Kris Dunn

Hawks, Kris Dunn Agree To Two-Year Deal

The Hawks have reached an agreement to sign free agent guard Kris Dunn, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). It’ll be a two-year contract worth $10MM, with a second-year player option, Woj adds.

Based on the terms reported by Wojnarowski, it sounds like Dunn could end up fitting into Atlanta’s room exception ($9.77MM over two years) once the team uses up its cap room. If that’s the plan, the Hawks should still have in the neighborhood of $25MM to spend on other players.

A former fifth overall pick, Dunn hasn’t developed much of an offensive game since entering the league in 2016, having averaged just 7.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 3.4 APG on .444/.259/.741 shooting in 51 games (24.9 MPG) last season for Chicago. The Bulls decided not to make him a restricted free agent, passing on their qualifying offer.

However, Dunn has become one of the NBA’s very best perimeter defenders, leading the league with 2.9 steals per 36 minutes in 2019/20. That makes him an ideal fit in Atlanta’s backcourt, where he could handle tough defensive assignments and allow Trae Young to focus primarily on his offensive game.

Dunn represents the second notable free agent agreement so far for the Hawks, who also struck a three-year deal with Danilo Gallinari. Atlanta is believed to be in the running for Bogdan Bogdanovic and Rajon Rondo too, though it’s not clear if the team’s deal with Dunn will affect either pursuit — there’s definitely some positional overlap with Rondo.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bulls Notes: Williams, Simonovic, Draft, QO Decisions

Making his first draft pick as the head man in an NBA front office on Wednesday night, new Bulls president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas told reporters – including Sam Smith of Bulls.com – that he was pleased to come away with Florida State forward Patrick Williams at No. 4. Karnisovas praised Williams’ athleticism, versatility, ballhandling, and ability to play multiple positions.

“The more we were digging in his background and we were able to see him, that’s how we came to our decision that that’s our guy,” Karnisovas said of Williams. “We need players in our league that can play multiple positions. He’s an elite athlete. At four we were really happy in that position because we knew we had a chance to pick Patrick and we just stayed there and we got our player.”

Williams was one of two picks the Bulls made on Wednesday, along with Montenegrin center Marko Simonovic at No. 44.

“I think overall tonight we drafted players that we were targeting,” Karnisovas said, per Smith. “And it doesn’t happen very often. I received a ton of texts from executives around the league and they were all telling me, ‘Enjoy your night.’ And that’s what I did. It’s special to me. It’s my first night as a lead exec of the Chicago Bulls. I thought it was a very successful night.”

Here’s more on the Bulls:

  • Despite rumors that the Bulls had offered Wendell Carter Jr. and the No. 4 pick to move up to No. 2, Karnisovas told reporters after the draft that the club didn’t consider trading up (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago). While that may be true, it’s also plausible that Karnisovas is saying that publicly so as not to make waves with Carter.
  • Simonovic will be stashed overseas for at least one year, Karnisovas said on Wednesday night (Twitter link via Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic). He’s currently under contract with Crvena Zvezda in Serbia.
  • Explaining the Bulls’ decision not to tender qualifying offers to Kris Dunn and Shaquille Harrison, while Denzel Valentine got one, Karnisovas said that the club’s limited roster space and emphasis on shooting were major factors (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson). The president of basketball operations added that Chicago will be “really picky” in free agency.

Bulls To Give Valentine Qualifying Offer, Let Dunn Become UFA

The Bulls will extend a qualifying offer to swingman Denzel Valentine, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic tweets, but won’t do the same for guard Kris Dunn, according to NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson (Twitter link).

Valentine’s qualifying offer is worth $4,642,800 and Chicago’s decision will make him a restricted free agent. Dunn’s QO is $7,091,457 and by making him an unrestricted free agent, the Bulls rid themselves of his $16,044,021 cap hold. Dunn’s QO would have been identical to Valentine’s if he hadn’t narrowly met the “starter criteria.”

Valentine’s career was marred by a serious ankle injury which caused him to miss the entire 2018/19 season. He appeared in 36 games last season, including five starts, and averaged 6.8 PPG and 2.1 RPG in 13.6 MPG.

