Kris Dunn

Eastern Notes: Dunn, Mykhailiuk, Pistons, Isaac

Lauri Markkanen’s fit in the Bulls’ offense is the biggest question facing the franchise, Mark Schanowski of NBC Sports Chicago writes. The organization must figure out if he can become a consistent 20-point, 10-rebound player. There will probably be little roster turnover but the organization is likely to allow point guard Kris Dunn to walk. The Bulls would have to give Dunn a $7.1MM qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent but they are already deep at point guard.

We have more Eastern Conference news:

  • Swingman Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk at minimum established himself as a solid rotation player with the potential to be a key piece for the Pistons, according to Keith Langlois of the team’s website. Mykhailiuk doused the perception that he’s just a 3-point shooter by displaying his offensive versatility this season, including times when he functioned as a primary ballhandler. The team holds a $1.66MM option on Mykhailiuk’s contract for next season and there is little question that they’ll exercise it, Langlois adds.
  • The Pistons will have a top-10 draft pick and they’ve been buried in film study during the hiatus, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes. Detroit had the fifth-worst record when play was halted. “The whole league is watching video,” senior advisor Ed Stefanski said. “We’ve seen some (of the top prospects). Everyone has a bank of information on players, so we’re all in the same boat.”
  • Magic forward Jonathan Isaac is continuing his rehab from a severe knee sprain, even though the team’s practice facility is shuttered, as Josh Robbins of The Athletic details. Isaac, who suffered the injury at the beginning of the calendar year, is following a workout program designed by the team’s training staff from his home. “They’ve got a detailed layout of everything that I’ve got to do,” he said. “They send it to me and I get it done. But it works. I like it that way. I know what I’ve got to do each day, and I put some music on and I knock it out.”

Central Notes: Dunn, Doumbouya, Middleton, Melo

Fourth-year Bulls point guard/wing Kris Dunn will be a restricted free agent this summer, and after a competent defensive showing during his 2019/20 tenure with the club, he may be an appealing, affordable bench addition for a number of teams on the market, according to Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. Though Chicago tried to move Dunn as recently as August 2019, Schaefer suggests that he may be worth keeping around.

Schaefer considers Dunn potentially netting an annual price tag in the range of $8-11MM this summer. The former No. 5 pick’s all-defense, almost-no-offense game may make him a better fit for a contender (the Clippers are reported to have interest in adding him) than for a rebuilding team like the Bulls.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Sekou Doumbouya, the No. 15 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, became a more essential piece of the Pistons rotation than they had initially anticipated due to a rash of injuries, as writer Keith Langlois details. The 6’8″ forward out of France appeared in 38 games during the abbreviated 2019/20 season for Detroit.
  • Bucks All-Star wing Khris Middleton was in the midst of a spectacular year when play was paused amidst the escalating COVID-19 pandemic, according to Eric Woodyard of ESPN. Middleton had a chance to join rarefied air with a potential 50/40/90 season in play. He was averaging 21.2 PPG for the 53-12 Bucks. Middleton was shooting 49.88% from the field, 41.8% from deep and 90.8% from the charity stripe. “I’ve never been on pace for 50/40/90,” he told Woodyard. “That’s just an elite scorer and elite shooter with those type numbers and efficiency.”
  • While speaking with his former Olympic teammate Dwyane Wade on Instagram Live, Trail Blazers power forward Carmelo Anthony claims he would have won multiple NBA championships had the Pistons drafted him instead of Darko Milicic with the No. 2 pick in 2003, as Nicola Lupo of Sportando notes. Anthony, a 10-time All-Star, was drafted by Denver with the No. 3 pick out of Syracuse. The Pistons went to two straight NBA Finals in 2004 and 2005, winning the title in ’04.

Clippers Notes: Free Agency, Dunn, Lue, Hiatus

The Clippers have a realistic opportunity to bring back their 11-man rotation next season, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Many of the decisions will come down to whether the organization wants to make a financial commitment to its current players or explore other options.

L.A. has Bird rights on Montrezl Harrell and can offer him a longer and more valuable contract than anyone else. The Clippers have Non-Bird rights on Marcus Morris, who was acquired from the Knicks last month, and can offer a new deal starting at $18MM per season. JaMychal Green has a $5MM player option, and the team might decide to use part of its mid-level exception to re-sign Reggie Jackson.

