Chad Buchanan

Bucks, Pacers Have Postgame “Fracas” Over Game Ball

A shootout between the Bucks and Pacers in Milwaukee on Wednesday night featured several milestones: Giannis Antetokounmpo set a new franchise record with 64 points, Damian Lillard surpassed Kyle Korver for the fifth-most total three-pointers in NBA history, and Pacers rookie Oscar Tshiebwe scored his first career point.

After the final buzzer sounded, fans in Milwaukee were treated to another unique moment: a frantic bid to track down and claim the game ball (Twitter video link).

As Eric Nehm of The Athletic and Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star detail, although there was video showing a Bucks staffer grabbing the game ball at the end of the fourth quarter, Antetokounmpo was certain that the Pacers had taken it with them to their locker room. Following a brief on-court argument, Giannis and a few of his Bucks teammates ran down the tunnel toward Indiana’s locker room in search of the ball.

“It was Oscar Tshiebwe’s first official NBA point,” Carlisle later told reporters. “We always get the game ball. We were not thinking about Giannis’ franchise record. So we grabbed the ball and a couple of minutes later some of their players ended up in our hallway. There was a big, I don’t know what to call it, a fracas, a melee, whatever. I don’t think any punches were landed, but my general manager (Chad Buchanan) got elbowed in the ribs by one of their players. He certainly has a bruised rib and who knows if it’s anything more than that.

“Unfortunate situation. We don’t need the official game ball. There’s two game balls there. We could have taken the other one. It didn’t need to escalate to that. Really just unfortunate.”

After subsequently watching the video that shows a member of the Bucks’ security team taking the game ball from the referee, Carlisle added: “Turns out that their security guy had grabbed the real game ball used in the game initially. They already had it.”

As Carlisle notes, the Pacers did end up with one ball to commemorate Tshiebwe’s night, but they believe they have a reserve ball, rather than the game ball itself. As for Giannis, while he also ended up with a basketball once things calmed down, he’s not convinced it was the one used in the game.

“I have a ball, but I don’t know if it’s the game ball. It doesn’t feel like the game ball to me. It feels like a brand new ball,” Antetokounmpo said. “I can tell, I played, what, 35 minutes today? I know how the game ball felt. The ball that I have, which I will take and I’ll give it to my mom, for sure, but I don’t know if it’s actually the game ball.”

Giannis also said that his original goal was to get the game ball for Lillard rather than for himself.

“Dame is fifth of all-time,” he said. “I scored 60. At the end of the day, the ball they gave us, I offered it to Dame. I scored 60, he’s scored multiple times 60, he’s scored 70. He should have the ball. At the end of the day, I don’t think it’s fair. I understand when you score your first point in the NBA, you want to have the ball or whatever the case may be. But the end of the day, you’re talking about the guy who just jumped over Kyle Korver on the list. I feel like we should all stop what we’re doing and appreciate greatness.”

It’s hard to believe that this incident, which was essentially a misunderstanding over a piece of memorabilia, will become a source of genuine bad blood between the two teams. But the Bucks weren’t happy about their loss to the Pacers in the in-season tournament semifinal, and things got a little chippy in the fourth quarter on Wednesday following a hard foul by Aaron Nesmith on Antetokounmpo (video link).

It’s also worth noting that Antetokounmpo – who broke the team’s single-game scoring mark with 3:25 left in the fourth quarter – remained in the game until the final buzzer, despite the Bucks’ double-digit lead. He sealed the 140-126 victory with a dunk with 26 seconds remaining. Carlisle was asked after the game if he was surprised the Bucks star didn’t check out earlier.

“No point commenting on it,” Carlisle said. “I think it’s pretty obvious what the answer is.”

At the very least, the division rivalry between the Bucks and Pacers is getting more interesting than it has been in years. The two teams will face one another again on January 1 in Milwaukee and Jan. 3 in Indiana.

Pacers GM: Hield Extension Talks Stalled But No Trade Imminent

The Pacers are in no rush to deal Buddy Hield, according to general manager Chad Buchanan, even though extension talks have stalled, Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star reports.

Hield has a base salary of $18.6MM with a cap hit of $19.3MM in the final year of his four-year contract. The news broke last week that the team was exploring trade possibilities after Hield was dissatisfied with Indiana’s extension offer. Buchanan believes extension talks will be rekindled at some point.

