Tyler Ulis

Bulls Notes: Valentine, Hoiberg, Parker, Mirotic

Denzel Valentine has yet to appear in a game this season for the Bulls, and his 2018/19 debut isn’t imminent. As The Chicago Sun-Times relays (via Twitter), executive VP of basketball operations John Paxson indicated on Wednesday that Valentine’s left ankle isn’t responding well, prompting the team to pump the brakes on his rehab and rule him out indefinitely.

With Valentine still on the shelf, the team figures to continue relying on rookie Chandler Hutchison in a regular rotation role. Chicago also appears to qualify for the hardship provision, which allows an injury-ravaged team to add a 16th man to its 15-man roster when it’s missing at least four players. Valentine, Kris Dunn, Bobby Portis, and Lauri Markkanen are all in the midst of extended absences for the Bulls, but there has been no word on the team applying for or receiving that roster exception.

Here’s more from out of Chicago:

  • It looks like there’s a real possibility that the 2018/19 season could be Fred Hoiberg‘s last with the Bulls, says Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. If that happens, GM Gar Forman should follow Hoiberg out the door, Cowley argues.
  • Hoiberg had a heated discussion with Jabari Parker during Wednesday’s loss, according to Cowley, who notes that Parker jogged down the floor on back-to-back defensive possessions before Hoiberg called timeout and had words with him.
  • Bulls center Wendell Carter, a former Duke Blue Devil, raved about his alma mater’s 2018/19 roster, suggesting that he believes Zion Williamson will “translate perfectly” to the NBA, as Cowley details. However, Carter doesn’t want to see the Bulls go into tank mode to try to land one of those top Duke prospects in next year’s draft. “I feel like we’ve just got to try to win every game,” he said. “If we lose, but we’re playing hard, that’s one thing, but I wouldn’t feel good losing games on purpose.”
  • In yet another article for The Sun-Times, Cowley revisits Nikola Mirotic‘s time in Chicago, suggesting that the front office “couldn’t wait to deal him” and some of his teammates “weren’t exactly sad” that Bobby Portis punched him during a practice last fall. Hoiberg and Robin Lopez spoke highly of Mirotic, however.
  • Sam Smith of Bulls.com explores where things stand for two-way player Tyler Ulis, who finds himself on the Windy City Bulls after spending the last two seasons as an NBA rotation player.

Central Notes: Jackson, Arcidiacono, Frazier, Bucks Arena

Pistons coach Dwane Casey plans to play his point guards Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith together on a regular basis this season, as he told the Free Press and other media outlets. Casey paired them up during stretches of the second and fourth quarters during the team’s 103-100 season-opening win over Brooklyn. “I really liked it,” Casey said. “I think Ish and Reggie together gives us a different pick-and-roll look, an opportunity to have multiple pick-and-rolls and two attackers. … It really gives us some energy, juice, speed, quickness and attackers.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Guards Ryan Arcidiacono and Tyler Ulis could receive extensive playing time as the Bulls search for answers behind starting point guard Kris Dunn and at the off-guard position, Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago reports. Arcidiacono, whose $1,349,383 salary doesn’t become fully guaranteed until January 10th, collected eight points and eight assists in 28 minutes during the team’s opener. Ulis, who received a two-way contract this week after being claimed off waivers, could spark the second unit. “He’s ready. He’s done a good job in practice,” coach Fred Hoiberg said of Ulis.
  • The Bucks saved a little money — $18,321 to be exact — when guard Tim Frazier was claimed off waivers by the Pelicans, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. New Orleans inherited Frazier’s $1.5MM non-guaranteed contract. He was Milwaukee’s final roster cut prior to opening night.
  • The Bucks franchise would have relocated if the new Fiserv Forum hadn’t been built, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today writes. Milwaukee played its first regular-season game there on Friday. “We were going to do everything we could to stay in Milwaukee,” Bucks co-owner Mark Lasry said. “That was ultimately something that was outside our control in that the NBA wanted a new arena, and if we couldn’t get one, they would have forced us to move.” When the current ownership group bought the Bucks for $550MM in 2014, the purchase agreement included a clause allowing the league to buy back the team for potential relocation if the new owners didn’t get a formal arena construction plan in place, Zillgitt adds.

Bulls Claim Tyler Ulis, Give Him Two-Way Deal

OCTOBER 15: The Bulls have officially confirmed that they’ve converted Ulis’ contract into a two-way deal, announcing the move in a press release.

OCTOBER 14: The Bulls have claimed point guard Tyler Ulis off of waivers, according to Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated (via Twitter). Ulis was previously with the Warriors throughout training camp but was released this past week.

After getting a larger role than expected during his rookie season with the Suns, Ulis struggled throughout the 2017/18 season, leading to his release from the team. In his first two seasons in the league, Ulis averaged 7.6 points and 4.1 assists per game, but only shot 40.3% from the field and 28% on 3-pointers.

