Tomas Satoransky

Bulls Notes: Draft, Vassell, Young, Satoransky

The Bulls are likely targeting a “lead play-maker” with their lottery pick in this year’s draft, league sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.

With the No. 4 pick, Chicago probably won’t have a chance to select LaMelo Ball — O’Connor does have Ball going to the Bulls in his latest mock draft, but the younger brother of Lonzo Ball is widely expected to be a top-three selection.

If Ball is off the board, there still should be a number of intriguing alternatives in play for the Bulls. Killian Hayes, who spent last season playing for Ratiopharm Ulm in Germany, is O’Connor top-ranked prospect in this year’s class and would be a viable option at No. 4. Former Iowa State standout Tyrese Haliburton is also considered a very creative play-maker with strong vision, as O’Connor writes.

Here’s more on the Bulls:

  • Taking into account that Ball, Anthony Edwards, and James Wiseman are considered the most likely players to be drafted in the top three, Sam Smith of explores whether any of those prospects figure to be available for the Bulls at No. 4 — and whether the team should select them if they are.
  • Focusing on the top wing prospects in the draft rather than the backcourt play-makers, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic considers whether trading down and selecting Florida State sharpshooter Devin Vassell might be the right play for the Bulls.
  • A year after signing with the Bulls as free agents, Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky stand out as possible trade candidates, given the club’s roster construction, Mayberry writes in a separate story for The Athletic. While Mayberry thinks the two veterans could be good fits for the rotation under new head coach Billy Donovan, he notes that the new-look front office hasn’t been shy about transforming the coaching staff and might take a similar approach with the non-core pieces on the roster.

Central Notes: Pistons, Satoransky, Markkanen, Cavs

While it may seem that the Pistons wouldn’t benefit from being included in any NBA plan to resume the season, waiting for next season could prove detrimental to the franchise, as the team’s website writer Keith Langlois explains.

Rookie Sekou Doumbouya needs all the time he can get playing and working with the team’s coaches, while Luke Kennard — sidelined by knee injuries much of the season — could prove he’s healthy with rookie scale extension talks looming. An unprecedented, prolonged break prior to next season would disrupt the Pistons’ rebuilding plan as well as the players’ circadian rhythm, Langlois adds.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky is also concerned about a huge gap between seasons for also-rans, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago relays. In an interview posted on Euro Hoops Instagram Live, Satoransky said it would be very tough for NBA players to deal with that type of layoff. “I think it’s difficult to imagine being without a game until December, this year basically being without games. That kind of changes your perspective also on being able to come back to finish the season,” Satoransky said. “We are competitors and we want to compete against everyone.”
  • There were rumblings during the season that Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen was unhappy, but he declared in a recent podcast he wants to stay with the franchise long-term. “I want to stay in Chicago and sign an extension (with the Bulls), no question. I love this city,” Markkanen said on Finnish podcast Urheilucast (hat tip to On Tap Sports Net). Markkanen is eligible for a rookie scale extension prior to next season.
  • The Cavaliers are another team that could be left out of the NBA’s final plan to resume the season. Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer breaks down the implications for the franchise in each possible scenario.

Coronavirus Notes: Schedule, Testing, Jazz, Satoransky

If the NBA season is completed late in the summer, it could have long-term implications on the league schedule, Mike Singer of the Denver Post opines. If the playoffs are conducted in July and August, there is no chance that NBA training camps would open in late September, Singer notes. Hawks CEO Steve Koonin’s suggestion prior to the suspension of play that the league calendar should shift to a December-August format could become a reality, at least for one season.

We have more coronavirus-related news:

  • The ease in which NBA teams had access to tests compared to the general public was a bad look for the league, Dan Wolken of USA Today writes. Franchises should use their vast resources and influence to get others tested, rather than asymptomatic NBA players, Wolken argues.
  • Jazz owner Gail Miller and her family will “more than match” the $200K donation that Gobert has pledged to Vivint Arena and Jazz part-time employees, per Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune. Gobert and numerous other NBA players have made similar donations to arena workers.
  • Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky is pessimistic about the resumption of the NBA season and wants to return to Europe, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago relays. In a recent interview with NOVA Sports, he said, “It is not pleasant to stay here and watch the team owners try to finish the league in order not to lose so much money. It is not very pleasant, perhaps because we would like to travel to the Czech Republic with my wife and daughter. We perceive the situation logically as Europeans. We perceive that all the right measures are already in place in the Czech Republic, and we think that in the USA, it will only get worse and worse.

Central Notes: Carter, Pacers, Wood, Satoransky

Second-year Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr. has been shooting more readily from long range recently, according to NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson. Carter’s improved three-point shooting could help expand Chicago’s offense if the uptick in attempts and makes continues.

