Kris Dunn

Parker Bullish About Young Bulls’ Chemistry

Some may look at the signing of Jabari Parker as a bit of a double-edged sword, writes K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, but Parker sees his addition to the Bulls as another weapon for head coach Fred Hoiberg to utilize as opposed to another body who may take shots away from the threesome of Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and Lauri Markkanen.

“Those days we had in the gym two weeks ago were very central for us and especially for me,” Parker said. “I got a chance to see those guys up front. It’s different playing with them than against them. I finally got a chance to know here I need to be on the floor and my strengths and things I need to work on.”

“It’s going to take time, like anything else. I can’t put a date on it. But once we figure out each other and start to jell, we’ll see results. Chemistry is key with those guys. The ball is going to be in their hands a lot. Hopefully I can feed off them.”

Luckily for the Bulls, Parker, Markkanen, and LaVine all shoot at roughly the same frequency. For his career, Parker has taken 12.6 shot attempts per game, while Markkanen attempted 12.7 shots per game as a rookie and LaVine has averaged 11.7 attempts in the NBA since being drafted in 2014. Meanwhile, Dunn will be tasked with making sure the ball gets distributed as needed.

“Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been playing with these guys, getting a feel of each player,” Dunn said. “I have great chemistry with Lauri. Zach, he’s easy to play with because he’s a knockdown shooter. Jabari, he’s an unselfish player, a slasher. And Wendell (Carter Jr.) is another unselfish player who doesn’t need the ball.”

Dunn, LaVine, Parker, and Markkanen will likely all start next to veteran Robin Lopez, but Carter’s minutes should increase as the season goes on, with sixth man Bobby Portis rounding out the team’s young core. Parker will also be able to slide to power forward and play alongside Portis or Carter when Markkanen is on the bench.

Central Notes: Beilein, James, Finals, Dunn

Michigan coach John Beilein was not offered the Pistons head coaching job before he withdrew his candidacy on Wednesday, Brendan Quinn of The Athletic reports. Beilein was one of the finalists along with ex-Raptors coach Dwane Casey and Spurs assistant Ime Udoka. Beilein was uncomfortable with the attention that he received when his name surfaced publicly and grew tired of the dragged-out process. But he admitted he would have strongly considered taking the NBA job if it had been offered. “I just said, let’s just move forward. I’ll make their decision easier,” Beilein told Quinn. “I felt like, well, if they’re not certain — and I understand that, it’s OK — but if they’re not certain, then I’m not going to be certain.”

In other developments involving Central Division teams:

  • Pressure from family members might be the only way that LeBron James stays with the Cavaliers after the NBA Finals, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. James has more of an inkling what he’ll do this summer than he’s revealed publicly, Stein continues. Joining forces with close friend Chris Paul is a strong possibility, Stein adds, whether he goes to the Rockets or they sign with another team with enough salary-cap space to pull it off.
  • The Cavaliers are frustrated to be down 3-0 in theFinals against a more vulnerable Warriors team than they faced last year, according to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. One unnamed player even told Lloyd the series would be completely opposite if Kyrie Irving had not been traded to the Celtics. “We’d be up 3-0 if Kyrie was still here,” the player said. “I have no doubt.”
  • It’s possible the Bulls will draft a point guard, in part because they’re unhappy with Kris Dunn‘s work habits, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Multiple sources told Cowley that the coaching staff and front office believe Dunn has been “shortcutting’’ his way through May and the first week of June. This is a surprise, Cowley adds, because Dunn was considered a workout warrior with the Timberwolves and showed the same traits last summer after he was traded to Chicago.

Bulls Notes: Kilpatrick, Valentine, Dunn, Blakeney

Sean Kilpatrick has shown the Bulls he can score in bunches and he hopes that will be enough to secure a roster spot next season, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Kilpatrick is averaging 13 points per night in five games since signing with Chicago last week, including a 19-point fourth quarter in Tuesday’s win over the Hornets. His deal pays $6.2MM over three years, but nothing is guaranteed beyond this season.

“He fits well with what we try to do as far as creating long closeouts and getting into the paint,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He’s not afraid of any moment. He’s hitting big shots. He competes at the other end as well. He’s getting to the rim. He’s getting to the free-throw line. We’re spacing the floor and he’s driving and attacking.”