Chicago’s decision displays confidence that Valentine can regain the form he showed in 2017/18, his second NBA season, when he started 77 games and averaged 10.2 PPG while making 38.6% of his 3-point tries.

Dunn posted averages 7.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG and 3.4 APG in ’19/20 and was one of the league’s best defenders before a knee injury ended his season early. Dunn’s days in Chicago were numbered once the team drafted Coby White and signed Tomas Satoransky last season.

The fifth overall pick in the 2016 draft by Minnesota, Dunn was traded after his rookie season to the Bulls in the Jimmy Butler blockbuster. He had a disappointing run with the Bulls but he’s expected to have several bidders for his services, including the Clippers, according to Johnson.

Cavs Rumors: Thompson, Free Agents, Drummond, No. 5 Pick

The Cavaliers would like to re-sign Tristan Thompson at the right price, but so far, discussions between the two sides have “centered on a number lower than Thompson would want,” according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Thompson had an $18.5MM salary in 2019/20 and presumably won’t want to see that number decrease too significantly going forward. However, that may simply be the veteran’s reality now, Fedor writes.

As Fedor points out, John Hollinger of The Athletic and ESPN’s Brian Windhorst have both recently suggested that Thompson may be no more than a minimum-salary free agent. It sounds like the Cavs will offer him more than that, so the big man may have to decide whether he wants to stay in Cleveland at that higher number or compete for a title elsewhere on a more modest deal. He appears unlikely to get a sizeable offer from a contender, Fedor notes.

If Thompson doesn’t re-sign with the Cavaliers, the team will probably have to dedicate a portion of its mid-level exception to signing a center. Fedor identifies Harry Giles, Aron Baynes, Thon Maker, and Nerlens Noel as some free agents who could be possibilities for Cleveland.

Here’s more from Fedor on the Cavs:

  • Sources tell Fedor that the Cavaliers were hoping to pursue Jerami Grant in free agency, but now expect him to be out of their price range. The team still aims to add athletic, defensive-minded players — Derrick Jones, Maurice Harkless, Kris Dunn, and Pat Connaughton are a few of the potential targets singled out by Fedor.
  • If and when Andre Drummond officially opts in for 2020/21, it’s possible the Cavaliers will view him and his expiring contract as a potential trade chip. However, Fedor’s sources believe Cleveland would have a better chance of moving Drummond at the trade deadline rather than in the offseason, so it sounds like the veteran center will spend at least part of the season in Cleveland.
  • Multiple members of Cleveland’s front office like Tyrese Haliburton, but after using their previous two lottery picks on guards, the Cavs seem unlikely to opt for Haliburton over an “equally-talented” prospect who fills a greater need. Fedor believes Deni Avdija, Onyeka Okongwu, Isaac Okoro, and Obi Toppin are – in no particular order – the best bets to be the Cavs’ pick at No. 5.

And-Ones: Free Agents, Jersey Ads, Bubble, Europe

John Hollinger of The Athletic, who invented the PER stat during his time at ESPN, has developed a new metric called BORD$ that estimates a player’s salary value for the upcoming season. After providing an in-depth explanation of how exactly the BORD$ formula works, Hollinger has applied it to this year’s class of free agent point guards and shooting guards in an attempt to determine which players warrant the biggest investments.

Hollinger’s point guard list doesn’t include a ton of surprises — Fred VanVleet is easily the most valuable free agent at the position, with Mike Conley and Goran Dragic topping the next two tiers. Shabazz Napier, Trey Burke, and Jordan McLaughlin are among the point guards whose projections are higher than you might expect.

Applied to this year’s free agent shooting guards, the results from Hollinger’s metric are more eyebrow-raising. Grizzlies RFA-to-be De’Anthony Melton is considered the top free agent at the position by BORD$, ahead of Bogdan Bogdanovic and Evan Fournier. A pair of Bulls guards, Kris Dunn and Shaquille Harrison, also rank in Hollinger’s top seven FA shooting guards due to their defensive prowess.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • As the NBA considers potential new revenue streams to help offset the losses generated by the coronavirus pandemic, allowing a second advertisement patch on game jerseys is one idea being weighed, according to John Lombardo of SportsBusiness Journal.
  • David Aldridge of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at the lessons learned from the NBA’s summer bubble experiment and the takeaways that could carry over to the 2020/21 season. As Aldridge observes, while players and coaches aren’t eager to re-enter a bubble next year, the fact that it worked so well this time around will go a long way toward convincing them it’s worth doing again, if need be — even if it’s just for a short period in the postseason, like Major League Baseball did.
  • The coronavirus pandemic has continued to wreak havoc on European basketball leagues that have begun their 2020/21 seasons, as Ken Maguire of The Associated Press writes. Only half of the EuroLeague’s 18 clubs have played a full six-game schedule so far this season, as COVID-19 outbreaks have caused several last-minute postponements.