Buha adds that the loss of revenue from the shortened season could work in the Clippers’ favor by depressing a free agent market that’s already limited by the small number of teams with cap space. Harrell and Morris may not get the offers they would have under normal circumstances, while Green could decide to stick with his guaranteed money.

There’s more Clippers news to pass along:

  • There may be something to the rumors that Doc Rivers would like to add Bulls guard Kris Dunn as a defensive specialist next season, Buha states in the same piece. Dunn will be a restricted free agent if Chicago makes a $4.6MM qualifying offer, and he could be a nice backcourt partner for Lou Williams coming off the bench. The downsides are Dunn’s poor 3-point shooting — 25.9% this year — and his season-ending knee injury.
  • Speculation regarding Tyronn Lue as the next head coach of the Nets has died down while the league has been on hiatus, but Buha understands why Brooklyn would be interested. During his time in Cleveland, Lue proved he could win a title and he developed a strong relationship with Kyrie Irving. Buha identifies two other members of Rivers’ staff, Rex Kalamian and Sam Cassell, who might get head coaching offers soon.
  • The Clippers may benefit as much as anyone from having several weeks off, Buha suggests in a separate column. They are among the league’s oldest teams and injuries have been a concern, particularly for Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Patrick Beverley. New additions Morris and Jackson will also get more time to learn Rivers’ system.

Clippers Notes: Dunn, George, Jackson

There has been buzz throughout the 2019/20 season that the Clippers are expected to be among the teams that will show interest in Kris Dunn when he reaches free agency this summer, says K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. It’s not clear how Dunn’s season-ending knee injury will affect L.A.’s potential interest, Johnson adds.

The Clippers’ interest level may also be impacted by how the Bulls handle Dunn’s situation — he’ll be a restricted free agent if Chicago extends a qualifying offer worth $4,642,800, which seems likely and which would increase the Bulls’ leverage.

While Dunn’s offensive numbers aren’t great, he was one of the NBA’s best perimeter defenders when healthy, leading the league with 2.9 steals per 36 minutes. That would make him an intriguing fit on a Clippers roster that’s already packed with talented defenders, including Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Patrick Beverley.

Here’s more on the Clippers:

  • After he enjoyed a career year in 2018/19 in Oklahoma City, Paul George is still trying to get comfortable amidst an injury-plagued first season with the Clippers, writes Royce Young of ESPN. “I’m a work in progress,” George said on Tuesday. “It’s been a tough year being injured. Being in the rotation, being out of the rotation. And then just playing in a whole new system, new players, new teammates, new coaches, new playing style. So it’s been a bit of an adjustment for me.”
  • Reggie Jackson has had an impressive impact on the Clippers’ second unit since arriving from Detroit, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who notes that Jackson’s ball-handling ability has freed up Lou Williams to play off the ball more frequently.
  • In case you missed it, we identified Jackson as one of 2020’s best buyout-market signings in a Community Shootaround discussion earlier today.

Injury Updates: Dunn, LaVine, Curry, Oubre, Dedmon

The Bulls‘ frontcourt has been getting a little healthier lately, with Otto Porter and Wendell Carter returning to action within the last few days and Lauri Markkanen making good progress as well. However, the team isn’t in the clear yet when it comes to injuries, especially in the backcourt.

Speaking today to reporters, including K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link), Bulls head coach Jim Boylen confirmed that Kris Dunn will miss the rest of the 2019/20 season. That update doesn’t come as a surprise — we heard nearly two weeks ago that Dunn’s season was in jeopardy as a result of his right MCL sprain. He’ll be eligible for restricted free agency this summer and won’t meet the starter criteria, which will reduce the value of his qualifying offer, as we detailed in that February story.

Meanwhile, the Bulls’ leading scorer, Zach LaVine, confirmed that he’ll remain on the shelf for Wednesday’s game in Minnesota after missing Monday’s contest vs. Dallas (video link via Tony Gill of NBC Sports Chicago). LaVine added that his quad strain will probably sideline him for about a week.

