Tomas Satoransky

Young, Satoransky, Brunson Receive Salary Guarantees

Bulls forward Thaddeus Young ($14.2MM) and guard Tomas Satoransky ($10MM) both saw their contracts for next season become fully guaranteed on Monday, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Satoransky is reportedly on the way to the Pelicans as part of a sign-and-trade involving Lonzo Ball.

Also having his salary guaranteed Monday was Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson ($1.8MM), Marks adds (via Twitter). Marks identifies Brunson as a potential extension candidate.

All three players will be in line for unrestricted free agency next summer.

Bulls To Acquire Lonzo Ball Via Sign-And-Trade

The Bulls and point guard Lonzo Ball have agreed to a four-year, $85MM deal, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul tells Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The contract will include a fourth-year player option, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Ball is a restricted free agent, but the Bulls and Pelicans will work out a sign-and-trade to get him to Chicago, Paul tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

The Pelicans will receive Tomas Satoransky, Garrett Temple, and a second-round pick from the Bulls in the sign-and-trade agreement, according to Charania (Twitter link).

Temple is a free agent, so he’ll be signed-and-traded as well. He’s getting a three-year contract with the first two years guaranteed, according to David Aldridge of The Athletic, who adds that the deal is expected to be worth about $5MM per year (Twitter links).

It’s a major coup for the Bulls, who have been linked to Ball for the last several months. The team reportedly discussed a trade with the Pelicans at the deadline, but couldn’t reach a deal to land Ball at the time. Now, Chicago is in position to add the former No. 2 overall pick to a starting lineup led by Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic.

Ball, 23, had arguably the best season of his career in 2020/21, averaging 14.6 PPG, 5.7 APG, and 4.8 RPG in 55 games (31.8 MPG) and improving his shooting numbers to .414/.378/.781.

His deal is right in line with the four-year deals signed by fellow point guards Fred VanVleet and Malcolm Brogdon in recent free agencies.

While Pelicans stars Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram expressed a desire to continue playing with Ball, the team’s front office never seemed sold on the idea of making him a long-term cornerstone. Adding Satoransky will give New Orleans some depth at the point, though the team will likely remain in the hunt for another point guard in free agency.

Fischer’s Latest: Bulls, Ball, Pelicans, Hornets, Lakers, Schröder, Knicks, More

While it’s possible the Bulls will sign restricted free agent point guard Lonzo Ball to an offer sheet in the four-year, $80MM range, doing so would be a risk, since the Pelicans could match that offer and leave Chicago empty-handed. According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, a possible three-team deal involving the Bulls, Pelicans, and Hornets could eliminate that risk and ensure Ball lands in Chicago.

The structure – which John Hollinger of The Athletic alluded to earlier today and which has seemingly gained traction, per Fischer – would see Ball going to the Bulls, Devonte’ Graham to the Pelicans, and Tomas Satoransky, Josh Hart, and draft assets to the Hornets.

Fischer cautions that this is only one idea in play and that things should become clearer once free agency opens. A sign-and-trade that only involves the Bulls and Pelicans – with Satoransky going to New Orleans – is also a possibility, he adds.

Here’s more from Fischer’s latest rumor roundup:

  • The Lakers haven’t given up on the possibility of acquiring Buddy Hield from the Kings, but they don’t appear to be working closely with Dennis Schröder‘s camp on a possible sign-and-trade arrangement, per Fischer.
  • The Knicks and Wizards are still considered possibilities for Schröder, according to Fischer. The veteran point guard is also believed to be one of the Bulls‘ targets if they can’t land Ball, Fischer notes, writing that Chicago has done its homework on DeMar DeRozan and Richaun Holmes as well.
  • The Knicks are widely believed to be a frontrunner to sign Evan Fournier, perhaps for a three-year deal worth about $18MM annually, Fischer reports. Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel are also strong candidates to re-sign with New York for deals worth about $10MM per year, Fischer adds.
  • Will Barton appears likely to return to the Nuggets, according to Fischer, who says a two-year, $32MM+ contract is a real possibility.
  • Cameron Payne is considered a good bet to re-sign with the Suns for a deal in the $6MM-per-year range, says Fischer.

Free Agent Rumors: Lowry, DeRozan, Knicks, Graham, Jackson, More

Now considered to be favorites to land Kyle Lowry in free agency, the Heat may try to bring in DeMar DeRozan as well, tweets Jordan Schultz of ESPN, confirming a series of reports from the last 24 hours.

Lowry and DeRozan were backcourt partners in Toronto for many years and have remained close friends. Miami is looking at a sign-and-trade as the best way to add Lowry, and is hoping that DeRozan might be available for the mid-level exception. That represents a big pay cut, but sources tell Schultz he might be interested if it means a chance to play alongside Lowry again.