Atlantic Notes: Okoro, Dragic, Dunn, Theis, Celtics

Lottery prospect Isaac Okoro has received plenty of attention from the Knicks, Ian Begley of SNY TV reports. Okoro’s college coach, Auburn’s Bruce Pearl, said New York’s front office has conducted a number of interviews regarding the 6’6” Okoro, who is ranked No. 7 overall by ESPN. The Knicks own the No. 8 pick.

“They’ve talked to strength coaches, trainers, assistant coaches – they’ve done their homework. And they’ve liked Isaac from the jump,” Pearl said of the Knicks.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Goran Dragic, D.J. Augustin and Jeff Teague are some of the veteran free agent options at point guard that the Raptors might pursue, Blake Murphy of The Athletic opines. Combo guard Kris Dunn could be an even more attractive option as a restricted free agent, and De’Anthony Melton could also be a consideration despite his RFA status, Murphy adds.
  • Daniel Theis was a big part of the Celtics’ rotation during the restart and Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston doesn’t anticipate that anything will change next season. Theis complemented Boston’s stars nicely since he’s solid at screening and defending, Forsberg adds. Boston must guarantee Theis’ $5MM salary prior to next season but that seems like a foregone conclusion.
  • The Celtics own three first-round picks in the November draft and they’ll be looking to deal, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. Boston simply doesn’t have the roster space to absorb and develop three rookies and if the Celtics can’t trade one or more of those picks, they’ll look into draft-and-stash options.

Eastern Notes: Sixers, Raptors, Bulls, Wizards

In a pivotal offseason for the Sixers, they are reportedly making a change to their front office structure, according to Yaron Weitzman (Twitter link). Weitzman reports that Philadelphia is in the process of interviewing candidates to serve in an executive role under general manager Elton Brand.

As things stand, Alex Rucker is the executive vice president of basketball operations for the Sixers, while Ned Cohen is serving as the team’s assistant general manager. However, reports since August have indicated the team is looking at changing its front office personnel and structure, and Rucker is reportedly not expected back in his current role.

Here’s more from across the Eastern Conference:

  • Blake Murphy and Eric Koreen of The Athletic role-played what a potential contract extension negotiation would look like for Raptors wing OG Anunoby. The 23-year-old could receive a rookie-scale extension this offseason or become a restricted free agent after the 2020/21 season. The two Athletic writers detail various contract scenarios, while also looking at how Anunoby compares to other players who received rookie extensions after their third NBA seasons.
  • In his latest mailbag, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago discusses Kris Dunn‘s outlook and identifies Wendell Carter as the player who might benefit the most from being coached by Billy Donovan. Johnson also mentions that it is not likely the Bulls keep both Dunn and Shaquille Harrison.
  • The Wizards‘ team website explores Killian Hayes‘s potential fit with Washington. The Wizards own the ninth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, which leaves them in the position to take the best player available. This season in Germany, Hayes averaged 12.8 PPG, 6.2 APG, and 1.5 SPG in 26.8 MPG. The 19-year-old guard is projected to be drafted in the lottery.

Central Notes: Dunn, Maker, Doumbouya, Osman

Guard Kris Dunn won’t participate in the Bulls’ mini-camp, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago reports. Dunn’s absence was expected, since he’s headed to free agency. The Bulls will have to extend him a qualifying offer of $7.1MM to make him a restricted free agent. Dunn didn’t play after January 31, when he suffered a sprained right MCL. His right knee is now healthy but he doesn’t want to take any chances of getting injured without a contract, Johnson adds.