Here are more injury updates from across the NBA:

  • A Thursday return vs. Toronto is a possibility for Warriors star Stephen Curry, head coach Steve Kerr said today (video link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic). Curry’s return date was pushed back after he originally targeted March 1, but it sounds like he’s pretty close.
  • Suns forward Kelly Oubre will undergo surgery on his torn right meniscus, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7. Oubre’s recovery timetable remains unclear — an update is expected to be provided on Wednesday, per Arizona Sports 98.7.
  • The Hawks announced in a press release today that injured center Dewayne Dedmon (elbow) has been cleared to practice on Wednesday. GM Travis Schlenk said in an appearance on 92.9 FM in Atlanta that the Hawks “fully expect” Dedmon to be available on Friday (Twitter link via Kevin Chouinard).
  • Asked today if Derrick Rose will return this season, Pistons head coach Dwane Casey was noncommittal, tweets Rod Beard of The Detroit News. “We’ll just see how he feels. I wouldn’t put that in concrete,” Casey said. “… I don’t know what he would gain from it by coming back (for the final weeks). We haven’t made that decision yet.” Rose, who is recovering from a sprained ankle, will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

Bulls’ Kris Dunn May Not Return This Season

FEBRUARY 19: The Bulls have issued a formal update on Dunn, announcing that he’ll continue his current rehab program for four-to-six weeks before “progressing to functional training.”

There are only eight weeks left in the regular season, so this update from the club certainly doesn’t contradict Johnson’s report (detailed below) that Dunn may not return this season.

FEBRUARY 17: The Bulls announced on February 4 that Kris Dunn‘s right MCL sprain would be re-evaluated in two weeks, which means an update from the team should be right around the corner. According to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, there’s concern that the next update on Dunn won’t be a positive one.

Sources tell Johnson there’s a “growing belief” that Dunn is at risk of missing the rest of the 2019/20 season. As Johnson notes, a similar injury sidelined the fourth-year guard for 23 games last season. Dunn has missed four games so far and Chicago has just 27 contests remaining on its regular season schedule.

If Dunn can’t make it back to the court this spring, it would be a disappointing end to the season for the former fifth overall pick, who will be eligible for restricted free agency this summer. Dunn’s scoring and passing numbers (7.3 PPG, 3.4 APG) have dipped in 2019/20, but he has emerged as the Bulls’ go-to perimeter defender. His rate of 2.9 steals per 36 minutes leads the NBA.

Dunn is also just six starts away from meeting the starter criteria, which we explained in detail earlier today. If he doesn’t make six more starts, the 25-year-old will be eligible for a qualifying offer worth $4,642,800 instead of $7,091,457.

We’ll have to wait for official word from the Bulls on Dunn’s status, but at the very least, it doesn’t sound like his return is at all imminent.

Kris Dunn Out At Least Two Weeks With MCL Injury

The Bulls have confirmed a report that Kris Dunn suffered a medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain in his right knee, the team announced today in a press release. The fourth-year guard sustained the injury in the first quarter of last Friday’s game.

According to the Bulls, Dunn will be re-evaluated following “an initial two-week phase of immobilization and physical therapy.” As his symptoms improve, the team will determine a more specific treatment plan and recovery timetable.

While Chicago isn’t committing to a timeline for Dunn’s return yet, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago points out (via Twitter) that a similar injury cost him 23 games last season. Johnson cautions that the two injuries may not be equally severe, but notes that this will be a week-to-week issue, rather than day-to-day.

A former fifth overall pick, Dunn has seen his offensive production slip this season, averaging just 7.3 PPG and 3.4 APG on .444/.259/.741 shooting in 51 games (24.9 MPG). However, he has been the Bulls’ strongest perimeter defender and arguably one of the NBA’s best too — his 2.9 steals per 36 minutes ranks first in the league.

With 76 starts over the last two seasons in Chicago, Dunn is just six starts away from reaching the starter criteria, which would increase his qualifying offer this summer from $4.6MM to $7.1MM, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The Bulls would have to extend that QO in order to make Dunn a restricted free agent.

Kris Dunn Sprains Right MCL

An initial examination has revealed that 6’3″ Bulls bench-guard-turned-starting-small forward Kris Dunn is suffering from a sprained right medial collateral ligament, according to the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link) and K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link).

