Garrett Temple

Bulls Notes: Vucevic, LaVine, Young, Temple

In his end-of-season comments following the Bulls‘ regular season finale on Sunday, head coach Billy Donovan admitted that he was disappointed his team didn’t make the playoffs. However, he doesn’t believe it’s fair to conclude that the midseason trade bringing Nikola Vucevic to Chicago was a mistake, as Sam Smith of Bulls.com writes.

“The one thing that I’ve seen – and I haven’t been in the NBA that long – when you look at these trades, most of the trades are trades to add. Guys coming off the bench or filling a hole. But this was a trade where immediately a guy comes in and now he’s unequivocally 1A or 1B,” Donovan said. “Those things don’t normally happen in the NBA. The whole entire thing got kind of flipped upside down.”

Donovan, who pointed out that the Bulls didn’t have much in-season practice time to properly assimilate Vucevic and the club’s other newcomers, expressed that he believes the trade will pay off in the long run. That was an opinion that Vucevic shared, as K.C. Johnson of NBA Sports Chicago tweets.

“This trade wasn’t just made for this year,” Vucevic said. “It was made for the future of the franchise.”

Here are a few more Bulls-related notes as the team looks ahead to an eventful offseason:

  • As he prepares to enter a contract year, Zach LaVine said today that he loves being in Chicago and is very excited about the team’s future, according to K.C. Johnson (Twitter links). Asked about his next contract, LaVine replied, “It’s a business at the end of the day. I definitely want what I deserve.”
  • A recent report suggested LaVine may be willing to sign for less than his maximum salary, but there are several factors that affect what LaVine’s “max” will be at a given time between now and the summer of 2022. Those factors include whether he signs an extension or waits for free agency, whether he earns All-NBA honors this year or next, and – if he signs an extension – whether the Bulls are willing to renegotiate his current deal to give him an immediate raise. It’s possible LaVine would be willing to take a slight discount in some of those scenarios, but not in others.
  • Thaddeus Young, who has a $6MM partial guarantee on his $14.2MM salary for 2021/22, said today that he hasn’t been told whether or not he’ll be retained, but added that he’s fully committed to the Bulls and that he has had only positive discussions with management and the coaching staff (Twitter link via Johnson).
  • An unrestricted free agent this summer, Garrett Temple reiterated his interest in sticking with the Bulls, tweets Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. “I can never say what’s going to happen in free agency. I can only say what I would like to happen,” Temple said. “I really enjoyed Chicago. Even with the snow. Even during a pandemic. The organization, from what I’m hearing, took a turn for the better.”

Central Notes: Temple, Bryant, Pacers, Hayes

As his first year with the Bulls nears its end, veteran swingman Garrett Temple praised the job that president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley have done for the franchise so far, suggesting that the front office is one reason why Chicago will be an appealing destination for free agents.

“I think people that understand and are free agents and things of that nature, are probably looking at the Bulls front office as a place, a group of people that know what they’re doing for sure,” Temple said, per Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago.

Temple, whose one-year contract with the Bulls will expire at season’s end, added that he believes the club is capable of taking “great steps in the next year or two” and expressed interest in remaining in Chicago beyond 2020/21.

“Yeah, no question. I love what we’re doing here. I love the coaching staff. I’m enjoying the front office. I’m really enjoying being around the guys,” Temple said. “For example in Detroit (Saturday) night we were hanging out together in the lobby area, talking and playing cards. Those type of things. Not every team is like that. I enjoy being here. And I would love to see what we could do to progress this type of team.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Maccabi Tel Aviv issued a press release confirming that they’ve officially parted with Elijah Bryant, allowing him to pursue an NBA opportunity. Having left his team in Israel, Bryant is on track to sign with the Bucks.
  • After their very public altercation on the sidelines last week, Pacers center Goga Bitadze and assistant coach Greg Foster appear to have smoothed things over. Video from before Saturday’s game showed them embracing, laughing, and working together, as Nat Newell of The Indianapolis Star relays.
  • Pistons rookie Killian Hayes racked up a career-high 21 points against Chicago on Sunday and said after the game that he appreciated being able to play off the ball alongside fellow guard Saben Lee. This is the second time I played with Saben, I loved it,” Hayes said, per Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). “… When you always have the ball in your hands, the defense can read what you’re going to do.” As Sankofa observes (via Twitter), Hayes’ comfort level in that role could be important if the Pistons find themselves in position to select an on-ball guard such as Cade Cunningham near the top of this year’s draft.