There’s more news from Chicago:

  • Second-year guard Denzel Valentine underwent successful arthroscopic knee surgery Wednesday and expects to recover quickly, tweets Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago. Valentine, who averaged 10.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 77 games, is focused on regaining the starting spot he lost when Zach LaVine was activated, telling reporters that he has earned a bigger role and should “definitely” be a starter heading into next season. ‘‘I think I can be a consistent player at this level,” he said, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “Be somebody they can rely on, somebody who defends, makes shots, makes plays for others, plays the game the right way and is a competitor. So I definitely think I’m a starter in this league.’’
  • Kris Dunn is also focused on next year after a toe injury ended his season in mid-March, relays Sam Smith of Dunn played 52 games in his first season with the Bulls, averaging 13.4 points and 6.0 assists, and believes he can become one of the league’s best at his position. “I’m trying to be an elite point guard,” he said. “I have the intangibles for it. I’ve got the work ethic. It’s all about putting it together and doing it the right way. I want to be an elite point guard, but a guard who wins games. That’s the big thing for me, try to make everyone better.”
  • Bulls’ two-way player Antonio Blakeney has been named Rookie of the Year in the G League, tweets Adam Johnson of Two Ways and 10 Days. The former LSU guard averaged 32.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in 32 games with Windy City. He has appeared in 19 games with Chicago, averaging 7.9 points per night.

Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine Done For Season

A pair of Bulls guards, Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine, won’t return to action for Chicago this season, the team announced today (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune). Dunn and LaVine have been dealing with toe and knee injuries, respectively, and haven’t made enough progress to get into game shape within the next 10 days, according to the Bulls.

Both Dunn and LaVine debuted for Chicago this season after arriving from Minnesota in last summer’s Jimmy Butler trade. Dunn, 24, had a promising season for the Bulls after struggling in his rookie season. In 52 games (43 starts), the former Providence standout averaged 13.4 PPG, 6.0 APG, and 4.3 RPG. He has two more years left on his rookie contract entering 2018/19.

As for LaVine, he missed the first half of the season while recovering from last year’s ACL surgery, ultimately appearing in just 24 games for the Bulls. Although he averaged a solid 16.7 PPG, LaVine struggled with his shot a little, posting a .383 FG% and .341 3PT%. Still, the Bulls view him as a key piece of their long-term core, and are expected to lock him up to a long-term contract when he reaches restricted free agency this July.

If the Bulls were in a playoff race, the recovery timelines for Dunn and LaVine may have looked a little different. But the club is currently 26-51 and would probably be happy to lose the rest of its games for lottery purposes, making it an easy decision to hold the duo out of action. As our reverse standings show, Chicago currently ranks eighth in terms of lottery position.

Injury Notes: Thomas, Paul, Booker, Simmons

The hip injury that caused Lakers guard Isaiah Thomas to miss nearly the first half of the season appears to be acting up again, tweets Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. Thomas woke up this morning with stiffness in his right hip and will be held out of the final two games of the team’s road trip.

Thomas first suffered the injury last year in Boston, and the Cavaliers held him out of the first 36 games of this season while he was recovering. The latest flare-up could be a warning sign for any team interested in the 29-year-old guard when he becomes a free agent this summer.

There’s more news on the NBA injury front:

  • Down to eight players for tonight’s game, the Lakers will get some help tomorrow when two-way player Gary Payton II joins the team after the G League regular season ends. However, fellow two-way contract holder Alex Caruso is sidelined by a concussion, according to Bill Oram of The SoCal News Group (Twitter link).
  • Rockets guard Chris Paul will be held out of tonight’s game, but could return tomorrow, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Coach Mike D’Antoni said Paul is making progress after hurting his hamstring Tuesday night.
  • Devin Booker will miss his fourth straight game tonight with a sprained right hand, but coach Jay Triano is optimistic that he can play Monday, tweets Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link). T.J. Warren is missing his third consecutive game with left knee inflammation after a non-contact injury last Saturday (Twitter link).
  • Magic swingman Jonathon Simmons, who has missed the past two games with a right wrist contusion, will probably be held out another week, relays Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link).
  • Bulls guard Kris Dunn remains in a walking boot with a toe injury, but was able to exercise today on an elliptical machine, reports K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Swelling has gone down and he will join the team on its upcoming road trip, but coach Fred Hoiberg said Dunn will need to be “reconditioned” if the team doesn’t shut him down for the rest of the season.