“Buddy is somebody that we love having on our team,” Buchanan said. “We want him on our team this year. The business of basketball comes into play at times. We’ve had talks with him about an extension. Those talks are at a halt, I’d say, right now, but that’s not to say that they’re done. We’d like to have Buddy with us.”

Buchanan also downplayed the notion that the team was shopping the sharpshooter wing.

“We have no intention of trying to move Buddy. But it’s also our job to listen if opportunities come to help us improve the team,” he said. “That’s what we have to do as a front office. Our intention is to have Buddy on the team this year and have him be a big part of our group.”

The GM also anticipates Hield will report to camp next week and won’t be distracted by the status of extension talks.

“I think Buddy is going to come in and be professional and be excited to be part of this team. He loves being part of this group,” Buchanan said. “He loves playing with coach Rick (Carlisle.) He and Tyrese (Haliburton) obviously have a connection together. He’s going to come in and play well and we’ll see what happens moving forward with him and the team.”

Hield will likely have to play a different role if he remains a Pacer. He was a starter for most of last season but the Pacers are intent on moving Bennedict Mathurin into the lineup. The Pacers also made a splashy free agent addition in Bruce Brown, who could cut into Hield’s minutes.

Central Notes: Simpson, Turner, Bucks’ Christmas Game, Cavs’ Arena

Guard Zavier Simpson gained a spot on the Pistons’ training camp roster and the former Wolverines star is thrilled to wear a Detroit uniform, he told Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press.

“It’s tremendous,” Simpson said of joining the Pistons. “Being able to be back here, it’s almost like home. Being able to play for the University of Michigan and have a tremendous career, and being able also to come here in Detroit and also play. It’s phenomenal. I’m excited, I love it and obviously the new coaching staff is coming in, which is phenomenal. Blessed to be a part of it, and it’s home so just want to keep working and do the most I can with the opportunity, and leave the results to the results.”

The Pistons’ NBA G League affiliate, Motor City Cruise, recently announced it has acquired Simpson’s returning player rights through a trade with the Magic’s affiliate team.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Pacers big man Myles Turner is pleased with the team’s offseason moves, particularly the free agent acquisition of Bruce Brown. “I think we definitely got better,” Turner told Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star. “We got that championship mindset with Bruce Brown. He’s fresh off a ‘chip. He could have gone anywhere this summer and he chose to come here and build with this group. I was with (GM Chad Buchanan) last night at the Nike Skills Academy in Portland and we just talked about the opportunity we have this year and a lot of that comes to being better on defense.”
  • The Bucks’ streak of playing on Christmas Day will continue this upcoming season, Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel relays via The Athletic. Milwaukee’s sixth consecutive appearance during the league’s showcase day will come against the Knicks at New York. Milwaukee is 3-2 in Christmas Day games since the streak began.
  • The Cavaliers’ arena, now called the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, will be getting $24.4MM in publicly funded repairs, according to Lucas Daprile of the Cleveland Plain Dealer in a subscriber-only story. However, the exact source of those funds remains a mystery.

Pacers GM Buchanan Talks Brown, Goals For Next Season, More

Entering the offseason, the Pacers knew they’d have to take a “unique” angle in order to sign their top free agent target, swingman Bruce Brown, as general manager Chad Buchanan recently explained to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic.

What other teams are willing to pay him? And what we were willing to pay him is a big, significant gap,” Buchanan told The Athletic. “We knew that maybe it’s a little more than the market would say, but it was the way we as an organization and as a team have to approach free agency sometimes. We got to be a little creative. We got to maybe go deeper with a pay to get a guy, but it was the guy we wanted.

We wanted to do what it took to get him, and working with his agents, right at the strike of free agency and talking about ‘OK, where were the other teams at? Where would we need to come in to get Bruce to turn down some of these other options from other more established teams than us?’ We’re a young team, and for Bruce to come in and leave a championship team and some other teams (that) are after him to come to play for a young team, we realize it was gonna probably take a unique way to approach luring him to us.”