Johnson notes that there is no timeline set for Dunn’s return, while the Sun-Times account notes that more information will be divulged once Dunn consults with doctors. Depending on the severity of the sprain, Dunn could be looking at a multi-week recovery window before he is cleared to resume action.

Bulls head coach Jim Boylen told reporters that second-year forward Chandler Hutchison will start in Dunn’s stead for Chicago’s afternoon game against the Raptors today, according to Johnson (Twitter link). Dunn exited Friday night’s 133-118 loss to the Nets with the injury.

In 51 contests this season (including 32 starts), Dunn is averaging 7.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG and 3.4 APG, while shooting 44.4% from the field and 74.1% from the free throw line. The No. 5 pick in 2016 out of Providence, Dunn has established himself as a terrific defender for a surprisingly effective Chicago defense this season. The 6’3″ wing is a restricted free agent this summer.

Bulls Notes: Dunn, Young, LaVine, All-Star Weekend

The Bulls lost their defensive leader when Kris Dunn suffered a knee injury 13 seconds into Friday’s game, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Dunn returned to Chicago to undergo an MRI and get a thorough examination from team doctors. A more detailed report on his condition should be available soon.

The injury comes at an awkward time for Chicago with the trade deadline just five days away. Despite a 19-32 record, the Bulls are just three-and-a-half games out of the eighth spot in the East. Coach Jim Boylen acknowledged that several factors are in play as the organization decides whether to be buyers or sellers.

“The health of our team, our future development, our current ability to fight for the playoffs, we’ll take all that into account,’’ Boylen said.

A long-term absence for Dunn would weigh heavily on those decisions. He has become a contender for the NBA’s All-Defensive Team and serves as the on-court embodiment of Boylen’s defense-first philosophy.

“He brings other things that maybe you don’t see on the floor,’’ Boylen said. “He’s a great teammate, he relishes in his teammates’ success. He’s a vocal part of our meal room, our meetings, our video. He helps us learn and grow, so we’re going to miss him on a lot of levels.’’

There’s more from Chicago:

  • The irony of Dunn’s injury is that he was hurt in a collision with teammate Thaddeus Young, who is a prime candidate to be traded if the Bulls decide to break up the team, Cowley adds in the same story. Young was knocked backward while drawing a charge, and his head struck Dunn’s knee. Young has been part of trade rumors for several weeks, but is attempting to go about business as usual. “I try not to worry about those things,’’ he said after today’s practice. “I try to continue to come and hoop whether I’m playing for the Bulls or playing for any other organization. … If they have to make a business decision, I understand what it is. I’ve been in the game for a long time. I understand organizations have to make changes and business decisions. When you get into a situation and your back is against the wall, you have to learn how to pivot.’’
  • Zach LaVine tells Sam Smith of that he’s disappointed not to be named to the All-Star Game, but understands the reasons for the decision. “You just saw the trend where they went for players on winning teams,” LaVine said. “Everybody (who has excelled this season) feels like they are deserving. But there are only so many spots. A lot of guys can make their case.” Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago examines the remarkable numbers LaVine posted in January, which was the best month of his career.
  • No Bulls are currently slated to participate in any All-Star Weekend event, even though the game is in Chicago for the first time since 1988, notes Jamal Collier of The Chicago Tribune. Wendell Carter Jr. was selected for the Rising Stars Challenge, but will miss the game because of a sprained right ankle.

Zach LaVine Would Like To Have Input On Bulls’ Roster Moves

Zach LaVine has arguably been the Bulls‘ most important player through the first half of the season. He’s a borderline All-Star candidate and any chance of Chicago making the postseason likely hinges on his success.

So does he expect to be involved in the team’s decisions leading up to the trade deadline? Not necessarily, though he would embrace that kind of power, as Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times relays.

“I mean if they come to me and let me know, I think it would be great,’’ LaVine said of the team speaking with him about potential moves. “If not I’m not taking offense to it either. It’s not something that I’m asking for.

“I know what I stand for. I’m trying to help us get there and I don’t think you can question what my intentions are.’’

Thaddeus Young and Kris Dunn could both be on the move. The Clippers have interest in each player, sources tell Cowley, though Los Angeles could simply wait until the offseason to pursue Dunn, as he will be a restricted free agent.