Derrick Rose

Reinsdorf Defends Staff, Sees ‘Big Jump’ Next Season

Bulls president Michael Reinsdorf defended his top front office executives and head coach in a radio interview on Monday and said he expects the team to make big strides next season. Reinsdorf made those comments on 670 The Score’s Mully and Haugh (hat tip to NBC Sports Chicago’s Dan Santaromita).

Reinsdorf and the Bulls have taken a lot of heat for retaining GM Gar Forman and VP of basketball operations John Paxson. Reinsdorf said the duo built “championship-caliber teams” before Derrick Rose suffered serious knee injuries. He also feels they have drafted well, naming Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic and Joakim Noah among their best picks.

He’s confident with a young core group and a high lottery pick, the Bulls are on the upswing. Heading into Tuesday’s lottery, Chicago holds the No. 4 spot.

“I feel like we have a great opportunity with this year’s draft to add another player and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think we can jump from where we were this year to a much better record,” Reinsdorf said. “I really think we’re set up. … I don’t claim that next year we’re going to be a championship caliber team, but I think you’re going to see the next step next year and a big jump.”

The Bulls could have up to $19MM in cap space this summer and Reinsdorf says they’ll use it to fortify the bench.

“We’re going to follow this plan through,” Reinsdorf said. “We have some cap space this year to spend on players. I do think we need to add to our depth and we’ll do that.”

Chicago’s decision to hand Jim Boylen a multiyear extension also caused grumbling among Bulls fans, considering the team’s 22-60 record. Reinsdorf was convinced by season’s end that the head coach had earned it.

“I think we knew towards the end of the season that Jim was the right person for us,” Reinsdorf said. “We had enough experience with him and so it was just a matter of getting the contract done.”

Pistons To Consider Derrick Rose In Free Agency?

Point guard will be an area of focus for the Pistons in free agency this summer, as backups Ish Smith and Jose Calderon are set to hit the open market. And a source with first-hand knowledge of the team’s thinking tells Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press that Derrick Rose is one potential target who will be “a subject of debate” within the front office.

Rose is unlikely to have to settle for the minimum salary again after enjoying an impressive bounce-back season in Minnesota, averaging 18.0 PPG and 4.3 APG on .482/.370/.856 shooting. However, he was limited to just 51 games due to more injuries, an ongoing issue which will likely keep his price tag in check. That means he could be an option for a team like the Pistons, who won’t have any cap room available this offseason.

Seth Curry is another free-agent-to-be who figures to be of interest to Detroit, according to Ellis, though he notes that there’s a belief head coach Dwane Casey will push for a true point guard. In that case, players like Ricky Rubio and Patrick Beverley may be on the club’s radar. The likes of T.J. McConnell or Isaiah Thomas could also be targets if the club pursues a lower-cost option, Ellis adds.

Of course, re-signing Smith will also be a scenario the Pistons could consider, but there was an “air of finality” to his end-of-season media session, according to Ellis, who writes that the team will explore upgrades at the position.

The 2019/20 mid-level exception is projected to be worth approximately $9.2MM, based on a $109MM cap, while the bi-annual exception would be worth about $3.6MM. Unless the Pistons shed significant salary, those will be the only two exceptions – besides the minimum – available to the team in free agency. Both exceptions can be used on a single player or split up among multiple free agents.

Central Notes: Rose, Griffin, Young, Bulls

Derrick Rose hasn’t ruled out a reunion with the Bulls, his agent said in a radio interview on Monday. B.J. Armstrong said Rose is “open” to signing with the Bulls as an unrestricted free agent. He spent the first seven years of his career in Chicago after being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft. Armstrong commented on Rose’s interest in the Bulls during an interview with 670 The Score which was relayed by the Sporting News.

“We’ll see what the Bulls have,” Armstrong said. “There’s no secret, there’s no doubt that in his heart, Chicago will always be there. We’ll see. I don’t know what the Bulls are going to do at this particular time. … If it presented itself, we’d be open to that conversation.”