Brown almost certainly took less total money to sign with the Pacers, inking a two-year, $45MM contract. However, a short-term deal allows him to hit the open market sooner, which could be a plus. And as Buchanan alluded to, Indiana was willing to give him more money in 2023/24 than rival clubs, and his contract includes a team option in year two, giving both sides flexibility — the Pacers could free up cap space next summer if things don’t work out.

The 26-year-old’s strong defense, willingness to “do the dirty work,” and overall versatility appealed to Indiana, according to Buchanan. The team knows it needs to improve defensively to reach its goal of a postseason berth next season.

If we can become a top-20 defense, I think we would make a pretty good jump, have a chance to make a good jump. And competing for a playoff spot, I think we’d love to be in that position this year,” Buchanan said as part of a larger quote. “If it’s a play-in, playoff, wherever it is.”

Indiana has been linked to Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, a two-time All-NBA member, a couple times over the past week. However, when Vorkunov asked Buchanan if the Pacers were finished were their offseason moves, he replied that while they’re always looking to improve the roster, they’re not yet ready to push their chips in the middle in a major win-now move.

I don’t think a team’s done until you’re done,” Buchanan said. “We’ll always try to be opportunistic when we can on anything. But I don’t think we’re like aggressively pursuing anything right now. … Obviously, some big names out there … could get moved still this offseason, and if that filters down and impacts other teams, if it impacts us, we’ll consider it. But, if it doesn’t, we’re also happy with this group now.

We’re not going to rush things to try to jump and go all in right now. I don’t think that’s where we’re at. We don’t have that. We’re not one player away from being a championship-caliber team. I think we realize it takes time and it takes guys developing and growing.”

Pacers’ Buchanan Talks Turner, Rebuild, Haliburton, Smith

Appearing on the Kevin & Query show on 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis on Wednesday, Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan said Myles Turner will be on the team’s roster when the regular season tips off, indicating that he doesn’t expect the veteran center to be on the move before opening night.

Buchanan tacitly acknowledged that the Pacers have had trade discussions about Turner since last season ended, telling the hosts that the front office is “always going to have to listen if teams call.” However, he said the 26-year-old “handled everything like a pro.”

“Myles knows this is part of the business,” Buchanan said. “We’ve communicated with him all summer on what was going on. We do that with our players, we’ve very transparent with them. He understood that part of it. Maybe he didn’t always like it, but he understood it.”

Because he’s entering a contract year and the Pacers have embarked on a rebuild, Turner has been widely viewed as a logical trade candidate. Still, Buchanan pointed out that the shot-blocking center – who is also extension-eligible – is a nice fit on the current roster, especially now that Domantas Sabonis is no longer in the picture and the team has added play-making guards like Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin.

“It’s always going to be our job to listen if it helps improve the team, but Myles (fits) with this team, with a young group of guys – especially a young group of guards – that need some defensive protection behind them, that need some experience with them in the locker room,” Buchanan said. “His shooting, it really fits with a lot of our young guards, and so from a basketball standpoint, he’s an outstanding fit on the court for us.

“… Domas is no longer with us, (Turner has) got the starting center position, he’s playing with a great young guard in Tyrese, with a coach that believes in him, so he’s set up to have an opportunity to have a great season and that puts him in a great spot next summer (in free agency). We’ve got to weigh those conversations with Myles throughout the year, with his agent throughout the year, and evaluate how he fits with our young guards, because we haven’t seen him with Tyrese. We think it’s going to fit well, but we want to see what it looks like before we make some of those calls. I’m sure Myles wants to do the same thing on his end, it’s just part of the business.”

Here are a few more of Buchanan’s most noteworthy comments from his radio appearance:

On when the Pacers – long opposed to tanking – made the decision to rebuild:

“I think we felt that moment coming as the (2021/22) season started and we had injuries, and we just couldn’t gain any momentum. … For me personally, the game on New Year’s Eve when DeMar DeRozan throws in a running one-foot three-pointer, that felt like a dagger to me, just (for) that group and our season. It was time for a new path. The Pacers have always prided themselves on being competitive, being a playoff-caliber team. It was time for us to try something new. That group had reached its ceiling with its health, with its on-court play and success.”

