Jim Boylen

Eastern Notes: Porter, Fultz, Pacers

The Bulls acquired Otto Porter Jr. from the Wizards in exchange for Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker and coach Jim Boylen is happy with the transaction.

“He’s just a basketball player. That’s what we needed, that’s what we got,” Boylen said (via Mark Strotman of NBC Sports). “What that means is you can throw him out there and he can get somebody else going, he can get himself going, he can make shots off the move.

“I think he showed the whole thing tonight. He showed a lot of versatility. I’m really thankful he’s a Bull.”

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Magic coach Steve Clifford is using some his downtime to watch game tape of Markelle Fultz and analyze the point guard’s play, John Denton of NBA.com relays. Denton notes that Fultz will likely work with assistants Bruce Kreutzer and Steve Hetzel, two coaches whom Kemba Walker has previously credited with helping to improve his shot.
  • While Clifford can understand how a change of scenery may help Fultz, the coach believes Fultz’s jump shot will ultimately determine his success with the Magic, as Denton passes along in the same piece. “How you fit with your teammates is a big deal, and the best players can play with anybody in any system,’’ Clifford said. “To me, if you want to say a different city, new start, different teammates, things like that [might help Fultz]. But, to be frank, the issue has been [Fultz’s] shoulder and his shooting and if you’re not a range shooter, you’re not going to be a good pick-and-roll player. With that part, we’ll see.’’
  • Pacers forward Thaddeus Young was thrilled when he learned that the team was pursuing Bojan Bogdanovic in free agency in 2017, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star writes. “I said Bogey is a walking bucket. He can score in different ways that people don’t even know,” said Young, who previously played alongside Bogdanovic in Brooklyn. “I learned a lot about Bogey. I’ll play any day with Bogey on any team.”

Otto Porter Claims Wizards Promised Not To Trade Him

Otto Porter said Wizards management held a private meeting with him before the trade deadline and assured him that he would remain with the team, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic. Washington’s front office changed its mind sometime before Wednesday night when Porter was shipped to Chicago in exchange for Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker.

Porter was expected to be part of the Wizards’ future when he agreed to a rookie-scale extension in 2017. However, his production never matched his lofty new salary and he had settled into a sixth-man role since returning from an injury last month. He was owed $27.25MM next year and has a player option worth nearly $28.5MM for 2020/21, which created a luxury tax bind for a Wizards team that may not make the playoffs.

Katz notes that owner Ted Leonsis did a radio interview about a week ago in which he promised that Moore, John Wall and Bradley Beal would all stay with the organization past the deadline.

There’s more Wizards and Bulls news as the teams met tonight, just three days after the trade:

  • Parker contends his relationship with Jim Boylen did “a complete 180” after Boylen replaced Fred Hoiberg as Chicago’s head coach in December, relays Madeline Kenney of The Chicago Sun-Times“[Before that,] we never had controversy,” Parker said. “I always had his back, you know, with things that we had in-house problems with.” Displeased with Parker’s effort and commitment to defense, Boylen took him out of the rotation and Parker appeared in just one of 13 games in the first month that Boylen ran the team. “I’m happy,” Parker said of the deal that sent him to Washington. “I haven’t smiled in a while, but it’s great.”
  • Portis said he learned of Wednesday’s trade about 20 minutes prior to a game against the Pelicans and his “stomach dropped,” according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Portis seemed shocked about being dealt away from the team that drafted him in 2015. “Everybody knows how much I prided myself in playing for the Bulls and how much I really loved playing for the city of Chicago,” he said. “It’s a business and I finally got my first taste of it.”
  • Porter enjoyed the chance to provide inside information about his former team heading into tonight’s game, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. “Yeah, I was telling coach everything there was to know about Washington,” he said. “Everything. … I was snitching, yeah.”

Bulls Notes: Lopez, Porter, Boylen, Portis

Although a report from ESPN on Thursday indicated that the Bulls and Robin Lopez are expected to engage in buyout talks now that the trade deadline has passed, executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson sounds like he expects Lopez to stick with the franchise for the rest of the season, as K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune relays.