Rose was enjoying a bounce-back season with the Timberwolves, averaging 18.0 PPG and 4.3 APG, before it was cut short due to injury. The former Bulls MVP had bone chips removed from his right elbow last month.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Pistons All-Star forward Blake Griffin probably would be sitting out due to a left knee injury if they weren’t desperately trying to make the playoffs, coach Dwane Casey admits. The Pistons have lost four straight and need to win their last two games to ensure they’ll make the postseason for the second time in a decade. Griffin missed three games because of the sore knee but has played the last two, including a poor-shooting 16-point outing against Charlotte on Sunday. “We need him and we appreciate his effort, what he’s giving to us right now,” Casey said.
  • Pacers power forward Thaddeus Young feels he can keep going for several more years, Scott Agness of The Athletic reports. Young will be participating in the playoffs for the eighth time in 12 seasons. “It doesn’t look like I’m slowing down anytime soon. The good thing for me is I’m very, very healthy. I’m about 98 percent right now,” he said. “I’m just very happy that I’m able to play and able to continue to play. But I wouldn’t put a cap on what I’m going to play or what I’m trying to play. I have plenty left in the tank.” Young will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and will likely seek a multi-year deal.
  • Coach Jim Boylen said the Bulls could use more versatile defenders to compete in the division but he’s unsure if they should pursue a big-ticket free agent and divide up their cap space, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. “How we spend the money and how it’s split up … I mean do we hope to get two good players for that chunk of money and add depth, improve our bench maybe or do we get one guy? It really depends on who shakes out [in free agency], who is available, and what happens to the rest of the teams in the league,’’ Boylen said.

Wolves Notes: Offseason, Saric, Experimentation

It’s been a busy year for the Timberwolves, who find themselves in a very different position now than they did this time last year. Bobby Marks of ESPN (Insider) recently broke down the offseason priorities for a front office still reeling from a whirlwind few months.

Among the first tasks will be figuring out what to do with interim head coach Ryan Saunders, who took the reins after Tom Thibodeau‘s firing with predictably modest results given the circumstances. Minnesota will need to hire a general manager following Thibodeau’s departure and that individual would likely want a say in who is coaching the team.

Marks also flags Derrick Rose and Andrew Wiggins as players that Minnesota’s brass will need to mull over. Just how much of a priority should Rose be, he asks, and is it finally time to consider dramatically downgrading Wiggins’ role?

There’s more out of Minnesota today:

  • There’s a strong possibility that veteran point guard Jeff Teague opts into the final year of his contract, Michael Rand of the Star Tribune writes. Although the $19MM he’ll earn through 2019-20 may sound steep to Wolves fans eager to rebuild, Rand notes that the team was distinctly better with the 30-year-old on the court in 2018/19.
  • After an underwhelming season, Dario Saric and the Timberwolves can take solace in the fact that they’ll have another full season in which to gauge how well they fit together before a free agency decision needs to be made, Britt Robson of The Athletic writes.
  • The Timberwolves won’t be sneaking into the postseason this spring so head coach Ryan Saunders will use the final games of the campaign to tinker with different strategies. Per Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune, Sanders is particularly interested in seeing how Andrew Wiggins and rookie Keita Bates-Diop fare in unusual situations.

Bulls Notes: Rose, Lopez, Markkanen, Harrison

Derrick Rose‘s latest injury decreases the chances that the Bulls will try to sign him next season, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune in an question-and-answer column. The Chicago native and former MVP revived his career in Minnesota this season, averaging 18.0 PPG and shooting 37% from 3-point range in 51 games. However, his season ended early again due to bone chips in his right elbow that required surgery last week.

Rose will be a free agent this summer after signing a one-year deal with the Timberwolves, and there was talk that the Bulls might be interested in pursuing him to settle their issues at point guard. In light of the injury, however, Johnson suggests Ricky Rubio, Darren Collison and Patrick Beverley as better targets.

There’s more Bulls news to pass along:

  • Chicago probably won’t be able to re-sign veteran center Robin Lopez, Johnson writes in the same column. Even though there’s some mutual interest, Lopez will be seeking a situation that offers regular playing time, and Wendell Carter is the Bulls’ center of the future. Coach Jim Boylen has also mentioned the possibility of using Lauri Markkanen at center and Otto Porter at small forward against smaller lineups, which leaves few available minutes for Lopez. Johnson notes that Bulls management likes team-first veterans, so they would try to find a similar player if Lopez leaves.
  • Injuries continue to derail the Bulls’ rebuilding process, observes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Markkanen is the latest player to be shut down for the rest of the season after “an episode of rapid heart rate and fatigue.” A source told Cowley that Markkanen was experiencing a rapid heart rate in the locker room during Tuesday’s game. His condition improved after showering and eating, but he became light-headed while waiting for the bus to the airport. Markkanen was limited to 68 games as a rookie because of back issues and managed only 52 games this year after being sidelined at the start of the season with an elbow injury.
  • Shaquille Harrison has proven he belongs in the NBA during his time with the Bulls, contends Michael Walton of NBC Sports. Harrison’s defensive prowess is well known, but he has been improving as a scorer, pouring in a game-high 21 points last night. Chicago faces a decision this summer as Harrison’s $1,588,231 salary for next season will become guaranteed on August 15.

Derrick Rose Undergoes Successful Elbow Surgery

Timberwolves point guard Derrick Rose underwent successful arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow, the team announced in a press release on Saturday.