On whether the Pacers will be stressing their place in the standings this season:

“I don’t think focusing on the wins and losses is appropriate with a young team. We want to see growth from start to finish. You’re going to have peaks and valleys. We’ve talked a lot about having calm waters around our team and not reacting to the highs or the lows too much. … We want to see growth from October to January to March to the end of the offseason, we want to see a trajectory of positive momentum. With a young team, that’s what you want.”

On whether the Suns – who built around lottery picks Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Deandre Ayton, and Cameron Johnson – are a good blueprint for the Pacers to follow:

“I think you’re spot on. Phoenix is a good example. I think Memphis and Cleveland are the other two examples that we look at. They have a couple high draft picks that they’ve hit on (and) they’ve drafted well late in the first round.”

On Haliburton entering his first full season in Indiana:

“I think Tyrese is ready to take the next step in his play. He’s more comfortable in his surroundings, he’s more comfortable with his teammates. I think we’re going to see a big jump from Tyrese this year, which I’m excited to see.”

On the Pacers’ expectations for Jalen Smith after he re-signed with the team:

“Jalen had a phenomenal summer. He was back in Baltimore training, and came back about two weeks ago and just floored everybody in the gym with some of the things he’s doing now. We’re super excited about how his game is expanding. … Him next to Myles brings us two shot blockers, two guys that can really stretch the floor and make shots, which helps our guards.

“Jalen, I think you’ll see, has added more dimensions to his game offensively, where he’s putting the ball on the floor a little bit, creating his own shot a little more. The challenge will be Jalen defending on the perimeter. That’ll be the thing that he’s really got to continue to develop on, and that’s what he worked all summer on. That’s a big thing we talked to him about when we signed him. As a power forward, your responsibilities are different than a center.”

Pacers’ GM: Team “Not Actively Shopping” Myles Turner

Appearing on the Kevin & Query show on 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis on Tuesday (YouTube link), Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan discussed a pair of veteran Indiana players who have been at the center of trade rumors this offseason: Myles Turner and Malcolm Brogdon.

Asked directly whether the Pacers are “actively shopping” Turner, Buchanan denied that the veteran center is on the trade block.

“We are not actively shopping Myles Turner,” Buchanan said. “At this point in our offseason process, we are listening to other teams that contact us, but we are in no hurry to massively alter this roster. We’re trying to do things in an order that allows us to give us a chance to be better down the road. Teams talk with each other this time of year and there’s conversations that are had, but we’re more of a listening type of organization than we are trying to make drastic changes. I think that’s where you make mistakes.”

Buchanan added that he believes Turner is in position to have a “tremendous season” now that the logjam at center involving Domantas Sabonis has been cleared, and suggested the Pacers are open to the idea of discussing a new contract with Turner, who is extension-eligible.

“Him and Domas playing together was good at times, it was challenging at times for both players. Now that we’ve cleared that up, he’s got a runway here to be our starting center,” Buchanan said. “He’s playing with probably the best pass-first point guard he’s played with in a long time in Tyrese (Haliburton) and he’s got a coach who believes in him. It’s a great opportunity for him to have a big year. We’d love to see him with us long-term. Whether that plays out or not, that’s kind of in his hands a little bit as well.

“… He’s a big part of this organization, who we are and what we stand for. … We could not be happier with what Myles has done for this organization over the last seven years and hopefully this continues for a long time to come.”

While Buchanan’s comments suggest the Pacers aren’t going out of their way to pursue trades involving Turner, he was far less equivocal when asked directly if the team is shopping Brogdon. Buchanan referred to the guard as a “tremendous player,” but hinted that Indiana is keeping its options open.

“When you’ve won 25 games, we have to look at everything we can to help set us up to be better in the long run. There’s opportunities out there that if they present themselves, we have to consider,” the Pacers’ GM said. “I think at the core, Malcolm is a great player. We signed him because he was a great player and he’s done a lot of really good things for us. We’re going to always be opportunistic if the opportunity presents itself moving forward, but at the end of the day, we like him on this team. I think he does some things that really complement the guys that we have, can help some of the young players on our team. We’ll see where it goes between now and the start of the season.”

Brogdon has been linked most frequently this offseason to the Knicks and Wizards. New York appears to be zeroing in on free agent guard Jalen Brunson, while Washington remains in the market for veteran help at the point.