Central Notes: Bulls, Temple, Stewart, Antetokounmpo

The Bulls were 3-6 since the addition of Nikola Vucevic entering Monday’s game against Memphis but Billy Donovan isn’t ready to shake up his lineup, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun Times.

“One of the things we try and do is after like every 10 games maybe sit down and look at the analytical reports. I know with this group it’s been maybe somewhat of a small sample size because there haven’t been a lot of games, but actually that lineup has not been bad starting,’’ the Bulls’ head coach said. “It’s been OK. … I don’t feel like we’re getting out to these starts where we’re digging ourselves out of holes.’’

We have more from the Central Division:

  • There’s some encouraging news regarding Bulls swingman Garrett Temple, who has missed eight consecutive games with a hamstring injury, Cowley adds in the same story. After apparently suffering a setback, Temple has been able to do some straight-ahead running and sprinting pain-free during the past few days. Donovan wants Temple to get through some contact practices this week before he plays again.
  • Pistons rookie center Isaiah Stewart has made great strides defensively and his raw strength has impressed teammate Jahlil Okafor, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. “He’s so big and so strong, when opposing big men are in there trying to get position on him, they really can’t,” Okafor said. “They’re usually off balance. The shots are not usually even close to going in because of how strong he is.”
  • The Bucks have been vague regarding Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s left knee injury. There’s still no timetable for the two-time MVP’s return and The Athletic’s Eric Nehm takes a closer look at the origins of the injury and how Giannis’ regular-season absence might impact the club’s chances of going on an extended postseason run.

Injury Notes: Oladipo, Beal, LeBron, Oubre, Hill, Temple

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra refused to speculate on how much time Victor Oladipo might miss with an injured right knee and declined to say whether he thinks Oladipo will play again this season, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Oladipo suffered the injury Thursday and didn’t accompany the team on its four-game road trip. He is considered out indefinitely with “right knee soreness.”

After today’s practice in Portland, Spoelstra told reporters the organization is still in the “information gathering stage” regarding Oladipo.

“I don’t have a new update,” he said. “He’s not with us on this trip and he won’t be with us (Sunday). I don’t have any new information.”

Oladipo’s injury occurred on a non-contact play when he landed after a dunk. He underwent an MRI Friday, but the Heat haven’t released the results. X-rays taken Thursday came back negative.

“He really wanted to be with us and this team and we really like what he brings to our group,” Spoelstra said. “He complements who we are and what we do already so much on both sides of the floor. You do feel for guys, particularly this time of the year. The competition is going to another level. Players want to be out there.”

Here are some more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Wizards guard Bradley Beal missed tonight’s game with tightness in his back, but the team doesn’t believe the condition is related to his hip issue, according to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post (Twitter link). “Don’t think it’s going to be lasting,” coach Scott Brooks said. “I’m hoping that a day off today and a day off tomorrow, he’ll be back against Utah … that’s the hope.”
  • The Lakers expect to have LeBron James back in about three weeks, sources tell ESPN. He has missed about three weeks so far with a high right ankle sprain.
  • An MRI confirmed that Warriors forward Kelly Oubre has a sprained wrist, tweets Nick Friedell of ESPN. Oubre is sitting out tonight’s game, but the team hasn’t said how much time he might miss.
  • George Hill hasn’t been able to play for the Sixers yet, but he participated in warm-ups before tonight’s game, tweets Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Hill is recovering from thumb surgery in February.
  • Bulls forward Garrett Temple suffered a setback in his rehab from a right hamstring injury and could be out a while longer, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports (Twitter link). Coach Billy Donovan said Temple experienced an issue while running.

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.

Bulls Have Rebuffed Pacers’ Interest In Garrett Temple

The Pacers made an effort to trade for Bulls guard Garrett Temple, a source with knowledge of the negotiations tells J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (subscription required; hat tip to Blog A Bull). However, according to Michael, Chicago “showed no interest” in sending Temple to a division rival.

Temple has played a regular rotation role in Chicago this season, averaging 8.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 2.1 APG in 33 contests (28.4 MPG). While those numbers don’t exactly pop off the page, Michael notes that Temple is capable of guarding a variety of guards and wings, can knock down 3-pointers (.347 career 3PT%), and would provide the sort of veteran experience and intangibles that Indiana seeks.  He’s also on an affordable $4.8MM expiring contract.

