Thaddeus Young

Bulls Notes: Davis, Toughness, Satoransky

A day after seemingly leaving the door open to the possibility of joining his hometown team, Anthony Davis told reporters today that he never said he would consider the Bulls in free agency next summer, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com tweets.

Davis said he is focused on winning a championship with the Lakers, and as for his free agency: “We’ll see where it goes.”

As Chicagoans go through the emotional roller coaster of a Davis news cycle, let’s take a look at more notes on the Bulls:

  • Coach Jim Boylen feels the Bulls need to toughen up, as K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports relays. “Where we have struggled I think is at times we’ve been willing physically, but we’ve been weak mentally, ” Boylen said. “That’s also part of our development with this group. And we can make excuses for that. We can say we’re young, we can say we’re new. A lot of the league is young and a lot of the league is new. We can say we’re going to have played nine games in 14 days, we’ve played the most road games in the league. Is that pulling on our mental and physical toughness? Is that pulling on this group that’s never really been through it before together? Maybe it is. That’s the growth plate. That’s the learning moment.”
  • New addition Tomas Satoransky sees an area in which the 2-5 Bulls can improve, as Johnson passes along in the same piece. “Offensively, we’re missing our pace from the preseason and I think sometimes we’re not taking open shots and instead we’re taking the tough ones and I think that has to change,” the point guard said.
  • Sam Smith of NBA.com details how Thaddeus Young, who signed with the Bulls this offseason, is attempted to turn the young squad into a winning team. “The team has been straightforward to tell me what they expect of me and this is what’s going to happen,” Young said. “It’s up to me to be able to go out there and do my job to the best of my abilities. Whoever has it shaking and moving at that time, that’s who we have to go with. You just have to be ready to seize the moment, seize the opportunity.”

Bulls Notes: Point Guards, Hutchison, Young, Valentine

The Bulls are hoping an intense competition for playing time at point guard will be beneficial once the season begins, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. New addition Tomas Satoransky came into camp ready to challenge Kris Dunn for the starter’s job, but first-round pick Coby White will also be in the mix for minutes, along with Ryan Arcidiacono and Shaquille Harrison.

“The guard play has been fun to watch and competitive,” coach Jim Boylen said. “Respectful, but very competitive. I think it has really added to the spirit of our team, of making each other better, or growing as a group, building a team. It’s been great for us.”

“I think going against each other is just going to make us better,” Dunn added. “Everybody on the team is talented. The point guard position is talented. I think it’s just overall going to make us better.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Amid a variety of training camp injuries, Chandler Hutchison‘s strained hamstring continues to be the greatest concern, Cowley adds in the same piece. Boylen said earlier this week that Hutchison may not be ready for opening night. Before he can be activated, Hutchison has to pass the team’s fitness test and then prove he can compete in practice. “A hamstring is a difficult injury,” Boylen said. “It’s a trust thing. You’ve got to trust that you can get back into your stance. You’ve got to trust you can extend. And I don’t think he’s there yet. It’s going to be a while.”
  • The Bulls have been importing veterans since the trade deadline in February, Cowley observes in a separate story. Free agent addition Thaddeus Young has been sharing his experience with younger players and stressing the importance of preparation. “A lot of people always say that once you get in between these lines it starts, but it doesn’t start in between the lines,’’ he said. “It starts in the locker room … building that camaraderie, building that brotherhood with one another and then it translates out to the court.”
  • Denzel Valentine is eager for a new season after missing all of 2018/19 after ankle surgery, relays Sam Smith of Bulls.com. Valentine was a part-time starter two years ago and wants to make a strong impression heading into restricted free agency next summer.

Bulls Notes: Young, Point Guards, Hutchison, WCJ

Veteran forward Thaddeus Young played in the postseason in each of his last three seasons in Indiana, and has appeared in the playoffs in eight of his 12 NBA seasons in total. However, as an unrestricted free agent this offseason, he opted to sign with the Bulls, who were coming off a 22-win season.