Bulls Notes: LaVine, Payne, Dunn, Markkanen

It’s possible that Zach LaVine has played his last game of the 2017/18 season. As Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times details, the Bulls announced on Wednesday that LaVine – suffering from tendinitis in his left knee – will be re-evaluated in five to seven days. If the Bulls don’t see enough progress by that point, they may shut LaVine down, but he’s hoping to avoid that outcome, per K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune.

“There are still some games to get in a rhythm before getting into the offseason and working out,” LaVine said. “I always want to hoop.”

It has been something of a lost season for LaVine, who missed the first half while he recovered from ACL surgery, and has only played 24 games for his new team. His .383 FG% in those games is easily a career low, but the Bulls probably don’t mind not getting much from LaVine this year — they acquired him with an eye on the future, and are still fully expected to lock him up to a long-term deal as a restricted free agent this summer. His modest 2017/18 showing may even keep his price down a little for the club.

Here’s more out of Chicago:

  • Cameron Payne didn’t fit well last year on a Bulls roster that featured Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, and Jimmy Butler, but he has looked like a better fit since returning from his foot injury this year, says K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Payne, who is under contract for 2018/19, says he’s still working to prove that he deserves a regular role on next year’s squad. “I have to keep showing people I belong,” Payne said. “Everybody had their opinions of me already. It’s tough to change someone’s opinion.”
  • While Payne figures to play a role next year, Kris Dunn is still viewed as the Bulls’ point guard of the future, Johnson writes in a separate article for The Tribune. “Just looking at that (December) stretch where we were playing really good, as well as anybody in the Eastern Conference for that time period, Kris was as good as anybody on our roster,” head coach Fred Hoiberg said. “So we really think he has a bright future with us.”
  • Dunn, LaVine, and Lauri Markkanen – the three players acquired from the Timberwolves in last year’s Butler trade – are viewed as the Bulls’ core building blocks, but they barely saw any action together this season, writes Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago. According to Goodwill, in the limited minutes that all three players were on the court this season, they had an offensive rating of 97.5 and a defensive rating of 119.2, numbers which raise more questions than they answer.

Central Notes: R. Jackson, Dunn, LaVine, Love

Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson hasn’t given up on playing again before the end of the season, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Jackson, who has missed the past 10 weeks with a severely sprained right ankle, was able to perform some quick movements in a workout today and step into his shot without discomfort.

“In a lot of ways, it’s been tough,” Jackson said. “It’s [past 30 games missed] now and I never envisioned a sprain lasting this long. Usually, you bounce back and play within a few hours or a few days or a week’s time. I never envisioned being out this long. The season’s been up and down and I just really want to go out there and play.”

Coach Stan Van Gundy recently suggested that Jackson may be ready for a full-contact practice by next week, but Beard cautions that’s unlikely without significant progress in the next few days.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The young Bulls stars are showing respect to one another now, but conflict will come when someone has to emerge as the team leader, predicts Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago. Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn are both aware that possibility is coming, but they are focused on more immediate goals. “I don’t worry about that. I don’t get into that — who’s the best player and all that,” Dunn said. “We all have to be leaders for this team. We have to be leaders in different ways. It’s a matter of time to see how we jell out. Right now we just keep playing.”
  • After sitting out seven games as the Bulls opted for a youth movement, center Robin Lopez will return to the starting lineup Friday in the wake of a warning from the NBA about resting healthy players. “It’s a little bit of a crazy situation,” Lopez told K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). “I’m always excited to get out there and play with the guys.”
  • Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, who is getting a positive response throughout the league over a piece he posted on The Players Tribune about panic attacks, said he was motivated to write it after the issue came up at a team meeting in January. “One of the things that was brought up was [coach] Ty Lue had mentioned the panic attack [from] early in the season,” Love told Michael Singer of USA Today. “And I wasn’t aware how many people knew. I kind of buried it and put it off to the side. And that kind of started a big push in the back to why I wanted to write this article.”