We have more on the Central Division:

  • Some of the Pistons’ roster decisions could be sorted out during their mini-camp, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com notes. Big men Thon Maker and Justin Patton may be competing for a roster spot, as Maker can either be a restricted or unrestricted free agent while Patton has a non-guaranteed deal. Swingman Khyri Thomas and two-way players Jordan Bone and Louis King might also need a strong showing for the club to retain them.
  • Pistons guard Bruce Brown believes forward Sekou Doumbouya will blossom in his second season, according to Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Doumbouya saw significant playing time as a rookie due to Blake Griffin‘s knee injury, but his production was highly inconsistent. “He’s got something to prove this summer, coming in with a chip on his shoulder,” Brown said. “He’s working on his game hard; he’s working on big-man stuff and guard stuff. He’s definitely put in the work and it’s going to be a good year for him.”
  • Cedi Osman isn’t participating in the Cavaliers’ mini-camp. He’s not on the list of players that the club released, as Eric Woodyard of ESPN tweets. Osman, a Turkish citizen, is apparently still overseas. The Cavs will have 15 players come in, including four G League players — Sir’Dominic Pointer, Marques Bolden, Levi Randolph and Vincent Edwards.

Pacific Notes: Cassell, Kings, Lakers, Warriors

While Tyronn Lue has gotten a ton of head coaching buzz this summer, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers believes another one of his assistants, Sam Cassell, also deserves consideration, observing this week that Cassell has a high basketball IQ and his paid his dues, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

“Sam Cassell should be a head coach, period,” Rivers said.

Cassell hasn’t been linked to any current coaching openings, but perhaps Rivers’ endorsement will inspire teams to take a closer look at his potential candidacy.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Trajan Langdon has already withdrawn from consideration for the Kings‘ head of basketball operations job and there’s an expectation that a second candidate will likely pull out soon too, a source tells Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Sachin Gupta, Adam Simon, Calvin Booth, Monte McNair, and Wes Wilcox are the other execs who have been linked to the job, with interviews set to begin next week, per Anderson.
  • The Lakers didn’t end up forming a “Big Three” last offseason after acquiring Anthony Davis to join LeBron James, but head coach Frank Vogel said after Thursday’s Game 4 win over Houston that the team’s defense is its de facto “third star,” as Dave McMenamin of ESPN relays. “That’s as powerful a weapon there is in one of these playoff runs. It’s as powerful as a superstar,” Vogel said. “If you have an elite defense, that can be your third star, so to speak.”
  • NBC Sports’ Tom Haberstroh is skeptical that the Warriors have a chance to acquire Marcus Smart in an offseason trade, but points to Kris Dunn as another defensive-minded guard who could be of interest to Golden State on the free agent market. Grant Liffmann of NBC Sports Bay Area has the details.

Southeast Notes: Fultz, Isaac, Dunn, Antetokounmpo

Magic guard Markelle Fultz isn’t quite healthy enough to participate in the team’s scrimmage on Saturday, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets“These guys missed so much time and they weren’t able to be in a gym,” coach Steve Clifford said. “For Markelle, it’s just the situation that he was in.” Fultz’s arrival in Orlando was delayed due to a personal matter.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Magic forward Jonathan Isaac will also sit out the scrimmage against the Lakers but he’s making progress, Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel tweets. Clifford said Isaac took part in contact drills at practice and is “getting closer” to playing. Isaac has been sidelined since suffering a left knee injury on New Year’s Day.
  • There are quite a few free agent point guard options for the Hawks to consider as a backup but the Bulls’ Kris Dunn should be at or near the top of the list, The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner opines. Dunn is an elite level defender, though he’d have to paired up with quality shooters due to his offensive limitations. The Grizzlies’ De’Anthony Melton would also be an interesting option who could be paired with Young at times because of his defensive prowess.
  • It isn’t out of the question the Hawks would make a run at Giannis Antetokounmpo if the reigning Most Valuable Player becomes a free agent next summer, Kirschner adds in the same piece. If the Hawks’ young core shows major progress next season, they may be able to entice the superstar in a similar manner to what the Clippers did to lure Kawhi Leonard and trade for Paul George.
  • Bam Adebayo and Kendrick Nunn could make cameo appearances in the Heat’s scrimmage on Saturday, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel“If they do, it’s just to get their feet wet,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. Both players arrived at Orlando’s campus on Tuesday.