Earlier this week, we relayed that Rose, Robert Covington, and Jeff Teague were done for the season. Rose had missed four games due to soreness and swelling in his right elbow and an MRI revealed a chip fracture and a loose body in his right elbow.

Rose, 30, enjoyed his best season in recent memory before undergoing surgery. The former MVP was a vital piece of Minnesota’s bench, averaging 18.0 PPG and putting himself in the conversation for Sixth Man of the Year. He also shot a career-best 37% from three-point range, showing an improved range from years past.

Set to hit unrestricted free agency this summer, Rose has put himself in position for a possible multi-year commitment despite ending another season on the injured list. Health has always been a concern for Rose, who has averaged 51 games since 2014. However, his newfound shooting and performance as a reserve in the Twin Cities this season showed he can still be a valuable contributor.

Wolves Rule Out Covington, Rose, Teague For Season

Robert Covington, Derrick Rose, and Jeff Teague won’t play again for the Timberwolves this season, the club announced today in a press release.

Covington, who hasn’t played for Minnesota since December 31 due to a right knee bone bruise, recently suffered a setback in his rehab process, per the Wolves. The veteran wing will require additional treatment before returning to the court, so the club will plan on getting him back for the 2019/20 season.

As for Rose, the former MVP had already missed four games due to soreness and swelling in his right elbow. An MRI taken this week revealed a chip fracture and a loose body in that elbow, which will sideline Rose for the season. He and the Wolves are weighing treatment options for the injury.

Teague, meanwhile, has also missed Minnesota’s last four games due to a left foot injury. He received an injection designed to treat chronic inflammation and will wear a boot, according to the team. The Wolves added that he’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks, which means he’ll miss the rest of the season too.

While Covington – a key piece in the package for Jimmy Butler this season – figures to remain a part of the Wolves’ core for the next few years, it’s possible Rose has played his last game for the team. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and is expected to draw interest around the league after a nice bounce-back season in which he averaged 18.0 PPG and 4.3 APG on .482/.370/.856 shooting in 51 games (27.3 MPG).

Teague’s place in Minnesota’s future is somewhat unclear. He has one more year left on his current contract, but may not be in the club’s long-term plans. It’s possible that the Wolves will look to shed his $19MM salary for 2019/20 this summer.

With Covington, Rose, and Teague out and Taj Gibson and Luol Deng also banged up, the Timberwolves will lean on Karl-Anthony Towns and their youngsters down the stretch — Tyus Jones, Andrew Wiggins, Josh Okogie, Dario Saric, Keita Bates-Diop, and Cameron Reynolds all figure to see plenty of action.

Wolves Notes: Wiggins, Rose, Saunders, Draft

The Timberwolves need to take drastic action on Andrew Wiggins to get the franchise back on the right track, according to Michael Rand and Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune. Wiggins has regressed this year in the first season of a $147.7MM extension. His shooting percentage has dropped to a career-low 40.0% and he ranks last in the league in true shooting among 92 players who have logged at least 1,700 minutes.

Souhan believes Minnesota should do whatever it can to trade Wiggins this summer. Rand recommends taking away his starting spot, but admits that would only lower any trade value he still has. He adds that trading Wiggins now would mean selling him at a low point and likely taking back an expensive contract in return. Souhan contends that the Wolves are better without Wiggins, stating that the priority should be to get rid of him and accept whatever return they can get.

There’s more today out of Minnesota:

  • With Tom Thibodeau gone, the future of the “TimberBulls” – the ex-Chicago players he brought to Minnesota – is uncertain, writes Britt Robson of The Athletic. Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson and Luol Deng will all be free agents this summer and may be able to get better deals elsewhere. Rose has revived his career with the Wolves, but Robson notes that his value is only high when his shot is falling and he comes with a constant injury risk. Rose should receive several mid-level offers in the $6-8MM range, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
  • The best chance for interim head coach Ryan Saunders to keep his job is for ownership to recognize how he has been adapting to a short-handed situation, notes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Keita Bates-Diop got his first career start in Saturday’s victory over the Wizards and Cameron Reynolds, who is on his second 10-day contract, played 20 minutes. Krawczynski points out that Saunders’ roster hasn’t been fully healthy since he took over for Thibodeau.
  • If the Wolves’ pick falls in the middle of the lottery, they could be the team to gamble on Bol Bol, Rand suggests in a separate story. The Oregon center was projected as a top-five pick before suffering an injury to his left foot.

Atlantic Notes: Irving, Green, Rozier, Rose

The Celtics were handed their second loss in a row on Saturday, dropping a 126-116 game to the Bulls at United Center. Boston failed to stop the avalanche caused by Zach LaVine (42 points) and Lauri Markkanen (35 points), bringing their regular-season road record to 14-15.