The Bulls already have 15 players on standard NBA contracts, but are only carrying one player (Rawle Alkins) on a two-way deal. Because Ulis was on an Exhibit 10 contract with Golden State, his deal can be converted into a two-way pact, allowing Chicago to avoid making any cuts to accommodate the newly-added point guard. The Bulls will do just that, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Ulis will add some depth to a point guard depth chart that features Kris Dunn, Cameron Payne, and Ryan Arcidiacono as the Bulls look to add more young talent throughout their rebuild.

Warriors Waive Tyler Ulis, Three Others

The Warriors have waived four players from their 20-man preseason roster, the team announced today in a press release. Point guard Tyler Ulis, swingman Danuel House, big man Deyonta Davis, and guard Kendrick Nunn have all been released, according to the club.

Ulis and House, who each have some NBA experience, appeared to be potential candidates to make the regular season roster with Patrick McCaw‘s restricted free agency still unresolved, but it looks like it will be Alfonzo McKinnie who fills the Warriors’ 14th roster spot instead — he agreed to a two-year contract with Golden State today.

The team is expected to leave its 15th roster spot empty to open the season to retain flexibility and to avoid increasing its projected tax bill.

With Ulis, House, Davis, and Nunn all on waivers and McKinnie receiving a new contract, Marcus Derrickson is the only non-guaranteed camp invitee who wasn’t involved in a roster move today. Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets that he wouldn’t be surprised if Derrickson claims Golden State’s second two-way contract slot. Currently, the club’s only two-way player is Damion Lee.

Tyler Ulis Signs Camp Deal With Warriors

SEPTEMBER 24: The Warriors have officially signed Ulis, the team announced today in a press release.

SEPTEMBER 21: Point guard Tyler Ulis will sign an Exhibit 10 contract with the Warriors, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. The former Suns guard will join them in camp, though he’ll likely wind up with the team’s G League affiliate in Santa Cruz, Anthony Johnson of 2Ways10Days tweets.

Ulis also had similar offers from the Rockets and Kings, Marc Spears of ESPN tweets.

The Suns waived Ulis at the end of June, ending his disappointing stint with the club. The 2106 second-rounder out of Kentucky started 58 games in his two seasons with Phoenix and appeared in 132 games overall but the front office didn’t see him in its future plans. He was cut loose before his modest $1.54MM salary for the upcoming season became guaranteed, a move that upset star shooting guard Devin Booker.

Ulis has been seeking new employment ever since and had a workout with the Cavaliers earlier this month. The Warriors already have Shaun Livingston and Quinn Cook as options behind starting point guard Stephen Curry, so Ulis can be viewed as an insurance policy if an injury strikes.

Cavs Work Out Tyler Ulis, Alan Williams, Others

SEPTEMBER 6: The Cavaliers worked out a few more free agents today, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic, who tweets that Kobi Simmons, Brandon Paul, and Rodney Purvis all earned a look from Cleveland as well. Simmons, Paul, and Purvis played for the Grizzlies, Spurs, and Magic, respectively, in 2017/18.

SEPTEMBER 5: A group of veteran free agents worked out for the Cavaliers today, sources tell Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter link). According to Kennedy, Tyler Ulis, Alan Williams, JaKarr Sampson, and Marcus Georges-Hunt were among the players to participate in the audition.

It’s not clear if the Cavaliers are seeking depth at a particular position and looking to fill out their 15-man regular season roster, or if they’re simply familiarizing themselves with the various options remaining on the free agent market.

Cleveland only has 12 players on guaranteed contracts, but has a reported agreement in place with David Nwaba and seems likely to eventually re-sign Rodney Hood too, so there may not be more than a single open spot available on the regular season roster.

All four players named by Kennedy appeared in NBA games last season. Ulis played 71 games (43 starts) for the Suns before being waived in June; Sampson appeared in 22 contests for the Kings on a two-way contract; Williams returned from a knee injury to play five games at the end of the season for the Suns before being cut in July; and Georges-Hunt saw limited minutes off the bench in 42 games for the Timberwolves.

Bulls Notes: Parker, Ulis, Blakeney, Paxson

Bringing in Jabari Parker is a risk the Bulls may wind up regretting, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Even though just the first season of his two-year, $40MM contract is guaranteed, Chicago now has 10 players age 24 or younger who may be tempted to put personal concerns ahead of the team agenda.

Bobby Portis and Cameron Payne will both be in their fourth seasons, Mayberry notes, and will be looking at a final chance to put up big numbers before restricted free agency. Zach LaVine will try to prove he’s worth his new four-year, $78MM deal and Denzel Valentine has been open about his desire to be a starter. That presents a lot of challenges for coach Fred Hoiberg to balance heading into the new season.