Speaking today to reporters, including Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link), Young said he received interest from potential championships contenders in free agency, but liked the idea of becoming a veteran leader in Chicago. According to Young, he intends to bring energy and veteran leadership to the club and to be the sort of player who can speak up in the locker room and hold everyone accountable (Twitter link via Strotman).

While joining the Bulls may have appealed to Young for the reasons he mentioned, it’s probably also safe to assume that most of those title contenders who expressed interest in him this summer weren’t able to match the $13MM+ annual salary he received from Chicago.

Here’s more from the Bulls on Media Day:

  • Head coach Jim Boylen said the point guard situation in Chicago will “work its way out” in terms of minutes and that the Bulls’ players have embraced the competition, tweets Strotman. Tomas Satoransky, Coby White, Kris Dunn, Ryan Arcidiacono, and Shaquille Harrison are all expected to be in the point guard mix.
  • The Bulls’ goal in 2019/20 is to make the playoffs, Boylen declared today (Twitter link via Strotman). The club finished 19 games back of the No. 8 seed last season.
  • Chandler Hutchison, who suffered a hamstring strain earlier this month, is “going to be out for a little bit,” per head of basketball operations John Paxson (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune). Paxson also noted that Luke Kornet has turf toe and will miss a few days.
  • Wendell Carter Jr., on the other hand, said today that he feels 100% – and better than he has for the last five or six years – after undergoing core muscle surgery during the offseason, tweets Strotman.

Central Notes: Oladipo, Anthony, Young, Blatt

Victor Oladipo is sure the Pacers will make the playoffs due to the additions of Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. Warren and Jeremy Lamb, among others, as he told J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star.

“I feel like we got some great additions. We got a chance to be really special. I feel like the league is wide open,” the Pacers’ guard said. “I was excited for the opportunity to play with (Brogdon). I know what type of player he is, the level that he plays on and has been playing on the last couple of years from Milwaukee. To have him as an addition is pretty big for us.”

Oladipo is working his way back from a quad injury and it’s uncertain whether he’ll be ready by the time the Pacers open training camp. “I’m not sure yet,” he told Mark Monteith of the team’s website.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Adding free agent Carmelo Anthony to the mix never made any sense for the Pistons, as Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press explains in his latest mailbag. Anthony’s game is predicated on isolation plays and that doesn’t fit the Pistons’ system. He’s also spent most of his time at power forward in recent seasons and the Pistons already signed Markieff Morris, a better defender, to back up Blake Griffin. They also added another veteran forward, Michael Beasley, to compete for a roster spot, Ellis adds.
  • Thaddeus Young is a quality finisher and that will help boost the Bulls’ offense, according to Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. Young shot 67.9% from inside three feet for the Pacers last season, while Chicago ranked 28th in the NBA in field goal percentage inside five feet, making just 58% of its attempts, Strotman notes. Young jumped teams on a three-year, $41MM pact early in the free agent season.
  • Former Cavaliers coach David Blatt is battling multiple sclerosis but plans to continue coaching, according to an Associated Press report. He’s currently the coach of the Greek team Olympiacos Piraeus. “I am a coach and my job is to lead and teach and inspire a lot of people,” Blatt wrote in the statement. “Not being as agile or active doesn’t affect my ability to do those things.”

Smart, Young Invited To Join USA Basketball Camp

Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been added to USA Basketball’s training camp roster for the FIBA World Cup this summer, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Veteran forward Thaddeus Young, who signed with the Bulls in free agency this summer, has also been invited to participate, Charania adds in another tweet.

The move was necessitated by the flurry of defections from the original 20-man roster. Anthony DavisJames HardenBradley BealCJ McCollum and Eric Gordon have already withdrawn from Team USA participation this summer, starting with training camp in Las Vegas in August. Two other players, Damian Lillard and Kevin Love, are also undecided and will announce their decisions in the next few days.