“It is what it is,” Kyrie Irving said, according to NBC Sports Boston. “Like I said, I don’t get frustrated with this type of stuff anymore. It’s just part of the regular season. In the playoffs where we can plan for a team and prepare for a team, I still don’t see anybody beating us in seven games.”

Irving played his part on Saturday, recording 37 points with 10 assists in 40 minutes of action. But the Celtics were dominated by the Bulls 49-32 on the glass, giving Chicago extra opportunities to score and pull away with an impressive home victory.

“It’s basketball, so we’ve got some figuring out to do,” Irving said, according to NBA.com. “Go back, watch film. Obviously, some effort plays where we really could’ve covered for one another. Just execution on both ends of the floor. Being able to give each other space, make basketball plays, read plays, just play the game at a high level. Obviously, these last two games, we haven’t done that at the level we’ve been capable of. We have to continue to do better.”

Boston holds the fifth-best record in the East at 37-23, currently trailing the No. 1 seed Bucks by 8.5 games. They have 22 more games to position themselves for the postseason.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division today:

  • Raptors guard Danny Green discussed a variety of subjects with HoopsHype’s Alex Kennedy, including Toronto’s new additions of Marc Gasol and Jeremy Lin, the future of Kawhi Leonard, his post-career plans and more. Green is in his first season with the Raptors after spending the last eight years with San Antonio, which included an NBA championship in 2014.
  • The Celtics‘ up-and-down play has generated some internal competition between Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier, who work together to provide some of the most intimidating point guard play in the NBA. “I’ve been saying it since I joined and played with [Irving]…he’s like a big brother that I want everything that he got,” Rozier said, according to Chris Mannix of NBC Sports Boston. “It’s never hating on him or nothing like that, but it’s just I want everything you got. So, I’m going to challenge him every day and he’s going to challenge me.”
  • Former Knicks guard Derrick Rose showed the team he can still play in the Timberwolves’ 115-104 win in Madison Square Garden on Friday. Rose, who’s has a resurgent season with Minnesota, tallied 20 points and three steals off the bench against the Knicks. “It’s great, it’s always great playing here,” Rose said, as relayed by Zach Braziller of the New York Post. “The fans are great here, and I know it felt good just being back in the league and playing the way I normally play, playing with that aggression.”

Northwest Notes: Wolves, Nuggets, IT, Rubio

It’s possible that the Timberwolves will stand pat at the trade deadline as they look to push for a playoff spot in the West, but doing so would mean forgoing an opportunity to “leverage existing assets for future gains,” writes Britt Robson of The Athletic. As Robson points out, unless the Wolves have a plan for how to re-sign and incorporate veterans like Derrick Rose, Anthony Tolliver, and Taj Gibson, who are on expiring contracts, it might make sense to explore the trade market for possible deals.

Elsewhere in the Northwest, the Nuggets are another team whose trade deadline outlook remains cloudy, as Nick Kosmider of The Athletic details. The odds of Denver making a major move appear slim, but the club has a number of trade exceptions at its disposal that could be used to acquire a rotation player – perhaps a Wayne Ellington type – without going into the tax. Of course, with Isaiah Thomas potentially on track to return down the stretch, the Nuggets may simply view IT as their de facto deadline acquisition, Kosmider notes.

Here are a few more notes from around the Northwest:

  • Speaking of Isaiah Thomas, after a weekend report suggested that the Nuggets were optimistic the point guard would make his debut with the team before the All-Star break, head coach Mike Malone pushed back on the idea that there’s a set timeline, per Sean Keeler of The Denver Post. “Don’t believe everything you read,” Malone said. “I don’t know where these leaks come from, but (with) Isaiah, there’s no timeline. There’s nothing (that has) been set about February, this, that or the other thing. You’ll see him when he’s ready to play.”
  • Plagued by injuries at the point guard spot so far in 2019, the Jazz got a boost when Ricky Rubio returned to the rotation on Monday, writes Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. Dante Exum and Raul Neto remain sidelined, likely until at least next week, but Utah has made a nice run while short-handed, winning eight of 10 games to move into playoff position in the West.
  • Derrick Rose played a big part in helping Karl-Anthony Towns get through the Jimmy Butler “mess” earlier in the season, according to Kentucky’s John Calipari, who coached Towns for one season in 2014/15. According to ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, Timberwolves team members say that Towns’ locker room presence receded as Butler became more frustrated and unhappy during his final days in Minnesota. “There was a dogfight, and Karl’s not one to get into that. So, he stepped back,” Calipari said. “Things happen. There are power struggles all the time in [the NBA]. If a guy can bully you, he will bully you. And that’s what Jimmy did to Karl. C’mon, that’s the league.”