“My feeling right now — it can change — is Robin will be with us,” Paxson said. “Our players love him. He’s a great teammate. We don’t feel it’s an absolute given that we have to just buy a guy out to help another team.”

Paxson acknowledged that the Bulls would “have a discussion” if Lopez’s representatives requested a buyout, but stressed that the club loves having the veteran center around. Previous reports have suggested that Lopez would likely sign with the Warriors if he’s released, so perhaps the Bulls’ front office also isn’t exactly eager to help out the two-time defending champions.

Here’s more on the Bulls:

  • In explaining the trade for Otto Porter, Paxson said that the Bulls recognized they aren’t ready to pursue top free agents, which is why they didn’t mind committing future cap room to someone like Porter. “We’re not in the position to go after the big names, the franchise changers. We’re looking at things realistically,” Paxson said, per K.C. Johnson. “We also looked ahead to this summer, and even the summer beyond, at available wings and versatile players. There are no guarantees of getting players like that.”
  • The Bulls remain committed to having Jim Boylen continue as head coach of the team next season, Paxson said on Thursday (link via K.C. Johnson). “We’re working well together,” Paxson said. “Our objectives are the same. Jim’s doing the right things. From our seats, he’s promoting the right message to our players and what we expect.”
  • Speaking of Boylen, during a subsequent appearance on 670 The Score, Paxson pushed back on the narrative about the supposed near-mutiny that took place shortly after Boylen took over as the Bulls’ head coach, writes Michael Walton of NBC Sports Chicago. Despite reports, Paxson said that Bulls players never contacted the NBPA about Boylen’s tactics.
  • While Paxson said on Thursday that the Bulls continue to evaluate Kris Dunn, it’s becoming clear that the team will need to further address the point guard spot at some point, writes Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. ESPN’s Zach Lowe previously reported that Dunn “was there to be had at the deadline.”
  • According to K.C. Johnson (Twitter link), before the Bulls traded Bobby Portis this week, they offered him a multiyear extension worth $40-50MM last fall. For four years, that’d be an annual average value around $10-12MM, but word around the league is that Portis will seek $16MM annually this summer, per Johnson.

Central Notes: Burks, Hood, Bullock, Cavs, LaVine

Guards Alec Burks and Rodney Hood are the players most likely to be moved by the Cavaliers before the trade deadline, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Burks was acquired from Utah last month because of his movable $11.5MM expiring contract. He can provide scoring off the bench, defense and ball-handling for a playoff contender. Hood is a skilled player on an expiring $3.4MM contract, though he can’t be traded without his approval since he’s playing on a qualifying offer. Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and Jordan Clarkson are other Cleveland players who could be moved at the right price. GM Koby Altman is seeking draft picks, multi-year contracts of expensive players who could be traded in the future, and young players with potential, Vardon adds.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Pistons shooting guard Reggie Bullock and backup point guard Ish Smith are garnering trade interest, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports. Detroit would like to re-sign both players, who are on expiring contracts, Ellis continues. Bullock is making $2.5MM this season and Smith is pulling in $6MM. An offer of a first-round pick could entice Detroit to move Bullock, Ellis adds.
  • The steady diet of losses is weighing on the Cavaliers, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. The injury-riddled Cavs went 1-5 on their just concluded road trip. The Cavaliers don’t want to think that the rest of the season will be a slog to the finish line. “I don’t accept that,” Clarkson said. “I’m trying to compete in games. It’s tough. But we don’t even have a team. You’re playing Channing (Frye) right now and he wasn’t even getting no minutes this year. All these guys dealing with injuries and stuff like that. Sometimes coming into the game a little overmatched. But I’m not set on this is how we are.”
  • Bulls guard Zach LaVine took a veiled shot at coach Jim Boylen after the team’s loss to Miami over the weekend, Michael Walton of NBC Sports Chicago reports. LaVine expressed his frustration that the team is playing worse despite getting some key pieces back in the lineup in recent weeks. “Something is obviously wrong,” he said. “We weren’t losing by double digits earlier in the season.” Many of the team’s issues can be attributed to Boylen’s unimaginative offensive scheme, Walton adds.