Mayberry also warns that the addition of Parker could also be detrimental to the development of Lauri Markkanen, which he states should be the Bulls’ top objective.

There’s more today out of Chicago:

  • Parker put on a show Saturday at a pickup game organized by the Chicago Basketball Club, relays Michael Walton of NBC Sports Chicago. Parker was impressive with his shooting, passing and ballhandling and offered hope that he has fully recovered from his latest ACL surgery. Also participating in the game was former Suns point guard Tyler Ulis, a Chicago native whom Walton suggests the Bulls may be interested in.
  • To clear cap room for Parker, the Bulls waived Sean Kilpatrick and rescinded their qualifying offer for David Nwaba, leading Ben Bokun of NBC Sports Chicago to question the reasoning of cutting ties with those players and signing summer league standout Antonio Blakeney to a two-year deal. A two-way player for the Bulls last season, Blakeney appeared in 19 NBA games and averaged 7.9 points. Chicago’s front office also got a close look at him in the G League, where he was named Rookie of the Year and made the all-star team.
  • VP of basketball operations John Paxson is happy with how quickly the organization has been able to assemble a group of young talent, although he recognizes that doesn’t automatically make the Bulls a contender, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. This year, a lot of our success will be determined by how big of a jump Zach, Kris [Dunn] and Lauri make,” Paxson said. “We knew that going into this offseason. Now you add Jabari, Wendell [Carter], and Chandler [Hutchison] and you feel like you’re making some progress.”

Devin Booker Upset With Suns’ Front Office

1:25pm: Booker wasn’t upset with the Suns’ front office over the fact that Ulis was waived, but the “lack of communication” regarding the move upset him, a source tells Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links).

12:22pm: The Suns waived guard Tyler Ulis on Saturday before his salary for 2018/19 could become guaranteed, and the move isn’t sitting well with one noteworthy Sun. According to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter), Devin Booker is upset with Phoenix’s front office over the release of Ulis, his best friend.

Booker, who is entering his fourth NBA season, is now eligible for a contract extension for the first time in his career. He and the Suns could come to an agreement anytime between now and the start of the 2018/19 regular season, and a new deal would keep Booker off the restricted free agent market in 2019.

It remains to be seen whether Booker’s unhappiness with the front office will have any real impact on those contract negotiations. While it probably isn’t a great time for the franchise to upset its star scorer, players eligible for rookie scale extensions generally don’t turn down maximum-salary offers, as Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic observes (via Twitter). And Phoenix is expected to put that sort of offer on the table.

It would be a surprise if Ulis’ release creates an irreparable rift in the relationship between Booker and the Suns, but it’s still something worth watching as the club looks to lock up the 21-year-old to a long-term deal.

Suns Waive Tyler Ulis

4:17pm: The move is official, the Suns announced on Twitter.

3:05pm: Phoenix will waive point guard Tyler Ulis, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The decision is the latest in a series of cost-cutting moves for the Suns, who are also cutting ties with Elfrid Payton and Alex Len. Phoenix is maximizing cap room to be aggressive in free agency, with the Bucks’ Jabari Parker and the Celtics’ Marcus Smart as possible targets.

Getting rid of Ulis will save the team $1.54MM for next season. A decision on whether to guarantee his 2018/19 salary was originally due by June 24, but he agreed to let the Suns delay the move until today.

A second-round pick in 2016, Ulis spent two years in Phoenix. He played 71 games this season, starting 43, but the Suns are hoping for a point guard upgrade in free agency, according to Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link). They drafted Elie Okobo and have Brandon Knight returning from injury, so there may not have been playing time available for Ulis.

The Suns still have to make decisions on non-guaranteed salaries for Alan Williams ($5.52MM), Shaquille Harrison ($1,378,242) and Davon Reed ($1,378,242 with a $689,212 guarantee).

Suns Push Back Tyler Ulis’ Guarantee Date

Suns’ point guard Tyler Ulis’ salary guarantee date has been pushed back to June 30, reports Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. As our list of upcoming salary guarantee dates shows, Ulis’ 2018/19 salary of $1.54MM was originally set to be guaranteed in full if he remained on the Suns’ roster through today, June 24.

As Bordow notes, the decision by Phoenix to move Ulis’ guarantee date back by six days gives the front office more time to allow for other potential moves that could influence their decision as to whether they want to keep Ulis on the roster next season.

Bordow reported just yesterday that the Suns are ready to make aggressive moves in free agency, but that additional cap room needs to be added in order to do so. By delaying the decision on Ulis’ contract, the Suns were able to avoid having to decide whether or not to waive Ulis until next week.

For example, while nothing has been reported, it’s possible that the Suns have found a team interested in trading for Ulis without sending Phoenix any salary in return, thereby allowing Phoenix to rid their cap of Ulis’ salary without losing him for nothing.