Pacers Rumors: Bjorkgren, Warren, Bayno, D’Antoni, More

Amid multiple reports suggesting that Nate Bjorkgren‘s job as the Pacers‘ head coach is in danger, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report is the latest journalist to take a deep dive into what appears to be an untenable situation in Indiana.

One league executive who has previously worked with Bjokrgren told Bleacher Report that the Pacers’ coach is “completely out of his element as a leader,” and Fischer suggests that Bjorkgren’s struggles could even end up jeopardizing the job security of veteran executives Kevin Pritchard and Chad Buchanan as well.

As Fischer explains, the Pacers may not have done enough research during the hiring process into Bjorkgren’s background or how he treated people. The head coach has been described as abrasive, particularly with assistant coaches and other staffers, with Domantas Sabonis even encouraging Bjorkgren on one occasion to be kinder to the team’s staff, per Fischer.

Bjorkgren also reportedly has a tendency to become overly agitated by minor issues, such as a ball rack being out of place during practice or a team flight being delayed for de-icing purposes, Fischer adds.

“When he was hired, I was surprised, because he’s not the easiest to work with just on anything,” said one player who previously played for Bjorkgren in the G League. “He’s kind of stubborn, won’t listen, even though it might be good conversation. He’s a micromanager and he’s not for everyone.”

Here’s more on Bjorkgren and the Pacers:

  • Sources tell Fischer that T.J. Warren, who played for the Suns when Bjorkgren was an assistant in Phoenix, requested a trade following the Pacers’ hiring of the head coach. However, a person with knowledge of the situation tells J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star “that’s BS” (Twitter link).
    [UPDATE: Fischer has now cited a source close to the situation who says Warren never formally requested a trade.]
  • When assistant coach Bill Bayno resigned in February, mental health issues were cited as the reason for his departure. Fischer hears that the veteran assistant left in large part because he was no longer able to work with Bjorkgren.
  • Assistant coach Greg Foster – who received a one-game suspension for a sideline altercation with Goga Bitadze – has also “grown agitated” by Bjorkgren’s attitude toward the staff, according to Fischer. “He doesn’t mind embarrassing his coaches,” one league executive said of the Pacers’ head coach.
  • Bjorkgren’s reluctance to call out his top veterans has impacted his credibility in the locker room, sources tell J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star, who says that even if the Pacers ultimately decide to retain their head coach for 2021/22, there will almost certainly be an overhaul of his coaching staff. Some of those coaches may want to leave voluntarily, Michael notes.
  • If Bjorkgren is let go, Mike D’Antoni is expected to once again be a candidate for the Pacers’ head coaching job, sources tell Fischer. D’Antoni drew interest from Indiana last fall.

Eastern Notes: Bulls, Simon, Brown, Draft

The Bulls are entering an offseason of change, as the franchise is looking to revamp its basketball operations department. The Athletic’s John Hollinger hears that Miami’s VP of basketball operations Adam Simon is a leading candidate for the team’s top front office job (confirming an earlier report) and adds that the chatter about Indiana’s Chad Buchanan was rather loud before the Pacers‘ GM took himself out of the running. Denver’s Arturas Karnisovas and Toronto’s Bobby Webster have also been linked to the Bulls’ opening.

Hollinger wonders if Chicago will also search for a new head coach during the NBA’s hiatus. Jim Boylen‘s future with the club is uncertain and the Bulls won’t be the only team looking for a new head coach this offseason.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Many insiders believe that Sixers coach Brett Brown is on the hot seat, though it’s unlikely that the team makes a move while the league is on hiatus, Hollinger adds in the same piece. Firing Brown and having the Sixers proceed to the playoffs with a new coach wouldn’t be an ideal scenario.
  • The Cavaliers don’t have enough intel on their top young talent to rule out selecting a player at any position in the 2020 draft, Chris Fedor of writes. Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. both appear to be long-term building blocks, yet neither is certain to be an All-Star, so the Cavs should select the best available player regardless of position with their top pick.
  • Keith Langlois of examines Khyri Thomas‘ progress since the Pistons‘ drafted him with the No. 38 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Injuries have stunted Thomas’ growth and while the franchise doesn’t have major talent on the wing, he’ll need to show more if he’s going to stay with Detroit beyond his current contract, which is non-guaranteed for next season.