Bulls Notes: Lopez, Boylen, Portis

Robin Lopez‘s shaky status with the Bulls led to some tense moments during practice on Monday, according to a series of Chicago Sun-Times tweets. Lopez was told prior to practice that his minutes might be reduced and he showed his irritation on the court, exchanging words with guard Kris Dunn, according to Malika Andrews of ESPN.

Coach Jim Boylen removed him from practice for approximately 10 minutes because Boylen felt he was getting too chippy. No punches were thrown, but the incident displayed how frustrated the veteran center feels about being in limbo. He and his expiring $14.36MM contract are on the trading block but the market for him is currently quiet after a potential deal fell through last week.

Chicago is hoping to get at least a second-round pick for Lopez without having to take back anything but another expiring contract to match up the salaries, Andrews adds. The Bulls have so far resisted buying out Lopez in the hopes that a trade can be worked out before the deadline.

We have more on the Bulls:

  • The re-negotiation of Boylen’s contract was mainly a show of support by management rather than a firm commitment, as K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune explains. Boylen had his salary doubled from what he was making as an assistant to $1.6MM. He also received a $1MM guarantee for his $1.6MM salary next season. That still might make him the lowest-paid coach in the league and doesn’t preclude him from getting fired if management has an unexpected change of heart, Johnson continues. It does show that the brass recognizes Boylen is trying to implement his philosophy without the benefit of a training camp or hiring his own staff, Johnson adds.
  • Forward Bobby Portis felt Kevin Durant intentionally injured him on Friday, Chelsea Howard of the Sporting News relays. Portis sprained his elbow when he got tangled up with the Warriors superstar. “If I would have done that, I would have got a foul call on me, defensive foul,” Portis said. “I guess it’s just who you’re playing against. Everything is officiated different toward whoever it is, but if you look back at the video at the time, it was obvious.”
  • The Knicks have considered moving disgruntled center Enes Kanter in a deal for Bulls forward Jabari Parker. Get the details here.

Bulls Notes: Parker, Boylen, Portis, Holiday

After getting a rare chance to play Saturday night, Jabari Parker told Mike Sorensen of The Deseret News that he has thought about coming to Utah as a way out of his current situation in Chicago. Parker already has strong ties to the area, owning a house near Salt Lake City. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and considered playing at BYU before going to Duke.

“Yeah, I have. I already have a home here, and I visit here frequently,” Parker responded when asked if he has thought of joining the Jazz.

There’s been no recent indication that Utah is interested in acquiring Parker and his $20MM salary, though a mid-December report linked the two sides. Parker was sent to the end of the Bulls’ bench when coach Jim Boylen took over, reportedly because of poor defense and attitude issues. Injuries gave him a chance on Saturday and he responded with 11 points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes.

“It’s nothing that can be explained, just his gut feeling,” Parker said of Boylen’s decision to bench him. “I’ve just got to respect that. He’s the head coach, but I also want to do what’s best for me. Hopefully I can get somewhere where I can show my talent, and I can be treated accordingly, too.”

There’s more this morning from Chicago:

  • Boylen only has a $1MM guarantee for next year on his new contract, according to an ESPN report, giving the organization some flexibility if it decides to go in a different direction. The new arrangement, which Boylen negotiated himself, will pay him $1.6MM this season, twice what he was getting as associate head coach under Fred Hoiberg. He will receive another $1.6MM if he lasts all of next season. “The Bulls have been very gracious to me and very supportive,” Boylen told Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. “… They’re fair and honest and direct, and I respond to that well.” (Twitter link)
  • Bobby Portis believes he has a reputation as a villain after last year’s fight with Nikola Mirotic, relays Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Portis claims referees have treated him differently since the skirmish, citing a play on Friday in which he alleges that the Warriors’ Kevin Durant grabbed his arm in an attempt to injure him. “I have that negative put on me like I’m a bad guy,’’ Portis said. “Obviously, everything is officiated differently towards me. You don’t care about that but it’s just what I made it cause of that incident last year. Everybody thinks I’m this bad guy when really I’m a really good dude. Image is everything, and I guess that’s what my image is.”
  • Last week’s trade of Justin Holiday left a vacancy on the Bulls’ new leadership committee, Cowley tweets, adding that Kris Dunn is most likely to be appointed.