The Bulls and Pacers are currently neck-and-neck in the Eastern Conference standings, with matching 16-18 records putting them in a tie for the No. 9 seed. So in addition to being a division rival, Indiana is one of Chicago’s prime competitors in the playoff race, making the Bulls’ reluctance to make a deal unsurprising.

According to Michael, the Pacers initially weren’t planning on making any major moves before the trade deadline, and still may not — if Caris LeVert and T.J. Warren are able to return at some point in the second half, that duo is capable of making a bigger impact than just about any other deadline acquisition. Michael says that LeVert could be back before the trade deadline, with Warren’s return coming later.

However, after starting the season with eight wins in 12 games, the Pacers are just 8-14 since, and could be in the market for a proven veteran to help stabilize the defense. Michael points to Thaddeus Young as a player who would be an ideal fit for Indiana, but acknowledges the Bulls are probably even less likely to move Young than Temple.

Bulls Notes: Donovan, Roster, Temple, Satoransky

The Bulls need to do a better job of overcoming adversity, new coach Billy Donovan told reporters, including Jamal Collier of The Chicago Tribune, following a second straight disastrous performance. After trailing by as many as 40 points in the season opener, Chicago was embarrassed again Saturday, this time by Indiana. The Bulls fell behind by 30 at one point, giving up a 21-0 run in the second quarter and an 18-0 run in the third.

It’s not what Chicago fans were expecting after an offseason of change that brought in Donovan to replace Jim Boylen as head coach and Arturas Karnisovas to run the front office. Donovan believes improvement won’t begin to show until players learn how to deal with difficulty.

“They don’t handle (adversity). They don’t at all,” he said. “They internalize their mistakes, they internalize what’s going on, and I’ve said this before, they’ve got to do this together. They’ve got to fight together, do it together. We’re probably on most nights probably not going to be the most athletic or the most talented or the most experienced, but we can be a team — we have control over it — that can have a lot more fight in ourselves there. I came out on the court one time because I saw them come out of the huddle and they just all looked totally dejected.”

There’s more Bulls news to pass along:

  • Despite management changes, the team won’t get any better until it overhauls the roster, contends Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. The Bulls brought back 14 of their 17 players from last year’s 22-43 team, including several who are miscast in their current roles, Mayberry adds. He sees Coby White as more of a shooter than a lead guard, while Zach LaVine isn’t efficient enough to be the first scoring option. Mayberry also questions the decision to draft Patrick Williams with the No. 4 pick instead of trading down to acquire more assets.
  • Free agent addition Garrett Temple, one of the few new faces in Chicago, promises to bring toughness to the team, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. ‘‘I don’t think we have soft guys here by any means, so it’s a matter of building the right habits,” Temple said. “And that starts in practice.”
  • Tomas Satoransky was available for the first time Saturday after being quarantined due to contact tracing, Cowley adds in the same piece. Satoransky, who didn’t test positive for COVID-19, said the waiting was difficult. ‘‘It was very tough for me being at home, not being able to work out or doing anything,’’ he said. ‘‘Just self-quarantine myself. … You only can control some of it, and you have to be mentally strong and be ready to come back and accept the role you will have after this. … It really tests you mentally and is another challenge you have to go through this season.’’

Central Notes: Giannis, Temple, Love

Giannis Antetokounmpo, who recently signed to a super max extension, believes the Bucks have a better roster this season, he told Eric Woodyard of ESPN and other media members.

“The Milwaukee Bucks this year, we’re good … we’re better,” Antetokounmpo said. “We have some great guys that we added to the team. They’re playing the right way, and once everything fits in together, we’re going to be good. It’s going to be fun to watch.”

The Bucks’ most noteworthy addition, Jrue Holiday, is averaging 18.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists through two games.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Garrett Temple is hopeful of playing this weekend, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago tweets. Temple has been sidelined after testing positive for the coronavirus in late November. Temple signed a one-year, $5MM contract with the Bulls after the Nets declined their team option on the veteran swingman. Chicago plays Indiana on Saturday and Golden State on Sunday.
  • Kevin Love missed the Cavaliers‘ opener with a calf injury but he’s available for their first road game at Detroit on Saturday, according to The Associated Press. Love hasn’t played since the team’s first preseason game against Indiana on December 12, when he got kicked in the calf.
  • The Pistons are signing guard Frank Jackson to a two-way contract. Get the details here.

