league, the Bulls are starting to get healthier, writes Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports. Coby White, DeMar DeRozan and Javonte Green all cleared protocols this week and are expected to play Sunday against the Lakers. Derrick Jones Jr. left the protocols today and Matt Thomas is getting close, although he remains doubtful for Sunday.

White and DeRozan both said their symptoms were mild and agreed that their main issue was “boredom” while being away from the team. White, who was the first Chicago player to enter the protocols on December 1, said his experience was no worse than strep throat and the symptoms went away in two or three days. DeRozan tested positive five days after White, learning the news after a morning shootaround.

“It was one of those things, mixture of everything,” DeRozan said. “Frustration of not being able to go out there and play, trying to figure out why I don’t feel nothing, nothing’s wrong, how long I’m going to be out. Just a mixture of a lot of emotions. But at the end of the day, I just was like, ‘I’ve got to deal with it, something I’ve got to deal with,’ and went from there.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The two Bulls games that were postponed this week provided some benefits for the team, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Alex Caruso, who has been dealing with a sore right hamstring, is now fully recovered, according to coach Billy Donovan, and some players who had been seeing heavy minutes got a chance to rest.Lonzo (Ball) kind of stands out,” Donovan said.Zach (LaVine) is in health and safety protocols, but he was a guy that was logging a lot of minutes as well. So hopefully it gives those guys an opportunity to get their bodies a chance to recover some.”
  • Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle, who tested positive for COVID-19 10 days ago, should be ready to return for Tuesday’s game, assistant Lloyd Pierce told James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. Pierce has filled in for Carlisle during his four-game absence.
  • In an interview with Dionysis Aravantinos of HoopsHype, Cavaliers guard Kevin Pangos talks about adjusting to the NBA after playing six years in Europe.

Derrick Jones Jr. Fifth Bulls Player To Enter Protocols

Forward Derrick Jones Jr. has become the fifth Bulls player to enter the league’s health and safety protocols, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

If it wasn’t evident already, the Bulls have an outbreak on their hands. Jones joins Coby White, Javonte Green, DeMar DeRozan, and Matt Thomas in the protocols.

It hasn’t been officially confirmed, but based on this tweet from Wojnarowski, it sounds like Jones tested positive for COVID-19 as well. If so, he will be out for at least 10 days or until he returns two consecutive negative PCR tests a minimum of 24 hours apart.

If Jones did test positive, the Bulls would be eligible to sign another player via a hardship exception, per Bobby Marks of ESPN (via Twitter). The Bulls already used the exception to sign Stanley Johnson in a move that became official today.

The high-flying Jones was the 2020 Slam Dunk Contest winner. Through 22 games this season (18.6 MPG), he’s averaging 7.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 1.0 BPG.