The roster will be trimmed to 12 players for the World Cup in China. Smart, who averaged 8.9 PPG, 4.0 APG and 1.8 SPG last season, would give coach Gregg Popovich a versatile defensive option if he makes the final cut.

Smart joins new teammate and backcourt partner Kemba Walker, who is on the original 20-man roster. That list of 20 invitees to the USA Basketball camp can be found here. Smart signed a four-year deal with Boston last summer.

Young averaged 12.5 PPG and 6.5 RPG in 81 games with the Pacers last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Harris Withdraws From Team USA This Summer

Add Tobias Harris‘ name to the growing list of USA Basketball players pulling out of consideration for this year’s FIBA World Cup. Harris, who re-signed with the Sixers for five years and $180MM this summer, has decided to focus on the upcoming NBA season, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.

Anthony Davis, James Harden, Bradley Beal, CJ McCollum and Eric Gordon have also withdrawn from Team USA participation this summer, starting with training camp in Las Vegas early next month. Two other players, Damian Lillard and Kevin Love, are also undecided and will announce their decisions in the next few days, Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports.

Team USA will bring 12 players to the FIBA tournament. Among the players under consideration to replace the stars who have withdrawn, according to Vardon, include Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, D’Angelo Russell, Mike ConleyJosh Richardson, Thaddeus Young and Julius Randle. Select Team members could also be considered for the final 12-man roster, including Trae Young, Vardon adds. Top pick Zion Williamson has withdrawn from the Select Team this summer.

The original list of 20 invitees to the USA Basketball camp can be found here.

Eastern Notes: Young, Westbrook, Siakam, Hawks

Thaddeus Young gives the Bulls a much-needed glue guy, Sam Smith of the team’s website writes. Not only does Young fill the stat sheet but he also provides other valuable assets, such as contesting shots, staying in front of his man and forcing opponents to pass late in the shot clock, Smith adds. Young signed a three-year contract with Chicago that could be worth up to $43.6MM. Young will embrace a leadership role, as Sean Highkin of NBC Sports Chicago relays. “I know the task is very, very hard,” the former Pacers big man said. “I carry that weight each and every day. I know I can help these young guys get better, I know I can push them over the hump.”

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Adding Russell Westbrook would have made the Pistons better in the short term but it wasn’t worth the long-term risk, Keith Langlois of the team’s website opines. The Pistons couldn’t afford to give up future first-rounders and agree to pick swaps as Houston did to acquire Westbrook from Oklahoma City. With Blake Griffin‘s big contract and Andre Drummond holding an option to become a free agent next summer, the Pistons would not have been able to make any more notable future upgrades if they took on Westbrook’s huge contract, Langlois adds.
  • The Raptors might as well offer Pascal Siakam a max four- or five-year extension this summer, Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca argues. Ben Simmons has reportedly received a similar offer from the Sixers, while Jamal Murray has already signed an extension with the Nuggets. Siakam has outperformed both of his peers in many categories, Grange notes. The Raptors also don’t have any salary-cap restraints in future seasons that would prevent them from maxing out Siakam, Grange adds.
  • Rookie of the Year finalist Trae Young and young big John Collins will see an increase in playing time, Hawks GM Travis Schlenk told Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Lottery picks De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish will also get thrown into the fire for the rebuilding Hawks. “Last year, Trae and John played about 30 minutes. They are probably going to play 35 minutes this year as they continue to grow,” Schlenk said. “De’Andre is obviously going to play a lot of minutes. Cam, we are going to play a lot.”

Eastern Notes: Bulls, Frazier, Oladipo, Stoudemire

Bulls head coach Jim Boylen is excited about the new players his team brought in this offseason, and he hopes that the additions of veterans Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky alongside rookies Coby White and Daniel Gafford will allow him to deploy a deeper roster during the 2019/20 season, writes Sean Highkin of NBC Sports Chicago.