Boylen Gets Raise And Contract Through 2019/20

The Bulls have rewarded coach Jim Boylen with a salary increase and a contract that runs through next season, a source tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. The report was confirmed by Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

When Boylen took over last month after the firing of Fred Hoiberg, he originally kept his $800K salary as associate head coach, Cowley adds. The decision was welcomed by management, which is paying former coach Tom Thibodeau $5MM through the end of this season and owes Hoiberg $5MM next season on top of this year’s salary.

But the front office has been pleased with the job Boylen has done so far, which led to the pay hike and the increased job security.

This is the first NBA head coaching job for the long-time assistant, who has a 5-13 record since taking over on December 3. Management reportedly stood behind him in the face of a near-mutiny from players and likes the fact that he is working to restore toughness and discipline that was seemingly lacking under Hoiberg.

Bulls Notes: Boylen, Markkanen, Payne

Critics have called on coach Jim Boylen to make the 3-point shot a greater part of his offense, but the Bulls don’t have the personnel to make that strategy work, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times.

“What we haven’t done is finished very well at those plays at the rim,” Boylen said in response to a question this week. “That’s where we have to grow. Then it’s finishing at the rim, maybe the defense takes it away, and now you spray out [to the 3-point line]. Who are we spraying out to? Well, we’re going to keep working at that.”

Lauri Markkanen has been the team’s most efficient 3-point shooter, but he doesn’t rank in the league’s top 20. The Bulls are 19th in the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage at 34.7%, but are 26th in the number of shots taken and tied for last in makes.

“Sometimes you don’t have the personnel to become a team that’s in the top 10 in 3-point attempts, and makes, and field-goal percentage,” Zach LaVine said. “I think we can take more, but we’d have to be hunting them, and certain guys have to hunt them.”

There’s more news out of Chicago:

  • The Bulls shouldn’t be so quick to commit to Boylen beyond this season, argues Jon Greenburg of The Athletic. He notes that the organization didn’t really conduct a coaching search before hiring Fred Hoiberg in 2015 and contends that Boylen is too similar to what management decided it didn’t want when it fired Tom Thibodeau. Greenburg mentions current Grizzlies assistant Jerry Stackhouse as a bold hiring the team could make.
  • Markkanen is still finding his way after missing the first part of the season with an elbow injury, relays Sam Smith of NBA.com. The second-year forward is averaging 17.0 PPG since returning to action, but hasn’t become the focus of the offense that many had hoped, taking just 14.6 shots per night.“I’d rather have plays where I get good shots rather than trying to force something up,” he explained. “I think it all starts from being aggressive and getting to my spots, try to make the right basketball plays.”
  • Taking a chance on Cameron Payne wasn’t a bad gamble, Smith writes in a question-and-answer column. The Bulls waived Payne last week after giving up Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and a second-round pick to acquire him in 2017. But Smith says the front office never intended to re-sign Gibson or McDermott, so it didn’t hurt to take a chance on a former lottery pick.

Bulls Notes: Portis, Dunn, Selden Jr.

Bulls forward Bobby Portis will return to the lineup on Sunday against the Nets, making the team the healthiest it has been since originally starting its rebuild, writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Portis had missed the past seven games with a sprained right ankle and is expected to be on a minutes restriction against Brooklyn.

Chicago coped with several key injuries to start the season, beginning the campaign with a 5-19 record and ultimately ending the run of Fred Hoiberg as head coach. The team currently holds the third-worst record in the East at 10-29, with Kris Dunn (knee), Lauri Markkanen (elbow), and Portis (knee/ankle) all missing more than 20 games.

