Trae Young

Bulls Notes: Record Loss, Hoiberg, Dunn, Arcidiacono

New Bulls coach Jim Boylen didn’t hold back his criticism after Saturday’s 56-point loss to the Celtics, the worst defeat in franchise history, relays Malika Andrews of ESPN.

“I think your play is embarrassing,” said Boylen, who pulled his five starters for the night three minutes into the third quarter. “… I worked for [Spurs head coach] Gregg Popovich. He subbed five guys a ton of times. Nobody says a word to him about it. He felt that was best for the team. I felt that was best for the team where we were at. I wanted to give the other guys a chance to see if they could right the ship a little bit. If I don’t like the five guys out there, if I don’t like the combination, I’m going to look at a new combination. Take them all out, let them sit there and think about it.”

There was plenty to think about, and none of it was good. Chicago fell behind 17-0 and went more than six minutes of the first quarter without scoring. The deficit was 32 points when Boylen decided to pull Ryan Arcidiacono, Zach LaVine, Justin Holiday, Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter, who combined for 27 points on the night, the lowest total for a Bulls starting lineup in 11 years. Fans booed loudly throughout the game as the team fell to 6-21.

“We don’t have that internal toughness yet to play at this level consistently,” Boylen said afterward.

There’s more this morning from Chicago:

  • Bulls management claims that former coach Fred Hoiberg was dismissed because he lost his influence with his players, but the real reason was a deteriorating relationship with GM Gar Forman, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Bobby Portis was the latest player to come to Hoiberg’s defense Saturday. “He’s a players’ coach, lets guys go out there and do what they do, get better,” Portis said. “Me, personally, he helped me develop my game a lot, so I credit a lot of things toward him. To say that he lost the respect of the locker room, I don’t think that’s a good way to put it.’’
  • Portis and Kris Dunn are both close to returning from knee injuries, although neither played Saturday. Dunn’s return will mark a critical time in his career, as he becomes eligible for a rookie contract extension at the end of the season, Cowley notes in a separate story. Dunn has been effective since coming to Chicago last year, but it’s not clear if the front office is fully invested in him as the point guard of the future. Cowley states that the team had a private workout with Trae Young before the draft and considered taking Collin Sexton with the seventh pick before opting for Carter.
  • Arcidiacono’s high-energy game has made him an effective fill-in during Dunn’s absence, writes Sam Smith of NBA.com.

Southeast Notes: Young, Johnson, Wizards, Lamb

Hawks guard Trae Young firmly believes he’ll be a better player than fellow rookie Luka Doncic, explaining his reasoning to Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated this week. The two players have been compared for months after the Hawks and Mavericks agreed to a draft-night trade in June.

“The thing with Luka,” Young says, “he’s a great player. I don’t understand why it can’t work out for both situations. I hear [Atlanta made a mistake] all the time. Luka’s a great dude, and I think he’s going to be a really good player. But at the same time, I’m going to be a better player. Just because of my ability to stretch the floor, get others involved, I think I’ll be better.”

The Hawks traded their No. 3 pick — used on Doncic — to Dallas in exchange for the No. 5 selection and a first-round pick in the 2019 Draft. Atlanta then made the decision to draft Young fifth overall and solidify him as the franchise centerpiece.

Young has averaged 17.5 points and 8.2 assists in 14 games this season, shooting 41% from the floor and 27% from downtown. To compare, Doncic has averaged 19.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per contest, connecting on 47% from the field and 39% from 3-point territory.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Heat guard Tyler Johnson labeled the importance of the team staying hungry for success, despite several players cashing in on new contracts in recent seasons. “I think what’s crazy is before any of us got any money, we were just some dogs,” Johnson said, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. “I think that’s what the beautiful thing is. We had to just come together.”
  • Chase Hughes of NBC Sports details how Wizards coach Scott Brooks has consistently altered his rotation this season, keeping his players on edge. Brooks’ changes are in response to the team’s poor start to the 2018/19 season.
  • Hornets guard Jeremy Lamb will likely receive interest from multiple teams in free agency, putting his potential return after the season in question, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. Lamb is averaging 12.9 points in 14 games, tied for his career-best.

 

Eastern Notes: Knicks, Nurse, Harris, Young

As the Knicks prepare to host the Warriors on Friday night, a banner of Kevin Durant in a Knicks jersey rests outside of Madison Square Garden. Although its creator is unknown, the large, rectangular message reads: “Can you make NY Sports great again?”