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/12/18

Here are Monday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Timberwolves have recalled rookie center Justin Patton from the G League, according to the team (Twitter link). Patton has yet to make his NBA debut, but looked good for the Iowa Wolves on Sunday, scoring a team-high 21 points.
  • Newly-acquired Raptors shooting guard Malachi Richardson has been assigned to the G League, the team announced today (via Twitter). Richardson doesn’t figure to get much run for a Toronto team with a deep bench, but he should have a chance to play major minutes for the Raptors 905 against Maine on Monday night.
  • The Bulls assigned a trio of players to the G League today, according to the club (Twitter link). Kris Dunn, Cristiano Felicio, and Noah Vonleh were sent to the Windy City Bulls for practice and will be recalled after that, the team announced.
  • Patrick McCaw, who has been spending time in the G League to get more minutes, was recalled by the Warriors today, the team confirmed in a press release. The Santa Cruz Warriors scored 131 points on Sunday, but McCaw had just six of them, on 2-of-11 shooting.

Bulls Notes: Paxson, Lopez, Holiday, Allen, Dunn

The Bulls were relatively quiet as the trade deadline passed on Thursday, completing a pair of minor deals involving Noah Vonleh and Jameer Nelson. Chicago’s major move came when the team dealt Nikola Mirotic to the Pelicans, which netted the team highly-coveted draft picks.

Vice president of basketball operations John Paxson, is happy with the Bulls’ moves and is excited about the future, Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times writes. Paxson compared draft picks to gold for teams as his franchise restocks for the future. In particular, Paxson likes having future high picks to go along with the young talent already on the roster.

“We look at it this way: We got the three young guys [Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn] when we made the [Jimmy Butler] trade for last year, we’re going to have two [first-round] picks most likely in this draft, and we’ve got Bobby [Portis] and Denzel [Valentine] as young guys,” Paxson said. “That’s seven young pieces, and we just need to continue to develop them, grow, and make the smart decisions, not get in a rush.’’

Check out other Bulls news and notes below:

  • Paxson said that the Bulls were offered several multiyear bad contracts in trade talks, but the team was not comfortable taking on significant money that went beyond the 2018/19 season, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Paxson added that the Bulls were comfortable taking Omer Asik in the Mirotic trade because he is set to make just $3MM in 2018/19.
  • While the Bulls could have traded Robin Lopez and/or Justin Holiday, Paxson said their value as veteran leaders and teammates was too important to the club, Johnson tweets.
  • Tony Allen, who was acquired as part of the Mirotic trade, was reportedly set to be waived by Chicago. However, Paxson said the team will have a discussion with Allen’s agent before deciding on his future, Nick Friedell of ESPN tweets.
  • Point guard Kris Dunn is out of concussion protocol but he is still not ready to return, per the Associated Press. Dunn has missed the Bulls’ past eight games; he’s averaging 13.7 PPG and 6.4 APG for Chicago this season.

Central Notes: Pistons, S. Johnson, Dunn, Bucks

The Disabled Player Exception the Pistons received doesn’t make them more likely to complete another deal before tomorrow’s trade deadline, writes Ansar Khan of MLive. Coach/executive Stan Van Gundy says tax concerns will limit the team’s ability to follow up last week’s blockbuster that brought Blake Griffin to Detroit.

“The chances of that helping us at all are very, very slim because it would take us into the [luxury] tax to begin with and we only have until March 12 to use it,” Van Gundy told reporters before tonight’s game. “I don’t expect it to be of much value, but you want to have every tool at your disposal.”

The Pistons’ DPE is valued at about $5.25MM, half the salary of Jon Leuer, who is out for the season with an ankle injury. The Griffin deal cost the team its top two scorers in Tobias Harris and Avery Bradley, but Van Gundy believes there are still enough good shooters on the roster.

There’s more news from the Central Division:

  • It might take a starter and a draft pick to pry Stanley Johnson away from the Pistons, according to Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Johnson is among the team’s best defensive players and has increased his offensive production over the past five games, averaging 15 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists.
  • Bulls guard Kris Dunn returned to practice today for the first time since suffering a concussion after taking a hard fall in a January 17th game, writes Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago. Dunn has been ruled out for Friday’s game, but is hoping to play again before the All-Star break. However, coach Fred Hoiberg warned that may not be possible. “He hasn’t done anything,” Hoiberg said. “His inactivity will prevent him from playing anytime soon. But the important thing is he was able to do some non-contact drills, he’s been on the treadmill, he’s completed the bike portion.” The Bulls are 1-7 without Dunn, who sparked a streak of success after moving into the starting lineup in December.
  • The Bucks created a $1.9MM trade exception when they shipped Rashad Vaughn to the Nets on Monday, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Milwaukee also has two other trade exceptions valued at $3,4MM and $5MM.