If DeRozan turns down the MLE, the Heat will focus on finding a stretch four, says Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). There is support among the front office for Jeff Green, according to Jackson, who mentions Bobby Portis, Rudy Gay and Otto Porter as other options.

Meanwhile, Goran Dragic is expected to be part of a sign-and-trade with Toronto for Lowry, but the Raptors are unlikely to keep him. The Mavericks will be among the teams with interest in Dragic, according to Jackson (Twitter link).

Miami would also like to bring back reserve center Dewayne Dedmon, but he may get better offers, says Jackson (Twitter link). The Heat, who only hold Non-Bird rights on Dedmon, may have to offer part of their $3.6MM biannual exception to be competitive.

There’s more as the start of free agency draws closer:

  • The Knicks have some mutual interest with DeRozan, as well as Celtics shooting guard Evan Fournier, writes Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Begley also hears that Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky would be part of the potential return in a sign-and-trade if Chicago lands Pelicans RFA Lonzo Ball, while rival teams expect Duncan Robinson to re-sign with the Heat.
  • While he isn’t necessarily their Plan A or B, Cameron Payne is one of the free agent point guards on the Knicks‘ radar, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. New York has considered a Payne/Derrick Rose tandem at point guard for next season, Berman adds.
  • The Thunder are seen by rival executives as a possible suitor for Hornets guard Devonte’ Graham, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Graham is a restricted free agent, so Charlotte can match any offer, but Oklahoma City has the cap flexibility necessary to put pressure on the Hornets.
  • The Pelicans, Knicks, Celtics, and Nuggets are among the teams expected to express interest in point guard Reggie Jackson, per Sam Amick of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • EuroLeague standout Tyler Dorsey, who previously played for Atlanta and Memphis, is positioned for a return to the NBA and is drawing interest from several teams, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Olympic Notes: Johnson, Garland, Bey, Durant, Satoransky

The Spurs’ Keldon Johnson, Cavaliers’ Darius Garland and Pistons’ Saddiq Bey will move up from the U.S. Select Team and play for Team USA in exhibition games, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

The trio will fill in for Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton, who will join Team USA after the Finals. Johnson, Garland and Bey would be candidates to join Team USA for the Olympics if any players have to bow out.

Exhibition games in Las Vegas will begin on Saturday with a matchup against Nigeria.

We have more on the Olympics:

  • Select Team members Cameron Reynolds, Josh Magette, John Jenkins and Dakota Mathias will remain in Las Vegas and will be available for exhibition games, Brian Windhorst of ESPN writes. The pool of Select Team players has been reduced by injuries and COVID-19 protocols. Timberwolves big man Naz Reid suffered a minor injury in Thursday’s practice, Windhorst adds.
  • Nets superstar Kevin Durant will look to collect his third gold medal in Tokyo and he’s energized by that possibility, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. “I committed to USA Basketball when I was coming out of college,” Durant said. “And every chance that I can get that I’m healthy and my mind is in the right place to play basketball, I’m going to go out there and play. Finished the year off healthy, the regular season and the playoffs, so I felt it’d be cool to get a kickstart on next season by getting in shape a little earlier in the summer with Team USA.”
  • Bulls guard Zach LaVine will be facing backcourt partner Tomas Satoransky in Group A play and he’s looking forward to the matchup, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago relays. Satoransky will play for the Czech Republic, which is in Team USA’s Group along with Iran and France. “I’m looking forward to playing them and having some bragging rights,” LaVine said good-naturedly. “Hopefully, we really kick their butt.”

12-Team Field Set For Tokyo Olympics

Slovenia, Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic have secured their spots in the men’s basketball tournament at the Tokyo Olympics, winning their respective qualifying tournaments over the weekend. NBA players Luka Doncic (Slovenia), Moritz Wagner (Germany), and Tomas Satoransky (Czech Republic) were the MVPs of their tournaments, tweets Marc Stein.

Those four teams will join the U.S., Spain, Australia, France, Argentina, Nigeria, Iran, and Japan to make up the 12-team field for the tournament.

The groups are as follows:

  • Group A: Czech Republic, France, Iran, United States
  • Group B: Australia, Germany, Italy, Nigeria
  • Group C: Argentina, Japan, Slovenia, Spain

The preliminary round will begin on July 24, with each team facing the other three clubs in its group once. Following the round-robin portion of the tournament, the top two teams in each group – along with the two highest-ranked third-place teams – will advance to the single-elimination quarterfinals.

Rosters for the Olympics haven’t been officially locked in yet, but we have a pretty good idea of what most of the squads will look like. Team USA will, of course, feature the most star-studded group, with Damian Lillard, Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, and Bradley Beal leading the way.