The next step for the Bulls, who now have one young player sidelined in Denzel Valentine, is putting forth a stronger effort to create better results as a unit.

“We’ve talked about [the offense], and the issue right now is we’ve got to get a little more pace to our game,’’ Bulls VP John Paxson said, relaying a discussion between him and coach Jim Boylen. “Jim, [special adviser] Doug Collins, we all talk about it together. I don’t think you can necessarily pay attention to everything all at once. You make a change in-season, it’s very hard for the coach. You didn’t have a training camp to establish things. Practice time is limited. This will be a good time for us to improve in that area. We’ve got a lot of games left.”

There’s more today out of Chicago:

  • Kris Dunn is making a strong impact with the Bulls so far this season, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes. Dunn added 16 points, five rebounds and 17 assists in a losing effort to the Pacers on Friday night. “I think I can do a little bit of everything,” Dunn said. “If my team needs me to be aggressive, I can be aggressive. If my team needs me to pass, I can pass. I play defense. That’s what I do. I can rebound. I just try to do what the team needs from me.”
  • Wayne Selden Jr. thanked the city of Memphis and the Grizzlies on social media, writing that “blessings await” with the Bulls: “Memphis, thank you to the organization for given me the opportunity after going undrafted. Thank you to my teammates, I learned a lot & we had great times. Thanks to BT! & special thanks to the the city & the fans for embracing me. But now new blessings await #
  • An entertaining second half of the season awaits the Bulls, with the organization continuing to work through the kinks of being a young, inexperienced group, Johnson writes in a separate story for the Chicago Tribune. The team is expected to explore trade scenarios for Jabari Parker and Robin Lopez as the Feb. 7 deadline nears, keeping a strong focus on the future while growing as a unit. “We need to see growth. We need to see how they play,” Paxson said of the young core. “We’ve got to find a way offensively to get some easier shots and get guys to find some comfort zone. That’s what the rest of this season is about.”

Bulls Notes: Hutchison, Parker, Grizzlies Trade

Before Thursday’s trade with the Grizzlies, Justin Holiday was a regular starter at small forward for the Bulls, starting every game he played in during the 2018/19 season. But now that he’s gone, the Bulls are asking yet another rookie, 2018 first-round pick Chandler Hutchison, to step up and play a significant role just like they’ve already asked of fellow 2018 draftee, rookie big man Wendell Carter, writes Sam Smith of Bulls.com.

“Chandler will start at the three (small forward),” head coach Jim Boylen confirmed before last night’s game. “I like his defense, his length and rebounding. He can handle the ball. He can drive the ball. I’m excited to see him play. I want to see him compete. He doesn’t have to do anything great. Just compete. Play within yourself and play like ‘Bulls’ across his chest is important.”

Hutchison, 22, is only averaging 4.2 points and 3.5 rebounds per game and has struggled to get going on offense so far this season, generally being brought in for defensive intensity rather than offensive prowess. As such, the loss of Holiday will likely put something of a strain on the Bulls’ already dismal offense.

But, as has been obvious all season, the Bulls are playing for the future of the franchise, not this season’s club. And with Hutchison now in the starting lineup alongside Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, and Carter (all 24 years old or younger), the Bulls’ now hope to have their starting lineup of the future in place.

There’s more from the Windy City:

  • In a performance that accurately summed up his inconsistent time in Chicago thus far, Bulls’ forward Jabari Parker did a few things well in last night’s loss to the Pacers that were ultimately not enough to make up for his glaring shortcomings, writes Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago.
  • In another article for Bulls.com, Smith relays how Bulls’ VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson views the two second-round picks received from the Grizzlies in Thursday’s trade, writing that Paxson called them “crucial” to the team’s development goals. The Bulls now have a second-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft after having previously traded their selection away in 2016.
  • The Bulls created a modest traded player exception (TPE) worth a little more than $2.7MM, the difference between Holiday’s and MarShon Brooks‘ 2018/19 salaries, when they traded Holiday to the Grizzlies for Brooks and Wayne Selden. Find out how here.