Durant, who’s set to become a free agent in July, is expected to receive interest from several teams with maximum-salary space across the league. The Knicks could be one of these teams, with Durant likely to be at the top of their free-agent list.

“I don’t really know how to feel about that type of stuff,” Durant said, according to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater. “It’s cool. No disrespect, but I’m not really impressed with that type of stuff.”

Next to Durant on the banner is budding superstar Kristaps Porzingis, a selling piece for the Knicks to help attract free agents in the summer of 2019. In addition to Durant, the team could target the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler or Kyrie Irving.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • Nick Nurse could be the key to the Raptors‘ reset, Jake Fischer details in a piece for SI’s The Crossover. Nurse was hired as Raptors head coach this past offseason and has guided the team to a 5-0 record, quickly earning the respect of players, assistants and fans.
  • Nets guard Joe Harris has started the 2018/19 season on a good note, shooting the ball well and proving his worth after signing a new deal with the team this summer, as detailed in a piece by Nets Daily. Harris signed a two-year, $16MM contract to rejoin the club in the offseason, scoring 16 points and grabbing six rebounds on Wednesday against Cleveland.
  • Despite being heavily criticized for trading the rights to Luka Doncic for Trae Young on draft night, the Hawks may have secured a long-term building block in Young, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor writes. Young is making a good early impression, averaging 21.5 points and 7.5 assists through four games.

Southeast Notes: Lin, Young, Gordon, T. Brown

While opening night is thrilling for everyone, that’s especially true for new Hawks guard Jeremy Lin, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Lin is coming off two frustrating years in Brooklyn, where injuries limited to a total of 37 games. He suffered a torn right patellar tendon in the first game of last season and hasn’t played since.

“I think I’m just going to be really excited, really grateful,” Lin said before tonight’s game. “I’m going to be like, ‘Dang, in a lot of ways I made it. I made it back.’ The rehab process — not just the knee, the hamstring and all the other stuff — those were tough, to watch all those games. For me, to just get back on the court, I’m going to be super happy.”

Lin remains disappointed that he couldn’t contribute more to the Nets after signing a three-year, $36MM contract in 2016. His focus now is on putting together a healthy season in Atlanta and rebuilding his value for another shot at free agency next summer.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hawks‘ decision to trade down and draft Trae Young was the result of a compromise between the team’s ownership group and the front office, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN. The owners wanted to keep the No. 3 pick and take Luka Doncic, while the front office preferred Jaren Jackson Jr., who wound up in Memphis with the fourth selection. The parties elected to swap picks with Dallas and take Young, whom everyone in the organization agreed on.
  • The Magic showed their faith in Aaron Gordon with a new four-year, $76MM contract this summer, and president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman tells Josh Robbins of The Athletic that Gordon’s intangibles factored into the decision. Gordon is coming off a breakthrough season in which he raised his stats to 17.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. “Organizationally, we wouldn’t have done what we did if we didn’t have the utmost confidence that he’s going to be able to not just become a good player in his own right, but a player that lifts others,” Weltman said.
  • Wizards rookie Troy Brown can expect to spend at least part of the season in the G League, tweets Doug McKinney of NBC Sports. The additions of Jeff Green and Austin Rivers over the summer will limit Brown’s opportunities for playing time at the NBA level.

Fellow Rookies Pick Ayton, Sexton As RoY Favorites

For the 10th time in 12 years, John Schuhmann of NBA.com got the opportunity to ask the NBA’s incoming crop of rookies a series of questions related to their fellow draftees.

Historically, the NBA rookies haven’t been particularly clairvoyant when it comes to their predictions — they haven’t accurately identified a Rookie of the Year winner since Kevin Durant in 2007/08. Still, it’s an interesting exercise, and one that occasionally results in a dead-on prediction, like when last year’s rookie class named Donovan Mitchell the steal of the 2017 draft.