Chad Buchanan To Stay With Pacers, Turns Down Interview With Bulls

Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan is declining an opportunity to interview for the Bulls‘ top front office position, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Buchanan decided to remain in his current job, saying he and his family have been treated well by the organization.

Toronto’s Bobby Webster, Miami’s Adam Simon and Denver’s Arturas Karnisovas are the most prominent remaining candidates for the position, Charania adds, but Chicago will continue to research other possibilities (Twitter link).

Buchanan, who is in his third year as Indiana’s GM, also worked with president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard in Portland before they both came to Indiana. His comfort level with that partnership played a strong role in the decision to stay, a source tells K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

The Bulls are seeking permission to interview Webster, Simon and Karnisovas, according to Johnson, who adds that team president Michael Reinsdorf hopes to fill the position before the NBA hiatus is over. Whoever is ultimately hired to run the organization may make more hires and will launch an overhaul of the scouting department.

Executive vice president John Paxson is expected to be retained in an advisory role, but the fate of former GM Gar Forman, who is now working mainly in scouting, may be determined by the new regime. Reinsdorf is still a strong supporter of coach Jim Boylen, Johnson notes, but the fate of all the coaches will be decided by the new team president.

Assistant GM Steve Weinman is believed to be safe, Johnson writes. He has built a strong reputation for his expertise with salary cap issues and the collective bargaining agreement.

Bulls To Seek Interviews With Karnisovas, Webster, Others

1:24pm: Pacers GM Chad Buchanan will  join Karnisovas and Webster on the Bulls’ list of first-wave interview targets, per K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (via Twitter). Sources tell Darnell Mayberry and Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link) that Heat assistant GM Adam Simon will be part of that group as well.

According to Mayberry (Twitter link), the Bulls won’t pursue Ujiri or Thunder head of basketball operations Sam Presti and won’t go the player-agent route like New York and other teams have.

12:41pm: The Bulls have formally launched their search for a new top front office executive who will have full authority on basketball decisions, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. We had previously heard in a series of February reports that the team was laying the groundwork for front office changes.

Those February reports suggested that executive VP of basketball operations John Paxson would retain a “valuable seat at the table” amidst the front office upheaval and that general manager Gar Forman would have his responsibilities cut back.

Wojnarowski confirms that Paxson is expected to continue in an advisory role and says that the club will have more conversations with Forman about his future. Previous reports indicated Forman would likely be re-assigned to a scouting position.

According to Wojnarowski, Chicago plans to seek permission to interview Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas and Raptors GM Bobby Webster, among others. The club’s goal is to complete its planned front office changes “well before” the NBA resumes play, per Woj, who hears that interviews will begin next week and will be conducted virtually rather than in person due to the coronavirus.

Neither Karnisovas nor Webster is the head of basketball operations for his respective team — Tim Connelly serves as Denver’s president of basketball operations, while Masai Ujiri holds that position in Toronto. However, the two GMs have risen through their respective organizations in recent years and have played important roles in building the Nuggets’ and Raptors’ talented rosters.

According to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, who identified Karnisovas and Webster as two possible targets for the Bulls in a March mailbag, Pacers GM Chad Buchanan, Heat assistant GM Adam Simon, Jazz GM Justin Zanik, and Clippers GM Michael Winger are among the other executives on Bulls president/COO Michael Reinsdorf‘s list of potential candidates (Twitter link).

Many of those executives are under contract beyond the 2019/20 season, but likely wouldn’t be held back by their respective teams if the Bulls’ job is viewed as a promotion from their current roles. Based on Woj’s description, it should be.

The timing of Chicago’s search is interesting. Ujiri spoke earlier this week about putting business like contract extensions for himself and Nick Nurse on hold during the NBA’s stoppage, and we heard on Thursday that the Knicks aren’t pursuing front office changes or a new head coach during the hiatus. Nets GM Sean Marks also said this week that his team isn’t moving forward with its head coach search at this time.

However, no official hiring or firing freeze has been instituted by the NBA, and the Bulls’ situation is a little different from that of those other teams — a new top front office executive would lead the team’s decisions in the draft and free agency, making that search a more pressing matter than a head coaching hire, lower-level front office changes, or extensions for current execs and coaches.