A 41.3% shooter during his single year at Duke, Carter is just a career 22.7% three-point shooter in the NBA on 0.7 attempts. Across his last five Bulls contests, however, he has boosted his three-point attempts to 1.2 a night. Carter made two triples last night in a 116-81 blowout over the Hawks.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • A pair of road losses on a Friday-and-Saturday back-to-back, to the elite Heat and the bottom-dwelling Pelicans, have revealed that the Pacers appear able to play up or down to the level of their competition, according to J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star. Michael suggests that this trend could become dangerous should it continue.
  • Pistons power forward Christian Wood, an unrestricted free agent this summer, has earned his roster spot with the Pistons, writes Keith Langlois of Detroit will almost certainly guarantee Wood’s contract come January 10. Langlois observes that Wood hopes to become part of the Pistons’ future. Head coach Dwane Casey applauds Wood’s development thus far this season. “That’s what this year is about – training and growth, longer periods of sustained focus,” Casey said. “He’s showing that on both ends of the floor, not getting caught up as much in the little things that take him out of plays offensively and defensively.” 
  • Bulls point guard Tomas Satoransky, one of the team’s premium 2019 summer signings, has been finding his sweet spot in Chicago, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “I think I’ve had a lot of ups and downs this season,” Satoransky said. “I feel great. I’m more consistent [lately].” The 28 year-old inked a three-year, $30MM contract with the Bulls, though the third year is not fully guaranteed.

Central Notes: Brogdon, Lamb, Satoransky, Gafford

Speaking to Ben Golliver of The Washington Post, Bucks general manager Jon Horst said that he was “pained” by the loss of Malcolm Brogdon this summer. However, Horst insisted that Milwaukee wasn’t forced into doing anything it didn’t want to do with Brogdon, who was a restricted free agent and could’ve been retained rather than sent to the Pacers in a sign-and-trade.

“I don’t feel like we were forced to do anything that we didn’t want to,” Horst said. “We made a trade with Tony Snell that freed us up to match any offers. We have an ownership group that has allowed us to do whatever we need to do [financially]. The decision on Malcolm really came down to what we thought we could get in return. Do we want to pay for what we think his market could be or do we want to see if we could get something that helps us now and going forward?”

On the surface, the Bucks’ decision not to bring back Brogdon does look financially motivated, as the team almost certainly would’ve ended up in luxury-tax territory if it re-signed the RFA guard. Whether or not that was the case, Horst views the trade with the Pacers – which netted multiple draft picks, including a first-rounder – as one that could end up being a win-win deal.

“I don’t think it’s said enough in the NBA that it’s possible for both parties to win,” Horst said. “It’s possible that we could be a better team without Malcolm. It’s possible that he could be a better player in Indiana. It’s possible that we could both do a great trade. Early on, it looks like that.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • While Brogdon has been the Pacers‘ most productive offseason addition so far, Jeremy Lamb hasn’t been too far behind. J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star explores how the team has benefited from signing Lamb, who has provided scoring, ball-handling, and length.
  • The Bulls had their best game of the season on Wednesday as they blew out Atlanta in a performance keyed by Tomas Satoransky, who recorded 27 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds. Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago examines Satoransky’s work on both sides of the ball to show how the veteran guard is proving his value to his new team.
  • Second-round rookie Daniel Gafford is anxiously awaiting the opportunity to play regular minutes for the Bulls, as Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times writes. “I’m always at the end of the bench, trying to be the loudest at the end of the bench,” said Gafford, who has logged just six total minutes so far. “I’m always trying to bring energy to the floor for the guys that are out there playing. At the same time, it’s eating me up inside. I just want to be out there to try to do whatever I can to help the team get a win.”

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 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 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.”

Eastern Notes: Celtics, Satoransky, Lowry, Aminu

A Wednesday report suggested the Celtics have offered Jaylen Brown a four-year, $80MM contract extension and that the young swingman passed on that offer in search of a more lucrative deal. Appearing on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston on Thursday, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge referred to that report as “not accurate,” though he declined to offer any real specifics on the team’s talks with Brown.

“We are working to come to some result by Monday as our deadline, and the negotiations have gone well,” the Celtics’ top decision-maker said, per Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. “It’s just not an accurate report, that’s all. We’ve given him numerous offers. We’ve been negotiating for a little while. So, that’s all.”