Here are a few of the most interesting responses from this year’s rookies about the 2018/19 class:

  • Deandre Ayton (Suns) and Collin Sexton (Cavaliers) are viewed as the co-favorites for the Rookie of the Year award this season, with each player earning 18% of the vote. No other rookie had more than a 9% share of the vote.
  • Opinions were a little more divided on which player would have the best long-term NBA career, with Wendell Carter Jr. (Bulls) narrowly earning that title by receiving 13% of the vote. Interestingly, reigning EuroLeague MVP Luka Doncic (Mavericks) wasn’t picked by a single player for this question.
  • No. 48 overall pick Keita Bates-Diop (Timberwolves) was named the steal of the 2018 NBA draft by his fellow rookies, edging out 14th overall pick Michael Porter Jr. (Nuggets) and 18th overall pick Lonnie Walker (Spurs).
  • Trae Young (Hawks) is widely considered the best shooter and play-maker in this year’s class. Jevon Carter (Grizzlies) earned the most votes for best rookie defender, while Zhaire Smith (Sixers) is viewed as the most athletic rookie.
  • Be sure to check out Schuhmann’s full piece for the rest of the rookie survey results.

Southeast Notes: Anderson, Young, Go-Go, Magic Big Men

The Heat aren’t particularly interested in acquiring Rockets forward Ryan Anderson, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. A rumored trade that would involve the Houston power forward and a draft pick in exchange for either Tyler Johnson or James Johnson doesn’t appeal to Miami’s front office, Jackson continues. Anderson has a higher salary than both of those players, so bringing him in would worsen the team’s luxury-tax issues. Additionally, even though James Johnson has three years left on his deal compared to Anderson’s two remaining seasons, Miami values his versatility, Jackson adds.

We have more from around the Southeast Division:

  • Rookie Trae Young realizes the commitment the Hawks made to him by trading starting point guard Dennis Schroder to the Thunder, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. While Young was non-committal about whether he or Jeremy Lin should start, Young knows he’ll get ample playing time. “Obviously when they move the point guard they’ve had for a while, their starting point guard, it definitely opened my eyes,” Young told Vivlamore. “It shows how much they are committed to me. Bringing Jeremy in as well is a good fit for us. I know there is a lot on my plate.”
  • The Wizards’ new G League team, the Capital City Go-Go, will share the same practice facility as the NBA team. The G League team’s GM, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, sees that as an incentive for his players, as he explained to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington“I think it’s going to help motivate these guys. We’re going to be practicing in the same place that the Wizards do and the Mystics do,” Mensah-Bonsu said. “I think if these guys can see Dwight Howard and John Wall and Bradley Beal walking around every day, it will help motivate them to get to that next level.”
  • The Magic are bucking the league trend by building around big men, as Nick Zappulla of RealGM details. The trio of rookie Mo Bamba, Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon provide versatility and game-changing ability on both ends of the floor, Zappulla adds.

Hawks Sign All Three First-Round Picks

The Hawks have reached contract agreements with first-round picks Trae Young, Kevin Huerter and Omari Spellman, according to Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Their first-year salaries will be approximately $5.36MM for Young, $2.25MM for Huerter and $1.62MM for Spellman. All rookie scale deals cover two years, followed by two team option seasons.

Young, the fifth overall pick, was among the nation’s top collegiate scorers at Oklahoma. Atlanta grabbed him after trading down from No. 3 in a draft-day deal with Dallas. Huerter, a 3-point specialist out of Maryland, was taken at No. 19 despite a wrist injury that limited his pre-draft workouts. Spellman is a center with shooting range who won a national title at Villanova.

Southeast Notes: Kulboka, Sanon, Taylor, Walker

The Hornets plan to stash 6’10” forward Arnoldas Kulboka in Europe, Chapel Fowler of the Charlotte Observer relays. The Hornets took the Lithuanian native with the No. 55 pick with that plan in mind. “He’s got a buyout that’s manageable, but we’ve talked to his representative …” GM Mitch Kupchak told Fowler and other media members. “At least right now, the plan is to keep him over there and hopefully watch him develop and then, when he’s ready, bring him back over here and see how good he is.”

