The draft day trade that sent Jimmy Butler from Chicago to Minnesota is starting to pay dividends for the Bulls, Steve Aschburner of NBA.com writes. With Zach LaVine‘s return nearing, the overall haul the franchise got in return for its outgoing star is starting to round in to shape.
Both Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn have shown that they could be long-term Bulls building blocks in their own right, the former stepping up with 13.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game as a rookie and the latter showing the sheer, raw promise that made him such a highly touted lottery pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
Markkanen’s emergence has come quicker than expected thanks largely in part to the double-whammy that hit the Bulls prior to the regular season. When Bobby Portis decked Nikola Mirotic in practice before the season opener, the 20-year-old Finn was thrust into the starting lineup. To this point, he hasn’t looked back.
There’s more out of the Central Division tonight:
- While it may have taken slightly longer than planned, the G League affiliate of the Bucks‘ will see their new arena open in Oshkosh, Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times writes. The Wisconsin Herd played their first three home games in the big league club’s stadium.
- The Bucks brought in special assistance to help develop Jabari Parker while the 22-year-old recovers from an ACL injury, Matt Velasquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. Former NBA head coach Frank Johnson impressed Jason Kidd during his tenure with the Suns back in the nineties and now works closely with the injured forward.
- There was apprehension in the Cavaliers‘ locker room that the addition of Dwyane Wade would disrupt team chemistry, Jason Lloyd of The Athletic writes. In his own question-and-answer feature, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com sheds some light on which players, specifically, may have initially resisted the addition.