“What we (the Bulls) talked about is we wanted to bring in high character depth that could support our current roster,” Boylen said. “I also wanted a team that was duplicit and redundant so we could play the same way (when we go to our bench).”

Specifically, Boylen spoke on how the last couple years’ lack of depth caused the Bulls to rely on G League level players whenever stars like Zach LaVine or Lauri Markkanen were out with injury or sickness.

“We’ve struggled the last couple years to play on a night when we had injury or illness, where we had to change our style of play before the game. I don’t want that (for the Bulls). The good teams don’t have that.”

There’s more news out of the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • Veteran point guard Tim Frazier is eager for the opportunity that awaits him with the Pistons, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. While Frazier may see limited minutes behind Reggie Jackson and Derrick Rose, Detroit sees value in having a young and experienced option in case Jackson or Rose get hurt.
  • As Jackie MacMullan of ESPN explains, Pacers guard Victor Oladipo has seen his appreciation for basketball grow as he’s been sidelined with a ruptured right quadriceps tendon. Regarding watching his team’s performance during the playoffs last season, Oladipo said “It was so hard. It makes you appreciate the game more, your teammates more, even yourself more… Sometimes we don’t realize our own impact. You take it for granted. I won’t ever do that again.”
  • The Knicks do not plan on signing former NBA All-Star big man Amar’e Stoudemire to a contract for the 2019/20 season, reports Marc Berman of The New York Post. Stoudemire worked out for the Knicks and 14 other teams in Las Vegas on Monday. He last played in the NBA for the Heat during the 2015/16 season.

Contract Details: Knicks, Cook, T. Young, Mann

Details on the free agent contracts signed by the Knicks are starting to trickle in, with Bobby Marks of ESPN and Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights (Twitter links) providing specifics on Julius Randle‘s three-year deal.

While it was initially reported as being worth $63MM, Randle’s three-year pact with the Knicks has a base value of just $18MM in its first year, per Marks. Those cap hits increase to $18.9MM in year two and $19.8MM in year three, according to Siegel, who notes that the third year is partially guaranteed for just $4MM. The agreement has about $2MM in annual unlikely bonuses which could increase the total value into the $63MM range.

Here are details on a couple more Knicks contracts, as well as some other deals from around the NBA:

  • Taj Gibson and Elfrid Payton don’t technically have second-year team options on their respective contracts with the Knicks, but their second-year salaries are only guaranteed for $1MM apiece, according to Siegel (Twitter links).
  • The second season of the Lakers‘ two-year, $6MM deal with Quinn Cook is only partially guaranteed for $1MM, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). It would become fully guaranteed if Cook stays on the roster through June 29, 2020.
  • Thaddeus Young‘s three-year contract with the Bulls will have a total value between $40.6MM and 43.6MM, depending on whether he earns his incentives, tweets Pincus. The third year on Young’s deal is partially guaranteed for $6MM.
  • The Clippers used their cap room to sign second-rounder Terance Mann to a four-year, $6.2MM contract before they went over the cap to acquire Paul George, tweets Bobby Marks. A minimum-salary deal for Mann would be worth about $6.13MM over four years, so it sounds like he may get slightly more than the minimum in his rookie season.
    • Update: The first two years of Mann’s deal are guaranteed, and he’ll make $1MM in year one, tweets Siegel.

Bulls Release Shaquille Harrison, Walt Lemon Jr.

The Bulls have waived Shaquille Harrison and Walt Lemon Jr., according to a press release from the team. Chicago needed the cap space to finalize the signings of free agents Thaddeus Young, which is now official, and Tomas Satoransky, who is still waiting to sign his deal. Harrison and Lemon both had non-guaranteed contracts that would have paid them $1,588,231 next season.

Harrison, 25, appeared in 73 games this year, starting 11, after signing with the Bulls last summer. He posted a 6.5/3.0/1.9 line in about 20 minutes per night.

Lemon, 26, got into six games after signing with Chicago in late March. He started the season on a two-way contract with the Celtics, but never played for them before being released in November.