Central Notes: Donovan, Temple, Turner, Warren, Gores

Bulls coach Billy Donovan is already building a strong foundation in Chicago, working to establish relationships with his players and instill a respected culture within the team, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes.

Donovan, who’s set to start his first season as head coach of the Bulls this week, spent the past five years coaching the Thunder. He led Oklahoma City to a surprising 44-28 record last season, good for the fifth-best in the Western Conference.

“He has a great track record with his players and he has done a great job so far of telling us what he needs out of us,” veteran forward Thaddeus Young said. “We had a meeting (early in camp) and he took time to really sit down as a team and tell us, ‘These are the things we need to do to win basketball game(s) and these are the things we need to do in order to fight through this thing.’ I think he’s done a great job so far.’’

Donovan hopes to guide the Bulls to their first playoff appearance since the 2016/17 season, leading a group that consists of Zach LaVine, Coby White, Wendell Carter Jr., Patrick Williams and others.

Here are some other notes from the Central Division:

  • K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago examines how Garrett Temple could immediately help the Bulls in a separate story for NBC Sports Chicago. Temple, the team’s only acquisition in free agency, finished his first practice on Sunday after quarantining due to COVID-19. “Just talking guys through certain things that I see, whether it be defensive things, offensively or just making sure we stay together,” Temple said. “If a team goes on a 5-0 run, 10-0 run that we stay together and not put our heads down. Things of that nature are some things I think I can help out with right away.”
  • The Pacers expect to have Myles Turner and T.J. Warren available for their season opener against the Knicks on Wednesday, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star writes. Turner had been coping with a concussion, while Warren had been dealing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. “They were in a full physical, contact practice today and they looked good,” coach Nate Bjorkgren said. “There was a lot on 5-on-5. That’s what I would expect. They’re getting the green light to get closer and closer to that.”
  • A criminal justice group has submitted a letter to NBA commissioner Adam Silver with hopes of forcing Pistons owner Tom Gores to sell the franchise, according to Davide Scigliuzzo of Bloomberg (via The Detroit News). The group’s concerns lie with Gores’ financial interest in Securus Technologies Inc., which came under fire this year for charging prisoners as much as $25 for a 15-minute call, Scigliuzzo writes.

Central Notes: Bulls, Holiday, Nance, Dellavedova, Exum

The Bulls will be without six players when they travel to Oklahoma City this week for a pair of preseason games, writes Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. In addition to Garrett Temple (coronavirus), Denzel Valentine (hamstring strain), and Thaddeus Young (lower leg infection), the club will also be missing Devon Dotson, Adam Mokoka, and Tomas Satoransky, who are simply listed as “not with team.”

As K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago noted on Sunday when those three players – and Noah Vonleh – were given excused absences for the Bulls’ previous exhibition contest, those vague designations will likely become common over the course of the 2020/21 season as teams navigate the NBA’s coronavirus protocols.

While Vonleh eventually confirmed he had tested positive for COVID-19, that doesn’t mean the same is true of Dotson, Mokoka, and Satoransky. It’s possible they’re being kept away from the Bulls temporarily for contact tracing purposes, or even for a reason unrelated to the coronavirus. With teams not formally announcing which of their players have tested positive for the virus, we may be left to speculate in situations like this throughout the coming season.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Now that the Bucks have secured a commitment from Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Pelton of ESPN (Insider link) wonders if an extension for Jrue Holiday might be next up on the team’s to-do list. Since he was recently traded, Holiday can only get a 5% raise and one extra year (beyond his 2021/22 player option) for now, but those restrictions will lift on February 26, allowing for more money and more years.
  • Cavaliers veterans Larry Nance Jr. and Matthew Dellavedova are entering the NBA’s concussion protocol and neither player will travel to New York for the club’s final two preseason games, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.
  • Dante Exum, who had 23 points and five assists and was a plus-33 in Monday’s win over Indiana, has solidified his spot as the Cavaliers‘ backup point guard entering the season, Fedor writes in a separate story for Cleveland.com. Exum, the fifth overall pick in the 2014 draft, is entering a contract year.