Three players participating in the NBA Finals – Devin Booker, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday – are expected to be part of the U.S. Olympic squad. It’s possible those Finals could run as late as July 22 if they go seven games, but even in that scenario, the plan is for those Suns and Bucks players to fly to Tokyo right away in the hopes of being available for the July 25 contest vs. France.

While the U.S. will be the heavy favorite and will have the most NBA stars on its roster, a number of other NBA players will be taking part in the tournament.

Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Aron Baynes, and Matisse Thybulle are among the players representing Australia; Rudy Gobert, Evan Fournier, and Nicolas Batum are among those playing for France; Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe will suit up for Japan; Doncic will play for Slovenia; Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, and Juan Hernangomez are among the veterans in Spain’s player pool; and it sounds like Danilo Gallinari will play for Italy.

Nigeria, meanwhile, still has a ton of cuts to make, but could have as many as 10 NBA players on its roster for Tokyo, including Monte Morris, Josh Okogie, and Jahlil Okafor. For more details on the NBA players involved in the Olympics, check out the tracker from Albert De Roa of HoopsHype.

Serbia, Lithuania, Brazil, Croatia, Turkey, Greece, and Canada are among the notable programs that will miss out on the Tokyo Olympics. It was a particularly disappointing outcome for Team Canada, which lost to the Czech Republic in the semifinal of the qualifiers despite having eight current NBA players on its roster.

We won’t be closely covering the results of the Olympic tournament — the event overlaps with both the draft and free agency, so we’ll be busy focusing on the NBA. But we’ll keep an eye on Tokyo in case there are any injuries or other notable stories affecting the current NBA players involved in the games.

Rosters Announced For Olympic Qualifying Tournaments

Four qualifying tournaments to determine the final four teams in the men’s basketball pool at the Tokyo Olympics are set to tip off on Tuesday. In advance of the Olympic qualifiers, the 24 teams involved have officially set their 12-man rosters, according to a press release from FIBA.

More than two dozen current NBA players are participating in the tournament, and 11 of the 24 teams competing for Olympic spots have at least one current NBA players on their respective rosters. Of those clubs, Team Canada has the biggest contingent of NBA players — eight of the 12 players on Nick Nurse‘s squad finished the season on an NBA roster. Turkey is next with four NBA players.

The four qualifying tournaments will take place in Serbia, Lithuania, Croatia, and Canada. Only the winner of each six-team group will advance to Tokyo. Those four winners will join Japan, Nigeria, Argentina, Iran, France, Spain, Australia, and the U.S. in the 12-team Olympic tournament.

The teams that move onto the Olympics may tweak their rosters for Tokyo, depending on the availability of certain players. For instance, if Greece were to win its qualifying tournament, perhaps Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo – who remains active in the playoffs for now – would make an effort to join the team in Tokyo next month.

Here are the NBA players on the OQT rosters:

Belgrade, Serbia

Kaunas, Lithuania

Split, Croatia

Victoria, Canada

There are also many former NBA players among the 24 rosters, including Mario Hezonja (Croatia), Milos Teodosic (Serbia), Jan Vesely (Czech Republic), Timofey Mozgov (Russia), and Anthony Bennett (Canada).

To view the full rosters, be sure to visit FIBA’s official site and click through to each team from there.

Bulls Notes: Lottery, LaVine, Simmons, Dinwiddie, T. Young

The Bulls were among the unluckiest teams at the draft lottery, losing their first-round pick to the Magic when it failed to land in the top four, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Chicago wound up sending the No. 8 selection to Orlando as part of the trade deadline deal involving Nikola Vucevic, and it owes another first-rounder to the Magic in 2023.

With only the No. 38 pick remaining in the July 29 draft, the Bulls will have to explore other ways to improve, Mayberry adds. They’re short on trade assets after investing so much in the roster makeover in March, and they may not have enough cap space to add a meaningful free agent.

Mayberry suggests the Bulls may try to trade back into the first round on draft night, using the expiring contracts of Thaddeus Young ($14.19MM) and Tomáš Satoranský ($10MM), both of which are non-guaranteed, as well as Al-Farouq Aminu ($10.183MM).

They may also reach out to a couple of division rivals who had better fortune at the lottery. The Pistons landed the top overall pick and are likely to draft Cade Cunningham, which could make point guard Killian Hayes available in a trade, Mayberry speculates. Meanwhile, if the Cavaliers get Jalen Green at No. 3, they might be willing to part with Collin Sexton, Darius Garland or Isaac Okoro.