In other developments around the Southeast Division:

  • The Wizards will go the draft-and-stash route with the No. 44 pick, Issuf Sanon, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post tweets. The Ukrainian combo guard is just 18 years old and played in the Slovenian League last season.
  • The Hawks have pushed back the date of Isaiah Taylor‘s partial guarantee from Friday until the end of the month, Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. Taylor would receive a $300K guarantee by remaining on the roster through the due date. The remainder of his $1,544,951 salary for next season would become guaranteed if he’s on the roster through July 27th. The 6’3” point guard appeared in 67 games last season and averaged 6.6 PPG and 3.1 APG.
  • The Hawks dealt their early second-round pick at No. 34 because the players they liked in that spot were guards and they already got two backcourt players in the first round, Cunningham reports in a separate tweet. The Hawks secured two future second-rounders in their deal with the Hornets. In the first round, Atlanta wound up with point guard Trae Young after dropping down two spots from the No. 3 slot and chose shooting guard Kevin Huerter at No. 19.
  • Kupchak would like to see point guard Kemba Walker play his whole career with the Hornets but can’t do much about that before Walker hits free agency next season, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. A contract extension isn’t feasible because of Charlotte’s salary-cap restraints. “He is on a (contract) that may make it a challenge going forward to figure out (the best course) before he becomes a free agent,” Kupchak told Bonnell.

Hawks Notes: Trade Talks, Young, Doncic, Schroder

While leaks to the media often make it harder for Travis Schlenk to do his job, the Hawks‘ general manager was appreciative of a particular leak on Thursday night, he said during an appearance on 95.7 The Game in the Bay Area (link via ESPN.com). According to Schlenk, the Hawks were considering a deal to move up two spots from No. 19 last night, but when word broke of the Bucks‘ plans at No. 17, Schlenk decided it against it.

“We had the 19th pick and we’re coming down and we’re actually talking to Milwaukee on the 17th pick, talking about trading up to get a guy we like,” Schlenk explained. “There were a couple of guys we felt really good about on the 19th pick, obviously Kevin [Huerter] was one of them, and it leaked who Milwaukee was going to take.

“So, all of a sudden, we were able to pull back out of that deal and keep the draft pick instead of packaging picks to move up because we knew that [there were] two guys on the board we felt really good about, and only one team in between us,” Schlenk continued. “So that was beneficial to us last night.”

Schlenk’s comments suggest that the Hawks were zeroing in on two players with that mid-first-round pick, and Donte DiVincenzo – who was selected by Milwaukee at No. 17 – wasn’t one of them.

Here’s more from Schlenk on the Hawks:

  • Discussing the trade that saw the Hawks move down to select Trae Young instead of simply drafting Luka Doncic, Schlenk said the front office was “really, really split” between the two guards (Twitter link via Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal Constitution). Given how close the two prospects were in Atlanta’s view, it made sense for the club to take Young and get an extra 2019 first-round pick out of the deal.
  • According to Schlenk, the Hawks had both Doncic and Young rated higher on their board than the top big men available at No. 3. The GM added that he has a “personal preference” for play-makers over bigs (Twitter link via Cunningham).
  • Asked about Young’s fit in Atlanta with Dennis Schroder already on the roster, Schlenk said that the two players are capable of playing together. However, as Cunningham notes, it’s not as if the Hawks GM will come out and say he wants to move Schroder. The team has been exploring possible trades involving the veteran point guard, but interest has been “tepid,” Cunningham adds (Twitter links).

Mavs Acquire No. 3 Pick, Draft Luka Doncic

9:21pm: Marc Stein of The New York Times has the protection details on the 2019 first-round pick going to Atlanta in the deal. According to Stein (via Twitter), it will be top-five protected in 2019 and 2020, top-three protected in 2021 and 2022, and fully unprotected in 2023.

6:47pm: The Mavericks and Hawks agreed to a blockbuster trade involving the No. 3 pick that allowed Dallas to draft Luka Doncic.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) that the Hawks will acquire a 2019 first-round pick in the trade, while Atlanta took Trae Young at No. 5. No veteran players are involved in the deal, Woj adds (via Twitter).

Previous versions of the trade had Kent Bazemore going to Dallas and Wesley Matthews to Atlanta, but the Hawks were reluctant to add Matthews to a young, rebuilding team. They opted for a simple swap of picks, with some light protections on the future first-rounder. Atlanta had been hoping to free up some cap room by finding a taker for Bazemore, who is owed more than $18MM next season and has a player option worth nearly $19.3MM in 2019/20.

The teams were close to a trade around 5:00pm ET, tweets ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, but fell apart until the Mavs agree to include the future pick. The pick is scheduled to transfer next season, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports and will be top-five protected (Twitter link).

A source from the Mavericks, who described the protections as minimal to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, said, “We hope it conveys next year.” (Twitter link).

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.