Shams Charania of The Athletic wrote earlier today that multiple teams are watching the Celtics’ negotiations with Brown closely, since the soon-to-be-23-year-old would be a prime candidate for a big offer sheet if he reaches restricted free agency next summer. However, Ainge said that neither Brown nor the C’s are “too stressed” about the situation, as Forsberg notes.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • After assuming most of the scoring and play-making responsibilities in Charlotte, Kemba Walker is enjoying playing on a Celtics team that has players capable of sharing that burden, writes John Karalis of “It takes a lot of pressure off me,” Walker said earlier this week. “I’m getting a lot of different shots as well, but I’m loving it, not having to do so much all the time. Hopefully my usage rate might be going down a little bit. It allows other guys to make plays and I can appreciate that for sure.”
  • The Bulls officially named offseason free agent addition Tomas Satoransky their starting point guard this week, as K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago details. Satoransky beat our fourth-year guard Kris Dunn, who is entering a contract year. However, Dunn is staying positive as he prepares for a reserve role, Johnson writes in a separate NBC Sports Chicago story.
  • After signing an extension with the Raptors this week, Kyle Lowry said that both sides “worked extremely hard to get it done” and that he’s glad to remain in the place he wanted to be. GM Bobby Webster, meanwhile, said working out a new deal with Lowry before opening night was always the goal. You don’t want to go into seasons with anything hanging over the team,” Webster said. “We knew it was something that was really important to him and it was really important to us (Twitter links via Josh Lewenberg of
  • Al-Farouq Aminu‘s new teammates in Orlando have been raving about his versatility, work ethic, and ability to adapt quickly to the Magic‘s system, writes John Denton of Aminu was the team’s big offseason addition, signing a three-year contract worth nearly $30MM.

Bulls Notes: Satoransky, Valentine, Kornet, LaVine

Bulls coach Jim Boylen hasn’t announced who will start at point guard but Tomas Satoransky seems to be leading the pack, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago reports. Satoransky, who is battling rookie Coby White and incumbent Kris Dunn for the job, was acquired from the Wizards in a sign-and-trade deal. Satoransky had 11 points and eight assists in 20 minutes against the Pelicans in a preseason outing earlier this week.

“Every day, there is more clarity on what you like, what you don’t like, who fits, who doesn’t fit. Not only in that (lead guard) position but other situations,” Boylen said. “We can’t play everybody. From Day One, I said we’re going to have to share and become a team where sacrifice is involved. That day is coming not just for that lead guard position but other ones, too.”

We have more on the Bulls:

  • When swingman Denzel Valentine drove to the United Center on Monday, he got choked up en route to making his preseason debut, as he told Johnson in a separate story. Valentine missed last season after undergoing left ankle surgery. “I shed a tear on the way over to the arena,” Valentine said. “It’s just very emotional for me. This is my passion. This is what I love. It’s huge being healthy and being out there again.”
  • Big man Luke Kornet received a fully guaranteed two-year, $4.5MM deal from the Bulls in free agency but the possibility of being a rotation player was also a crucial factor in his decision, Johnson reports in another story. “A couple teams contacted me but I was able to talk to Coach Boylen for awhile and I got the feel they value what I do and understand the value of it,” Kornet said. “That got me excited.”
  • If the Bulls can make inroads in the win-loss column, Zach LaVine believes can receive All-Star recognition, as he told Eric Woodyard of ESPN“I had an All-Star-caliber year last year, but we had 22 wins so it got a little bit swept under the rug,” he said. “But that’s how it’s supposed to be when you have 20 wins. But if I continue to play the way I’m supposed to, there’s no reason I shouldn’t be an All-Star or All-NBA type guy.”

Bulls Notes: Satoransky, Dunn, Valentine, WCJ

While Tomas Satoransky was ostensibly brought in this offseason to be the Bulls‘ starting point guard, his versatility presents some options for the franchise, according to Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. As Strotman notes, Satoransky can play off the ball too, allowing the team to use him alongside its other point guards in some lineups.

Meanwhile, after being on the trade block for months, returning point guard Kris Dunn welcomes the opportunity to work with Satoransky and Coby White this fall rather than viewing the newest members of the Bulls’ backcourt as a threat, as K.C. Johnson writes for NBC Sports Chicago.

“Coby is young. I understand it’s going to take him time. He’s got room to grow. But he’s a talented player,” Dunn said. “Satoransky is a great player. He’s going to be a good piece to this team. He has more experience than me. He’s been in playoff games. He’s been a good teammate to me. Learn from those guys too. They might see something I don’t see on the court. It’s healthy.”

Here’s more from out of Chicago:

  • Denzel Valentine didn’t play a single game last season for the Bulls due to a left ankle injury, but he said this week that he’s “100% healthy” and just needs to work his way back into game shape, per Johnson. “Sitting out, I think I’m more mentally tough,” Valentine said. “I gained a lot of experience watching. I feel I’m a more mature and confident player now. I’m excited.”
  • Although the injuries don’t appear serious, Wendell Carter Jr. suffered a sprained left ankle and Daniel Gafford hyperextended his right elbow on the first day of camp, according to Johnson. The Bulls have had some bad injury luck in recent years, so that’s an ominous start to the fall for the club.
  • Count Otto Porter among those impressed by what he’s seen from the Bulls so far this fall, as Strotman outlines for NBC Sports Chicago. “A lot has changed. I think the mentality of this organization changed. Since I’ve come here, just what we want to do here has changed,” Porter said. “With that being said, I think everybody’s on the right page, I think with all the talent that we have, we’ve come early to put in that extra work to get to know everybody, every piece in here, even in the front office, because we want to do something special here.”

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.