There’s more on the Bulls:

  • Zach LaVine‘s inclusion on the Olympic team could be good for the Bulls’ future, states Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. He notes that many star pairings in the NBA began when players got to know each other as Olympic teammates. Cowley cautions it might work the other way, and LaVine, who will be an unrestricted free agent next summer, could get recruited to go somewhere else.
  • Ben Simmons‘ playoff struggles and Spencer Dinwiddie‘s decision to turn down his player option for next season create two intriguing options for the Bulls in their search for a point guard, writes Jamal Collier of The Chicago Tribune. Simmons would be an ideal backcourt partner for LaVine, Collier notes, but it would be hard to put together an enticing offer for the Sixers without giving up LaVine in return. Dinwiddie will be seeking more than the $12.3MM he opted out of, but Collier expects concerns about his partially torn ACL to keep the price tag down.
  • Thaddeus Young has been chosen as this year’s winner of the NBA Hustle Award, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The honor goes to the player who makes the most energy and effort plays during the season.

International Notes: Satoransky, Olympics, Shayok, Landale

Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky is the only current NBA player on the Czech Republic’s preliminary roster for the Olympic qualifying tournament later this month (link via FIBA). Former NBA lottery pick Jan Vesely is among the other notable names on the roster.

Satoransky, Vesely, and the Czechs will be looking to earn a berth in the Tokyo Olympics by winning a six-team tournament that also features Canada, Greece, Turkey, China, and Uruguay. It won’t be an easy path, as only one of the six teams will advance to Tokyo. Canada’s roster features many NBA players, while Greece could have Giannis Antetokounmpo available if the Bucks don’t advance past Brooklyn in round two of the NBA playoffs.

Here are a few more notes from around the international basketball world:

  • Former NBA second-rounder Marial Shayok is joining Turkish club Fenerbahce, according to a report from Ismail Senol of beIN Sports (Twitter link; hat tip to Sportando). After being selected 54th overall in 2019, Shayok spent his rookie season with the 76ers, but was waived last November. The 25-year-old forward played for Frutti Extra Bursaspor in Turkey for most of 2021.
  • Former Saint Mary’s big man Jock Landale, who is currently playing for Melbourne United in Australia’s National Basketball League, is hoping to use the NBL playoffs as a springboard to a potential NBA contract, telling Matt Logue of News.com.au that he has received “a lot” of NBA interest this season. Landale also sought a move to the NBA last summer, but could have more luck this time around following a big year for Melbourne.
  • Nick Lagios, who will be the general manager of the NBA G League’s new franchise based in Mexico City, told Achilleas Mavrodontis of Eurohoops.net that he likes the idea of someday overseeing a European team’s basketball operations department. “Many people call me crazy because my dream job is to work as a GM or president in the EuroLeague,” Lagios said. “I think it would be a great experience working (for) a European team or a top-notch Greek team and I would love that in the future.”

Bulls Notes: Markkanen, Vucevic, Young, Williams

One of the most important questions facing the Bulls this summer will be what to do with Lauri Markkanen, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Once considered the future of the franchise, Markkanen had a decline in production in his fourth NBA season. He lost his starting job at midseason and is headed toward restricted free agency without a clear role on the team.

Markkanen has taken a lot of heat for his down year and his seemingly poor fit alongside center Nikola Vucevic, who was acquired at the trade deadline. However, coach Billy Donovan said critics need to understand how Markkanen has adapted to changing circumstances.

“You’re talking about a guy who has a shoulder injury, misses quite a bit of time, comes back after the All-Star break, plays a couple games and then we have an entirely different team and now he has to re-invent himself and find himself, that’s a lot,” Donovan said. “The one thing I’ve always asked Lauri to do is compete and play and maximize the time you’re out there for the benefit of the team. And he has always done that. And I respect and appreciate that from him.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • The Bulls expected to move into the playoff picture after shaking up their team at the deadline, but the results have been disappointing. Vucevic suggests too much may have been expected right away, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. ‘‘When you make a trade midseason, a lot of things change, and sometimes it takes more time [to jell],’’ Vucevic said. ‘‘Unfortunately, we didn’t have that. It is disappointing we didn’t achieve our goal, so we have to be realistic and say we failed at that. But the only thing we can do is move forward and hopefully use that as motivation going into next year.’’
  • Chicago currently has just seven players under contract for next season and may want to consider creating even more cap space by unloading Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky, who both have modest partial guarantees, Cowley adds in a separate story. Young’s $14.19MM contract and and Satoransky’s $10MM deal will both become fully guaranteed August 1.
  • Rookie forward Patrick Williams had one of his best games today, scoring a career-high 24 points in a loss to the Nets, writes Sam Smith of NBA.com. Williams said he has started looking to score more often as the season winds down. “This is definitely the Patrick that they want to see,” he said. “Of course, a little bit more that I did today. This is the player that they want me to be. It takes some getting used to, especially for me, because it’s not natural to go out there and be aggressive. But this is who I’ve gotta be in order to be the player that I want to be in this league. I’m up for the challenge.”